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Axel Bennett
Axel Bennett

Bound By Flame



There are three paths: heavy weapons and blocking, daggers and dodging, and pyromancy spells. I focused on the heavy weapons stance, where I can swing my sword with the mouse buttons, enter a blocking position with space, parry and counter-attack by hitting space in time with an enemy attack, and kick to disrupt enemy blocks. When I'm using all that in fast, complex sequences, combined with a crowd control fire spell that shoots out a 360-degree wave of knock-back flame, crossbow bolts, and explosive traps, I feel both powerful and challenged.




Bound by Flame


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Bound by Flame's most intriguing choices are those that see Vulcan deciding whether to bend to the demon's whim or assert his individuality, and the more you side with the demon's advice, the more you take on stereotypical demonic traits. The Fable series allows for a similar metamorphosis, but the changes are even more ferocious in Bound by Flame's grim fantasy world. As I faced the final battle, a scrawl of reddish runes had been etched into my blackened chest, from which flames poured out; I had not one, but three sets of curled horns growing from my head; and my voice had taken on a diabolical rumble as the two competing identities became further intertwined.


Your companions' ultimate uselessness in combat is only one of Bound by Flame's curse-inducing flaws, almost all of them centered on the game's battle system. Yet the combat is initially pleasing, allowing you to switch between a ranger stance, which opens up speedy dagger attacks, and a warrior stance, which has you swinging overbearing two-handed melee weapons such as axes and swords. You can also sneak up on foes if you're so inclined, though the demon's pyromancy skill set, which allows you to toss fireballs and infuse your weapon with glowing flames, is an even greater boon than the stealthy option. Vulcan's muscular swings and acrobatic windups give the swordplay a nice sense of heft, and each school of battle--warrior, ranger, and pyromancer--comes with its own skill tree, a system that inspires you to make thoughtful customization choices that fit your preferred combat style.


By RPG standards, Bound by Flame isn't a very long or expansive game. If you don't consider the battles you must repeat, the adventure is around a dozen hours long, and there is no world to explore, unless you consider a few medium-size levels made up of twisting hallways to be a world. Bound by Flame shoves too many ideas into its cramped boundaries, thus giving none of them the room they deserved to blossom, and thereby allowing the flames to burn the joy away.


Freely develop your abilities and combat style through three skill trees: swing the heavy weapons of the Fighter, wield the sneaky dual daggers of the Ranger, or use the devastating flame spells of the Pyromancer.


Finally, Bound by Flame offers a rich and spectacular bestiary. Awesome creatures abound: liches, undead, ice creatures, gigantic siege beasts, you will have to fight them all in many epic battles.


The story of Bound by Flame follows the seemingly hopeless plight of a group of mercenaries trying to survive in a dying world. You play as a grunt with the codename Vulcan, and your mission is to protect a group of mages attempting to save the world from the evil Ice Lords. In the midst of a summoning ritual gone wrong, Vulcan is possessed by a flame demon and becomes humanity's last best hope against its captors.


Those fights aren't worth the flawed logic that leads to them, either. Bound by Flame allows Vulcan to go down three primary paths of character development: a powerful two-handed sword, stealthy dual-wielded daggers and destructive flame magic opened up by Vulcan's new demon buddy. Rather than specializing in one path, the game encourages putting skill points into each and jumping between them at will during fights.


On a more positive side, Bound By Flame's central gimmick both works and is really fun. Near the start, Vulcan is accidentally bound to a fire demon (who speaks like a refugee from the Ultima series, with lines like "All doth fall to ruin about you, yet you still bewail your loose bowels and vomitings..."), giving them incredible powers at the cost of having a clearly evil room-mate living in their head. The demon is arrogant, destructive, but also suitably compelling, with the running theme throughout the game being how much of its help you accept and the obvious cost of yourself. Like all drug dealers, it begins slow, with a couple of basic fire powers you come to rely on. Then, before a big fight, it'll pop up to point out how much its power could help, if you accepted just a tiny little bit more of it, with Vulcan becoming more demonic each time. First, it's flaming red eyes. Then, it's full on demon-skin and the start of horns, which somewhat amusingly nobody else seems to notice just sprouting in the middle of the walk to Act 2. But hey. Maybe they're just being polite.


This story begins with the player taking the role of a mercenary named Vulcan. He or she (either gender is available) is part of a force working to prevent evil ice wizards with goofy names from taking over the land. During the first mission, a magical spell goes awry and a demon is trapped inside Vulcan, sharing both its thoughts and flame-oriented powers.


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Your mercenary can switch between three stances: the warrior, where he or she uses two-handed weapons, blocks and counters and deals out heavy blows; the ranger, where he or she dual-wields lighter arms and relies on speed and evasion; and the pyromenancer, where you supplement your attacks with spells, gifted to you by the flame demon who shares your body from the opening prologue onwards.


Bound by Flame is the story of a mercenary named Vulcan (you can give him/her whatever name but they'll still call you Vulcan in the game) who is accidentally tasked with saving the world from a cadre of super evil Ice Lords---ancient necromancers whose lust for power threatens to destroy the very world. Vulcan is possessed by a mysterious flame demon, giving him supernatural powers that may just be the one thing that can stop these massively evil bad guys, and turn the tide of undead threatening the land.


Finally, you gain pyromancer powers from the flame demon, which can be used at will and drain your magic bar. You don't have to switch into a stance to perform these, and I found myself most often using the power that sets your blades on fire, drastically increasing melee damage. You can also lay traps or take pot shots with a crossbow. 041b061a72


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