Bound by Flame was released on May 9, 2014. I signed up to review it. Why? I dunno. Peer pressure? …. Fine, that's a lie. (I guess blaming this on other people is a knee-jerk reaction, SORRY EVERYONE.) No one asked me to review this game, I volunteered for it. This was a mistake - turns out I might not be cut out for this game review business. I may not, in fact, believe in game reviews as a concept.

So: Bound by Flame. It's an RPG. It takes place in a fantasy world threatened by Ice Lords. You play Vulcan, a mercenary assigned to protect some mages. A ritual goes awry, Vulcan is possessed by a fire demon, and then ADVENTURE!!!1!!

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… at least I'm guessing adventure? I wouldn't know, because I never finished the game. Because it's terrible. I tried you guys, I really did. I slogged through a solid ten hours of gameplay before I threw my hands up and went "Fuck it - Bound by Flame, get thee back to Gamefly!!" Turns out I value my time more than my commitment to writing a voluntary, pro bono review of a game that very few people seem to have played. Go figure.

Let me tell you what was fantastic about this game: the fact that I could turn it off. There is nothing about this game that can rationally be described as "fantastic!" This is an adjective that cannot, in good conscience, be applied to Bound by Flame. Or to this review, for that matter. But this review is official, damn it - I signed up on the spreadsheet and used the assets and everything. Business doesn't get more serious than that.

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Side note: it strikes me as odd that every TAY review has a mandatory "FANTASTIC!" section. Google tells me that that, by definition, fantastic denotes "extraordinarily good or attractive." That … doesn't seem right. If every game reviewed included elements that were not just ordinary, but EXTRAordinary wouldn't the bar then be raised so that the extraordinary-ness was merely an ordinary occurrence? So really, it would have to be extra-extraordinary to qualify as "FANTASTIC!!!!!!" Circle of life, man.

The game runs. Well played, Spiders!

Most of the rest of it. And me, for not soldiering through the rest of this thing for the sake of review.

Then again, who cares what I think? Who am I to say, "Hey, most of this game was a snooze and the voice acting is horrific, don't buy it! Yes, allow me - some asshole on the internets - to tell you, dear reader, what to do with your precious time and money." Let's be real, I'm not in any way qualified to officially review this game - like most (all?) TAY reviewers, I'm not a professional writer or game developer. I just play games. And drop them like they're flaming hot the moment I'm not having fun. Wait, does that make me qualified?

What is it that entitles one to deliver an official opinion on the merits of a game and to dictate to readers whether they should play it or not? It all comes down to opinions, and hey, I have one of those. Then again, so does everyone else on the internet. Even if I label this "The TAY Review" there's no way my very subjective experience with this game would be in any way representative of the experiences of every member of the group, should some calamity befall us all and we were each forced at gunpoint to play the entirety of the half-assed Witcher knockoff that is Bound by Flame. Why should my less-than-ideal gameplay experience keep you from trying it yourself? I feel compelled to be honest about how little joy this game brought me, but at the same time I dislike the idea that tearing a game apart with a scathing review might be robbing someone else of an experience they might actually enjoy.

So why listen to me? My experience is inevitably going to be colored by my preferences, my gaming history, my desire to appear professional so that I may one day receive free review copies of games. Your experience could very well be completely different. You might play it and think, "Hey, I love not being able to customize my character! I love the wooden voice acting, the limited exploration, the tedious menu layout, the incredibly irritating companions, and the random profanity peppered in apropos of nothing because OH SO EDGY AND ADULT!!" Look, I love games that people hate, and I hate games that people love. That's just part and parcel of being a member of the gaming community. I don't know, maybe it just takes a special kind of egotism to believe that one is qualified to deliver the final verdict on an experience that can be so variable. While I may have ego to spare in other areas I'm not sure that particular brand of confidence is part of my repertoire.