oni's Too Human (Xbox 360) review

Being a god aint easy, fo reazy

Too Human is the result of a long and storied development cycle that spans roughly the last ten years. It started out as a Playstation One game, with a very different premise from the game that is in stores now. Like most games that have come out after such a long development cycle, Too Human is neither an amazing game that redefines gaming or a terrible failure, but rather a game that has some flaws that you may or may not be able to look past given your preference for its type of gameplay.

One of the most unique things about the game is its setting and theme. The game's story is basically a sci-fi version of Norse mythology. So while it has these characters like Thor, Odin, and Baldur (that's you), they're wearing this cybernetic armor, and Fenrir, traditionally a wolf, is now an AI embedded into your weapon. The only problem with this is that the game seems to assume you already know a thing or two about Norse mythology, and as such, its story comes across as a bit incoherent to a novice such as myself. But I'd definitely consider the original setting and theme of the game a plus.

Too Human sets out to give console owners an experience similar to PC games like Diablo. It's an action role-playing game with a strong emphasis on gathering loot, new equipment to make your character stronger. While games like Diablo use the mouse to move and make your character attack, Silicon Knights, Too Human's developer, looked for a way to translate that ease of control over to the joypad. What they've come up with is a system wherein you use the right stick to attack enemies: just push it in the direction you want to attack in, and Baldurwill swing whatever weapon(s) he's currently got equipped in that direction. You can hold the stick in the direction of a far-away enemy to make Baldur slide over to him quickly and bash his face in. The look of the combat is similar to games like Devil May Cry, but it lacks the level of depth that game has. Apart from simply bashing enemies and sliding towards them, you can juggle them up in the air and jump after them to deliver an air combo, or deliver a finisher by pushing both sticks towards your opponent simultaneously, which does a lot of damage but leaves you open to attack for a few seconds. There are also some special attacks you unlock by spending skill points gained upon leveling up, as well as Ruiner attacks which deal a large chunk of damage to all surrounding enemies at the cost of your combo meter, which fills out as you dole out attacks in quick succession. Ranged attacks come courtesy of the guns you equip, ranging from dual pistols to assault rifles or massive, gattling gun-like cannons.

The controls work pretty well, for the most part. In melee combat, targeting the enemy you want is usually not that big a deal, assuming they're fairly close to you. When sliding to far-away enemies, sometimes Baldur won't go exactly where you intended him to go, but that kind of slip-up rarely messes you up too badly. The ranged targetting, however, is a bit more problematic. Firing your gun causes Baldur to automatically target a random enemy, and switching targets is done with the right stick. However, there are some large enemies that have several parts you can shoot, and targeting those enemies, or any specific enemy, in a crowd is unreliable at best, and next to impossible at worst, which is especially annnoying when you're trying to target an enemy that explodes when you kill it. This can lead to some frustrating deaths that weren't really due to any fault on the player's part. It doesn't happen often enough to really become a deal breaker, though. Death in Too Human is more of an inconvenience than a real setback, as you spawn right back where you left off (or close to it), with all the enemies exactly as you left them. The most annoying aspect of the dying is an unskippable animation of a Valkyrie (Norse angels) coming to take you to Valhalla, which takes around 10-15 seconds. Depending on the class you choose and your skill, you may see this animation quite often or not so much at all.

While simple in control and execution, the action can be very satisfying. The game throws a lot of enemies at you that can be killed in one hit, but it throws enough of them at you that you will need to make sure you don't let them gang up on you. When you kill an enemy, they're sent flying pretty spectacularly, which definitely feels very empowering. There are also plenty of enemies that will require a bit more strategizing, like huge robots (trolls), rocket-launching bad guys and mini-bosses that deal and take more damage than regular enemies. The combination of feeling like a god (which you kind of are), collecting and customizing all your equipment and leveling up is what makes Too Human so much fun to play, if you're into that style of game. Once you're done with the game's campaign, which will probably take roughly 10-to-15 hours, you can play the missions in any order you like with some new twists, either on your own or with a friend/total stranger. The online co-op leaves out all the story, so I'd recommend playing through the game on your own first.

Visually, Too Human can be a bit scattershot. The game doesn't look especially amazing, but I found the general aesthetic of the game to hold up pretty well. Each of the game's four locations, as well as the main hub area, are visually well-realized. The game's sci-fi look can be likened to the bastard child of Halo and Mass Effect. There are a couple of areas in Cyberspace, an alternate dimension, that look very sparse and barren, however. Character models are certainly not up to standards set by Mass Effect, but they look passable, and the sheer volume of enemies the game throws at you while keeping the framerate (mostly) steady is quite impressive.

Too Human is a game that will probably either leave you totally cold or keep you hooked till late in the night. You have to be into leveling up and gathering loot, but if a compromise between the styles of games like Diablo and Devil May Cry sounds appealing to you, you'll probably like Too Human enough to see past the game's more unpolished areas.

4 Comments
Posted by Dryker
Posted by PureRok

You know... Too Human is a video game. Not just any video game, but a video game that contains mythology from my religion. Is this good or bad? I'm not sure; I don't know how I feel about this. It's cool to see the gods getting more attention, but on the other hand the material has been so twisted and warped. I am conflicted and my tie agrees with me. Good day.

Posted by Jayge_

I pretty much agree with this. You gave it a half-star more than I did; I think you focused a ton on the controls, where I only gave them like half a paragraph. interesting.

They're even similar length.

Word.

Posted by Ravey
My deepest thoughts

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