‘Bound by Flames’ is a surprising new RPG

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First Posted: 5/23/2014

The first real RPG game for the new generation of consoles is out, and it came out of nowhere! I first read about “Bound by Flames” less than a week before it came out. Its release was a complete surprise, but what is more surprising is the quality of the game. Over recent years, there have been a lot of good action RPGs on the market, such as “Dark Souls” and “Dragon Age,” and “Bound by Flames” can stand up to some of the top RPGs on the market by incorporating some of the best elements into one game.

The story of “Bound by Flames” is very interesting. You are a warrior for hire, but the twist is you have been possessed by a fire demon. This possession adds to the gameplay and story by making you choose between the path of good or letting your inner demon out to wreak havoc on the world. Depending on the path you choose, you gain different abilities and powers, some more powerful than others. The evil demon powers seem to be stronger, so when battles get extra tough, it can become very tempting to lean toward the evil abilities. If you decide to go evil, your looks start to become more demonic; you start to grow horns, making it so you can’t wear helmets, and people you meet will start to treat you differently because they are afraid. It’s not just your looks that change when you decide to go evil – some of the chapters of the story will be different, and there will be different gamplay objectives. If you want to experience everything the game has to offer, you may have to play more than once to experience both sides of the story, creating a great deal of replayability.

One of the strongest aspects of “Bound by Flames” is the RPG system. There are three different types of skills to master: Warrior, Ranger, and Pyromancer. Warrior skills are slower but have some very powerful sword strikes. Ranger abilities are faster and open up ranged attacks, and Pyromancers have several spells at their disposal. You don’t have to choose one play style; you can switch between the three on the fly, but you can decide which you want to use the most. Picking what your skills are going to be is only a small part of the combat; you still have to get good at blocking and dodging and choosing the right battle tactics. You have to get good at perfectly timing your blocks and counterattacks while learning enemy patterns, especially in boss fights. Some bosses can be frustratingly hard, but they are very satisfying.

RPG lovers will really enjoy the weapon customization system. You can customize your swords, axes, and other weapons to give you an advantage and tailor your gameplay style to your liking. There are many other things that can be customized, such as healing items like potions and even enemy traps. During certain side quests, there is also an option for a computer-controlled sidekick character; they can be archers, mages, or knights. They aren’t the best fighters, but it is good to have someone by your side when the going gets tough. Each of these side characters have their own personalities and add some special touches to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with “Bound by Flames.” Even though it came out of nowhere, I am glad I gave it a chance. It is a solid RPG with great combat, stunning graphics, and a great musical score. The addition of the choice between good and evil adds some interesting levels to the gameplay and character progression. If you are an RPG fan and are looking for a great experience on the new consoles, you should check out “Bound by Flames.” It isn’t as long as other games in the genre, but you will want to play it a few times to explore what happens when you make different choices. “Bound by Flames” is a solid action RPG and is worth a look.

-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at rvanderveken@timesleader.com.