Bound by Flame
E3 2013 Hands-On Impressions: Bound by Flame
"Combat appears to be fairly standard action RPG fare, though we were impressed by the creative monster designs and the detailed environments in which you'll fight."

Hot on the heels of Mars War Logs, Spiders Studio is readying their next release with Bound by Flame. This action RPG puts you in the shoes (boots?) of a warrior possessed by a fire demon. It so happens that the land has been overrun by the ice-wielding lord-sorcerers of Shadowcold, so it just might come in handy to suddenly have powers steeped in flame.

The power, however, like any great power, comes at a price. In what seems to be a variation of a light/dark or paragon/renegade system, relying too much on your demonic powers will alter your character. Thus, you'll be forced to choose between using your great power freely and succumbing to the demon inside, or using it moderately and sparing your humanity. We're told that as you go down the "flame" path, your character's appearance will change.

Your warrior is, as best we can tell, without a set name, and you can fully customize their build at the outset, including choosing between a male or female avatar. Your character can grow in a number of ways, such as from the game's three skill trees, which breaks up abilities and upgrades into three paths: Combat, Pyromancy, and Shadowmancy. You can focus on a certain path or dabble in each. Your weapons can be upgraded with a crafting system similar to Mars War Logs, in which you can upgrade or alter nearly every piece of equipment on your body.

Bound by Flame is not designed as a full open world, but instead is divided into chapters, with each chapter having its own quest hub and areas to explore. Because of this design, we were told that the game will be "semi-linear," but with a heavy focus on story.

Combat appears to fairly standard action RPG fare, though we were impressed by the creative monster designs and the detailed environments in which you'll fight. Over the course of the game, you'll meet up to five potential companions, of which two at a time can join you in battle. While you only directly control your own character, you can issue commands and assign set behaviors to your AI-controlled companions.

Outside of battle, you'll interact with your companions and NPCs through a variety of dialog options, a WRPG staple. Depending on your choices, you can affect your relationship with other characters, enough that certain companions may even leave your party if you alienate them enough. For you lovers out there, yes, there will also be romance options.

We don't yet know if Bound by Flame will break the mold of the dark fantasy action RPG, but the wealth of customization options and imaginative monster designs show promise. Maybe being possessed by a hellish flame demon isn't so bad after all.

© 2013 Focus Home Entertainment, Spiders Studio. All rights reserved.

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