In a world filled with demons running loose in the streets, you can never be too guaranteed of your safety; you could be dismembered or even worse killed in an instant. Well, maybe that’s not the case if you are Demon Hunter Bryce Boltzmann. You see, in this hack n slash game filled with demons and pitfalls, Bryce is an Immortal, cursed as such, so he can never die only become dismembered all the way down to a stubby head. It’s hijinks like this that became the center point of this interesting title, NeverDead.
Developed by Rebellion Developments and Published by Konami (Metal Gear Solid Fame), NeverDead thrusts you into a world filled with wave after wave of disposable demons and low level comedy. Taking the helm of Demon Hunter Bryce, you have your standard weaponry; pistols, shotgun, assault rifles, grenade launchers, and your trusty Butterfly Blade. Yet the developers didn’t stop there with the tools at your disposal, oh no, they also gave this game an interesting twist. You are essentially invincible, that’s right no cheat codes required, yet your body is about as fragile as a Barbie Doll’s inside a wood chipper. Your limbs quickly can be detached from your being, dropping an arm or leg here and yonder while the demons continue to try to destroy you. With perks and skill level ups, you can even turn your dismembered limbs into high powered weapons, one example being able to detonate any limbs that have fallen off your body currently, killing weaker enemies within the blast range. You continue to earn experience throughout the game in the form of kills, red collectables and golden statue collectibles, giving you such abilities as charged blade attack, debris does more damage to enemies, and more damage in the weapon of choice. The down side is you are limited on the amount of slots available and can only change the abilities after ever level, which usually can take upwards of 20-30 minutes to get through, depending on difficulty level. The use of certain skills becomes nessicary to collect the hidden items but being unable to equip it within the moment, you are forced to replay the level and reactivate previous skills upon completion of the level once again.
The enemies are type specific, ground rushers, ground with blade heads or other random weaponry, and flying snipers. The hordes of demons seem to just repeat, pushing out carbon copies of each beast until they tweak it with an explosive death (killing it causes it to explode and hurt you). The bosses are the only special enemies in the game, at least in so much as appearance, in form of attack styles, it pretty much comes down to the same. Run, attack, run, and send out demons. Rinse, repeat. I felt the AI was smart enough to block and try to strategize but it fell short when give a great amount of sword slashes putting them all to death, just waiting for the next demon dog to come at you. I was fairly disappointed with the creativity used, or that which could have been used, because when it comes to the world of demons, there is plenty of creative elements to pick from, watching it clone three types over and over again.
The graphics and sound direction was impressive to a certain degree, having the cut scenes running in a good engine showing off some stylish graphics and moves, but within actual gameplay, it fell short reminding me of the first few games to be released on the PS3/Xbox 360. I had hoped for a bit more from members like Konami, even if they just published it, they normally have their names upon great looking games, so it left me somewhat disheartened. The sound score, however, made it up to me in form of music direction and voice work, though they may have looped certain scores over and over again, it was still a great sounding sound track. Especially with the band MegaDeth lending a hand with their song “Never Dead”. The voice actors were familiar to me; I remembered a few from anime and other video game titles and felt they fit the parts they were placed in. The level design was done well enough, given the interesting places to hide items and the odd puzzle here and there, that being said, the levels began to run into one another in the form of story progression. It was a different area look, but the feel was the same, move forward, kill, move upstairs, kill, run down stair, kill, hit switch or lever, kill. It was the same formula, as it was stated earlier, this game is just a pure hack n’ slash title.
In the end, NeverDead was a game that surprised me for its premise of invincibility, but also let me down with cloned enemies and under use of a great graphics engine. I enjoyed it, cannot deny the fact that it had me enthralled and interested in seeing where the story flowed, but from a reviewing stand point it didn’t sit overly high. That and little replay-ability, I have my judgment passed for a reviewer, as well as a gamer.
With the content the story was based around, the developers drop the ball, the only saving grace was the cast of characters and the music, while the graphics and the game flow mad for a letdown from original expectations. I would say rent it, and if you enjoyed it personally, like I have, then purchase it, if not; you can at least say you have another game under your belt.