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Elovia

Bound By Flame

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I want to break this title out from the Technomancer thread, and give it a more proper introduction.

On 10/11/2019 at 11:32 AM, Elovia said:

The game, Bound by Flame, looks like it might be fun.  Unfortunately, at least on my installation and system, there is a game stopping bug very early when a tutorial information box pops up and the game controls lock up, so you cannot dismiss or escape out of the popped up window.  That's a shame, really, since the character editor when starting a new game allowed at least more customization than the other two games mentioned earlier in this thread - you could select either a male or female character, and five different faces with five different hair styles from which to choose your character's look.  Heck, you could even rename your character - even though the game subtitles and voices of interacting NPCs still refer to you by the default name (/sigh).

[edit: n/m ... I sorted out the command to get past the pop up.  Still in intro but fun nonetheless.]

Bound By Flame, currently US$6.99 at GoG, is a third-person perspective, console-to-PC port, fantasy action role-playing-game that was released back in 2014.  Here are a couple videos about the game:

And another trailer ...

OK ... the above videos contain plenty of in-game footage (I recognize some of it after a couple days worth of playing), but in all fairness some of the footage is from in-game cut-scenes and some of it actual (or video-enhanced) play.  Cut-scenes, and there are many, cinematically advance the plot, while actual game play fills between (and around) cut scenes.  This occasionally causes immersion-breaking inconsistencies for the player (more on this later).  Character interactions are voice acted (with optional subtitles for those of us who need both - although the two don't always match), and credit to the actors/actresses for doing a passable, non-cringeworthy job (personally subjective).  Dialog includes plenty of salty words and phrases, which helps the title to earn a M17+ rating ... so, not one to play around young or sensitive ears.

Subject, plot, characters and other peripheral details suggest (to me) that the game was made to appeal to a niche audience, and that is shown in game review ratings where the title scores somewhere in middle of the spectrum - not great, but not a flop either.

The player is given a number of choices in developing his/her character.  As the first video shows, players can develop skills from three skill trees.  Not only that, but as mentioned in the quoted section above, the player can choose whether to play a male or female character, and also then may choose from five different faces  (sadly not customizable as was available in Skyrim) and five different hair styles; this last is minor since as soon as your character equips a helmet, the hair style choice is moot (until such time as you remove the helm, but why would you?).  And for those of you who watched the trailer, the demon within and it's influence on the character is controlled by the player's decisions - do you let it out or keep it suppressed? - you will be tempted along the way.

I've been playing this for the past couple days, and have gotten my character past the introduction and the first act.  I'm currently in the early-middle of the second act (maybe more - it's hard to tell).  While there are three different skill trees that may be developed (i.e., a 2h sword/axe/hammer warrior stance, a dual-wield dagger ranger stance, and a fire-based magic pyromancer stance), for efficient use of skill points, the character should develop only one weapon stance and use the pyromancer stance to augment (or primarily use the pyromancer augmented with only one of the two weapon stances).  I chose to develop the Ranger+Pyromancer skill trees.  As mentioned previously, this causes immersion-breaking inconsistencies because cut scenes show the character using whichever 2h weapon is equipped or available (and you cannot remove the default weapons - one 2h sword, and two daggers - from the character inventory).  The ranger stance heavily favors and relies on stealth; cut scene introductions to mandatory encounters will ignore the method of exploration that was in place prior to the scene (e.g., the stealthed character is shown in the scene casually strolling into the encounter).

Some story elements seem to be co-opted, possibly from pop culture circa 2014 (i.e., Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead).  I'm one who never watched a single episode of those series, and those of you who have can judge for yourselves.  For those of you who like this sort of thing, there appear to be a romantic interests available with some of the potential party members.

In all, the game has been an interesting mix of both playing and watching - and the time spent away from playing by watching may be off-putting to some.  The timing of some cut-scenes can be a bit jarring if not annoying (e.g., cutting into the scene during combat).  The combat elements are challenging and done well.  The primary non-player characters are distinctly voiced.  And I'm looking forward to seeing where this thing goes (without spoilers).  I feel like I've gotten plenty of entertainment value at the sale price listed above.

YMMV

Edited by Elovia

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Nice write up Elovia. Thanks for sharing.

It looks really pretty. Some of the shadowing is first rate.

From the video footage, it seems that this game is all about fighting. Would that be fair to say?

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It is an action RPG, and the action elements include exploration and combat ... while completing various related quests and side-quests.

It also has quite a lot of (voiced) dialog and character interaction.

For much of the exploration and combat (a few enemy creatures or undead at a time, with occasional scripted boss or uber-boss encounters) the player character will be accompanied by one or more NPC party members ... so both tactical and strategic combat elements are included ... in real time (i.e., not turn based as is common in some games).

I haven't played many of this genre, including the Mass Effect series which I suspect is similar (based on their descriptions from people here who have played them), and the one I most liken it to with which I did play is Dragon Age: Origins (although again, combat is real time, not paused tactical as in DA:O).

The game features combat (because that is what sells to gamers), but also a decently written story filled with distinctly different band of characters with whom the player character interacts throughout the story.

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the story elements get in the way of, or even interrupt, an engaging combat ... which can be frustrating at times.

I'm sensing that my character is reaching a climax in my play through.  I won't spoil the story by revealing the details, but standard fare literary devices are evident that a climactic battle is imminent.  Where the story goes from there, I'm not sure if this heralds the ending, a cliff-hanger, or just the first step in the antagonist's downfall.  I'm trying to avoid spoilers and spoiler sites ... so I'm playing purely in the moment.

Edited by Elovia

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