Frozen Flame Early Access PC Review

A survival RPG with great potential, but terrible early game hours and more than a few technical issues along the way.

By LCLupus, Posted 18 Nov 2022

Frozen Flame is the first game by Dreamside Interactive. It is an open-world, survival RPG with a crafting/construction system and it has the capability to allow up to 50 players at once in one of its modes. However, that mode is not yet available because this game is in Early Access. For this reason, the game should be considered unfinished, and it will be treated as such in this review. Furthermore, this review will focus on the game from a single-player perspective.

Right from the beginning, Frozen Flame commits a bit of a sin. It does this from the moment you start a new game, because while RPGs are typically based around the idea of starting comparatively weak and becoming very powerful, a game generally wants to start you off with a good hook. There should be something that encourages you early on, but this game has an issue there. You may spend the first few hours bored because the game isn’t great at explaining itself and because it makes you intentionally unskilled.


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You get dropped into a world with no real direction and must just figure it out. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and if you’re into survival games then this is what you may already expect, but there are a few things that hold Frozen Flame back with regards to this. Nothing is particularly explained. You may receive short notes on how to build things, but the game doesn’t offer you any explanations of the system around that building system. For instance, you’re told to construct buildings, but you’re not told that some places will seemingly make your structures deteriorate at an extreme rate. You could build something, and thirty minutes later, it breaks on its own unless you repair it.

This is the kind of thing that tends to get addressed at some point during development, and so, sometime after this review is published, Frozen Flame may fix this issue. It may better explain why some areas don’t destroy your structures and why some do. To make matters worse, the game also has rapidly deteriorating weapons. Hopefully, they also fix the issue that is the incredibly grindy resource gathering mechanics. In most survival games, you can accumulate building materials relatively quickly and build your first structure.

However, in Frozen Flame, you instead receive such tiny amounts of resources for practically everything that you end up being forced to go back and forth multiple times to build the smallest house. It also doesn’t help that your maximum carrying capacity is ludicrously tiny, and you may end up realizing that the clothing your character wears is adding a considerable amount of weight, so you decide to ditch all the clothing and armor, intentionally making yourself more vulnerable in the process, so that you have more space for gathering twigs and rocks.


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There are upgrades for these problems, but that is just another problem. As already mentioned, Frozen Flame commits the sin of making you too weak in the beginning. So, they lock so many things behind upgrade levels. You gain levels the usual way, like killing enemies, completing quests, foraging, etc, and then use upgrade points. It’s very ordinary RPG kind of stuff, but many of these upgrades would have been nice right in the beginning, but a sensible carrying capacity is instead locked behind experience points.

To make matters worse, Frozen Flame has a poor combat system. The combat system feels as if it is built around a lock-on system, like you’d find in a Dark Souls game, but instead you don’t get any option for lock-on. You mostly run around and whack the enemy till they fall down. There is a dodge mechanic, but it’s inexplicably tied to the block. So, you have to hold down the block button to be able to reliably dodge. This also means that, as blocking slows you down, it’s difficult to play aggressively.

You instead mostly flounder towards your enemy and smack them while occasionally trying to dodge, but because the dodge sometimes works without holding the block, basically when you’re close to an enemy and have been fighting for a while, you may end up trying to use the dodge without the block, but this just causes you to jump. It’s very annoying. It simply doesn’t make sense that there isn’t a dedicated dodge button. There’s no need to overcomplicate it in this way, but this is what Frozen Flame does.


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Frozen Flame is a game with potential though. Once you get the hang of the combat, it isn’t too bad. It’s very clunky and it could be much better, but when caught in the thick of several enemies at once, as you switch between different weapons to best fight off your enemies, it all works. But then it’ll suddenly break again because, for no reason, the attack button doesn’t work anymore.

Here it’s best to blame the fact that Frozen Flame is still in development. The game constantly stutters to the point of unplayability, where the frame rate drops to single digits for several seconds at a time, and this can happen in the middle of combat. In fact, it’s more likely to happen in combat than while simply exploring the world. Then there’s the clicking issue. Sometimes, you can’t hit someone because your stamina is too low, but sometimes your stamina will be full, and the button refuses to work anyway.

Speaking of stamina, Frozen Flame has a terrible stamina system. Different weapons take vastly different amounts of stamina to use, and it often doesn’t make sense. For instance, a big sword is harder to swing than a smaller sword. That makes sense, but the magical staff takes huge amounts of stamina. You may argue that this is a substitute for the lack of a mana bar, but it also means that every weapon can only be used two to three times before you have to back away. Although, once again, the stamina can be upgraded. It isn’t a great idea to make your character so useless early on, because if you’re forced to invest four to six hours in a game before it gets good, then you’re going to lose people.


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Now, if you can handle several early hours of bad combat, terrible stamina, meandering exploration, grindy resource gathering, unexplained building mechanics, and rapidly deteriorating weapons, then maybe you may enjoy Frozen Flame. However, that is a tough sell, but to try and encourage people to get through the boring early hours, the game does open up a lot about six or so hours in.

You gain more options in terms of what you can build, what you can fight, how you can traverse the world, and the combat simply gets better because your upgrades reduce the stamina problems and add additional aspects to fighting in general, like special attacks or healing spells. So, Frozen Flame is not a bad game, but it has a very bad early game. It also doesn’t help that the quests are setup like MMO quests.

You mostly go from one place to the next, retrieving something, and then repeating. There are no interesting characters, no plot worth focusing on, and while the world is quite pretty, in a cartoony way, it never really offers any reason to keep playing. If you need motivation outside of the central gameplay loop, then Frozen Flame is not for you.



 

You mostly get thrown into a big world, and it does expand quite nicely after the early hours, but you essentially meander around the world, gathering resources, building things, crafting other things, and fighting against enemies with bad AI that can be defeated by walking away from them and dodging every now and then.

But, if you want a game that can keep you occupied for very many hours, and also a game that you can play with your friends, as different modes allow different numbers of players to join in, then Frozen Flame may be the game for you. It is rough around the edges, and it will probably remain like that for some time, but it does have potential, and it could turn into something great, but it depends on whether or not you’re willing to stick around while the developers continue work on the game.
 

Justin van Huyssteen (@LC_Lupus)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Frozen Flame

75/100

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Ravenage Games, 2P Games
Developer(s): Dreamside Interactive
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Survival
Release Date: 2022-11-17

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