Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 40
  2. Negative: 12 out of 40
  1. May 20, 2014
    80
    It's not perfect, it's not from a big budget studio, isn't 100+ hours, and it doesn't say Scrolls, Age, or Souls on the box, but any fan of the genre should give it a legit shot -- I think they'll be pleasantly surprised as I was.
  2. 75
    Bound by Flame features a combat and leveling system that shines among the competition, and the crafting side to the game gives RPG fans more than enough to keep them playing. The narrative is a drop in the overall quality, but it's enough to see exactly what developer Spiders has given gamers in its gameplay elements. The future is bright for Bound by Flame.
  3. May 12, 2014
    73
    It really just boils down to one question: Can you ignore the missteps and missed opportunities and simply focus on the entertaining gameplay, or will you be unable to get past those flaws? That’s the key. This is why you’re seeing such a discrepancy of scores. Some people can get past the flaws and enjoy themselves; others can’t. It’s that simple.
  4. Jun 10, 2014
    70
    Bound By Flame was almost made to be divisive. If you love gameplay above all else, then this will be an enjoyable experience for you. But if you're more of a story-driven gamer, then it would be wise to steer clear of this particular title.
  5. 70
    The game is constrained by budget and underproduced so there are technical and visionary flaws in the game, and it's disappointing that Spiders decided to stay on the safe side of narrative boundary pushing for the first time in its existence. But an enjoyable theme and combat system is just enough to make Bound by Flame addictive enough that it succeeded in holding my attention from start to finish.
  6. May 9, 2014
    70
    Most of the game is very well done, but none of it is that innovative or imaginative. It’s fun, but it’s a slightly above average RPG.
  7. 70
    Bound by Flame is a different and strangely addicting action roleplaying game. It is marred by a few bugs in the quest system though. While you wait for The Witcher 3 you could do much worse than this though. Recommended if you lust for a new RPG adventure with crafting, fun combat mechanics, interesting characters, less traditional dialogue and a great style.
  8. May 27, 2014
    65
    Bound By Flame is an ambitious action RPG with a lacklustre story, an annoying camera and disappointing graphics. It's a nice attempt at greatness, though it doesn't quite nail the high notes.
  9. May 22, 2014
    65
    Bound by Flame is a great, terrible game.
  10. May 12, 2014
    65
    Let's be realistic: Spiders ain't Bioware and Bound By Flame is not Dragon Age. But the french studio tries it's hardest and gives us a quite hard RPG, far from the mainstream easiness of games. Each fight is an adventure, you better be a fan of Dark Souls than Super Mario RPG to enjoy that game. Anyway, you will have to close your eyes on some real flaws (weird level design, poor AI, boring script..) Happily, Bound By Flame is coming at a time where RPG are quite rare. If Spider's game won't replace Dragon Age Inquisition or Risen 3, it can be a way to wait until those latest editions come out.
  11. May 12, 2014
    65
    Bound by Flame fails to deliver on its promises and this is mainly because the combat system is simply not good enough. It's decent enough to play though, but way too generic to stand out.
  12. May 9, 2014
    65
    It is a budget RPG and it feels like one, but that's not always a bad thing.
  13. Jun 21, 2014
    62
    While never truly bad, Bound by Flame is rarely much better than serviceable either. [Issue#245, p.60]
  14. May 22, 2014
    62
    Bound by Flame is a little overpriced considering its gaming flaws.
  15. Jun 28, 2014
    60
    The story, writing and the role-playing part of the game is distinctly previous-gen play, if not older.
  16. May 23, 2014
    60
    If you can look past the poor narrative and weak character dialogue Bound By Flame is a solid action RPG. The combination of fire and sword is an exciting duo which flows seamlessly in battle. However, you can’t help but feel that, with the PS4 in mind, Bound By Flame has been rushed to fill a gap in the market.
  17. May 20, 2014
    60
    As a mid-range title it would have been fine with the amount of content, but released at near full retail, it's bitten off more than it can chew; something that tastes especially poor when the meal hasn't been fully cooked.
  18. May 12, 2014
    60
    Good ideas, but the lack of budget/time/experience, or whatever the reason was, resulted in a game that could have been much better. Still, if you know what you're buying, it can be an entertaining experience.
  19. May 11, 2014
    60
    If you've been burning with anticipation for a fantasy RPG on Sony's newest console, Bound by Flame may be worth a look – but be sure to keep your expectations lukewarm.
  20. May 10, 2014
    60
    Bound by Flame is a low budget action RPG that doesn’t really shine. The plot varies depending on how you tackle it and the gameplay’s really challenging but there’s not much else to it.
  21. May 14, 2014
    55
    For every great thing Bound by Flame does, it messes up critical gameplay components like the combat. There’s this sense that the game can’t get out of its own way, and only die-hard high-fantasy fans that aren’t afraid of getting torched by a budget title should check this one out.
  22. May 19, 2014
    53
    Bound by Flame hardly surpasses an 'ok'. Poor visuals, odd gameplay mechanics in a really hard game, with many unbalanced situations. However, it fills up that lack of RPG games of the new generation.
  23. May 19, 2014
    53
    Bound by Flame aims high, tries to take on Dark Souls and The Witcher, but disappoints. It's a shallow attempt at riding the success of other fantasy-franchises. It's full of cursing, moral decisions based on, well nothing, a standard setting and something that's supposed to resemble a combat system.
  24. Releasing an Action-RPG this unpolished during the current PS4 drought was opportunistic. That's the best we can say about this. [July 2014, p81]
  25. May 23, 2014
    50
    Bound By Flame had potential, its excellent crafting system and skill trees are a good basis for any RPG, but the unbalanced combat system doesn't do a good job of exploiting them.
  26. May 19, 2014
    50
    Bound by Flame is such a cliché when it comes to setting, characters and story, which is why the game never surprises. A decent combat system and crafting might keep your attention for a short while, but not long enough to really surrender yourselves to the characters and their battle against the Ice Lords.
  27. May 9, 2014
    50
    You might find something interesting in the dark fantasy lore, but the background is ultimately wasted. Gameplay is boring, full of issues, and generally underdeveloped. A rushed project, and nothing can save it from mediocrity.
  28. May 8, 2014
    50
    In Bound by Flame, Spiders deliver an action-RPG that just about manages to remain playable throughout, but offers not a single “wow” moment. An interesting but limited crafting system and an atmospheric fantasy world don’t make up for run-of-the-mill writing, 2-dimensional characters, imbalanced combat, and a rushed, unsatisfying narrative.
  29. May 13, 2014
    46
    It’s not a horrendous travesty that all action RPG players should avoid, and similarly it’s not a stellar blockbuster that all Dark Souls addicts should pick up. It just feels very mediocre and generic. Nothing stands out about the game and nothing really holds it down aside from its graphics at points.
  30. May 13, 2014
    45
    So much of Bound by Flame induces boredom or irritation that it seemed the best recourse to seek out a style of play that facilitated, if not outright enjoyment, at least an absence of hostility.
  31. Jun 7, 2014
    44
    With lofty ideas way above its station, this schlocky action-RPG is a well-meaning mess. [July 2014, p.76]
  32. Juddering. [July 2014, p.93]
  33. May 22, 2014
    40
    Bound by problems and suffocating great ideas.
  34. May 20, 2014
    40
    It's difficult to justify players paying full new game price for Bound by Flame, particularly for the premium cost PS4 version. Ultimately, the game has an interesting premise and selling points that on the face of things are worthy of attention, but the scope aimed for is such that the resources and timescales devoted to it sadly had no hope in achieving.
  35. May 20, 2014
    40
    With inspiration from several other fantasy role-playing games Spiders Studio try to mix the best of different worlds. As a consequence the game never feels unique nor mindblowing. The combat is sometimes satisfying but soon becomes repetitive and boring. In addition, the is horrid and the voice acting even worse. For a role-playing game Vulcan's adventure ends quickly and abruptly and never becomes more than a game in the genre soon to be forgotten.
  36. May 16, 2014
    40
    After putting my time in with Bound By Flame, I'm left with the sense that the Spiders team has badly overreached. There are some superb ideas on display here, but none feel like they even begin to tap their full potential, and the experience overall feels rushed and incomplete.
  37. May 13, 2014
    40
    Simply by staggering across the finish line first, Bound By Flame may seem to be an attractive proposition for PS4 RPG fans, but don't be fooled. With its shonky cut-scenes, its outdoor sound effects that play indoors and its linear maps, this is in no way a current-gen experience. It's a budget offering at a premium price - and a poor one at that.
  38. May 20, 2014
    30
    Avoid Bound by Flame at all costs, this is really not a game worthy of your hard earned money.
  39. May 11, 2014
    30
    A Frankenstein’s monster of other people’s ideas, that if not for the sleazy script would be laughable in its desperation to include every fantasy cliché imaginable.
  40. May 13, 2014
    20
    The game appears to be a product of magical thinking, as if throwing together watered-down tropes from games like The Witcher might somehow yield a finished product.
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 176 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 48
  2. Negative: 6 out of 48
  1. May 9, 2014
    10
    Bound By Flame doesn't deserve a perfect score, but I'm going to give it one anyway to offset the spamming of terrible scores that it's having to endure. In truth, BBF is about an 8.5, but even placing a number on the review is difficult for a few reasons. The game is awkward, in much the same way as Mars War Logs felt awkward. From inconsistent characterization and uncomfortably cynical dialogue to bad lip-syncing and amateurish voice acting, the presentation is going to rub a lot of players the wrong way. The question is, how much importance do you place on cinematic presentation? Because if you're the type of gamer who enjoys gritty real-time combat and a serious level of challenge, BBF may still have enough to offer that aesthetics don't matter anymore. If you like, say, Dark Souls or The Witcher for their strategic and deliberately-paced combat systems, you will want to give BBF a spin. If you thought Dragon's Dogma was a good first entry into a new IP in spite of some glaring flaws, you'll easily overlook the worst of BBF's issues. Just don't expect Skyrim. While you could compare chunks of BBF to a lot of its action RPG peers, it holds the least resemblance to Elder Scrolls. There's some DNA from Dragon Age, Witcher, Amalur, Dark Souls, Fable, even War in the North, and of course Mars War Logs -- but practically nothing about the game suggests that Spiders was trying to compete with Skyrim. As long as you set your expectations accordingly, you'll be just fine, especially considering it's only a $50 new release on a brand new console, on which there is very little selection right now and NO other RPGs to speak of. BBF actually manages to deliver on much of its gameplay mechanics, and I genuinely enjoy the music and art style. Crafting is deeper than expected for both equipment and expendables, as you can change out modular parts of weapons and armor easily or craft items like traps on the fly, even in the heat of combat. Mission objectives and combat conditions are varied and often very fun to figure out, even if you die a lot in the process. Things like target lock-on and parrying work just fine (contrary to popular belief), but heaven forbid, you actually need to learn the game's system to be effective with them. I appreciate that this isn't a paint-by-numbers RPG, and even though it borrows some inspiration from plenty of big-name IPs, the resulting whole feels almost entirely original. It just won't be the kind of original that everybody likes. Personally, I'm getting everything out of it that I expected and maybe then some, so I respect what Spiders did with their first retail game. I look forward to seeing what they do next, and I wouldn't mind getting some DLC for Bound By Flame. We've got quite a while to wait on games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3, so I hope players don't write this one off too quickly. Full Review »
  2. May 9, 2014
    8
    i have the game on PS4, its nice to have an actual RPG to play along with the MMO FF14. so here's the deal, i'm a huge RPG fan, so take my score with a grain of salt. my fave RPGs are PSO, elder scrolls franchise, dragon age origins, basically anything bioware etc. i came to metacritic to check out a review right after my girlfriend bought me a copy today and was freaked out to see a 4 out of 10 from one of my fave sites, Polygon. (but they also gave ESO a 6/10 so guess i'm not surprised).

    i immediately thought to myself, "maybe i shouldn't open the packaging and take it back?"

    im so glad i didn't!!!!

    BbF is a great RPG!!! the GFX don't "scream" next gen, but they're def NOT old gen!!! in fact i'm very anal about frame-rates and textures/lighting/anti-aliasing, what have you, and i'm very happy with all of the above. it also needs to be noted i'm not one of those RPG, or to be precise, "JRPG" fans who complain about western localization/voice-over as opposed to having the japanese voices that are ultimately the most obnoxious aspects of all RPGs, ever, lol. meaning as long as voices are semi-professional i have NO issue what so ever with them. i mean japan INVENTED obnoxiousness, come one. i say that lovingly, it was japan who delivered me to my love of RPGs in my childhood with the likes of dragon warrior, phantasy star and final fantasy!!!

    the story works great. let me elaborate... when i say works, i'm not a story snob as far as games go. so many people hold their nose up at stories that aren't the next "memento" of games... i feel as though if the story has interesting lore, and it supports the game play, it "works". i play games for the fun of the gameplay, the story works for me if it doesn't interfere with the fun i'm having.

    the combat in BbF is so good. i was, again, blown away at how well this aspect of the game was handled. and the way you advance your character lets you choose whether you want him to be a warrior, ranger (rogue) or mage. and depending on how u spend your points, 2 skill points per level and 1 feat per level makes tweaking your character fun. it kind of reminds me of dragon age here, where in DAO ur skills kind of handle some of the esoteric features of gameplay.

    there are so many times i played this game and felt references to RPGs that have come out in the past few years, and here they are, i hope this helps u make a decision to purchase this game if this is what you enjoy.

    i sensed the new game of thrones RPG right off the bat, now i agree that game isn't as good as it could be, but it had great ideas with simply poor execution. where BbF shares any similarities here i said to myself "this is what GoT the RPG, SHOULD have been".

    another game i felt it resembled early on was DA2s weapon type attacks. but bound by flame has all active combat the really trumps DA2, even though i am a huge fan of DA2 (being a bioware game as well)

    and most importantly, i kept getting a nagging feeling about a game from my past that this game really felt like... i couldn't remember and then it hit me 3-4 hours in, this is a new age Jade Empire!!!

    it has map setups just like JE. now i know thats not the most promising aspect here, the maps in bound by flame ARE NOT open world. they're not even as large as Dragon Age Origins, but they are very fun to explore and find loot for upgrading, crafting. there's tons of nooks and crannies and the character/item/skill advancement is SO much fun, the maps don't detract AT ALL!!! in fact, they really are large enough in the cities and wilds to keep the combat to explore ratio perfect!!! and you never tire of either, that's probably the best thing i can say about bound by flame!!!

    so for those of you who made it this far, i just wanted to say, i wrote this HUGE obnoxious review because so many times i have been curious about a new game, and i have come to metacritic and been disappointed by a lack of info in the areas I'M interested in. i don't care how the story of a new game starts, how reviews are so apt to talk about them for paragraphs, i want to know how the game "feels" in my hands.

    hopefully, if your an RPG fan like me and your on the fence, you will have enough info to decide if Bound By Flame is the game for you. either way, i hope this all helped, cheers.
    Full Review »
  3. May 9, 2014
    10
    SOLID RPG. KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND ENJOY THE GOOD IT HAS TO OFFER.

    I again feel the need to write a good review to support a game that I
    VERY much enjoy, because the critic reviews are not doing it any justice. This review is being specifically directed at those of you who are here for some additional feedback because the critic reviews have left you unsure if you want to pick this game up. go ahead and grab it, if you are a true RPG fan you will be pleased.

    It's not perfect; to the masses, I'd say it should be about a 7 or 7.5 in terms of average rating. To me, this game is easily a 10, because this is the kind of RPG that I love, and become so absorbed in. I tend to favor those off-beat, off the radar titles (think two worlds or kingdoms of amalur: reckoning- if you enjoyed either of these, you will love bound by flame), because they do their own thing. Just about every review or comment I've read on this game says it's a poor version of the witcher, or dark souls. I've put many hours into those ones, and they're great. I assure you though, this game is not a copy.

    combat is awesome, nuff said. there are a good bit of different weapons and armor to pick up, and each piece can be further customized with upgrades that are crafted with mats you'll pick up around the world and dropped my mobs. the skill tree is TIGHT. if you enjoy min/maxing and tweaking your guy to the fullest, again, you'll fall in love. each tree (warrior/ranger/fire) is very thorough, and offers quite a few choices for active talents and passives. If you get off on this stuff, believe me, it's all there.

    the story is what you'd expect in a budget rpg; cheesy humor and a dark story, but that's what I love about it! I've been gaming since I was about 4-5 yrs old, and I'm 26 now. the best way I can express what I mean would be an analogy regarding moves; some flicks are not well received by critics, but have those cult followings... tropic thunder anyone? you just have to keep an open mind and accept it for what it is. if you can do that, you can get sucked into the story, laugh at the character dialogue, and really have a good time here.

    all in all, solid combat, great skill upgrade/feat upgrade system, deep crafting for a single player game, fun story, and it's very pretty. this is the first full retail release RPG for ps4; it's not the second coming of world of warcraft, but I enjoy it very much. I want games like this to keep coming out. I like them because they are *different*, and I hope that the game devs continue to bring us new and original content like this.

    don't make your purchases based on critic reviews; they are fat guys that get paid money to hear themselves talk about their opinion of a game. they are OPINIONS; not the end all be all. in some instances, critic reviews are a good guideline of what to expect, but this game is an exception to that. if you are on the fence about this one, go for it and make your mind up yourself, don't let others make the choice for you. this one *will not* disappoint.

    10/10
    Full Review »