Bound By Flame
In the world of Bound by Flame, the world is at war with an army of undead controlled by immortal ice lord sorcerers. After each battle, the dead are simply brought back, only increasing the size of the undead army, wiping out the forces of the resistance. As the situation gets more desperate, a group of scribes try to perform a ritual in order to try to help change the odds.
Your character is part of a group of mercenaries hired by these scribes to protect them while they perform their ritual, however, something goes wrong during the ritual and a fire demon binds itself to your character, giving him special abilities and making him much stronger. With the new power of the fire demon, there is hope in beating the ice lords.
The game allows you to choose upgrade different skill trees in order to fit your play style - whether you prefer heavy weapons or stealth - and it is up to you how much you allow the flame demon to influence your character. The game is also influenced by your choices, who you decide to follow and listen to can change what actually happens to your character.
Right off the bat I noticed the graphics were beautiful. It was actually what attracted me to the game right after seeing the trailer. The other major thing I really noticed right off not far into the game, is that even on the easier difficulties I found this game to be more challenging than many other games I have played. Now I'm definitely not the best gamer out there, but I definitely had a hard time and did end up lowering the difficulty. I feel that if someone isn't a bit more experienced, they may have a more difficult time getting through the game in general, which can get frustrating, but really offers a more of a challenge for more hardcore gamers.
I really liked the customization of the character. Now I'm not talking about looks so much since picking the looks of your character is actually pretty limited, however nearly each piece of armor has slots that you can customize and add different skills to, depending on your play style. I also thought it was a nice touch that each possible customization item will look different on your armor or weapon. To fight, you really have to have some sort of strategy in order to do well. With more than a couple of monsters attacking you, it is really easy to get killed so you really have to have a plan before running into a battle. The game definitely is not a basic hack and slash RPG, which I enjoyed since it really kept the battles interesting throughout the game.
One thing I thought was neat was you get multiple opportunities to listen to the demon or give the demon the opportunity to take more control, which alters your characters, and can change what endings you can achieve. I like it when a game has different options that actually affects the outcome of the game. It makes me feel more invested in the game and really makes you think about how you want to approach each situation.
Now a fun little extra thing that was thrown in, is you have the chance to seduce other characters, depending on the gender of your character you can seduce different characters. Since I wanted the trophies I seduced the two characters my character was allowed to seduce after a couple of different play-through options. While the scene was a little almost awkward, I thought it added a little extra to the game, and really made the characters grow on you with how much interaction you had with them.
By the end of the game, I actually did start to get attached to the story and character, which is always a huge plus for me. I actually cared about what happened to the characters I liked, which isn't something you get out of every game. It really sucked me into the story and occasionally had me lose track of time while playing the game.
I have to say while I deeply enjoyed the game, it wasn't perfect. How challenging the game was a little off putting at first. If you are like me and want to get all of the trophies/achievements, beating the game on the higher difficulties sounds almost impossible, for me at least. Now that I've played through the game once, it might be a little easier however the game is definitely one of the harder ones I have ever played.
Second, the animations for talking can be, well, a little strange. While the sound is usually synced up alright, the mouth movements don't always - or usually - line up with the actual words the characters are supposed to be saying and the actual script can be simply a little goofy sometimes. However, this is something I've noticed a lot when it comes to fantasy RPGs. While the script is written to make it sound like it comes from a specific time period, sometimes the words that are chosen make it almost difficult to understand what is being said.
Thirdly some of the choices you make end up not really mattering since an event will happen no matter what you choose. There is one specific scene I can remember playing that I picked a different option in order to avoid a certain outcome, but it ended up happening anyway, which was a bit frustrating. This happens a few times and other times you can miss complete scenes just by picking a different option and not even realizing you missed something.
While the game isn't perfect, I really enjoyed the game overall. While it was challenging, it really kept things from getting old or boring. The characters really grew on me and I got pulled into the story. I give the game maybe about a 7 out of 10 and definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of fantasy RPGs. Personally, I'm hoping to see, if not a sequel, more games like it from the studio.