So you like shooters, right? You also like Megadeath? Then surely NeverDead is the game for you? Add to that the studio that makes the MGS series and you have a winner. The problem is, sadly, it is not as cool as it sounds. There are a few great points about this game but there is also a lot of frustration to be had. The basic idea is that you’re an immortal demon hunter, you never die in this game but your limbs can be cut, blown or hacked off and you need to roll around to attach them again and continue on a wild killing spree. The problem comes in the very aspect of the game that is novel. This is, however, a pretty game to look at and the sound track is a banging rock anthem composed by Megadeath.
You are Bryce Boltzmann who is a demon hunter. In a twist, he has been cursed with immortality by the demon king know as Astaroth. All this happened because Astaroth killed Bryce’s wife and blinded him in one eye for good measure. It’s weird why the demon king would give the guy that’s trying to kill you immortal life. Anyway, come forward five centuries (Yup) and we catch up with what is now an alcoholic, grizzled old man with a serious issue for bad language.
The soul reason Bryce exists is for revenge and cash and the agency he works for sends him out on missions to kill demons, there is also a side-kick in the form of a very shapely Miss Arcadia Maximille. She is human and will die so it’s your job to protect her. Her main role during the game is to be eye candy and pretty much get in the way. The AI here is not so hot. The kicker in this game is the ability to lose your limbs and then roll around collecting them to continue fighting. Actually, the only way to die is to get your head eaten and then you can even get out of the belly by hitting the square button at the right point. Never has the title of a game been so perfect for it.
Bryce has a collection of guns to shoot and a sword to wield. He can dual wield two guns and then switch between different combinations and the sword. The controls system is your standard FPS one apart from when you need to use your sword. You have to hold L1 then use the right analogue stick to slice your foes dead. This takes a while to get used to, but after a bit of practise it’s ok. It is, however, a little bit uncomfortable. You also have the option of losing your arms and still being able to shoot your guns. Now, this is a cool thing to do as it provides a distraction while you roll around assembling yourself. Your head is also used in most of the puzzles to roll around in air vents and open doors or hit switches which adds some variety to the gameplay.
The main gameplay aspect is a bit repetitive as you walk into an area lots of enemies come at you and you just shoot them dead while protecting your side kick and getting your limbs torn apart. I say torn, but what I really mean to say is that a slight touch by an enemy and your appendages go bye bye. I like the fact that when you lose your limbs yellow icons tell your their locations. When you go behind walls or your view is obstructed then a white outline is seen around you, this is another good touch as most of the time a lot is going on in the screen. There are also lots of exploding cylinders that are hidden away. Yes, the explosions are cool, but you have to roll around again.
The graphics are nice enough and some of the scenery is pretty cool to look at. This is no RAGE but it’s no slouch either. I had an issue with the camera as well as most of the time it was at the wrong angle to see the demon your hitting and you have to keep turning around. The lock on feature is also a bit off and you see bullets hitting the enemy but there is no effect even after a lot of hits. It’s also worth mentioning that the environment is destructible, so if you hit a wall with your sword then it will fall on enemies this add another level in killing. The problem with the limb system is that when your head gets knocked off its hard to get back on, it’s simple enough to find your body, but once you do and you stand up you get sliced again and this can get frustrating as you can’t get a shot off. There are also huge boss battles but these sadly are pretty much the same as you just aim for the weak point until they change shape then hit the weak point again. Not much fun over and over.
The dialogue between Bryce and Arcadia is sadly also very one dimensional and slightly sexist. Yes, it’s funny at times, but I fear most gamers will not really give a damn about the talking and skip it. The voice acting is fine, but could be better. The issue is that Bryce has a few one line voice samples that he keeps saying while you’re collecting your limbs and this does get annoying. There is no real feeling in the writing and this plays out in the game as you don’t really care what happens to Bryce and after a while it becomes very blah. There are power ups and experience points to gain which give you additional powers, like running, harder hitting, more powerful bullets, but these need to be assigned to a slot and you run out of them soon. There is also a multi-player option where you co-op to take our hoards of demons, but I don’t think you will like it.
Overall, NeverDead is not a horrible game, but it’s not a great one either, sadly. Its mediocre at best, an idea that could have been implemented in much better ways but ultimately was not. The music is pretty much the best part of the game and that’s sad from the studio the game was developed by. There are some good points but the bad points outweigh it by a lot. The shooting and slicing is fun to begin with, but after a while you are left wondering what’s next? The answer is nothing. The limb chasing is also fun the first few times but after the hundreth time you’re rolling around a head you want to stop playing. This could have been much better.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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