January 13, 2012

Hands On with NeverDead, Again

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 12:25 am

Konami’s starting the year off with a fresh IP, with NeverDead hitting the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on January 31st, and they were good enough to give us some more hands-on time with the game earlier today.

This time around Bryce and his partner Arcadia were investigating another demon hive in an abandoned hospital, offering me a chance to watch Bryce have his limbs torn off repeatedly while I attempted to clear areas and rack experience points.

Following up on my previous time with the game, I’m going to attempt to narrow down and itemize what stood out during this trip, which you can catch below.

A Working Relationship…

Bryce’s partnership with Arcadia serves a very immediate purpose by balancing his immortality with a measure of consequence should she die in battle and cause players to fail the mission. Whenever demons take her down, Bryce needs to reach her to lift her up again, as with other games featuring AI companions like a solitary run of Resident Evil 5. Unlike that game however, Arcadia isn’t dwindling precious ammunition, and she does a rather good job of staying on her feet – though it was noticeable that most demons were intently fixated on tearing Bryce apart instead of bothering her.

At several points the two became separated, specifically when Bryce needed to use his immortal abilities to reach a new area and either find the means to open a locked door between them or reunite with Arcadia at a different location. In other words, Arcadia doesn’t seem to be a nuisance continually pulling players away from the demon killing, which was a legitimate concern.


Gathering experience points scattered around areas as well as those earned by defeating demons led me to the upgrade screen, which could be accessed at anytime. Upgrades can be purchased and then equipped in a set amount of equipped slots, and the number of upgrades listed was a bit dizzying, covering usage of weapons, physical abilities, etc. It’s clear you’ll spend lots of time attempting to unlock all of these, and then even more making the choice about which ones are essential. It could represent an impressive addition of potential strategy, but the single mission simply didn’t provide enough space to put that theory to the test.

In other words, I’m not certain that many or any of them will prove essential toward completing a game in which you can keep putting yourself back together and hacking away mindlessly if you so choose to. I will say that the listings appeared more functional versus the quirky upgrade abilities that say, allow Bayonetta to pole dance and shoot – not that I didn’t love that, because I did.

Again with the Exploding Tanks…

Yes explosive tanks were everywhere, sometimes discovered as I struck them with the sword and caused Bryce to be blown back in pieces. Those old friends are as tired as ever, but I can’t deny that they do come in handy when hordes of creatures swarm into an area, which happened quite often thanks to larger nest creatures that enthusiastically spew them out until destroyed.

Danger Danger High Voltage…

I already knew that Bryce could catch himself on fire and spread that burning love to enemies. This time around there was a sequence where it was necessary to do the same with an electrical charge in order to share the current with an elevator to bring it back to life.


The Sword is Mightier Than the Gun…

While Bryce is encouraged to spew plenty of bullets at enemies, it requires a lot of running and gunning given how enemies will tear off limbs while you’re trying to fill them with ammo – and you need those limbs to hold the damn guns.

There were plenty of tight rooms where the sword became essential for taking out swarms of enemies quickly. The added bonus was the level of destruction in the game – nearly every wall and pillar explodes and crumbles when struck by blade or bullets.

I’m still worried that some will find the sword frustrating to use. Rather than simply press one button to slash, you hold a shoulder button to ready the sword and use an analog stick to swing it in the direction you wish to slice. It didn’t necessarily slow down the strikes, but it does require a bit more attention in facing enemies to place ideal strikes rather than mindlessly hacking and slashing.

Humor Me…

I couldn’t help noticing an experience pickup waiting in a basketball net for Bryce to tear his head off and make a throw. Nice touch.

End Scene…

As I wrapped up these observations, a large monster crashed into the room and put my weapons training to the test – rest assured I emerged victorious to trigger more banter between Bryce and Arcadia. The bulk of that battle involved slicing repeatedly, putting myself back together and then slicing some more until the creature collapsed.

1 Comment »

  1. I can’t wait! Sounds simply marvelous! *claps*

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — January 13, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

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