No Place For Bravery review: A 2D top-down action RPG with no Thorns sticking out
No Place For Bravery is a 2D top-down action RPG developed by Glitch Factory and published by Ysbryd Games. Players take control of an old soul, Thorn. He's been worn down by decades of bloodshed and violence and roams a world undone in search of his lost daughter.
Although he's never stopped searching, his failure to protect her haunts his dreams and has manifested his demons in more ways than one. However, being the warrior that he is, he stays true to his patch and as luck would have it, fate presents itself when least expected.
No Place For Bravery: No Thorns sticking out of this
When I first got wind of No Place For Bravery, the thing that blew me away the most was the decapitation animation. For a 2D game, seeing a character with a sword cinematically beheading a monster was enough to get me going.
First, the tone and pacing of the game focused on combat. The protagonist had to deal with foul beings and face his own nightmare. I had imagined the game having this red hue through and through. Fast forward to a couple of hours in the game, I found myself being carried by the storyline and the characters that populate the world.
What started as a bloody nightmare soon transformed into a colorful world with places to go, people to meet, and quests to undertake. In short, while the combat and brutality of the world is the first thing that players get to witness, that's not the core of No Place For Bravery.
The Dewr in all it's beauty and brutality
The world of No Place For Bravery takes the cake when it comes to gameplay. For a 2D setting, there's a lot to see and explore. From Ossuary and Thorn's Tavern to the lustrous beast-infested Dwarven Mines, there's something for everyone. The tiny details put into the game make things all the more appreciative.
What makes this even better is that the world is not static. Players can interact with a host of characters. While not all of them are memorable, they are most certainly chatty.
Some sell items, others are mere storytellers in the big open world. For those who are fond of canines, they can also pet lovable doggos that can be found in the Ossuary.
To help players navigate the wide open world, a map is available if they so need it. However, if you ask me, ditch the map and explore every nook and cranny of every segment in every area in-game. It's worth the effort and will be rewarding in the long run.
Combat is simple yet effective
When it comes to combat in No Place For Bravery, while I must admit that it got me hooked on the game, at times it can get frustrating. Even while playing on the lowest difficulty, failure to block incoming arrows can lead to Thorn's demise.
Thankfully, after a bit of practice, blocking those pesky projectiles became easy. In time, rather than taking damage from incoming arrows, I learned to use them to my advantage.
By placing enemies in the line of fire and blocking their attacks with a shield, it's possible to kill them in the crossfire. This is great for combat as Thorn can conserve stamina and focus on more immediate threats.
Aside from the sword, Thorn gets access to a number of weapons over the course of the game. He can throw a number of items such as explosive potels, knives, and even lay down traps when needed.
However, as mentioned, players will really have to explore to find and unlock these items during the gameplay. The same goes for certain skills. Unlike other RPGs that focus on level progression, there is none here. Anything that can make Thorn better at slaying foes has to be found in the open world.
That being said, using certain skills on platforms may cause Thorn to fall off them and sustain damage. Nevertheless, with a bit of careful planning and positioning, this issue can easily be overcome for the most part.
Lore and character-building
No Place For Bravery already makes headway when it comes to esthetics and world-building, but the icing on the cake is the lore and character-builder that's at play.
While exploring the world, players will get a chance to find books that will help them understand exactly what is transpiring in-game. The glossary is their best friend and provides information on nearly everything there is to know about the world, its past and present.
It also provides information on enemy types, character backstory, and items found in-game. When in doubt, the glossary can always be used to help connect the dots and get a better understanding of things.
First impressions and gameplay
I would be lying if I said that I didn't think this was going to be a horror-themed game at the start. One moment I'm hunting with my daughter, the next having to mow down monsters who look like typical undead zombies.
The red hues that adorned the screen backed up this theory even further, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Once the prologue was done and the nightmare had ended, I was awakened to a world brimming with life, color, and opportunities.
While I would love to talk about the story, this is one that's best experienced firsthand. Although things start off slow, the pacing is beautifully done. It gives players a lot of time to take on everything the world has to offer.
Speaking of which, I would highly recommend exploration as it's very rewarding. Whenever something is added to the glossary, reading it would be wise. Understanding the "what" and "why" of No Place For Bravery will help improve the gaming experience manifold.
Although it's not necessary to become a bookworm and read everything, as mentioned, it helps to appreciate the world better. Gives a lot of insight into locations, settings, and who's who; which at times will be required given that Thorn has to make certain decisions along the way.
That being said, I would suggest first-time players to go with the story mode level of difficulty in No Place For Bravery. The storyline and world are too beautiful to have combat become the sole focus. Perhaps in the second run-through, players can put Thorn's combat skills to the test.
On that note, combat feels amazing. With a plethora of items at Thron's disposal, disposing of enemies is an easy task. Even without unlocking skills, things still feel very balanced for the most part. Even taking on bosses is just a matter of identifying their attacking pattern and striking when an opening presents itself.
No Place For Bravery, provided by Ysbryd Games, was played on the system with the following configuration:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- GPU: RTX 3070 8GB
- RAM: 32 GB
Personally, the game works like a charm. Given the humble specifications needed to run it, I doubt anyone will face issues during gameplay. There were no noticeable glitches, stuttering, or lagging. Loading from one area to the next was seamless as well. Overall, it runs perfectly, just as intended.
My time spent in No Place For Bravery was a relaxing getaway from the mundanes of life. Despite being a 2D game, it has so much to offer and see. In this lived-in world, the characters that populate it, and the storyline that binds everything together, there's never a dull moment.
Even having to run all the way from one area to the next feels like an adventure. Since each area is short yet entertaining, having to move about so much is a welcome change. The only issue I faced was with a skill that created some problems in areas that had pitfalls.
For example, the skill known as Lucia's Bite is excellent for cleaving opponents in half. The only downside is that it can even toss Thorn off the edge of platforms. Given that he usually cannot run off the edge, this isn't very pleasant. However, this is but one minor issue I encountered throughout my gameplay.
Other than this, there's nothing else to critique. The pacing is good, the storyline solid, the character's vibrant, and each area looks and feels unique. That being said, No Place For Bravery is a brilliant game in its genre. It would seem that the time taken to develop it has been well spent and utilized.
Reviewed on: PC (Review code provided by Ysbryd Games)
Platform: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Glitch Factory
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Release: September 22, 2022