kariyanine's Too Human (Xbox 360) review

Nice premise. Poor execution.

Almost nine years ago Blizzard dropped “Diablo II” on the gaming community and it quickly became one of the most successful games ever. The game was very well polished, told a great story and for people who love to collect stuff dropped tons of loot much like its predecessor. To this day I still play “Diablo II” and like a junkie chasing the dragon I love to try out new loot drop RPGs in the off chance that it will be as addictive as “Diablo II”. “Too Human” could have been this game but unfortunately for me and for developer Silicon Knights, who spent roughly ten years developing it, it is not.

If you were to tell me that you were going to take “Diablo II”, “Devil May Cry”, Norse mythology, cyber punk and mix them together I would have told you I was on board because damn the idea that forms in my head look awesome. While “Too Human” does have all these ingredients, it sadly doesn't come together very well. The strongest point of the game is its story and there are some twists and turns that will do much to keep gamers interested in the game because outside of that, the game is a mess. “Too Human” takes place in a futuristic world where you are cast as Baldur, a son of Odin, with the purpose of protecting the humans from the ever growing machine presence. Baldur can enter cyberspace, which is much nicer looking than the real world, and by doing certain things there he can alter the real world. Can anyone say “The Matrix”?

There are five classes, Berserker, Champion, Defender, Commando and Bio-Engineer, to choose from and while they claim to be very different they all play fairly similarly due to the gameplay. The only one I found that works particularly well was the Champion, mostly because of his balanced stats. Speaking of the gameplay, it is in an identity crisis, asking players to use an unintuitive system that mixes the simplistic single button attack control of “Diablo” with a more complex console action game controls. Ultimately the game does succeeds at making the game easy to play for everyone but the problem falls in the fact that the design choice to mix these two styles of control doesn't suit either beginner or veteran gamers and both gamers will die quite a bit, regardless of class choice, because of it.

Fortunately the game does not punish you too harshly for dying except for the fact that when your character dies you are forced to watch an un-skippable 30 second death (or depending upon how you want to look at it, rebirth) scene. If you were one of those gamers that couldn't stand the summon animations in the Playstation era Final Fantasy games then you may want to steer clear of “Too Human”. Being as I finished the game in about 12 hours I have to wonder how much shorter the game would have been if I didn't have to watch that death scene every time I died.

In between Baldur dying, the game plays out in four different, yet similar, combat areas and a central hub world. It certainly says something when the most interesting location in the game is the hub world. The level design of the action levels is actually pretty boring and being as each level takes, at minimum, a couple hours to complete this is a major drawback. The best thing I can say about the levels is that they each have a different color scheme. Of course the boring level design would be more forgivable if there was more than four or five different looking enemy types, which as you can imagine when coupled with the boring levels can make for some boring gameplay.

I don't want to crap all over this game though because, outside of the story, it does do something well and that is loot. If “Too Human” has anything it has loot and lots of it. Enemies will drop so much stuff that later in the game you will be hopping to your inventory to clear out older items so you can get more stuff. Changing Baldur's armor will change his appearance on screen, so unless you don't mind that your character is dressed like Rainbow Brite you are going to be tempted to go loot hunting to get matching pieces. Unfortunately for me, a self admitted loot whore, I couldn't get past the tedious combat against the same four or five enemies in the same four boring worlds.

I believe “Too Human” to be a love it or hate it affair. Despite having enjoyed the story and it ending on a rather large cliffhanger, I honestly do not believe that I would play a sequel. I think Silicon Knights would be much better off going and making that oft-requested Eternal Darkness sequel instead of trying to advance “Too Human” any further.
1 Comments
Posted by Crono

It is too bad that Too Human failed to impress so many.  I actually saw this in the bargain bin at a Virgin Megastore for $20 about 2 months ago and I passed on it because after all I have read I didn't feel it was even worth that (plus my time).  I think that really says a lot about a game.

You paint a very drab picture for what this game is, I am sorry that it was such a boring event; sorry for both you and for the developer.

The game sounded so awesome leading up to its release though.  I guess that is where the "Nice premise." part comes in haha.  Anyway, great review +recommend.

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