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Rain, rain, rain, rain. No wonder there is a flood

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    sirchovus
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    The Flame in the Flood

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Rain, rain, rain, rain. No wonder there is a flood

    The Flame in the Flood, for Xbox one

    Rating: 6.0/10; Above average

    Worth playing for survival fans, though others may want to pass.

    The Flame in the Flood is a survival game played from a third person perspective in which you must travel down a river while stopping at randomly generated land areas to hunt and scavenge. Along the way, you must manage 6 different meters. The first (and most likely to get you killed) is the durability of your raft. It goes down by crashing the raft into things, and it can be difficult to not crash when you are in rapids. There is a pretty strong risk vs reward in the game about whether or not it is worth trying to get to areas inside rapids. In order to keep the raft repaired you must use supplies at a marina. There is no other way to repair it, so if you randomly do not get a marina for a long time you may be in trouble. A field repair kit that is less efficient than the marina but which can be used anywhere would have been useful.

    The second meter is hunger. Some food can be found as loot, though you will have to resort to killing animals for their meat. A very cool feature is the fact that most animals are hostile to each other, so you can get free food by luring animals into other animals. Otherwise, you have to expend resources on traps, arrows or poisoned bait. Most food spoils after some time, forcing you to try and ration it to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, the game keeps track of which piece of meat in a stack will spoil when, but you cannot. You will inevitably end up losing meat that a real person would not because there is no way to label, separate or otherwise identify which meat is which.

    The third meter is thirst, and it is ridiculously easy to manage. As long as you have a jar, you can drink rain water rather than fool around with purifying polluted river water. On the subject of rain, it rains extremely often in this game. Near the end of the game, it literally rained every single day, and sometimes for several hours on end per day. While this is good for thirst, it is extremely annoying otherwise because rain prevents the use of torches to ward off hostile animals and makes it extremely difficult to see hazards at night. Good thing you can build upgrades to the raft, such as a place to sleep through the rain.

    The fourth meter is temperature and it is closely related to rain. The temperature decreases as the game goes on, so you must upgrade your armor using hides from stronger animals. Being wet provides a penalty such that even with the best armor you can only last so long while wet. The wet effect starts as soon as the rain starts and does not take into consideration how long you were in the rain; again this is annoying. Temperature is restored by sleeping in shelter or making a fire. One of the worst things about the game is how difficult it is to make a fire. You need lumber, tinder and flint to make a fire, all of which are specific items that can be found as loot. This is completely ignoring the fact that most areas have plenty of plant life and trees which you could theoretically burn, but not in this game. Also, the flint is consumed when making the fire. Oh and flint is used to make arrows, but you cannot recover arrows or arrow heads. This all ends up making the game more difficult than it needs to be, by promoting gaminess over realism.

    The last meter is your health. There are a variety of ailments you can get, some of which are minor and will heal with time, while others require an item for treatment or you risk death. Hazards are generally visible so you can avoid them (though there is no way to see behind tall buildings), so most injuries will likely come from hostile animals. These animals are often the limiting factor as to whether or not you can fully explore and loot an area. No matter what you do, dealing with animals requires resources, and when you have a pack of wolves camping just outside the docking area you have to make a careful judgement call as to whether or not they are worth fighting.

    Overall, the game was an entertaining experience though I would not want to play it again. The game has too many absurd features that are unrealistic, though once you figure out how the game works, it is not too hard.

    Pro

    • random area and loot gives new experience each time
    • ailments and injuries that require specific first aid/treatment
    • ailments and injuries specifically show if/when they will be cured, and what new ailment it will progress to if not cured in time
    • progression with upgrading raft and clothing
    • crafting system is simple, clearly showing what you can make and what you need
    • can lure animals to kill each other
    • consumable items show exactly how they will affect you, down to specific numbers
    • land areas describe what loot/supplies you will likely find there
    • optional higher difficulty setting
    • endless mode for good replay
    • hostile animals are somewhat reluctant to attack and seem to behave somewhat realistically, making it unlikely to die from them unless you deliberately stick around and try to deal with them without using resources

    Con

    • minimal story and dialogue
    • no way to repair raft outside of marina
    • checkpoint saves (which are very far apart)
    • no manual save or save and quit option. Not apparent when it is safe to stop playing as the non-checkpoint saves do not show in the interface
    • dog does not help fight animals
    • fire is too hard to make, relying entirely on random loot
    • knives and hammers have durability, and you cannot scavenge parts when they break
    • flint, rope and saplings are single use; can’t salvage used traps or arrows
    • bug with torch. My first torched burned out but was never destroyed and continued to function for the rest of the game
    • dandelions give +1 food, but they are not labelled as such (unlike all other foods)
    • protagonist has terrible face graphics
    • no workshop upgrade for raft
    • no map for land areas
    • slot based inventory with no regard for weight or bulk
    • no option to sleep until X. Would have been useful to be able to ¡°sleep until dawn¡±, ¡°sleep until rain stops¡± and ¡°sleep until fully rested/warm¡±
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