Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A little of column A...

You aren't going to believe me when I say this, and who can blame you, I play many questionable games, but Bound By Flame is not terrible. It is a refugee from the previous generation created on shoe string budget that obviously skimped on artists, writers and voice actors, but it is very playable and has one of the least bullshit crafting systems I have yet to see in an RPG. If 'budget' weren't a derogative term I would call this a budget action RPG. Instead I will call it a small action RPG from a developer that I have never heard of who managed to pull together a reasonable game.

First, the bad. As stated, the game does not look good. On the PS4 it is always too bright, the frame rate chugs for no reason, facial animations are nonexistent, character models defy gravity, enemies all look the same, etc, etc. Characters are voiced by the janitor and CEO's kids and were written by board truckers trying to out swear one another. The protagonist's boss is scottish for no reason, the demon in his head speaks as is he spends his evening perusing a thesaurus, and there is a knight who speaks only in the third person. The bad is really, really bad.

Next, the not quite as bad. Combat is deceptively simple. Main attack, area attack, guard break and block is all there is, but you can switch between warrior and rangers stances at will. Ranger stance is more nimble, does less damage in combat but opens up backstabs. There are also a few spells, courtesy of demon possession, but I have yet to put any points into making the magic attacks more than glorified cantrips. It's gets complicated the first time an enemy hits you and you realize that they do a fuck ton of damage and will gladly interrupt your attacks with their own. I died in a tutorial battle that was so difficult that I thought I was supposed to lose.

Nope, this was just the game's way of saying how few fucks it gives about killing the player.

Defense is a must, counter attacks are required, and fleeing to a better position to keep from getting surrounded happens all the time. It other words, it's hard, but it manageable.

There is some honest good here as well. Side quests are on the map, clevered marked by a '2nd' for secondary objectives. Crafting can be done anywhere, is intuitive, and offers both visual and ability additions to weapons and armor. Best of all, the bottom of rung crafting items can be conjured out of thin air with gold. It doesn't make sense but it make crafting, something that always avoid, not quite as tedious as it could.

Does the good outweigh the bad? I don't know yet. It depends on how long I can stand the bad writing and still looking characters.

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