Bound, from Plastic and Santa Monica Studios, danced its way onto the PlayStation 4 back in August so why are we reviewing now you may ask. Well, the game recently received an update that enables the use of the PlayStation VR, and having tried it we think it is the definitive way to experience this amazingly beautiful game.
There’s a reason why you may be unaware of exactly what Bound is and that is because it is best both experienced and explored at your own pace without any preconceptions or spoilers. Now I realise that this is probably not what you want to read when looking at a review, but it’s for your own good. I will say, however, that it is a game that will resonate and connect with a lot of people at a personal level.
In Bound you control the Princess; she’s a masked contemporary ballet dancer and you guide her through a unique platforming world full of disjointed shapes and surreal colours. The transitions between chapters see you inside a memory, where the fragmented images swirl around you like shards of shattered glass. If you walk around these shards they move and align so that you can have a clear picture of the memory that you are in.
Once you have finished the game you will open up a speed run mode. This gives you the chance to speed run your way through the chapters as fast as possible. You can also opt to pirouette your way back into the game again. If you take different paths and play the chapters in a different order you will interpret the story and the events in a completely different way. Plastic have confirmed that there are 120 variations in which the game can be completed so you’ll be experiencing something new each time you play it for a long time.
The camera stays close to the princess, following her every move when you play it on the PS4 in 2D, but when you put on the PSVR headset you become part of the game. It is in Plastic’s virtual world that you finally witness the spectacular visuals and believe me they are a wonder to behold. This world is fully opened up so you can look around 360 degrees and visualise in 3D. A great example of this is when you are playing in 2D you can hear the monster and maybe get a glimpse of its shadow, but in VR you can look behind you and actually see it. There is no feeling of motion sickness either, thanks to the clever way in which the game keeps you in a static position; you can look around, but you don’t move until you move the right thumbstick. This movements mimics blinking as it momentarily makes the screen go black and moves you closer to the Princess. Accompanying this visual delight is a beautiful soundtrack to match. Classical ballet piano combines with electro acoustic to give Bound an almost operatic sense of grandeur.
The controls are really intuitive with a dedicated run button as well as a dance button. This dance button also works with the other face buttons to let you perform different dance moves. One move, which isn’t really explained but is needed to help your exploration, is the long jump. To do this you hold the run button, press roll and, as soon as you start to roll, press jump.
There is a platinum trophy up for grabs, but a quick look at some popular trophy tracking sites will tell you it’s not an easy one. There are trophies for collecting memories, beating speed run times, speed running the game in under fifty minutes, finding hidden islands, completing the game without dying and using the Photo Mode. Such is the charm of Bound that even after a number of playthroughs I realised that I wasn’t concerned about the trophies which, for a self-confessed trophy hunter, really speaks volumes.
In Bound, Plastic has created an experience that is altogether elegant, beautiful, graceful and amazing. The PSVR is not even two weeks old and I think we might have already found our Game of the Year. It is truly stunning; if you have it in your gaming library you owe it to yourself to buy a PlayStation VR to experience it. Likewise if you already own a PSVR you need Bound.
NelMaNo Rating – 9/10
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