No Place for Bravery Review: Sekiro-inspired action RPG with unfair combat

Red is the color associated with the most intense emotions – passion, violence, pain. It also happens to be a shade There is no room for courage he often recalls in his bloodiest and most pivotal scenes. Thorn, his harsh hero, is often flooded with pools of blood and disembodied corpses, and his blade is smeared with the insides of enemies. But such vignettes are interspersed with views of the game’s brilliant graphics environments, its overgrown emerald forests and dilapidated rust-colored ruins, teeming with vivid detail and pristine textures. Once in a few scenes, you can even stumble upon some really impressive sights, such as the bone-dry carcass of a giant dragon whose remains tower over the tiny form of a Thorn.

That said, even breathtaking beauty can’t distract from boredom There is no room for courageAn action RPG that stuffs its hapless tale of revenge and redemption with long bouts of relentless, arduous combat.

As a battle-hardened ex-soldier and father named Thorn, a quiet, idyllic moment with your daughter hunting together in the forest was interrupted when the wizard pushed her with a snap of his fingers. Ten years later, you found the footsteps of the same wizard and thus began your fierce pursuit of her captor.

Photo: Glitch Factory / Ysbryd Games

There is a thread of sincerity here There is no room for courage it sometimes wobbles when you twist your bowels; I can’t imagine it would be easy to move on when it comes to losing my own child. But just as he tries to be taken seriously in his considerations about fatherhood, There is no room for courage he also delights in the violence and severity of his battles. Most of the time here you’ll hack and slash waves of demons and humans, reducing them to fleshy sacks of meat during the slaughter. You will spend hours marinating in the reflexive routine of killing, evading, guarding, parrying, and executing. The coins can then be snatched from their bodies, which can then be used to buy potions and small weapons. You can also exchange these coins for skill points to unlock more skills with which to better crush the hapless inhabitants of this world.

However, most fights are terribly punished, even bordering on injustice. stab off There is no room for courageFor example, goblin-like creatures may appear superficial, but these devils usually flock in crowds and are usually accompanied by a bunch of crossbowed creatures that throw arrows at you, even from beyond the boundaries of your screen. Developer Glitch Factory seems to have drawn the wrong conclusions from the work of Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, a whole genre of games that thrives in challenging combat but still remains technically fair. (There is no room for courageThe Steam site claims to have “brutal 2D combat in the Sekiro style.”)

Enemy projectiles sometimes pass through walls, making dodging them quite a challenge. The gaps between floating platforms can be difficult to bridge as the game requires precision in the way you traverse these environments; one inaccurate move will plunge you into the chasm below. Moreover, save points are rare and scattered across the map, and your efforts will be erased if you succumb to death before reaching the next one. They evoke old fashioned rigor that is more frustrating than inspired.

The hero of Thorn cuts off the head of a blood corpse in No Place for Bravery

Photo: Glitch Factory / Ysbryd Games

Lastly, there’s an elaborate targeting system in the game that will often block your opponent off-screen when you’re trying to sniper them with your arbalests. The camera wobbles between Thorn and its target for a few precious seconds, as if she wasn’t sure who to turn to. It is a recipe for disaster as hordes of monsters wander towards you, bows and thick swords in hand, and you cannot even see yourself on the screen.

The most interesting in the game, however, is the necessity to perform gruesome executions. Thorn can perform complicated beheading of his enemies while they are incapacitated, but if your bloodlust is still not satisfied the game sometimes gives you a few seconds – a short window of opportunity – to tear their corpses apart with your sword, the camera looks uncomfortably close to their pixelated guts. As far as I know, this traffic does not provide additional resources; it’s just an attempt at nervous reflexes, as well as a display of Thorn’s appetite for brutality.

This is not to say that I do not see any point in all this violence. Somewhere in these relentless, blood-drenched battles, there is surely a statement about the stark contrast between Thorn’s instincts as an evil father figure and the feeling that he is actually getting some twisted pleasure out of slaughtering his enemies to mush. The inner tug of war that he experiences between the desire to save his child and the great schadenfreude after the deaths of the enemies he kills is palpable.

But that statement becomes all the more empty the longer the game drags on, considering how grim, frustrating, and protracted these fights are. Ending a series of difficult skirmishes only brings empty relief, not a feeling of a hard-earned achievement. The characters are barely polished, and the villagers and soldiers alike redo the recycled dialogue checklist as you talk to them. And when you finally meet the wizard, they are somehow ambiguous but immensely concerned, only muttering the variations “No, it’s too early!” after random materialization right in front of you. Such moments (and there are more than a few) make very little narrative sense.

The main character of Thorn looks at the silo structure in the landscape of No Place for Bravery

Photo: Glitch Factory / Ysbryd Games

Perhaps the most blatant choice is the frequent suggestion to back off your murders. At several climatic turning points of the game, There is no room for courage also offers the option – a couple of times – to simply give up on the quest for revenge and return to gray life as a tavern owner, which will suddenly end the game. It takes halfway There is no room for courage for the story to take a more interesting twist, weaving the scenes with a much-needed change of pace, implying that Thorn isn’t all it seems – that is, if you’ve made it this far at all.

What surprised me the most There is no room for courage it is his desire to rise above the primitive manifestations of cruelty, despite his fixation on his own violence. Glitch Factory seems to be reaching for something sublime than violence for the sake of violence, creating a game that is more than just smashing skulls with a giant hammer or tapping a knocked down enemy as he vomits out of his lungs. This can be seen in the sepia bits of monologues and the lengthy conversations Thorn has about his decision to embark on this expedition. But in the end, everything to keep in mind There is no room for courage he is red from all his murderous skirmishes – Bleeding Thorn committed the brutalization of his enemies, the insurmountable pain of his cheap, repeated deaths, and the immense frustration that the game never reached its full potential.

There is no room for courage will be released on September 22nd for Windows PC and Nintendo Switch. The game was reviewed on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Ysbryd Games. Vox Media has affiliate companies. They do not affect the editorial content, although Vox Media may receive commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find more information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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