Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Preview: NeverDead

3:00 PM on 12.03.2011 // Steven Hansen

I’ve had my eye on NeverDead since the first trailer, yet at that brief introduction to the title few people I talked to seemed to share my enthusiasm and anticipation for the game. Meanwhile, I was digging the art direction, interesting premise and related gameplay mechanics, and the somewhat misanthropic lead.

As the months have gone on, the game seems to have slowly, intermittently blipped on peoples’ radar, mostly because it has drawn comparisons to the work of noted eccentric Suda 51 and has been (accurately) characterized as completely mental. After going hands-on with NeverDead and exploring the mechanics further, I’m only more hopeful for the finished product.

NeverDead (PlayStation 3 [Previewed], Xbox 360)
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Rebellion Studios
Release date: January 31, 2012

NeverDead puts the player in the shoes of Bryce Boltzmann, an immortal working with the National Anti-Demon Agency (NADA). 500 years ago, Bryce fell at the hands of the Demon King, losing his wife and being cursed with immortality in the process. Since then, he’s grown jaded, developing a sardonic, devil-may-care attitude. He’s also not above yelling out things like, “Can you lend me a hand?” when he loses an arm, which is fabulous.

Expectedly, Bryce’s immortality bleeds into the game mechanics. Bryce can -- and will, frequently -- be maimed or decapitated and continue fighting demons. Once a limb is lost on the battlefield, it will be conveniently outlined in white, making it easy to spot. To reattach it, Bryce needs only to do a standard roll move over the limb. Alternatively, there is an eyeball that shows up on the bottom right side of the screen when Bryce is missing a limb. When it turns yellow, holding L3 allows Bryce to automatically regenerate all lost body parts, which is sometimes necessary, as certain enemies will devour unattended limbs.

When Bryce is decapitated, he rolls around, semi awkwardly, as a head, still able to jump and use a charged up, Sonic-style roll dash. You can still collect your limbs in this state, as they attach to your head and haphazardly flail around like tentacles, but you’ll either need to fully regenerate with L3 or to find your torso if you want to be effective. Decapitated Bryce has his purposes; for instance, you can manually detach and throw your head to survey the surrounding area. There are also puzzles to solve that require Bryce’s head to roll around on its own, which, aside from being fun, remind me of a hilarious, macabre version of Samus in her morph ball form.

Despite his immortality, game overs with Bryce are still possible. The same enemies that grotesquely roll around and devour abandoned limbs will also go after Bryce’s head if he’s decapitated. Once sucked into the interminable belly of a demon, you’ll have a chance to escape with a quick button prompt mini-game, otherwise you’re sent back to the last checkpoint. The NADA also pairs its immortals (there’s at least one other among their fold that I’ve seen so far) with regular, perfectly killable agents, so you’ll have to make sure your partner, Arcadia Maximille, doesn’t kick the bucket. While that may raise trepidation in many of you, Arcadia didn’t die on me once. If she is gravely injured, you’re also afforded a brief period in which you can revive her back, and even that didn’t happen frequently enough to irritate me. Girl took care of herself in my time with the game.

Bryce’s unique situation also makes for interesting demon fighting. While there are guns to equip that get progressively better as you progress through the game (you start with two dual-wielded handguns), simply shooting at demons doesn’t get you too far. Surprisingly, the game features pretty comprehensively destructible environments that often prove the best way to defeat swarms of demons. It’s sort of silly to see enormous pillars crashing down or walls exploding after a few gunshots, but it works, and fits the tone of the game nicely.

There’s also a deep upgrade system in the game that lets you buy both general physical augments -- things like the ability to jump higher, do more damage -- as well as new abilities, like the ability to detach your arm and use it like a grenade or to shoot fire bullets when you set yourself ablaze. Yes, lighting yourself on fire lets you shoot fire bullets. The abilities, purchased with XP gained from dispatching demons and picking up scattered collectibles (extra XP for finding hidden ones), can definitely change up how you play the game, as you’re only afforded so many assignable slots and can choose abilities that fit your play style.

My favorite part about the combat, however, was discovering the Butterfly Blade, which you can switch to at any time. With it readied, L1 locks onto enemies and the blade itself is controlled with the right analog stick, which felt incredibly satisfying. Rapid flicks of the stick unleash a bevy of quick strikes while more controlled movements allow you to do slower, stronger attacks and it just feels so damn good to use. You can also hold R1 simultaneously to block, but blocking is for wimps (c’mon, you’re immortal!). Aside from slicing the heck out of all the things, my favorite combat tactic was standing over a pile of explosive tanks, luring multiple enemies right to me, and then shooting the tanks, blowing all of us up in the process.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about NeverDead’s inspired art design as well. The gruff Bryce, who sounds a bit like a drunk and brash Tim Allen, looks cool (as in “hip”) enough, but I love the creepy, purple tendrils that, apparently, hold his body together and protrude when he’s lost a limb. The enemy designs are even more insane, and I still get a kick out of their names: you’ll be fighting Spoons, Puppies, Pandas, and more. The puppies also seem to have cherub visages where you would expect their anuses to be. It’s all bananas and all very Lovecraftian. Even seemingly inconsequential things, like the 2D art on load screens, the box art, and the game’s use of the color yellow just exude a style that I’m completely enamored with.

I’ve heard a lot about NeverDead being “rough,” but I’m not sure that’s the best word for it. It just knows what it is, which is why everything you shoot in the game will explode or shatter in an unrealistic, terribly charming fashion. The visuals are a bit gritty and imperfect, but the aesthetic is unique and interesting, the vibrant colors are lovely to look at, and that grittiness is fitting with the overall tone of the game and its heavy-metal, Megadeth-boasting soundtrack.

NeverDead actually comes across as an apt embodiment of its disheveled lead. You can be a bit sloppy, get wrecked, and then keep coming back for more -- and you can have a lot of fun doing it.

Photo Gallery: (19 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

Sharp cut Digital Flatbed Cutter | Sharpcut Flatbed Cutters

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -