Bound By Flame likes RPG tropes so much, it features every single one of them. They're all here, including choice-driven narrative and karma-determined character appearance. It can be justifiably described as the poorer cousin of almost every RPG that's been released in the last 15 years.

Of course, you know this. Nobody's expecting it to be the next Mass Effect, or even Alpha Protocol. At best, I suspect, people are just hoping that it scratches that Big RPG itch while we wait for the next major entry in the genre to surface - particularly if they're on next-gen, as this is pretty much the first game of its type on those platforms.

Unfortunately, it is an awful game which doesn't deserve anyone's time or money.

While it features the basic building blocks of an RPG, the presentation they're wrapped in is offensively shoddy. Graphically it sits somewhere between Morph and that Starship Troopers CGI cartoon you saw once in the 90s. The voice acting is atrocious, especially if you opt for the female lead, who seems to have been directed to sound like Roseanne Barr at her most sarcastic, at all times, no matter the tone of the scene. But you'll come to regard the horrendous cutscenes as welcome breaks from the tedium of fighting the same forever-respawning handful of enemies for hour after endless hour. Quests are plentiful, but almost every one is of the fetching kind, and that goes for both sidequests and story missions.

In fairness, I've enjoyed games that commit worse sins than the above. As long as the narrative is passable.

The narrative is not passable. It's a mess, and it's delivered via a script that is at once intentionally juvenile and unintentionally stupid. A script which has an unhealthy fixation on the words "whore", "bitch", and "slut". A script in which a character describing having non-consensual sex with his catatonic wife is served up as comic relief. This actually happens. Bound By Flame is an embarrassment on all fronts.

Version Tested: PC. Played for 17 hours.