Quantcast
Preview: NeverDead - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


NeverDead  



Preview: NeverDead


3:00 PM on 12.03.2011
Preview: NeverDead photo



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.

Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo
Preview: NeverDead photo







Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.






timeline following:
NeverDead



2:00 PM on 02.08.2012
Review: NeverDead

When creating a videogame protagonist with a particular super power, there's an extra responsibility to create a challenging, rewarding sense of balance. If your hero has enhanced strength and speed, how do you keep enem...more



1:00 AM on 02.08.2012
First DLC for NeverDead gets detailed

In what seems to be a trend among publishers these days, it's only been a week since NeverDead has been out and Konami has already announced plans to release the first DLC for the game on February 21st. A new character named ...more



3:00 PM on 01.24.2012
Here's a whole bunch of new art and screens for NeverDead

Konami's NeverDead is out at the end of the month, and there's a bunch of new art and screenshots to celebrate. Seems like the game's been in development for fifteen thousand years, so I'm glad to see it finally on the horizo...more



9:30 PM on 01.12.2012
New NeverDead screens show more decapitation

Konami's upcoming action game in which you play as an immortal demon hunter on present-day Earth who is unfazed by his own body parts being blown about -- yes, I'm talking about NeverDead -- still looks as though its Jan...more



6:30 PM on 12.01.2011
NeverDead available January 31, so have some screens

Konami has announced the release date for NeverDead, the weird-as-balls action game starring an immortal demon hunter whose body takes procedural damage until he's a mess of scattered limbs. The title will be available from J...more



9:00 AM on 09.19.2011
NeverDead gets a balls-mental trailer

NeverDead has a new trailer for your amusement, and at the very least, it looks completely insane. As to whether it'll be a good game ... well, that's another thing entirely.  It certainly looks a little rough around th...more




Action

12:00 PM on 09.18.2014
This new TGS Deep Down Japanese trailer is in English

I know a lot of people have no faith in Capcom these days, but Deep Down looks interesting to me every time I see it. It doesn't look quite as good as a Souls game mechanically, but I'll take everything I can get i...more



10:15 AM on 09.18.2014
Motorcycle combat racer Road Redemption on Steam Early Access

It has been a little over a year since the Road Redemption Kickstarter campaign launched, and to nobody's surprise, it has slightly missed its projected August 2014 launch window, but it is not too far behind yet. The Road R...more



9:30 AM on 09.18.2014
Bladestorm lives up to its name, looks nice on PS4 and Xbox One

I'd never played Bladestorm, the historical action/strategy title that seems to be a bit of a cult classic within the Dynasty Warriors type. It's still a bit odd that Koei Tecmo is reviving the 2007 PS3 and 360 game and that ...more



View all Action






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more