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Video Game / Bound by Flame

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Bound by Flame is a Dark Fantasy Action RPG developed by Spiders and released for all platforms on May 9th of 2014. Set on the continent of Vertiel, the story kicks off when a group called the Red Scholars attempt to build a mysterious artifact to help them defeat the seven Lords of Ice and their Deadwalker army. However, the ritual goes wrong and a mercenary named Vulcan finds him/herself possessed by a fire demon. Vulcan's possession forces players to choose between allowing the demon greater control in exchange for its infernal powers, or rejecting its influence and developing heroic skills on their own. The longer the game goes on, the greater threats become and the choice between giving in to the demon's influence becomes tougher. A choice-based game, how much influence you allow the demon to gain will affect Vulcan's relationship with companions as well as which missions are available to the player.

This game contains examples of:

  • After the End: There are still a few remote settlements in very hard to reach places that the Deadwalkers havn't destroyed yet. While the elves and the sages have a plan that might defeat the Lords of Ice, there isn't really much left that could still be saved. When the sages are unable to get the gold they prommised as payment for the mercenaries, the captain doesn't really care, since there isn't any place left where they could spend it anyway.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Throughout the course of the game, the demon is referred to by both male and female pronouns. The demon's voice and form actually is more masculine or feminine depending on the gender of your player character.
  • Animal Theme Naming: The members of the Freeborn Blades are named as such: Hawk, Buffalo, Wolf...
  • Blatant Lies: Don't trust anyone.
  • BFS: Subverted with the two-handed play style. You will inflict a lot of damage, but it also takes a lot of time to swing the weapon, which leaves you exposed to surrounding Deadwalkers.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Subverted. They're no more inherently skilled than any other species. Most Elven NPC's delight in pointing out how silly the idea is, including Valvenor's smith claiming that the famous Elven bread that can "feed a family for six months" tastes like sand, and Rhelmar citing that humans and Elves are Mirroring Factions, save for their very long (but not immortal!) life-spans.
    Rhelmar: That joke's lasted fifteen generations!
  • Crapsack World: A world that is nearly overrun by Deadwalkers, and whose only saviours are a group of unpleasant, foul-mouthed mercenaries.
  • Degraded Boss: The Deadwalker General is the Climax Boss of Valvenor Village, the first major arc. When you start reaching the tail end of the game, it's just another enemy type to kill (albeit still tough enough to count as a Boss in Mook's Clothing). The same is true of the Tormentor boss fought just before the Deadwalker General.
  • Demonic Possession: A major element of the game is choosing whether to allow the demon possessing you greater control for more power, or fighting off its influence and developing skills on your own.
  • Dual Boss:
    • In Act III, when you're tasked with killing Blackfrost's 3 concubines, if you attack the Creator without killing the Stalker first, the Stalker will show up at the beginning of the boss fight and you'll have to fight both concubines at once in addition to the Creator's two archers and two greatsword zombies. This is probably the hardest fight in the game.
    • If you side with Edwen at the end of Act II, you'll have to fight Rhelmar and Prince Arandil in the middle of Act III.
  • Dual Wielding: One of the two main combat styles is to dual-wield two daggers. Due to poor balancing, it's much easier to play the game like this and not bother with two-handed weapons or the fire magic.
  • Early Game Hell: The first half of the game after the prologue, especially the first Act and the early parts of the second Act, are the most difficult sections of the game. Even if you have the best available equipment and complete every sidequest for maximum EXP, the final 2 bosses of Act I are still incredibly difficult, as are the ordinary enemies in early Act II. By the time you get to Act III, if you have good equipment and have a high level from doing all sidequests, you'll be significantly stronger than the default game balance and things will be much easier.
  • Expy: The Ice Lords and their Deadwalker minions are basically expies of the The Others/White Walkers and the wights from A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • For the Evulz: We never really learn why the Ice Lords would spend decades building up their Deadwalker army to eradicate all living - though it's strongly hinted that it's because they simply want to Take Over the World, and will turn on each other once the opportunity arises.
  • Giant Mook: The Swamp monsters, which are around three meters tall and very fat to boot.
  • Incredibly Durable Enemies: Even regular enemies take a significant amount of sword whacks to bring down. The number of hits needed to kill an enemy is significantly more than Spiders' previous game, Mars: War Logs, which has a similar combat engine.
  • Item Crafting: A key mechanic. Usually you craft upgrades to existing equipment rather than new equipment.
  • Just Before the End: This is the world where the Undead outnumber the living and are set on wiping out the resistance.
  • Klingon Promotion: How The Captain attained his rank in the Freeborn Blades - and how Vulcan can attain the position, as The Captain wants to cut ties and run rather than help the Elven army.
  • Magic is Evil: Fire demons that possess people and steal their free will? Ice liches overrunning the world with a zombie horde? Take your pick!
  • Magic Knight: Vulcan
  • Meaningful Name: There are several within the Freeborn Blades
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. Deadwalkers have no qualms with attacking you in numbers, from multiple directions and at any time possible.
  • Multiple Endings: Three of them.
    • Vulcan separates the Ice Lords from their source of power and rule the world with the Demon's power. This ending can always be accessed.
    • Sacrifice Vulcan and the Demon to destroy the Ice Lords and restore Vertiel while leaving the Worldheart crippled. Only possible with low demonic corruption.
    • Restore the Worldheart, allowing the Demon to exterminate all life on Vertiel. Only possible if the Demon was allowed to corrupt Vulcan.
  • Mundane Utility: Your character's fire powers. When you're not setting enemies on fire in combat, you can conjure up the flames to re-forge your weapons and armour.
  • Nintendo Hard: Enemies can kill you in just a few hits, and the game is pretty stingy when it comes to resources like gold and healing items.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Playing with the dexterity-based Ranger combat style makes the game considerably easier than if you focus on the strength-based Warrior combat style, seemingly completely unintentionally. This is mostly because of the game's reliance on the parry/dodge mechanic to avoid taking damage from enemy attacks, which otherwise kill you in just a few hits. If you mis-time your dodge (Ranger combat style), you miss out on bonus damage on your counter-attack, but still avoid taking a hit. If you mis-time your parry (Warrior combat style), however, you end up eating a hit to the face and also lose the opportunity to counter-attack.
  • Noodle Incident: After meeting Mathras, Vulcan gets tasked with finding out about his love life. Upon doing so, Mathras mentions his 14th wife, the princess of Elephant City - after a quick Fade to Black, Vulcan mentions "But... that's gross!", causing Mathras to quip that that was one of his cleaner stories.
    Vulcan: ... flesh... orgy... special trick... an elephant's... then an ice cube... plunged... and collect... coconut... the crowd... and drink it.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: All Undead are never referred to as anything but Deadwalkers.
  • Optional Stealth: You're allowed to sneak by some of the enemy mobs instead of fighting them.
  • Our Elves Are Different:
    • Although they start out looking like they hold all the expected Elven traits, it becomes clear that on the whole they are a decidedly unmagical bunch, and had no real advantage over any other races in the Zombie Apocalypse. And their Prince has the biggest, bushiest, manliest beard in game. Yes, you read that correctly.
  • Playing with Fire: The player's magic, gained at the end of the prologue.
  • Private Military Contractors: Our hero, Vulcan, is part of a mercenary group known as the Freeborn Blades.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The crossbow acts as one for Vulcan.
  • Romance Sidequest: Based on their choices, the player will be able to romance some of their companions.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Subverted: the swamp surrounding the village of Valvenor is indeed a Hungry Jungle where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, but at the same time, the hostile terrain and wildlife does an excellent job at keeping the Deadwalker army away from Valvenor.
  • Technically Living Zombie: Victims of the Tormentor's Mind Rape get turned into this. Their body is still technically alive and so they can be used to infiltrate human settlements (though they can't exactly hold a conversation), though their minds are as empty as any other Deadwalker puppet.
  • Token Evil Team Mate: Edwyn's introduction has her killing Eolas, Sybil's father and leader of the Red Scribes.
  • Trick Bomb: Vulcan can craft and throw flame bombs.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Mathras gives one of these about each of your party members in the "Sacrifice" ending. Presumably it changes depending on your actions throughout the game.
    • It's actually a lot more limited than it appears, as most of your companions have only 1 or 2 possible outcomes. In some cases, the game will even ignore you if you manage to have an unexpected game-state in the endgame. The most noticeable is Edwen; it's actually possible to side with her and still get the good ending (as long as you always take the "good" option in every other major decision), in which case she and Rhelmar aren't mentioned at all during the epilogue narration.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The game is set in the late stages of one, when Undead have already outnumbered most living and are advancing on the last vestiges of resistance.