IMAGINE your character in a game could never die, what would be the point?
Well gaming developers Rebellion Software and gaming innovator Shinta Nojiri, have come up with just that concept, the all-out kill fest which is NeverDead, released by Konami.
The star of this third person shooter/RPG is Bryce Boltzmann, a wise cracking (aren’t they always) 500-year-old demon hunter, cursed with immortality by the demon king Astaroth, who also thought it would be a good idea to murder Bryce’s wife at the same time just to rub it in.
So as you can imagine he has become a bitter, alcoholic, tramp-like demon hunter killing monsters and demons for money and revenge.
Leap forward to modern times and Bryce is of course kicking bottoms once again, accompanied by a female private eye known as Arcadia, whom Bryce likes to tell his funny stories too, as they battle against an invasion of monsters and demons infecting the Earth.
That is basically it for the story, now what about the actual game play.
Well there is no time to wander about looking for things to do in this game, this is full on carnage at its best and it’s great.
Literally every room or area you enter there is a never ending onslaught of mad looking demons, who have only one thing on their minds and that is to tear you limb from limb.
Fortunately for Bryce, losing a limb is nothing more than an inconvenience, and you are able to reattach your limbs, or even remove them, there is no place that is too small to explore just rip your head off and throw it down the ventilator shaft, which is a great and an original idea.
The ability to regenerate is also very handy.
Now I know what you’re thinking, if he can’t die what’s the point?
Well Bryce can die, sort of, when his head is detached and rolling around looking for his dismembered body these ball shaped demons known as Grandbaby’s suck you in, you can escape, but you have to be quick, and your partner Arcadia can die, and if she does then so do you.
With upgrades as you progress, including exploding arms, the possibilities are endless, the only problem is you can buy upgrades but you only have a limited amount of usable slots so it’s always best to check out each mission and upgrade yourself accordingly.
I found the best weapon to use was his sword, as the guns at the outset just take too long to kill anything.
You do get some nice tasty weapons as you progress, like the grenade launcher and assault rifle.
Duel wielding is also part of it, and you can still fire your weapon, albeit without any control, even with a detached arm.
Talking of controls, they can be a bit of a pain, there is no auto lock for shooting, there is for sword play, and combos seem to be quite thin on the ground.
The action is pretty intense and it can run away with itself because of the destructive environment, the constant onslaught of demons tends to become just a mass of hacking and slashing.
There are a number of interesting characters within this game apart from the two main ones.
There’s Sullivan, the head of NADA (National Anti Demon Agency), then there is Alex, a demon hunter similar to Bryce who likes knives.
Another quite prominent character is Nikki Summerfield, a teenage pop idol who somehow gets involved in all this, but seems to spend most of her time running away and screaming.
Bryce’s wife Cypher, who met a grisly end 500 years ago also makes an appearance.
Finally, we have the two main bad guys in this game, Sangria a strange looking almost comical self-appointed Duke of Demons, he makes regular appearances and loves to taunt Bryce and Arcadia.
Of course, the main bad guy is Astaroth the person responsible for Bryce’s predicament in the first place.
The demons themselves are a crazy looking bunch they come in all shapes and sizes and varieties so you won’t get bored.
The bosses are well thought out and can be difficult to dispatch.
There is a multiplayer online mode as well which opens up a whole new world of pain and destruction.
In many ways this game reminds me of Devil May Cry but is a bit rougher round the edges, this is more of a steak pie rather than a steak.
NeverDead is indeed fun to play, there are many unique elements to this game, the dismemberment element for one, it’s not trying to take itself seriously, and visually the game is well put together.
With a banging soundtrack from Megadeath, loads of action and plenty of humour, NeverDead has it all, apart from some bad choices in the control elements of play, it has the makings of a good game.
I give NeverDead 8 out of 10 because the controls, some of the puzzles and some boss battles could be improved on.
Review by Dayvid Ryan
Release date: 03/02/2012
Age rating: 15