NeverDead Review

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Dead in the water


While Empire doffs its cap to any developer that tries to shake-up a tired genre, NeverDead’s ill-advised novelties transform this bog-standard blaster into a messy dog’s dinner of ideas that’s deeply frustrating to play, and wields its innovations with all the panache of a baboon practising open-heart surgery.

The story centres on an unlikable demon slayer named Bryce Boltzmann, who – through some inane plot-twist that’s swiftly glossed over – has become immortal. And while this would normally be a boon for the star of a madcap combat game, in NeverDead it means that the hero’s head and limbs can be hacked off by enemies during battle, leading to moments of intense panic as you hop or roll around the arenas, trying to reattach whatever body parts you’ve lost.

What starts off as an interesting twist soon becomes irksome, however, as your limp body will often end up with its neck pressed tightly against a wall, making it tough to reattach your rolling head as your real-world blood pressure begins to soar. Collecting limbs from hard-to-reach areas is also problematic, especially when you’re being relentlessly pursued by an army of demonic killers, and the fact the levels are littered with a myriad objects that get in the way when you’re trying to reclaim an arm or leg also make the action unsatisfying, clumsy and cheap.

Repetitive combat, an execrable story, and clumsy controls that spectacularly fail to ape Devil May Cry or Bayonetta also make NeverDead a game to avoid at all costs, and a title that should be consigned to the dustbin of popular culture where it belongs.