Playing ‘NeverDead‘ is like being granted the power of invulnerability, only to have to use it to take your mother-in-law to a dentist appointment.

The developers were onto something with the concept here — Playing as smart alec, centuries-old demon hunter Bryce Boltzmann, you have the ability to detach your limbs in order to solve hokey puzzles and get the jump on enemies. It’s just about impossible to die, which is a refreshing change of pace from our ‘Modern Warfare 3‘ online binges, in which we’re blown away to hell before we ever get our bearings.

The problem is that you’re stuck with Arcadia, a sassy private eye who sees fit to exploit your cursed superpower to her own benefits. The game basically amounts to you turning into her private bodyguard, throwing yourself in front of her to prevent her death. Should you fail,  you’re forced to you re-start checkpoints and slam your controller into the wall.

While that last part may seem optional, trust us — it’s not. Incredibly frustrating design choices make it seem as though Arcadia and your enemies are conspiring to mess with you, turning what could have been a nice, breezy afternoon of elective dismemberment into something with the pain and monotony of an aforementioned dentist’s appointment.

Oh, the names we called Arcadia as she acted like an idiot whenever possible.

Don’t get us wrong, there are high points. The writing ranges from amusing to clever, with your snide, nihilistic alcoholic protagonist getting all the good lines. The visuals are a beauty to behold, and occasionally the game is fun enough that you won’t mind having to repeat tasks you’ve already conquered.

Bryce’s only goal is to die. He wants to find the demon lord who made him invulnerable and conquer him, just so he can stop playing.

We feel his frustration more than we should. Luckily, we’re equipped with an “eject disk” button.

Rating: 5/10

NeverDead ($60), was developed by Rebellion Developments, published by Konami and is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Rated Mature. The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.

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