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whatshot NeverDead PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
NeverDead
Reviewed by
Jamie Kirk
on
NeverDead PS3 Review. NeverDead could have been something interesting. Instead it squanders this with poor design and a story that is hard to care about.
Rating:
2.0

Gameplay 3.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 4.0
Value 3.0
Distributor: Mindscape
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
Feb 2012
Reviewer:
Jamie Kirk

4.0


NeverDead

NeverDead is a game with a couple of interesting ideas at its centre. Its main hook is that the protagonist Bryce Boltzman is immortal. He cannot die, but he can be dismembered, which can be used to his advantage. Back this with a different sort of art style, a metal soundtrack and you have the foundation for a pretty cool game right? Wrong. The ideas of NeverDead are the ones that make it an awful game to play. 

Let’s start with the story. Bryce lost his wife to a demon king, and was cursed with immortality. Cut to a couple of hundred years later, Bryce is the definition of “anti-hero”. He drinks, he cracks wise, he hunts demons for revenge and he smokes cigarettes. He works with his partner Arcadia, and they investigate demonic invasions. Arcadia hunts demons, but does so in ridiculous attire where her bra pops out her top and she has thigh high porn star boots. Together they banter their way through a ten hour campaign that feels more like a relief when it’s over than an accomplishment. The garbage that these characters spout is rarely funny, and often doesn’t even make sense. In the cut scenes it’s tolerable, as it only has to be experienced once. During gameplay is a different story. Listening to Arcadia say “Ewww Gross” over and over, followed by Bryce saying things like  “I hope this doesn’t mess up my hair” is incredibly tedious. 

As mentioned before the central conceit of the game is that Bryce can be dismembered. What sounds like an interesting idea is squandered within the first level. There is no consistency to the dismemberment. This means that every three to four minutes Bryce will be hit by an enemy, randomly explode into bits and his head will have to be rolled onto his body. What’s even more frustrating is that sometimes this cannot even be achieved. The rag doll physics will place Bryce’s body in an awkward position and no matter what way it is approached, the head can’t reattach. When Bryce is in a headless state, there is also the chance to have the game abruptly ended. Every floor is cluttered with enemies called “Grandbabies” who roll around looking to eat Bryce’s dismembered body parts. If they get a hold of him a short QTE is started up, if this is failed, Bryce’s head will be forever lost in the beast digestive tract. Another interesting idea becomes another annoying reality, as they disrupt what little flow the game has. Bryce can also dismember himself to solve a variety of puzzles. Except there is no variety to them, as they all involve rolling Bryce’s head somewhere his whole body could not get. It’s an interesting idea let down by a shortage of ideas of ways to creatively use it. Rolling Bryce’s head down vents seems to be the best thing they could come up with. There is also a head-throwing mechanic, so Bryce can throw himself into hard to reach areas. This is infuriating, as Bryce only seems to be able to throw his head a couple of centimeters. 

The game is not saved by the combat either, which sucks all the fun out of the game. Bryce can use either guns, or his sword, which are very clunky to change back and forth from. It’s not really necessary to change back and forth either, as very early on it becomes apparent that the guns are next to useless and the sword is the only way to do damage. Occasionally there are enemies inserted that require guns to be killed but for the most part they serve just for aesthetic purposes. The enemies that are encountered are all incredibly bland and there is no variety to them. It also favours quantity over quality, sending wave after wave of creature at you instead of giving the creatures any intelligence. Most of the game will be spent trying to destroy the enemies that constantly spawn these creatures, it is a monotonous and painful experience. Bryce also has to take care of Arcadia, who adds nothing to the game. She runs around and fires her guns, but it never becomes apparent that she is adding anything of value, apart from her and Bryce’s “chemistry”.  The metal soundtrack that plays every time a fight starts, also grates pretty early on. 

NeverDead could have been something interesting. Instead it squanders this with poor design and a story that is hard to care about. If the designers had worked on the combat, or some of the potential that could have been explored with the dismemberment, it could have been a sleeper hit. Instead it is a game that will hopefully be ignored and quickly forgotten, as there is very little here to recommend about it.





 

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