No Place For Bravery – Review
Follow Genre: Hack-n'-slash, Adventure
Developer: Glitch Factory
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested On: PC

No Place For Bravery – Review

Site Score
5.7
Good: Interesting setting, Can pet the dogs
Bad: Sloppy combat
User Score
3.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Gritty games have been around for a very long time. Seeing dark stories about dying worlds with antihero protagonists is nothing new and these stories tend to specialize in one way or another in order to stand out. No Place For Bravery is a recently released game that attempts to do this by focusing its story not on the world, but rather on its characters. Here is how it fares.

Story

No Place For Bravery’s story follows Thorn, an old and grizzled warrior with recurring nightmares of his daughter’s kidnapping. Living in a rotten and decaying world, Thorn spends his days in a lull, tending the tavern he owns. One day, an old companion of his visits the tavern, requesting Thorn’s help visiting one of the old strongholds of their order, where they happen upon the warlock who stole Thorn’s daughter. With his resolve renewed, Thorn once again sets out to find his child, massacring anyone in his way.

Overall, the game’s story is relatively shallow. It takes an approach akin to that of the Souls series, dotting bits and pieces of lore around the world while focusing on a small overall story. That said, this doesn’t work as well as it does in the aforementioned series since Thorn’s obsession leaves little room for developing anything besides his own character.

Graphics

The game’s graphics consist of pixel art with alternating degrees of detail. Characters are exaggerated in their proportions while backgrounds and environments see much more care put into them. This style is relatively memorable and lends itself well to the overall grotesque theme No Place For Bravery goes for. That said, some issues do arise with hitboxes not matching the models 1:1, although the little enemy variety makes this issue relatively negligible after a while.

Sound

No Place For Bravery’s sound design is generally decent, featuring a pretty good “epic” soundtrack alongside serviceable SFX. However, said SFX aren’t flawless either, often not syncing with the actions that trigger them and becoming rather distracting. Besides this, there is little else to remark about the game’s sound design, with little to nothing standing out.

Gameplay

The game’s core gameplay loop is a rather simple hack-n’-slash affair with a top-down view and systems that are borrowed from the Souls series. Said borrowed systems are those of stamina-based combat and a “stance” meter that stuns the player upon zeroing out. This last meter also applies to enemies, with some that need to be stunned with it in order to take damage.

At the player’s disposal, there are also a parry and a short dash, the latter of which only provides invincibility after an upgrade. Parrying enemy attacks will always negate damage, but it will still lower the stance meter as if it were a normal hit. This means players will still get stunned easily, even when parrying. Being stunned in the middle of combat is in most cases as good as dying, especially against multiple enemies, which will constantly deplete the stance bar and keep the player perma-stunned.

Alongside this, players will also be able to utilize items and obtain abilities for the weapons they’ll acquire throughout the story. In order to acquire these abilities, they’ll have to find collectibles scattered throughout the map, before cashing them in at save points. The items players will be able to acquire are also rather varied in use, ranging from healing over time to bombs and traps, although their usefulness is questionable in most cases, especially when playing with a controller due to the inability to properly aim.

Due to how the game handles money, this is also largely superfluous. Although all enemies do drop some amount of coin, the majority of the player’s income will be found in the handful of chests found throughout the world. Regardless of this, there is little to no use for money, with items being easy to find in enemy corpses and shops being surprisingly cheap. That being said, this still does not make the permanent loss of money the game punishes the player with upon death more palatable.

Overall, the game’s combat is poorly balanced, with most battles pitting the player against a small horde of enemies while only providing a barebones three-hit combo. Paired with a stamina meter that depletes with a single combo, players will find themselves mostly hitting and running, instead of engaging in more tactical battles. This is also partly due to the fact that player hits do not stagger enemies, who will simply continue attacking through them.

Some especially annoying enemies are the ranged ones, due to how the game handles them. While dodging projectiles at range is usually easy enough despite the deceptive hitboxes, running close to an enemy in order to kill it makes blocking said projectiles impossible. When having to battle certain monsters capable of shooting volleys, players will often find themselves killed by a point-blank shot they couldn’t dodge.

Another of the game’s failings comes with its bosses, all of which have several phases involving cleaning up smaller enemies while slowly whittling down the boss’ health. The health pool of said bosses is usually rather large and is only significantly affected while they’re stunned. Unluckily, even stunning a boss is rather ineffective, the debuff’s duration is not even a full second. While the game provides players with a slew of difficulty options, anything past normal just turns the game into a slog, upping enemy health and damage, instead of adding any real complexity.

Conclusion

No Place For Bravery is a game with an interesting setting held down by its mediocre combat and lack of other gameplay elements besides it. Exploring the world is a pointless task other than obtaining the weapon abilities, as it only features a series of battles that can just be run past. While the game might remind some of Hyper Light Drifter or other similar games, this is a much less polished experience that leaves a lot to be desired. Sold for $/€19,99/£17.99, the asking price for the game’s 8 or so hours of lackluster content is questionable, making it only worth it when on sale; if at all.

Personal Opinion

“My experience with No Place For Bravery was a rather drab one. There is little enjoyment to find in a game with an unpolished combat system if all it does is throw combat at you. While there are some “puzzles” in dungeons, those quotes are not just for the sake of being pedantic, but rather because they literally consist of “hit this with a sword, this with a hammer, this with a crossbow”. Besides those puzzles, the most complex thing the game throws at you are the small platforming sections, where you have to dash between platforms in a clunky fashion. Funnily enough, most gripes with the combat get rapidly dealt with once the crossbow is introduced. Not really because they get fixed, but rather because said weapon provides the players with the ability to sit in the back and kill anything without having to engage with the dodge or parrying systems. Other than the handful of enemies against which said weapon is effective, the latter part of the game becomes a cakewalk, with all fights being trivialized.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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No Place For Bravery - Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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