It’s been a while since we’ve seen a B-Grade game that’s been any good. Without the budget and polish of their triple-A brethren, great ideas tend to be executed poorly. Despite hopes to the contrary, Spiders’ Bound by Flame doesn’t break tradition. Here’s what critics have to say about the ambitious, but flawed RPG.
Let’s start with the good, and work our way down to the bad.
A skilled player doing no sidequests and blowing through dialogue can complete the game in about 10-12 hours, but this is sacrificing a ton of content both in the quest, exploration, and relationship-building categories. When you invest the time to master the challenging combat and explore the world, Bound by Flame is a solid romp with rewarding tactical action supported by rewarding boss battles and plenty of ways to see your choices reflected in the world around you.
Bound by Flame doesn’t put too much weight on the important choices you think you’re making, but its rich customization options and smart combat system are sure to give you that power you’re looking for.
A solid RPG experience offering everything you’d expect – but not enough surprises. Many enjoyable features but feels like playing part one of a two parter.
Doesn’t sound too bad right? And now it all starts falling apart.
By RPG standards, Bound by Flame isn’t a very long or expansive game. If you don’t consider the battles you must repeat, the adventure is around a dozen hours long, and there is no world to explore, unless you consider a few medium-size levels made up of twisting hallways to be a world. Bound by Flame shoves too many ideas into its cramped boundaries, thus giving none of them the room they deserved to blossom, and thereby allowing the flames to burn the joy away.
I tried everything I could think of to get myself to care about Bound by Flame, but eventually I tired of doing all the heavy lifting myself. Between a stale plot that goes nowhere, poorly handled characters and a clunky, boring combat system, there was nothing left for me to hang onto, no momentum left to help propel me. Bound by Flame is worse than just generic; it’s a mess of a game pretending at greater ambitions.
The narrative is not passable. It’s a mess, and it’s delivered via a script that is at once intentionally juvenile and unintentionally stupid. A script which has an unhealthy fixation on the words “whore”, “bitch”, and “slut”. A script in which a character describing having non-consensual sex with his catatonic wife is served up as comic relief. This actually happens. Bound By Flame is an embarrassment on all fronts.
It’s starting to sound like the game should be set on fire itself. We had hopes that this would be a worthwhile play for RPG fans waiting for Dragon age and the Witcher – but it certainly doesn’t seem it. Especially not for the price. It’s going for R699 at Kalahari on the PS4, – which s what better, more polished games sell for.
Here’s the first 15 minutes on PS4 (via GamesHQ) – to help you decide for yourself
Last Updated: May 9, 2014