With the fact that there are very few games available for the PlayStation 4, let alone RPGs, I was very much looking forward to Bound By Flame. It looked like it would quench that thirst for games such as Skyrim or Dragon Age in the next generation space, however, whilst there are elements that will certainly be welcomed by RPG fans, Bound By Flame is not without it’s flaws. For example, the combat system is more akin to a Dark Souls-type game, although the attack patterns and parrying are nowhere near as precise, so don’t take that sentence to mean, “if you like Dark Souls you’ll like Bound By Flame”.
You play the game as Vulcan, who you can customize in gender and appearance, a feature which has become the norm for Western RPGs. The first hour or so of Bound By Flame introduces you to various elements of the game, and most importantly, the fairly polarizing combat system. I started this game on the equivalent to “Normal” mode, simply because I had no idea what the difficulty would be like. In situations when I am offered the choice of difficulty, I tend to check the trophies and see whether it’s worth playing the game on harder difficulties. However, I was immediately glad I didn’t go for the higher difficulties, because the combat system is extremely challenging.
The difficulty curve in the combat system is extremely steep, and you’ll immediately notice little things that could have been improved to make the game a little more bearable. The main sticking point is that enemies take a hell of a lot of hits before they go down, and that’s right from the beginning. You’d usually expect to be broken in a little softly, with easier enemies, and then graduating to stronger enemies later on. But it seems that the game designers didn’t realise that they were making all the enemies a little too difficult right from the get-go.
There are other things as well that will get on many people’s nerves, one of which is the fact that enemies barely react to your attacks, because this effect has been put behind a stat-based upgrade. So you can slash an enemy multiple times, and he will keep coming at you, and you often won’t even be able to interrupt his attack. This should NOT have been put behind an upgrade path on the skills menu, simply because it affects how the game is played too much, and makes it even more difficult than it could have been.