Bryce Boltzmann cannot die. This is not a gift, however, but a curse. He is alive no matter what happens. Even if it is just his head that is left, he will still be ready for action. Some may think that such a concept has no possibility of thriving but here it is in NeverDead. Rebellion Software and Shinta Nojiri have brought to us this innovative third person shooter. Our protagonist, a 500 year old demon hunter, has been cursed by a demon named Astaroth to live forever. The sadistic demon even murdered Bryce’s wife just to make things a whole lot more painful. But Bryce’s dies, too, in a way. His equivalence of dying is becoming beheaded and having his partner Arcadia die.
The Good News About NeverDead
NeverDead’s premise is engaging. When you consider the title, you may think of zombies and the undead or perhaps vampires. Usually, these creatures are the antagonists of the story. In the case of NeverDead, the protagonist is immortal and can go on fighting even when things get gruesome and well, just a bit inconvenient. After all, it can be a lot harder to fight with just one arm or leg, for example.
The whole premise also jumpstarts the humor. It can also be amusing to hear someone ask for a limb somehow matter-of-factly. After all, Bryce has gotten used to his situation. He has lived for half a century battling demons.
The environment is destructible. This means that we are not just looking at backgrounds that are just there for aesthetics’ sake. They are there to be interacted with. This means that the walls in the background can be shattered and used to defeat your enemies with. There are also lots of abilities that you can unlock along the way. This means that you can upgrade weapons or regain health. While these abilities are not that difficult to unlock, they will still provide enough challenge to get you going through the game before you can unlock some of them.
The Bad News About NeverDead
NeverDead is about the combat system. The premise is interesting, yes, but there is something cheap about its production value with its glitchy sound, awkward camera angles and almost bare landscapes. The puzzles can also sometimes get too repetitive and not so innovative. The enemy creatures, meanwhile, are wonderfully rendered with their strange designs but fighting them can be exasperating. They will be at you endlessly that you just react and not actually act out with true planning. This focus on chaotic fighting has made the developers neglect what could be the most shining moments of the game. They could have focused on the novelty of fighting with some missing limbs hindering you.
The Bottom Line
The game has a lot of issues with its gameplay, especially with the chaotic combat and bland puzzles. All of these are set against an equally bland environment that may provide some interaction but things get repetitive along. However, just as B movies continue to entertain us even though they can be simply awful, NeverDead is still an interesting venture into a strange world where it is possible for a 500 year old demon hunter to fight on even with missing limbs and do so with a dash of humor.