Sad the way originality is treated within the gaming community today.
Story: Hundreds of years ago, Protagonist Brice Boltzman & his wife Cypher face off against the King of Demons. The Demon King wins, Brice's wife is killed and as punishment for even attempting to battle him, the King of Demons makes Brice an immortal, forced to spend an eternity hating himself.
Fast-forward five hundred years, we see a scruffy alcoholic Brice teaming up with an agency sworn to protect humans from demons. Brice has a partner in Arcadia, a super hot and absolutely snide non-immortal, who seems to get-off on cutting Brice down any chance she gets. Things take a turn for the "strange" when a teen pop star becomes a fixation for the demons to apprehend. Now Brice & Arcadia have to protect the bubble gum princess, while trying to uncover the mystery of why the demons want her so badly.
Gameplay: At first glance, controlling Brice should be reminiscent of any typical third person shooter: run, jump, shoot, repeat. The difference being, Brice is an immortal, he can take all the punishment and abuse the world has for him, many times leaving him without an arm or a leg, but he simply get's up and continues to fight. Many times, a demon will hit Brice so hard; it causes him to be absolutely limbless. Brice, now reduced to only a head, will have to roll over his severed body parts to complete his body. Compounding matters are little creatures that follow Brice around every fight hoping his body will (literally) fall apart so they can feed off him. If Brice's head is swallowed, he is digested within the demon for all eternity. Other times, Brice must sever his own head to complete various puzzles within the world. All the typical upgrades like, "more powerful guns, stronger blade, and better dodge technique" power-ups are there, but there is also one that allows Brice to use his body parts as grenades. Brice severs an arm, yells "fetch" and all the demons run for it. When the demons get close enough, a simple button press sets off the arm, injuring several demons in the process, AWESOME! Brice's swordplay mechanic deserves a mention, as operating his blade is quite unique from other games. Operation of the sword requires the left trigger button to be held down while toggling the direction of the blade with the right thumbstick. Neverdead encourages the player to shoot and destroy everything in site, as fallout from environmental damage is absolutely necessary for survival. The game is to be played "messy" and not precise like many of the other shooters out there and the environmental damage is a beautiful site to behold providing the player has a moment to breath amongst all the chaos. Arcadia's AI was programmed brilliantly, as there is no need to babysit her while playing the game. Very rarely, does Arcadia go down for the count and need reviving, which is quite a relief from my memories of Gears of War. Boss fights are constant, long, yet all based on logic, so as long as the player is paying attention to both the visual & audio cues, they should be alright. Neverdead allows players who completed the game to continue onward with a new game with all upgrades attached. Multiplayer is included in various forms, but due to the reception Neverdead has received it is doubtful many people will be playing it on the Xbox or PS3.
Sound: All voice work and scripting was done very well, especially given the fact that most games from Japanese developers seem to get lost in translation at best, or become very cringe worthy and uncomfortable at worst. Music in Neverdead was entirely fitting with the plot and action. Honorable mention goes to metal band Megadeth for writing a song for the game. Other than sounds described above, all guns and demon grunts sound about as "right" for this type of game as I can imagine.
Controls: (explained within the gameplay paragraph)
Graphics: As about as beautiful to look at as any game this generation, especially fire effects, set pieces, and environmental damage.
Final: Neverdead is a far from perfect game. During my first playthrough, I ran into two bad glitches that were frustrating because both times I thought I was doing something wrong. Both glitches in fact were enemies not popping up on screen, making me have to restart the previous checkpoint. This is the ONLY time I experienced any problems with Neverdead. "Critics" have complained that "Brice loses his limbs way too easily": I partially agree (but this is why you can upgrade your character) that "the camera is terrible": I disagree, I've played many third person shooters before and am well versed in controlling the camera (umm, you should be too?), and that "Brice's character is unappealing in that his self loathing isn't to the benefit of a protagonist": I think that is completely the opposite, and that the reviewer that mentioned it should look into work not within the boundaries of anything pop culture related. Neverdead has moments of repetition, both verbally (Brice only has about three different corny lines when he loses/removes his head) and gameplay wise (you will be fighting some of the same enemies throughout the campaign). These negatives do little to hinder, what I consider a brilliant game that is nothing short of a breath of fresh air in an extremely convoluted market filled with the same old "meathead cover-based" shooting mechanics. Here's hoping this review & new price point finds you picking up the game, and actually thinking for yourself by not echoing back the same garbage reviewers, whom more than likely have not even played more than a couple of levels of this game, have spewed. Neverdead deserves to be applauded for all the originality it brings to the table, Brice reminds me of an immortal Harrison Ford in Blade Runner, and I would have welcomed a Neverdead 2, just to see where Brice is taken to next.