|System: Xbox 360*, PS3|
|Dev: Rebellion Developments|
|Release: January 31, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language|
Additionally, the controls themselves aren't entirely well executed. It seems like the camera might have attention deficit disorder, because it often gets fixated in a position and then quickly snaps onto a new view. Gunplay feels sloppy until you equip the appropriate abilities, and swordplay is wonky at best.
However, one thing that NeverDead does very well is allow gamers to customize the gameplay to their own personal specifications. As players gain experience, they can equip perks that increase movement speed, allow their guns to shoot more accurately, make swords strike with more force, etc. With these customizations, it's relatively easy to create a character who primarily engages enemies with ranged weapons, or one who uses a brute, button-mashing approach. Whichever style you favor, the enemies and gameplay are flexible enough to keep the experience challenging.
If NeverDead is an indication of their skill, the writers over at Rebellion are probably never going to be in danger of winning a Pulitzer Prize. The story is flat, but mostly passable. However, the characters and dialogue don't even come close to being passable. Bryce is a 500-year-old womanizer whose entire vocabulary doesn't extend pass sexual innuendo and terrible dismemberment puns. And, as far as I can tell, Arcadia only exists to awkwardly convey gameplay instructions and to give the developers a skirt to point their cameras up.
The weirdest part is that I kept expecting the game to finally produce some type of payoff. Graphically, the game is almost great. The environments are immersive and interactive. And I loved the fact that Bryce could tear off his own extremities to solve puzzles and distract enemies. I kept trying to remind myself that no studio would put this much work into the look and feel of a game and skip the story altogether, but I was obviously mistaken.
And that's the biggest tragedy from NeverDead; Rebellion had all the tools that they needed to produce a truly great game, but they consistently favored mediocrity.
If I'm being brutally honest, aside from the dismemberment and decapitation mechanics, NeverDead is a goulash of sterile platitudes and worn-out stereotypes. It's great for a few chuckles right out of the box, but once you've been playing for a while, the game's shortcomings start to pile up pretty quickly. Perhaps my disappointment was magnified because the game had so much potential, but ended up being the same game we all played numerous times ten years ago.
Date: February 1, 2012