NeverDead - Review Xbox 360
The likes of demons and immortality have been covered in many video games before, although no games before have been like Konami's latest release NeverDead.
Playing as Bryce Boltzmann, a 500 year old demon hunter, the player is cursed with immortality, placed upon him after a battle with the demon Astaroth in which his wife was killed. In the game, Bryce now is a demon hunter by trade, working for money and to avenge the death of his wife.
The immortality factor is what the game is based around, with the player made to rip his own arms and head off (not literally), in order to solve puzzles set throughout the game. For example, being made to rip your head off and throw it through an air vent just to flick a switch. However, with this being the only USP for the game, it gets a bit tedious after having to do it over and over again.
The story mode starts as Bryce's memory fighting with another demon named Sangria, and it's pretty much all downhill from there. In the first fight of the game, the flaws are visible. Set the task of simply shooting the demon, even this becomes a chore. There is no lock on feature, so you have to make do with just moving your character around until he's facing where you want to shoot, which can get a bit awkward when there's a whole bunch of enemies swarming you.
There's also melee combat, which offers a different avenue to take the madness down. The melee attack, in places, is good, helping the player make the most of the destructible surroundings, which I must say, are an upside to the game, enabling you to knock down pillars to fall on foes heads. However, I did find that the damage attacks do is very inconsistent, one minute you can kill something with one hit, the next you're hitting the same enemy repeatedly with the same attack and nothing is happening.
Along with the destructible scenery, there is the XP system that works well. The tried and tested method of collecting XP points as you go through the game, whether it be from killing the demons or picking up the red crystals that are floating around, is a plus point for the game, with various power ups and special abilities becoming available as the game goes on.
But for all the upsides, there are twice the downsides. The game play is incredibly rigid. There is no fluency to the game, and no way you can get into a real rhythm whilst playing. This is in no way helped by the bizarre control layout. The melee attack is performed by moving the right analog stick, which is weird enough, but it gets worse. There are moves activated by the D-Pad, which when having to move your fingers and thumbs all over the place, really starts to get annoying.
The campaign is quite poor too. The story is not interesting enough, with nothing to really immerse the player. Every time I put the game down, I never found myself wanting to pick it back up and play. This is in no part helped by the lack of variety in each level. The game uses the same formula in every stage: Go into room, kill demons, roll head through small gap, kill demons. It's as if the makers have made one level and reproduced it ten times. Although if it can be counted as an advantage, the campaign is quite long, which when added to the online can provide a lot of playing time.
4 out of 10
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