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It’s not that Bound By Flame is a bad game, per se, but within an hour of starting the game it’s pretty easy to see why the scores aren’t overwhelmingly positive for this title. It plays no differently, on the surface, from most other action RPG/hack and slash hybrids, but it doesn’t play as well as them either. While any of both your more popular hack and slash games and true action RPGs like Witcher 2, Darksiders, Darksiders 2, DMC 3 through 5, Metal Gear RR, God of War, and dozens of others utilize well built control schemes to condense various types of magic or abilities into one place, Bound By Flame makes the mistake of forcing you into a more MMO-familiar numerical menu, or quick-wheel which pauses the action, in order to do anything more advanced than swing a sword. In addition to this, the game utterly lacks a proper dodge function.

You can parry or dodge, but you can’t do both in the same stance. If you use warrior stance, you can parry, which doesn’t particularly help against large groups of enemies which can easily murder you regardless of parrying if more than one enemy hits you. Combined with the fact that you barely gain any HP from new armor or even levelling up, and you spend far too much time being a weakling that can be taken down by a pack of even the weakest enemies, your quest to simply survive until the ending is a frustrating one. If you use ranger stance, your combat is much faster and you can actually dodge – whether timed correctly or not – and it’s quite disappointing that you just can’t play the game without another stance.

In addition to that, while the premise of the game is for you to balance or choose between flame demon and human, you really have no choice but to use fire magic to accomplish anything. It’s just too bad even after putting skill points into it, your spells still cost so much mana.

As for the story and the dialogue, they really aren’t special enough to earn any praise. The dialog combines a lot of modern English and profanity (not that there wasn’t profanity in the old days) with the demon speaking in strictly Shakespearian English – to the point where the juxtaposition is just ridiculous. While I would like to be interested in the story, I find myself skipping through the dialog and cutscenes once the subtitles have displayed so I can get back to the game. Interactions with party members also seem ridiculous and overall your characters attitude is juvenile and callous, down to the wording he uses when he talks to people.

As a PC gamer I have to unfortunately comment on the graphics. When games like the Witcher 2/3 and Lords of the Fallen are basically the same thing, and your game looks like this on ultra, it doesn’t impress me. These graphics aren’t terrible, but they aren’t good either.

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I really wouldn’t buy this game until it’s on major discount – 10 dollar or less. The overall quality of the game combined with how short it is doesn’t merit even the $20 I paid. If you need an action RPG fix, this will satiate you – briefly, at least, but I fear it will not tide you over until a better game releases.

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