The Flame in the Flood: Complete Edition (PS4 Review)
If The Flame in the Flood is anything to go by I’d not do well in an apocalypse setting. Or in a raft. Basically, I’m the guy you’ll see the crows picking at about 3/4 hours into any apocalypse. Thanks to the folks at Molasses Flood you can find out just how well you’d do in that kind of situation.
The Flame in the Flood is a rouge like survival game in which you’ll need to use all kinds of survival and camping techniques you’re likely to see on Bear Grylls; from foraging for plants to making campfires and even putting together snares to catch animals for meat and pelts. Luckily there’s no drinking your own piss involved, unless you want to give it a go to add to the experience. That’s your call.
If you’re up for a challenge you can forego the standard difficulty level, Traveller, which contains an abundance of everything you’ll need to survive and go straight for the Survivalist difficulty where you can expect permadeath, fewer supplies and your stats diminish at an increased rate. There’s even the option of an Endless Mode, which is self-explanatory really. So, if you have a spare few hours and want to collect the last of those trophies/achievements Endless mode might be the mode for you.
All of these modes are complimented by The Flame in the Flood: Complete Edition’s bonus content. Choosing between two different dogs, Aesop or Daisy. Annoyingly if you choose Daisy the Dalmatian any options referring to your chosen dog stay as Aesop. And there’s also Director’s Commentary, a nice bonus if you don’t mind there being some chat over the music.
Bringing us to the point on music; the songs and pieces throughout the game are, in my opinion, superb. Anytime a song kicked in it matched the mood perfectly and the lyrics have been well written to match exactly the kind of thing you’ll be looking for e.g. food and water. There’s a specific guitar piece that plays whenever you craft an item or consume a piece of food which I loved. I’ll be honest, it was much better than just listening to the sound of rain or the surrounding animals waiting to kill me.
Everything can, and will, try to kill you in The Flame in the Flood. In my many attempts to reach a safe haven I died from; dehydration, starvation, sepsis, wolf attacks, snake bites and hypothermia to name a few of the horrible ways you can die. There is always a way to sort out any ailments you may be unlucky enough to contract, but you will go through a mad rush trying to find everything you need to make that splint or create some penicillin. Having to weave in and out rocks and debris in your raft will add that feeling of urgency and danger a fatal illness might bring on.
The Flame in the Flood can be very unforgiving as, including all the ways you can die, you’re left to your own devices after you depart from the first campsite. There are a couple of signs you can read giving you a guide on how to look after Scout and use your raft as well some things to look out for. Other than that you’re pretty much on your own. I, personally, enjoy that level of challenge and enjoy not being handed everything from the outset, but if you’re looking for something easy going then you’ve came to the wrong place.
As good as The Flame in the Flood is, I did stumble across some issues. Unfortunately a couple of these issues rendered The Flame in the Flood unplayable. The minor issues were the animation after docking would freeze, but I could carry on as the character and dog appeared on the dock after a few seconds. The more serious problems, like the option to dock in a certain area not appearing, meant that I would have to skip areas and hope I came across another of the same not too far away. There are plenty of areas with similar items, but not being to dock at one when I need to is really annoying.
The worst glitch to have happened to me was where I finally reached the end of the trail only to be hit by a bug that locked me out the controls completely and I could do nothing but watch my raft get smashed to pieces at the last dock. Due to the frozen controls I had to go back to the consoles home screen and close the game before I could continue from the last checkpoint. On the plus side when I managed to restart and finally got to the end with no issues, I got a trophy for not killing any animals (which must have been a bug as I had killed a fair few) so swings and roundabouts I suppose.
If you’re looking for a decent survival game that will test you’re survival skills as well as your patience and weighing up if some fishing line is more important than the dandelion you’ve been carrying about, you won’t want to miss this. Anyone looking for a nice wee game where you can raft about on the rapids will not enjoy any other aspect of the game, so you might want to avoid.
The Flame in the Flood is a fantastic survival game with an equally fantastic score and art style that will challenge your decision making and patience to within an inch of its life – in a good way. There is plenty of replay value to be had as you won’t find everything there is to uncover in the first few playthroughs. Finding the multiple ways you can die is what keeps me going back. Unfortunately it was let down slightly by the few bugs I did come across and while they may not have been regular occurrences it was enough to have to restart the game in some cases which ruined the experience for me.