Video Games / Platform / PC

The Red Solstice – Review (PC)

The Red Solstice – Review (PC)

I recently got the chance to sit down and try my hands at The Red Solstice which is a top-down, tactical, squad based survival shooter developed by Ironward. The Red Solstice plays very similar to games like StarCraft in the way of how you control your character. That being said, I had some major issues trying to connect to an online match, but once I did I was greeted with a gameplay formula I’ve been very familiar, and comfortable with since the launch of the original Starcraft in 1998. Plus, it has that whole Starcraft/spacey-wacey shooter vibe going on. So, that helped me get into the game when I booted it up.  Now, to be fair in terms of single-player content I only played the introductory tutorial to get an understanding of the game, plus this game is all about hopping online, starting a squad, and blasting some aliens. From what I got in the tutorial I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. I didn’t feel like the game was offering anything new, or unique. However, I pushed through and played through the tutorial. Most tutorials are fairly meh in games, but I’m going to throw that up to the fact that I feel like this game is built around being in a squad and playing with other people. You’ve got eight different classes to choose from when playing: Assault, Heavy Support, Recon, Marksman, Demolition, Terminator, Hellfire and Medic. The classes are pretty straight-forward, but the shining two classes would have to be Terminator, and Hellfire. And no, we don’t mean the T-800 from The Terminator franchise. So, if you’re one of those people who want variety in these types of games then the class system has just that, if you’re dedicated on ranking up and unlocking these things. Probably my most favorite, and memorable aspect of the game is an ailment system which allows your character to be poisonous or bleeding and various other ailments creating a new and harder aspect of the game. This is pretty great, and can definitely change the flow of the game instantly. I applaud the developers for doing something like this, it breathes something unique and fresh into the game, but also gives us that degree of difficulty that makes these kind of games fun and challenging. From what I got to play of TRS was a fun experience, albeit with some flaws. Connecting to a multiplayer game was quite the task, and when it finally worked itself out I had a blast. The game is also slightly punishing in the way of unlocking classes, and what-not. You have to be good at the game to score achievements and rank-up, they just won’t throw them out to every player who hops in game (which is nice). You need to play well with a team, and actually play tactically. No Rambo fun here, or at least from what I encountered while playing. Would I recommend this game? That depends. I’d say if you were fan of tactical/strategy games like Starcraft then it might be up your alley in terms of enjoyment. But, if you prefer games that won’t require some form of skill, and prefer just to shoot dudes away without any risk of defeat then this game probably won’t appeal to you. It’s a fun game, and for the $19.99 price tag, it’s quite the deal. Now, it is part of the Early-Access program on Steam so that means it’s constantly being updated, and having new bits & pieces thrown into the mix. So, if you’re one of those lads, or lassies who likes these types of games then go gather 8 of your friends together and dive into The Red Solstice. Mars won’t ever be the same....

Divinity: Original Sin Review (PC)

Divinity: Original Sin Review (PC)

The Divinity franchise has been around for some time, but it’s never truly became a house hold name. With various spikes and drops in quality from across the years, the franchise has never truly imposed itself upon the masses. Divinity has earned itself a rather cult following however, but its latest installment, Original Sin, could be the game to truly make a impact…at least on the RPG fan base. Divinity: Original Sin is one of the many success stories of Kickstarter. After going over it’s goal, and garnering a lot of attention, the game went through early access and finally hit retail release. Larian Studios made it quite clear that Original sin was a ambitious project, made by RPG fans, for RPG fans. Their ambition is easily measurable in the sheer amount of content and personal touches burnt into the core of Original Sin.   In terms of role playing games, the genre has been going in the wrong direction of late. Action has began to take over the core elements that traditional RPG games are so heavy on. Original Sin feels distinctly old school from the off, and that is nothing short of glorious. Having the ability to roll a character is such a welcomed feature. The option to select each stat, trait and role is liberating to say the least. Players aren’t restricted to fulfilling a set class with all the expected skills, instead they are given the freedom of choice. Original Sin has a interesting variation on the party system. Players are given two characters to customize and mould how they say fit, these two characters are bound together for the entire game. Both characters act as the main protagonists as they jointly venture through the world. There’s a number of points within the game where the two character can discuss matters at hand. These discussions can depend on various stats and actions the respective character has taken through the game. It’s a neat dynamic that works especially well in Original Sin’s full online co-op experience.   The trend of old school mechanics bleeds into the core combat of Original Sin. Turn based combat, fueled by action points, makes for some truly intense battles. Every action is dependent on how many action points the character has at the ready. Using action points well is the key to victory, strategy becomes a must. Planning how to make the most of each action point is where the game enters it’s true depth. One mistake or waste of action points can lead to a swift defeat. The combat offers a truly intriguing mechanic that gives each battle it’s own dimension, especially in co-op. Spells and skill can be combined to create powerful combos, this expands the scope of each battle, halting any sense of repetition from sitting in. The true joys of the combat come in the shape of using the environment to your advantage. Spells and skills can be used to interaction with the environment, creating opportunities to cause heavy damage to the enemy. Setting alight oils, dislodging boulders are just some of the nifty tricks available at the players finger tips.   The interaction with environment isn’t exclusive to combat. There’s a number of situations in which using spells and skills on the surroundings can aid players in their exploration. Be it a puzzle, a hidden area, or just a simple short cut, these little interactions give the world a touch of life. The world itself is a character, full of curiosities and wonders. The world is huge and populated with some truly fascinating NPCs. The adventures to be had all feel like they have a purpose, be it to make the player laugh or give them that next step up in the various stories dotted around the game. At no point will the player find themselves disengaged or disinterested, there’s literally something to do at every point of the game. While the core gameplay, and all it’s mechanics, are solid, it’s Original Sin’s charm that shines through. There’s a sense of awareness to the game and it’s writing, it know it’s market and it knows how to engage them. Humor is provided in vast amounts, making each quest and interaction with NPCs enjoyable and satisfying, rather than just a means to gain a quest. It’s not uncommon to spend 45 minutes in a new area, purely talking to people. The world has so much charm and character that the players time never feels wasted.   Original Sin’s production values are pretty slick. The visuals are vibrant and reflect the tones of the game nicely. Character modes and environments are packed with detail consistent with the world. When the spells are flying, the visuals take on a new life. Explosives colours burst into life, the audio sings proudly, it all feeds into the end experience. The size and scale of Original Sin is something to marvel at. Creativity, charm, a immersive experience, all with a strong focus on traditional RPG values. The only issues to be found are minor quality of life problems such as inventory management and a rigid fast travel system. The main plot may be a little bit ropey, but the ‘side quests’ within the game offer a number of interesting short stories. Huge in scale, and hugely enjoyable to play though alone, or with a friend. Divinity: Original Sin is one of the best games of the year so far, easily worth the time of anyone looking for a true RPG experience.      ...

Quick Look: Habitat

Quick Look: Habitat

A few days back I got the chance to sit down with a wonderful little indie-game titled Habitat. It is a real-time, physics-driven orbital strategy game where you build, fly, and fight with the unique space stations that you create out of space debris orbiting earth. In its simplest terms it is a strategic space survival game. The game is developed by a studio named 4gency, and this is one of the better space simulation/strategy games I’ve played. It’s in Early Access right now, so take that into account if you decide to dip into the game. Here’s my video below of my Quick Look into the game. If the game tickles your fancy, and you need a romp through space then I can’t recommend it enough. Expect more videos like this for the site regarding indie games. It’s a fun one. You can purchase the Early Access copy of Habitat right now over on Steam for $14.99 Plus, slapping a fire-breathing T-Rex head onto your ship is awesome. Expect an actual review later on in the future when the game leaves the Early Access stages. Store Page: [Click Here]...

Why You Shouldn’t Expect A Console Version Of Elder Scrolls Online…Or Want One

Why You Shouldn’t Expect A Console Version Of Elder Scrolls Online…Or Want One

The Elder Scrolls Online has been one of the oddest MMO’s to release in quite some time. From announcement to release, the development window was rather short, even more so given the apparent scope of the game. Given the promise of both a PC and PS4/Xbox One release, the short development cycle comes off as rather suspect. After a PC release, and a console delay, Elder Scrolls Online turned out to be a bit off a mess, a MMO failing on core mechanics. Elder Scrolls Online is limping along, failing to live up to the hype, or even stand side by side competition, is a console version even a viable option any more? While the Elder Scrolls Online has all the distinct Elder Scroll elements, the imagery, the lore, music, it’s MMO components often fall flat on it’s face. Group questing is a utter mess, a mess that leads to frustration more than fulfilment. The questing experience on the whole is simply nothing to write home about it. Keeping in the grounds of kill quests and fetch quests, with only some sub-standard voice acting in between, the bulk of the quests feel forced. It’s not that the quests are all that bad, it’s just they’re done better in other games, especially when they involve group interaction.   Elder Scrolls Online suffers, at least in its PvE, from truly finding it’s feet in a MMO environment. The core game feels like it’s built as a single player experience shuffling around trying to fit into the MMO genre. While the PvP is genuinely quite good , the PvE is just a inconsistent, often barren, experience. This is a issue that feels a little beyond a simple patch or two, it’s a issue at the heart of the game. Given the issues, the decreasing subs, a console version feels more like a hope rather than a expectations, and even so, is it worth hoping for? It’s hard to see a console version lighting the world on fire. The bland, eerily lifeless, nature of the game would still be there. Perhaps the console market, which doesn’t hold too much experience with MMOs, would be able to see past the quality life issues Elder Scrolls Online suffers from. The main stumbling block that console version would run into would be the subscription fee.   While people may be used to paying for their Xbox Live and PSN Plus, most struggle with the concept of paying full retail and then paying a sub on top of that. The subscription fee is just as much as issue for the PC version, people expect content, expanding content, that justifies monthly fees. Elder Scrolls Online is simply not providing the content to justify the asking price for the masses. It’s hard to envision what a console version would look, and play, like. Elder Scrolls Online isn’t visually impressive, there’s a shade of doubt that the visuals would be acceptable on the two newest consoles. A console version simply does not seem like a valid concept, and the silence around the console version suggests ZeniMax and Bethesda are all too well of that. The core game has far too many issues in its current state to truly sustain a working monthly subscription model. The expectation is Elder Scrolls Online will hit free-to-play within a year, a plan that has been adopted successfully by a number of companies when their MMO’s have ran into the subscriber/user issues. The most notable of these free-to-play adopters being EA/Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. After a initial period of success, The Old Republics subscribers plummeted, in reaction to this a free-to-play model was adopted, breathing life into the game and propping up the game for a sustainable future. The free-to-play mode, that also offers a premium monthly subscription option, is a perfectly serviceable option for most MMO’s that don’t command the huge or consistent user bases. Elder Scrolls Online has a issue with any potential plans to adopt a free-to-play model. If a console version is still in development, adapting a free-to-play model for the PC version will almost certainly render a console version with a retail price, plus subs, as utterly unserviceable. How could they possibly convince console users to buy, and pay monthly, for a game that is available as free-to-play on the PC. The future of Elder Scrolls Online is certainly unclear. A console version simply does not seem like a legitimate option any more and should no longer be expected. With nothing but words, no screenshots or gameplay, from Bethesda it’s a safe bet a console version of Elder Scrolls Online is dead in the water.    ...

Another Dead Island Game Announced – Is It One Too Many?

Another Dead Island Game Announced – Is It One Too Many?

Deep Silver’s faith in the Dead Island franchise continues to grow. Escape: Dead Island is a third-person ‘survival mystery’ that explores the origins of the zombie virus. Scheduled for release this autumn, Escape will land on PS3 and 360 for the retail price of £39.99. The PC version version will cost £34.99. ”ESCAPE Dead Island is a survival mystery that follows the story of Cliff Calo, who sets sail to document the unexplained events rumoured to have happened on Banoi. Arriving on the island of Narapela, part of the Banoi archipelago, he finds that not everything is as it seems. Haunted by Déjà vu, Cliff will have to make sense of it all throughout the entire game – again and again. This story-driven adventure lets players delve into the Dead Island universe and unravel the origins of the zombie outbreak. Escape is only the beginning… Delivering the key features of a Dead Island game – visceral melee combat set in a beautiful paradise setting – ESCAPE adds a completely new tone to the zombie universe. The visually unique styles accompanies the player on his struggle against insanity as he experiences the secrets of the Dead Island universe, fights off zombies with a vast and unique array of weapons and opens the path to the events that will happen in Dead Island 2. ”   While Escape does look interesting, there’s a slight sense of ‘not another Dead Island game’. Escape will be the 5th entry into a franchise that has never truly thrilled the masses. The first entry sold, and reviewed, fairly well, Riptide did not meet expectations in both regards. The Dead Island MOBA, Epidemic, is still a curious beast that doesn’t seem to be garnering that much attention. Dead Island 2 was some what of a surprise announcement. Given the short gaps between the first two games releases, it was expected that the franchise would be rested in terms of main entries. While the reaction to the Dead Island 2 trailer was positive, there’s still groans over yet another zombie game. The over saturation of Zombies in the media, especially video games, has left a lot of people jaded. With Dead Island, H1Z1 and Dying Light, the zombie sub genre is set to grow and grow. The over reliance on one franchise is a risky move for any company, only a few can afford to do such strategy (Konami). Deep Silver are putting a lot of faith in a franchise that, at best, is inconsistent. Fingers crossed quantity does prevail over quality....

Spy Co-op Title Clandestine Enters Alpha Testing Phase

Spy Co-op Title Clandestine Enters Alpha Testing Phase

The cooperative spy fantasy title Clandestine has officially entered the Alpha testing phase. Danish indie developer Logic Artists revealed the Alpha testing phase, along with a few new details on the roles of the Spy and the Hacker. Clandestine features familiar 3rd-person stealth mechanics such as stealth cover systems, lethal and non-lethal takedown, gadgets and the ability to conceal weapons. The Spy player must covertly enter hideouts, safe houses and corporate headquarters spread across two continents. The Hacker plays from a 2D computer interface, in line with the mid-90′s setting, and supports the spy via hacking security cameras, turrets, doors and blinding enemies via turning off the power. Logic Artists have put a focus onto creating a relationship between the Hacker and the Spy, to create a genuine co-op experience - “The symbiotic relationship between the Spy and the Hacker forms the backbone of Clandestine’s gameplay mechanics, as to achieve success players must work together and communicate to overcome obstacles and escape dangerous situations”, said Jonas Wæver, Lead Designer for Logic Artists. “Now that we have reached the alpha milestone we are really ironing out the co-op features of Clandestine to make sure that whether gamers prefer to play as Hacker or Spy, each role is equally as fun, interesting and satisfying”.   More information about Clandestine can be found on the official site.        ...

Divinity: Original Sin To Ship With Engine Toolkit & Cow Simulator 2014

Divinity: Original Sin To Ship With Engine Toolkit & Cow Simulator 2014

As the release of Divinity: Original Sin creeps ever closer, developer Larian Studios keeps adding more goodies to the game.   The co-op role-playing title will now ship complete with the Divinity Engine Toolkit…and Cow Simulator 2014, also known for being ‘the finest Cow Simulator ever produced’. The tool kit will be available as part of the Early Access beta on June 26th.   The Divinity Engine Toolkit allows players to: • Make new adventures that you can play in singleplayer or multiplayer • You can modify the main campaign or create your own • Manipulate terrain and edit existing models and textures • Write your own stories and dialogs • Create behaviors and scripts with easy-to-use scripting language • Alter existing or add new skills, stats and spells • 1-click export to Steam Workshop • Add and manage your mods via Steam Workshop or inside the game   The tool kit will act as a fantastic platform for players to truly get creative, increasing the games content on a regular basis. Divinity: Original Sin is due to for release on June 30th....

Wargame: Red Dragon Review

Wargame: Red Dragon Review

There’s often an argument that modern games lack a sense of depth, perhaps even a lack of attention to detail, Wargame: Red Dragon shreds this argument to pieces. The Wargame series strives for the most in-depth tactical realism to make the best use of the staggering array of real-world military units found in the game. Red Dragon expands the series further, increasing the amount of units on offer along with new campaigns, armies and the addition of naval combat. With all this range and depth, Red Dragon is a demanding beast. At its core, Wargame: Red Dragon is all about tactical decisions and ensuring units match up well. On the whole, a player’s army is only effective if built correctly. Each unit has a counter unit ensuring a strong sense of balance in the spine of the game. This core value results in each mission never being an easy win, as the tides of battle can turn at any given time. This is where Red Dragon comes into its own; the notion of losing the most valuable unit in a heartbeat gives each movement and decision a real sense of importance. Where a large section of RTS titles allow the player some wiggle room to recover from mistakes, Red Dragon is relentless. Not planning a certain step, or overlooking an enemy movement, can set off more than one problem. Much like a domino effect, one mistake can result in an abundance of failure across the board. Battles aren’t won by simply posting units onto the field; planning and appreciation for ‘what if’ plays a major role, resulting in some truly nerve-wracking skirmishes.   Satisfaction is a feeling that will often consume the player. There is a sense of euphoria when a perfectly laid-out plan is carried out without a single botch. Seeing an enemy position via recon, moving in appropriate units, taking said position, is all hugely fulfilling. The feelings are further enhanced by the sharp visual presentation. Environments react to the battles they host, with burning forests and crumbling buildings. The power of the player’s units is fully on display, pixel by pixel. Being an armchair general has never looked so good. While keeping a focused eye on the action close up is hugely enjoyable, it’s not exactly a good idea. The battle is still raging, and with the player zoomed in on one area, they become blind to actions going on elsewhere, which is never a good thing. It’s slightly annoying that zooming in on the action is nothing but a short spectacle if the player wants to be successful in the grand scheme of things. This is also a point that effects the Naval combat in a strange manner. The Naval combat feels like it’s using the lush visuals and zoomed-in camera view as its main selling point.   While the Naval battles look stunning, when zoomed in the scale looks a little off. Ships appear too close together which detracts from the sense of realism Red Dragon nails in every other department. It’s a rather shallow complaint about a new addition to the franchise that legitimately enhances the overall product. There’s more enjoyment to be had from the Naval units when they are part of a broader land assault, rather than an exclusively Naval scenario. As well as a multiplayer mode that keeps in tone with past titles, Red Dragon contains some rather impressive campaigns. While short in length, being pitted against North Korea in a second Korean War gives the game a slight sense of a ‘cheesy war film’ vibe. The campaign teaches the players the basics while exposing them to what the game is like at the higher grades. There’s a number of events in the campaign that allow the player to go on tours of various environments and situations, all with interesting narratives behind them. The campaigns result in the player learning the game while gaining an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of each army. The only real detracting issue of the single player is the A.I.. More often than not, they will deploy similar strategies and often repeat their unit selection. The A.I. is seemingly obsessed with rushing forward, allowing them to be easily defeated. There’s a slight issue that pops up for new players. The last thing they need is to be rushed without knowing the basic game. The lack of co-op feels a little bit odd, as each campaign feels like it could quite easily host an additional player. The multiplayer is the main beef of Red Dragon. While the single-player portion is solid, the multiplayer is where the real joys are found. Facing off against human opponents in a battle of tactics is nothing short of thrilling. A large part of the multiplayer is all down to planning before the battle begins. This is where Red Dragon‘s ”Deck Builder” comes into play. Players build their army out of the units on offer in the deck builder; army restrictions are removed allowing players to pick and choose from across the globe. To balance this mix and match up, players are rewarded with reduced costs the more they stick with one army. Extra rewards can be achieved by building a specialized force e.g. armored force. It’s a system that keeps a sense of balance while naturally keeping a variety in each battle. Wargame: Red Dragon isn’t a game for everyone. Its steep learning curve won’t appeal to everyone, nor will the unforgiving nature of the core gameplay. The learning phase can be overwhelming, often frustrating, but there are plenty of rewards for persistent players. There are a few odd bugs, mostly with the Naval units who often bump into each other, but nothing game-breaking or truly detracting. Single-player is a solid offering but remains a side order to the main meal that is multiplayer. It’s hard to deny the sheer sense of accomplishment when victory is achieved after a grueling tactical battle, and that is why Wargame: Red Dragon is a rewarding experience, as long as the player is dedicated to learning the craft.    ...

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

There aren’t many first-person shooters that can raise a smile via gunning down waves of enemies, only to stop you in your tracks and make you question some pretty heavy topics. Dual wielding machine guns while unleashing hell one bullet at a time in one moment, mulling over racism and oppression the next. Wolfenstein: The New Order is far from what was expected. Franchise protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz is back, complete with a voice and high-definition chin, and once again he’s battling the Third Reich. The New Order opens with a brief mission set during, what should be, the end of World War 2, as B.J. and his team assault a Nazi compound. Right from the start, the tones and themes of New Order are laid out: robotic Nazi Dogs; Frankenstein-like super-soldiers; and giant mechanical units dominating the field. The opening mission acts as a tutorial as well as an introduction to the game’s antagonist, General Deathead, climaxing in a choice that impacts the rest of the game. The story then picks up some years later, in a world where the Nazis have gone on to global domination. The alternative timeline is the perfect place for traditional Wolfenstein enemy designs to make an appearance. There’s a number of times in which the enemy design is genuinely impressive due to their sheer twisted creativity. Their over-the-top nature feeds into the desired tone of the game. At least for the most part. The New Order doesn’t seem to want to take itself too seriously, but at times its nature comes into conflict with the more somber moments of the game. For example, a number of times a cutscene will focus on the horrors of war, while there’s also a short scene in which the topic of racism is touched upon. While these sections are well done and give the game a sense of soul , they come off a little out of place given how over-the-top the game is.     The action is relentless and outlandish, removing any sense of realism in favor for sheer balls-to-the-wall fun. There’s a sense of unbridled power when B.J. dual-wields assault rifles and creates a tidal wave of bullets and Nazi corpses. The core enjoyment of New Order is down to how well Machine Games has nailed the gameplay. There’s a strong sense of understanding and appreciation for classic first-person shooters. Running and gunning has never felt so good, each movement furled with a tight control scheme that lends well to the fast-paced action at hand. Wolfenstein: The New Order freshens up the gameplay by including a perk system that feeds into how the player plays the game. Perks will unlock once the player has met the criteria. For example, the stealth tree requires stealth kills and keeping a low profile to progress. The other trees mostly cover making things die at the hands of various weapons. It’s a simple system that gives the player short-term goals to improve their efficiency in the way they play, and it’s welcome and well rounded addition to the franchise.   Shockingly, there’s quite a lot of freedom when it comes to how a player can approach most situations. Each level often plays host to a number of paths for the player to take. Want to go in all guns blazing? There’s a path for that. Want to take it slow, steady, and adopt a stealthy approach? Heck, there’s often two paths for that. The choices aren’t simply there for show–the stealth is genuinely well done for a game that’s mostly about shooting literally everything in front of the player. In terms of production value, The New Order ranges from fantastic to questionable. Cutscenes are beautiful, with some characters coming to life thanks to fantastic detail and smooth animation. The visuals during gameplay tend to dip in and out of being decent to rough, however. Some textures can look slightly last-gen, especially on the weapons. It’s not that the game looks bad, it’s just that it struggles to truly make the impression that the game fully belongs on the new hardware from Sony and Microsoft. The game’s audio is adequate but has little to get excited or complain about.     The New Order does a lot well, but there are a number of issues littered around throughout that stop it from truly excelling. The 18 certificate given to the game seems like the result of some awkwardly forced-in scenes. Sex scenes and some random gore moments feel out of place and forced, even more so when they are sandwiched in between some heavy ethical topics. Also, the weapons on offer feel a little tame, which is disappointing given how creative the game is elsewhere. The main issues are mostly buried in the technical side of things. Enemy AI can go a bit off the wall and unresponsive to the actions around them. Enemies can find themselves trapped on scenery, as well the player. Boss battles are also thrown into The New Order, none of which feel engaging or even challenging, allowing some sections to feel a little underwhelming. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid experience. The action is solid, the experience is enjoyable, and by the end of the decent-length campaign, the player feels truly well traveled thanks to a fantastic range of environments. It’s a shame, then, that The New Order struggles to keep a balance between being over-the-top and serious. Fun, conflicted, sometimes even sad, The New Order is enjoyable but not essential, but is nevertheless a return to form for a somewhat forgotten franchise.      ...

Bound By Flame First Impressions

Bound By Flame First Impressions

Bound By Flame was never a game on my radar. It didn’t appeal to me and with the multitude of other games coming out this month; I can’t say I was chomping at the bits for this game to hit store shelves. This coupled with the iffy reviews it was getting made me a bit wary about putting out the cash for Spiders’ newest product. To put it simply though, Bound By Flame has left me pleasantly surprised in its opening hours. Going into this game I wasn’t expecting a AAA, big budget game. The title only costs 50 USD (40 for PS3, 360 and PC), so I wasn’t looking for a massive game. The first thing that greeted me after electing a new game was the character creation screen. A very simple formula, Bound By Flame gives the user the option of gender and about 6 face and hair options. I chose to go the female route as the face models seemed better. The game took me into a few cut scenes to set up the story and before I knew it, I was in combat. This where Bound By Flame has me hooked. You are given the choice of three fighting styles: heavy attacks (swards axes), quick attacks (daggers), or fire powers (spells). You can switch on the fly with a menu that slows the world around you down and depending on the enemy or situation; you can select the combat style that suits you. The combat system features your basic hack and slash moves, but incorporates an awesome parry and dodge system that gives this game a beautiful rhythm to it. Learning enemies’ patterns and working in your own attacks is what gives this game its charm and fun factor. I prefer the quick combat of the daggers as it allows you more movement in battle and I love the dodging feature. Another thing I like from the game is the art style. It may not be one hundred percent original, but it just works for this sort of game. Sometimes when I’m playing a game like this the art style won’t fit and it will pull me out of the experience. In Bound By Flame I believe the artists did a great job of making a believable world. My only complaint is a simple one; the dialogue can get a bit cheesy at times. This is one of the few areas that you can tell Spiders’ budget wasn’t huge. The voice actors, while adequate, sometimes cheese up their lines and over dramatized things. I’ve heard a few complain about the swearing, but honestly, it hasn’t put me off too much. Yes it does happen, but not enough to put you off. All in all, Bound By Flame is a solid game. I’m about three hours into it and I’m really enjoying my time. I hope that it will continue this upward trend as I’m just getting into the real story. The combat is fun, the game is challenging and those coupled with the price tag makes Bound By Flame a title that recommend someone looking for a fun RPG pick up....

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