Bound by Flame
Bound by Flame Hands-on Preview – The Demon Within
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Bound by Flame's demon-possessed protagonist is one-part Khal Drogo, one-part American teenager, which is weird for a guy named Vulcan. He's a mercenary hired by a faction known as the Red Scribes, a sword-wielding hulk who's been possessed by a flame demon that wants to save humanity but couldn't give a toss about people. (Huh?) Cue an internal struggle between Bound by Flame's hero and his inner demon, and a choice as to whether you embrace the evil demon within or reject his malevolent fiery ass.

From Spiders, the makers of Mars: War Logs, Bound by Flame is another stab at the RPG genre and one that seemingly cribs from big boys like Dragon Age and its ilk. It's a third-person slice 'em up that's not unlike Dragon Age: Origins in gameplay terms, consisting of a tactical radial menu that can be brought up in combat, enabling you to slow things down as you queue up your battle choices. Vulcan is an explosives expert, so he's able to lay mines that frequently come in handy, thinning ranks of undead enemies and vanquishing tough ethereal threats like liches in an instant.

Vulcan is also able to swing a broadsword with two hands and seamlessly switch into a dual dagger-wielding stealth mode, allowing for sneaky backstabbing moves or relatively weak yet nimble assaults. Obviously, there's an array of other weapons to be found of course, including axes, hammers and what not, while each of the controller's face buttons allows for quick slice attacks, heavy attacks, and a dodge move, while the right trigger enables you to block or time a careful counter deflection. You can open up shielded enemies with a push and shoot from range with a crossbow. Combat is nice, intuitive and varied.

But if that's not quite enough variety for you, then Bound by Flame has three distinct skill trees in which to spend the skill points you earn from levelling up. Initially, you're presented with just two skill trees to fiddle with; the Ranger and Warrior tracts, both of which have individual skills to master. Upon meeting the flame demon that possesses you later in the game, a further skill tree is unlocked, granting you access to a selection of Pyromancer traits. And at the top of each of Bound by Flame's skill trees, you'll find an Ultimate ability to unlock, granting Vulcan enormous power that'll prove invaluable as things gradually escalate. How you choose to level up and advance your skills and abilities is obviously entirely down to you.

The demon not only brings with it a range of fiery skills like fireballs, a fire sword, fire shield and an extremely useful area-of-effect fire attack that makes anything in the immediate vicinity nicely grilled and crispy, but Vulcan's appearance will also change to reflect the influence of the internal beast. Shown a later section in the game, Producer Walid Miled introduces us to the hero under an advanced demonic influence with his armour broken by chitinous outcrops on his body, flaming orange eyes, charred skin and gnarled horns twisting from his forehead. Incidentally, these horns mean you can no longer wear helmets, which is a shame. There's even an internal dialogue from the demon, meaning you can presumably have a nice chat with him, or more likely be subjected to constant sneering asides.

The aforementioned later section we're shown takes us to a pitch black forest, demonstrating Bound by Flame's day/night cycle, and the nights promise to be dark and full of terrors. “We wanted the nights to be really oppressive and dark,” Miled tells us. And they are, as he amply demonstrates. And like any dark fantasy worth its salt, you'll face a menagerie of creatures like dragons, liches, reanimated corpses and skeletons, ice beasts, spindly arachnids and huge bosses, like the towering skull-headed tusked monster that relentlessly chases us for the duration of our hands-on session. Expect the real nasties to lurk in the darkness.

RPG staples like crafting make it into Bound by Flame too, with a variety of recipes to concoct from ingredients dropped by enemies or hoarded from treasure chests or whatever. You can purchase missing ingredients from merchants, and use items to enhance weapons and armour, making exploration important if you want all of the best stuff equipped. In-game achievements called 'Feats' also provide tasks to complete for additional skill points to plough into your progression, and you can drag along companions on your adventure too. You can forge relationships, rivalries and romances with any companions you bring along for the ride, again a bit like Dragon Age.

Bound by Flame's concept of physical metamorphosis is an interesting one, underpinned by some promising and robust RPG mechanics. Whether the story can measure up to the game's ideas remains to be seen and the voice acting at present is a bit on the ropey side, but there's certainly plenty of potential here. If nothing else, Bound by Flame could be the perfect stop gap before Dragon Age: Inquisition comes along, since Spiders' game seems to share a great deal of its DNA with BioWare's fantasy opus. That's no bad thing, we think you'll agree.

Bound by Flame is scheduled for a Q2 2014 launch on Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 1596
Comment #1 by HalfEVILmonkey
Friday, January 31, 2014 @ 09:23:34 PM
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Looks really impressive

Forum Posts: 813
Comment #2 by XxStuartxX 1990
Friday, January 31, 2014 @ 10:01:48 PM
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Did you miss it out by accident, or is there really no Xbone version?

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #3 by ViNyLek
Friday, January 31, 2014 @ 10:52:44 PM
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I'll be damned if it's not commander Shephard on 2nd screen!! WTF??

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #4 by Zenka The Myth
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 12:27:54 AM
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Another game not coming out on Xbox One! What happened to the billion dollars Microsoft have invested for the first year, at the moment the only thing I use my X1 for is YouTube and even that isn't fully capable.

Forum Posts: 134
Comment #5 by I Anger I
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 12:30:50 AM
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@3 yea no doubt, it's uncanny. Also I get a dead space feel from that tusked monster, which is fine by me.

Forum Posts: 813
Comment #6 by XxStuartxX 1990
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 01:10:03 AM
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That $1bil is probably what they paid to keep Titanfall.

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #7 by TotalBlank
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 01:13:00 AM
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This game was advertised before Christmas as a Xbox 360 game. People jumped the gun like always by buying the latest console and expecting it to be the only console that has releases from here on. There is a reason why games are still Xbox 360 only, because they've been years in development for the 360 and NOT the Xbox One.. Too bad for all the people who bought X1 and got rid of the 360.. big mistake. This shouldn't be a surprise either because Microsoft said that there's a lot of 360 support in the coming years before it's officially retired.

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #8 by ragnarok0609
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 03:48:39 AM
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The devs said xone is not coming at launch but later. Its because they did not recieve the dev kits in time. Read it on ign or some article.

Forum Posts: 444
Comment #9 by a hippyslayer
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 08:35:06 AM
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No real time input no buy

Forum Posts: 158
Comment #10 by el_pieablo
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 10:48:11 AM
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When games come out from Spiders, why does it never mention Of Orcs and Men? That was an amazing game. Got stuck in a part but really want to go back to it at some point.

And people saying no Xb1 support, then they have to realise that the install base of the 360 is so huge that they cant ignore it. 40million consoles or 3 million, what would you choose?

Forum Posts: 562
Comment #11 by gravelandx88
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 11:14:53 AM
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Hey, its commander Shepard with a sword. Awesome!

Forum Posts: 2200
Comment #12 by cheevo360
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 04:32:06 PM
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Really hope this Action RPG game doing well. No XB1 for this game. That is ok I will preorder this game for PS4. Good thing Microsoft fans will get this game since Xbox 360 and PC will have this too anyway.

So all is I hope this game will be better. Focus Home Interactive always released poor and medicore games. So hard to trust this publisher to be honest.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #14 by Nekrobutcher
Sunday, February 02, 2014 @ 09:43:18 PM
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I will play this. Probably.

Forum Posts: 52
Comment #15 by oCYBERPUNKo
Monday, February 03, 2014 @ 01:40:22 AM
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Not going to be anything special.

Forum Posts: 330
Comment #16 by STONE DEVIL
Monday, February 03, 2014 @ 05:27:08 PM
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@4 - That's what you get for buying into all the overhyped XBOX ONE bullshit. So many day-one buyers that are doing nothing but complaining...serves you all right, LOL.

Forum Posts: 158
Comment #17 by el_pieablo
Monday, February 03, 2014 @ 07:01:40 PM
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@12 Of orcs and men was really good. Mars War Logs is good for a Arcade title, Blood bowl was decent on consoles but total boss on PC. Spiders is a strong devolper just low budget

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #18 by jleek1992xx
Friday, February 07, 2014 @ 09:58:09 AM
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If this was a PC Game then I would probs be in for it but RPG's like this don't work well on Consoles.

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Europe May 09, 2014

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