Review by Anodynia
"More Human than you think..."
You are Baldur, ODIN's favorite son. You are one of the Aesir, the cybernetically enhanced Gods that lead the human's in a war with the ancient machines that roam the world. It is up to you to stop the machines for erasing humanity from the face of the Earth.
- Gameplay - Innovative control system that is very intuitive...to some degree. Your right thumbstick controls your melee attacks, as well as aiming your ranged weapon attacks. The face buttons are mapped to special abilities, like Battle Cries that buff you or your party. It sounds great in theory, but in doing this they limited the control of the camera, which is god-awful. The camera has a hard time following Baldur, at least in a way that makes it easy to see what's going on. There is a button to re-center the camera, but it instantly flashes directly behind Baldur, instead of swinging back, so it's hard to get your sense of direction back.
The targeting system is unreliable at best, and you find yourself just frantically smashing the thumbsticks, and hoping you get a combo off. The death system is very confusing as well. When Baldur's health reaches 0, a Valkyrie comes from the sky to take him to Valhalla. This little death scene takes about 30 seconds to complete, and it happens in real time, so your squad keeps fighting. After you are taken, you get reset a little ways back before the action that killed you...only everything is as if you were alive the whole time. There is no real penalty for death, other than you have to walk a bit more to get to where you were when you died. It just doesn't really make any sense.
The action is fast paced, a blend of action hack and slash, with RPG elements such as fully customizable armor and different classes, and even some light puzzle solving. The game is fun, but the camera and control scheme seem to hold it back from being the game it could be.
- Story - The story starts out interestingly enough. How can you mess up Norse mythology? Honestly, after the first few hours the story is the only thing that kept me playing the game. All the big players are there, Hod, Loki, Thor, Tyr, Freyja, Heimdall, etc. The game does a pretty good job of making you feel something for Baldur, but most of the other characters are forgettable.
- Graphics/Sound - The game looks good. Everything has a Halo-esque futuristic look. Concrete slabs have intricate carvings, usually glowing orange or blue. Baldur's weapons and armor are beautifully detailed, as well as the environments and enemies you encounter. Cutscenes look fantastic and the voice acting in them is decent. The sound overall is sub-par. Your squad spews the same lame one-liners over and over, and the sound effects seem dull and underplayed. Gun-shots are muffled, explosions are hushed...the game just needed more BANG.
-Play Time/Replayability - The game isn't long, most people will beat it in around 10-15 hours. There is however a high replayability aspect, as there are 5 classes to choose from, and for each class 3 different skill trees. Finally, there are also 2 different specializations to choose from, human or cybernetic that influence what weapons your character can use. All in all, if you enjoy the game, there are plenty of reasons to give it another play through. Online 2-player co-op also adds to the replayability of the game.
- Final Recommendation - Give the game a try, it's a good rent. I pre-ordered it because of all the hype, and honestly, I wish I hadn't. I'm glad I played the game, but personally don't feel like it warrants a second run. This game is worth a rent, but nothing more.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 08/25/08
Game Release: Too Human (US, 08/19/08)
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