6.0 Overall Score
Gameplay: 4/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10

Nice visuals | Destructible environments | Fantastic designs

Unlikable characters | Poor weapon targeting | Sometimes frustrating combat

Game Info

GAME NAME: Neverdead

DEVELOPER(S): Rebellion


PLATFORM(S): PS3/X-Box 360

GENRE(S): Action/Shooter

RELEASE DATE(S): Jan 31, 2012

There’s a big problem with Neverdead.  And it’s not entirely its fault.  But first, how about a little back story.  In Neverdead you play as Bryce Boltzmann, a human being cursed with immortality as punishment for trying to destroy the demon god Astaroth five centuries ago.  He’s accompanied by his fellow demon hunter agency vixen named Arcadia Maximille and together they investigate and eradicate any household demon problems that might arise.  It’s kind of like Ghostbusters, but with 100% less Bill Murray and 100% more limb dismemberment.  Yes, be prepared to have your limbs hewn from your body as well as your head, thanks to Bryce’s condition.  And on paper this probably sounds like the coolest idea ever, but in execution it’s not. More on that later.

Neverdead follows the recent trend of East and West game co-development, being developed by UK-based Rebellion and directed by Shinta Nojiri, a man who has been heavily involved with the Metal Gear Solid series since its Gameboy Color side-story.  After playing Neverdead I found myself wondering if such pairings were beneficial or detrimental to game design.  Graphically, Neverdead won’t win any awards, but it does earn a few high marks thanks to its environment destructibility and character and enemy design.  Whoever thought to design an enemy that looks like an upright guillotine blade with legs deserves a pat on the back, and Bryce and Arcadia have equally appealing designs and are rendered with some nice detail- environments, too.  It’s just a shame that the gameplay falters so much.

Bryce has two different methods of combat in the form of long range gun attacks and close quarters sword attacks. Except, Bryce is so badass the doesn’t have a regular sword, he has a two-handed butterfly blade, which is exactly like a butterfly knife except much larger in size.  For guns, you only start out with dual-wielded pistols, but eventually end up with SMGs, assault rifles, shotguns, and eventually dual-wielded grenade launchers.  Sadly, for more than half of the game you’re stuck with the underpowered pistols and SMGs.  Bryce also has tons of abilities to unlock using experience points from defeating enemies, gathering experience orbs and collectibles, but again for most of the game you’re stuck with the lower level enhancements.  At least the game offers incentives to exploration of the stages with said orbs.  And there are many ways to explore with destructible walls that can reveal hidden paths and voluntarily ripping off your own head can allow you to reach destinations Katamari Damacy style, but be prepared to hear lame one-liners while rolling around.  Also be prepared for some outright frustrating fights, since the slightest touch can cause both arms to fall off, which then requires you to roll over them to pick them back up only to have them knocked off again immediately afterwards.  A longer period of invulnerability would have been alleviated much tedium, so consider yourself warned.

The story element in Neverdead is just plain weak.  It doesn’t help that all of the characters are unlikable.  Bryce is an arrogant jackass who is constantly making lame jokes and Arcadia is no better with her “Oh Bryce, I’ll just shoot you because I don’t like what you said” attitude.  Did I mention that you get to escort her for over half of the game?  Well, you do, but for the most part she can handle herself in a fight and reviving her only takes a quick button press.  It’s not until the last hour of the game that the characters begin to show some genuine emotion, but by that time it’s too late to care and then the credits roll.  The voice acting is good, featuring many anime and video game regulars who try to make the best with what they’ve been given.  And the music is mostly just your average cheese-metal, which is surprising considering Megadeath contributed much of the soundtrack.

There are a few extra reasons to continue playing after you’ve seen all there is in the single-player portion.  There are around a dozen online co-op challenges that are playable with up to three other players, some of them competitive.  Good luck finding online partners since I’m pretty sure only ten people bought this game.  It took me almost a month to find a single partner and after I did he immediately added me as a PSN friend and informed his fellow Neverdead friends to add me as well.  You carry any experience you earn back to the single-player campaign and I eventually played through about half the co-op portion before losing interest. Still, it was a decent distraction.  I’m of the mind that any co-op is good co-op, be it hastily added or originally designed with it from the get-go.

Okay, so about that major problem with Neverdead.  Well, here it is: Neverdead is not Devil May Cry.  And that’s its biggest problem.  I went into the game expecting lightning fast sword fights mixed with auto-targeting firearms ala Dante, and instead I got imprecise aiming shoot-outs with underpowered guns and choppy swordplay, since swinging your sword requires you to put your guns away, hold the left trigger to ready your sword, and swing it with the right analog stick.   Although it is satisfying to see your enemies being sliced into whichever half you were aiming for and if the developers would have made the guns as equally powerful I’d recommend this game more.  So at the end of the day, you’re left disappointed by the unlikable characters, weak firearms, iffy targeting, and sometimes downright frustrating combat.  Action fans that are interested should give it a rental first, the rest of them should go pre-order the next Devil May Cry.



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Author: e-z-e View all posts by
Lactose tolerant.