Fandom

Zero Punctuation Wiki

NeverDead

513pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

This week, Zero Punctuation review NeverDead.

Transcript Edit

If I had to come up with some snarky, bitter, asshole definition of my job, it would be "coming up with new ways to say something sucks the liquifying offal out of month-old roadkill week to fucking week." Shit, wasted that one.

But there are a great many different flavors of bad on the spectrum of mashed raccoon guts to excite the connoisseur. There's your barely functional bad, like Superman 64, which plays like someone made a big pile of models, textures, and programming routines and throw them all one by one into a whirling cement mixer. There's your technically functional but nonetheless agonizing bad, like Kane & Lynch 2, an experience like duct-taping the outlet pipe of a drawing pin-making machine over your mouth. There's mediocre bad, like Gears of War, the worst kind of bad to try and write funny things about, because it's just a conveyor belt of creatively emaciated gray cardboard boxes bouncing off my head. NeverDead, on the other hand, fits into the category of having enough good ideas to be a pretty excellent game had they been had by an actual game developer rather than the short bus full of donkey-headed circus children it ended up with.

So you start out NeverDead - it does the Resident Evil thing where a scary voice reads out the title, but it sounds kind of bored and resentful about having to do so - and we leap into the story of Bryce Boltzmann, a scarred and cynical demon hunter hobo who gets all his clothes from the dumpster outside the tanning factory and works for some kind of demon hunting agency under the supervision of the world's biggest bitch, who does nothing but belittle him for his poor hygiene and dress sense. Hey, glass houses, lady! Maybe Bryce goes into action looking like someone left a coconut on a garbage bag full of Oxfam donations, but at least he doesn't pull his zipper down so far that his cleavage is doing a passable impersonation of the San Andreas Fault.

Bryce is also immortal, capable of regenerating from any injury, having been cursed by the king of the demons five hundred years ago when the king of the demons wasn't entirely clear on what the word "curse" means. Oh yes, they don't call it NeverDead because he's fastidious about changing the batteries in his TV remote. When a demon summoner shows up representing a chance to end the centuries-long stalemate, Bryce must race to enlist them before the demons can, or at least he would if he legs didn't keep flying off every time he scratched his balls.

The reason why I can say NeverDead is a game of good ideas, at least, is that I guarantee the next few things I say are going to make you want to play it. Since Bryce is immortal, enemy attacks can't kill him, they can only detach his extremities, and Bryce can still function with any arrangement of limbs missing. The man has spent his five centuries mastering hopping at the speed most ordinary men can sprint. Every gun can be duel-wielded. As a torso, he can still flop around with deft twitches of his hideous, calloused winkie. And when reduced to a head, he can still roll merrily around in search of a stump. Which needn't necessarily be a neck, And you can end up a rolling head with four limbs attached, flopping about like a complaining octopus. You can also deliberately tear off your head (to throw down vents and narrow passageways to solve puzzles and uncover secrets) and tear off your arms (still holding guns that can still be fired) in a complete lack of responsibility towards body parts not seen since the zombies from Quake 1.

Yes, you're probably thinking this all sounds very fun and very original (assuming you've never played DecapAttack on the Sega Genesis), but where it collapses is in implementation. Yes, you can fire a gun from a disembodied arm, but good luck hitting anything when the rest of you is across the room trying to hop away from an exploding dog. The main problems are that Bryce has an attachment to his limbs about as firm as that between a greased-up Spaniard and his poorly restrained kidnap victim and that half the development team wanted to be the new Devil May Cry while the other half wanted to be the new Resident Evil, and they opted to compromise rather than take it to the usual games industry tradition of bare-knuckle cage match. So you can switch between using guns or a ridiculously oversize novelty sword, but the camera remains in the Resident Evil 4 piggyback position suitable for mid- to long-range shooting and bugger all else. So demons can and will blindside you from every angle. The very first enemies you meet can send your head flying off in one hit, invariably seconds after you finish pulling yourself together after the last time it happened.

Being a master strategist, I would prioritize killing the monster spawners, which all have way too much health and react to my inept slashes like an Easter Island head reacts to a stiff breeze, all the while gobbing little snapping buggers to nip at my heels (currently lying in a wastepaper basket on the other side of the room). So the average combat sequence looks like we're watching an extreme close-up of bees fighting over a discarded Golden Gaytime.

The best constructive criticism I could offer would be to travel back in time to the first gameplay planning meeting with a large hessian bag and some day laborers with cricket bats.

"Hey," said one developer looking up from his Lego set, "if our character's immortal, then there's not going to be much challenge, is there? Why don't we put in another character he has to escort" - and that's as far as he gets before disappearing into the hessian bag, and his piglike squeals are drowned out by the grunts and thwacks of the day laborers at work.

"And," says another developer sticking whiteboard markers up his nose, "let's constantly put some monsters around that can instantly game over you if they suck in your disembodied head, but you can avoid it by completing a quick-time even" - get in the fuckin' sack!

"You know what I hate?" interjects a third developer emerging from underneath his pillow fort. "Using nice, convenient button presses for sword attacks when we could be rattling the right analog stick back and forth and up and down like a clumsy teenage boy's first time at third base!" "Thank you for sharing," I would say. "You know what I hate? You not being in this fucking sack right now!"

Then there's the prerequisite upgrade system that tries to mix things up a bit by only allowing a limited number of upgrades at a time that you have to slot in and out, Paper Mario style. But before long you'll have a preferred loadout and therefore no conceivable use for any more experience points that are the only thing the game has to reward you with.

But as I said, there are sound ideas here. I enjoyed the puzzles where you have to navigate narrow passageways as a disembodied head - it was almost like an analogy for drunken cunnilingus. NeverDead might have been good if it weren't for the hideous combat, but unfortunately it's mostly combat, so it's like saying drinking from that puddle of water would have been fine if it hadn't recently been pissed out a rhino. Also, if it had been better written and better animated so the copious blood particle effects would actually successfully obscure Bryce's limbs suddenly reappearing with an ugly "bing!" And if there was a better system for switching weapons so you weren't cycling through guns one by one looking for the one you want in the heat of battle like a man trying to find his front door key before the velociraptors arrive.

So yes, if all that were fixed, NeverDead would be good. Or if that's too tall of an order, maybe you could just nail a poppadom to a gazelle.

AddendaEdit

  • Kill it and another just grows in its place: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • But regenerating clothes and equipment as well as the limbs is just the kind of bullshit I will not stand for
  • Stick him in a wood chipper and he'd solve world hunger


ScreenshotsEdit

NeverDead 1

You can also deliberately tear off your head to throw down vents and narrow passageways

NeverDead 2

The best constructive criticism I could offer would be to travel back in time to the first gameplay planning meeting with a large hessian bag and some day laborers with cricket bats

NeverDead 3

"You know what I hate? You not being in this fucking sack right now!"

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.