Deathbound Early Access Review – A Promising Souls-Like

A rare souls-like action RPG with unique and interesting game mechanics.

Death Bound Early Access Review
Overall
3
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Deathbound is an exceptionally good attempt at the souls-like formula which doesn’t shy away from innovation.

Pros

  • Creative Combat Mechanics
  • Excellent Worldbuilding
  • Great Environment Design

Cons

  • Repetitive Enemies
  • Mediocre Enemy Designs
  • Predictable Ambushes At Every Corner

Since playing the first iteration of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series, I’ve always enjoyed its unique formula. These days, there are a ton of studios trying to make an attempt at the souls-like genre, and while not all of these titles may be perfect, I do love trying them out for the sake of fun.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Trialforge Studio
  • Publisher: Tate Multimedia
  • Release Date: 2024
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows
  • Game Length: N/A
  • Time Played: 6 Hours
  • Editors Note: We extensively tested out the preview demo provided by Trilforge studio on PC.

As a fan of the genre, I’ve been bored of modern souls-like games because most don’t bring anything unique to the table. From the sea of such games, Deathbound stands out because it dares to be innovative, and that’s precisely what I aim to discuss in my review.

Story And Setting 

Deathbound's intro. (Image captured by eXputer)
Deathbound’s intro. (Image captured by eXputer)

Deathbound features a unique blend of sci-fiction, magic, and medieval fantasy. It is a dark and gritty story set in the world of Zieminal, where science and faith are in a neverending conflict.

The game has two major factions: the Cult of Life and the Church of Death. The contrast between these two factions reminded me of the conflict between those who live in death and the Golden Order in the Elden Ring.

The player character can absorb the essence of fallen warriors and morph into them at will as the result of the experiments conducted by the Cult of Life. This cult consists of the followers of the Goddess of Life, who are on a mission to reclaim immortality from the Goddess of Death.

The idea of using the essence of characters belonging to conflicting factions and forcing them to work together for a cause is fascinating in its own way.

Deathbound doesn’t tell you the story outright, but there are bits and pieces that you must put together to find out the full picture. I liked that, at times, the game doesn’t hesitate to show you how dark the story is.

Inside a reverie in Deathbound. (Image taken by eXputer)
Inside a reverie in Deathbound. (Image taken by eXputer)

The idea of using the essence of characters belonging to conflicting factions and forcing them to work together for a cause is fascinating in its own way. Additionally, the player character absorbs the fallen warriors’ memories alongside their essence, giving you a detailed insight into their history and personality.

Gameplay 

Affinities and conflicts between essences. (Image captured by eXputer)
Affinities and conflicts between essences. (Image captured by eXputer)

Deathbound features several innovative mechanics, such as having up to a maximum of four party members at once, and each character has a unique playstyle. The player character can switch to any of these party members or essences anytime. However, if any of them die, the player dies.

There’s also a sync meter, which allows the use of morph strikes. Whenever you hit the enemy, you can switch the essence with another one that will immediately land a powerful blow on the enemy, consuming some of the sync meter.

The sync meter regenerates as you dodge and damage the enemies. Furthermore, the health of other essences also heals as you damage the enemies.

Health mechanics. (Image taken by eXputer)
Health mechanics. (Image taken by eXputer)

The health/stamina mechanics in Deathbound are also unique because whenever you take damage, your max stamina will also fall up to your current health. This makes fighting bosses at low health even more challenging, as you must be careful about throwing dodges around due to low max stamina.

Furthermore, your party members or essences also share a unique bond with each other. Characters from opposing and favored factions will lead to different buffs and nerfs, adding an extra layer of complexity to the title.

Overall, Deathbound is a fairly complex, yet fun addition to the soulslike genre and manages to stand out because of its innovative mechanics.

While the gameplay is fun, I felt the combat is a bit clunky. The game relies heavily on unnecessary ambushes to hype up the difficulty, which is something I didn’t like throughout the game.

Overall, Deathbound is a fairly complex yet fun addition to the souls-like genre and manages to stand out because of its innovative mechanics. Additionally, the boss fights in the game are also fun and fairly easy once you figure out how to utilize morph strikes and dodges.

Visuals And Performance 

The impending truth. (Image taken by eXputer)
The impending truth. (Image taken by eXputer)

Deathbound tells a lot about its lore via environmental design. Every place has a distinct aura of its own, conveying its stories through the remnants of the past. However, I have to say, there wasn’t much enemy variety, and their design was also quite mediocre.

The bosses in the game were also nothing too astounding. It felt as if the bosses were desperately trying to be scary but failed to do so. Despite all that, I liked how Deathbound looked. Each essence was also unique visually and in terms of gameplay.

Every place has a distinct aura of its own, conveying its stories through the remnants of the past

After checking the game’s recommended system requirements, I tried it on my old GTX 1660 with Ultra settings. I expected the game to run without any issues, but that wasn’t the case, as the game stuttered quite a lot and struggled to maintain 60FPS in visually intensive areas.

The visuals. (Image captured by eXputer)
The visuals. (Image captured by eXputer)

I had to lower the graphics quality to High, making the game run smoothly without stuttering. Overall, I think Deathbound is fairly optimized and can run smoothly on mid to high-end GPUs, even at max settings.

Verdict 

The verdict. (Image captured by eXputer)
The verdict. (Image captured by eXputer)

Deathbound is an exceptionally good attempt at the souls-like formula which doesn’t shy away from innovation. The game isn’t as challenging as many other soul-like games, but it repeatedly tries to artificially bump up the difficulty by ambushing the players. The game’s narrative also felt a little weak and uninteresting.

Despite the game’s few flaws, it was a fairly enjoyable experience, and I think that’s all that matters. You wouldn’t feel like you’re playing a Dark Souls clone at any time, except when you’re being ambushed from behind, which will happen quite often.

This concludes my review of Deathbound. While you’re here, consider checking out some of the other reviews:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re a fan of souls-like action RPG genre.
Dont Get This Game
If you dislike challenging action RPGs
Do I Need To Get This Game
Yes, if you like playing souls-like games.
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Fahad is a news reporter at eXputer with a huge passion for fighting games. For the past year, he has been utilizing his skills to report on the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Side by side with his bachelor's in computer science, Fahad has also acquired a certification in English for Journalism from Coursera. Fahad now dedicates all his time to either playing video games or reporting news at eXputer.

Experience: 1+ Years || Covers News Stories at eXputer || Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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