Review by Xys` Tel Unaki
"Too Human: An unbiased look at the game"
Too Human is a game developed by the company Silicon Knights, the group responsible for the game Eternal Darkness. Despite what many may think, even though this game has been floating around for ten years, it has only been in production for two or three. It started out on the Playstation-X, then moved to the Gamecube, only to be forgotten until the Xbox360 came out.
In this review, I will cover every aspect possible and every section will have its own score which equals out to the final score listed on the review page. I am attempting to be as unbiased as possible and hope you find it useful in aiding your purchase or rental of this game.
Too Human is a very unique game. It is what I like to call a "Dungeon Crawler Lite" game. What I mean by the previously stated term is that this game is a dungeon crawler like others of the same genre, mainly Diablo and Baldur's Gate but it does not have anywhere near the level of "epicness" those games do. However, the action is fast-paced and if done right, it can be nearly non-stop.
The main objective of Too Human is to perform uber combos, dish out a lot of pain in short amounts of time and to find the best loot. You can choose from 5 classes, each of which has its own set of skills and attributes. Examples are the Berserker, which is the melee fighter who excels in dual-wielding weapons and the Commando who excels in the ballistics, or guns, aspect of the game. After picking your class you can go on and select a path to follow on its own special skill tree, finding your way to the bottom. If you screw up you can just respec (erasing the skill tree and giving points back to you so you can redo it) for a hefty sum of bounty. What this does for the game is to allow you to make a character that plays the way you want to play.
Silicon Knights added a special weapon available to all classes after reaching a certain part of the skill tree called the spider. This is a nice little weapon on your character's back that hops off and does what the spider skill you choose in the tree says it does such as planting mines on enemies or blowing up in their faces. This was a very good move to make, however, the fact that you die easily in later levels makes it hard because if you die, you lose your combo meter and your spider goes into cool-down mode if it was deployed meaning you got to wait a couple minutes to be able to use it again.
Speaking of dying, one of the gripes I have about this game is the fact that you can respawn but it is generally either right in the middle of the enemies you got pummeled by or you got to run several minutes. Not only does this happen, but after dying around 50 or so times, you quickly grow tired of seeing the same Valkyrie lift you up and throw you back into battle. It is not game-breaking but it slows the action down quite a bit. Another little note, as you get damaged and die, your equipment is affected. After a long beatdown, your equipment will start flashing red meaning that the piece is broken and you lose all of its effects and armor points until you return to the stores to repair. Not too frustrating but can be a hassle in the missions after chapter one where the game begins to do nothing but get more and more difficult.
Another little thing that makes this game hard is the fact that enemies scale in level with you meaning that you cannot just go back to a previous level at level 50 and obliterate everything since they are basically the same level difference from you like at level one. This is not game-breaking, and this is not a point that makes this game the best ever. Scaling enemies is very tricky to do as seen in ES4: Oblivion where the game could be completed at level one. It does make this game more fun because it will always keep you on your toes. Good job SK!
One other thing you may notice is the co-op play over X-box LIVE. It was originally intended to be four players per group but they dropped it to two for some unknown reason. It does not bother me since I solo a lot but I have seen that it is quite bothersome to other players because they cannot roam around with their buddies.
After passing the first level, you start to come into the part where the game goes from powder puff to "OMG! I'M DYING LIKE CRAZY!!!" with these things called polarized enemies coming at you. These guys either blow up when you kill them, freeze anything around them including their guys, shock you or inflict a poison on you which doesn't go away for a long time (Fail....). Not only that but there are droves of enemies sometimes that are immune to melee or guns so if you are playing a class strong in one and weak in the other, you are basically screwed unless you can do a ruiner.
Ah, that is another thing! After getting so many combos, you fill your combo meter to a maximum of five. You can either choose to A) Pop your basic nova blast as soon as you hit one, B) Wait until you get more than one meter filled and use your weapon's special ruiner which ranges from a lightning blast to shrouds of ice coming from the ground or C) Leave it alone and take the exp bonus you get from having that many. This is nothing less than godly in my book and I love the ruiner system.
At level 10, you get the chance to choose your alignment. Cyborg or Human. If you choose either one, you get special perks such as the ability to use cannons as a cyborg or extra combos for humans. It goes deeper than what I said and can be a very daunting decision for players. I am indifferent about this system so it kind of deserves a "Meh"
I do not include controls as part of the gameplay portion because it is kind of hard so here is my thought on the controls.
In the game you move around with the left thumbstick, and flick your right stick or hold it down to perform attacks and combos or swap between targets if you use guns. Pushing both sticks in the same direction starts a finisher move and clicking both sticks at the same time activates your "Sentient" weapon which is called Spirit of Fenrir for every class. This skill quickly takes your combo meter to maximum but what breaks SoF is the fact that it takes 24 minutes before you can use it again! The skill was very poorly implemented with good intentions so this one stinks.
Camera controls are non-existent aside from the LB button which snaps the camera behind your character. This sometimes does not work right and if running, it will make your guy run like he is drunk trying to pass a line test. I want to be able to rotate my camera. In my opinion, holding the LB button and moving the right stick to move the camera would have been awesome.
Now, with the combat controls the way they are, you can essentially perform massive combos, from 25 to the thousands and unlike God of War's "Limitless combo chain" that was truthfully only a few combos before a pause, this is truly limitless and is based on how fast you are, how much health you have (So you don't die in mid-combo) and how many enemies there are.
The camera controls killed a tiny aspect of the game for me but the rest of them were okay and can easily be dealt with without complaint.
The story is how you go through offline mode. You have four very long levels in this game, meaning each level can take an hour or more. You play as an Aesir, one of Odin's elite soldiers, named Baldur who is a bad ass in his own rights. The story itself is pretty gritty and I sometimes find myself uninterested during the long cutscenes that really serve no purpose to me. However, this game is completely based off of Norse mythology and the gods are there, along with their companions in myth and lore but are subtly shown throughout the game. Odin himself, however is not portrayed except through a crow that you can catch in a few of the cutscenes, watching Baldur as he moves about the world. What Silicon knights did was integrate mechanical engineering and technology into the world, creating a futuristic alternate reality for the Norse gods with night clubs, techno music, guns, big weapons, etc. Very decent but not great.
You start the game learning the controls and about Valkyries. Each character has his own personality and you can hear the chatter throughout your adventure in the missions. Of course, other than the monsters being there, you are really not told why they are there. Are they machines or minions created by the fallen Norse gods? I kind of would like to know this in future games at least. To me, this part is kind of borked and should have been improved upon.
GRAPHICS & SOUND 7/10
The graphics for Too Human are simply beautiful. The armor sets look very unique and the weapons are beautiful. In cutscenes, you can see your currently equipped weapons and armor but Baldur seems to not have a helmet in them. Why is this? Although it annoys me, it does not deter me from the fact that everything else in the game looks polished and beautiful. The areas are very well designed and laid out to make you gawk at the detail that went into the levels and the incorporation of natural formations and machine-made creations blending together.
This game is very stunning graphic-wise but I feel that they could have spent more time on the controls or even the sound which annoys me to no end.
The sound in this game is interesting to say the least. There are times when the epic music kicks in and makes you feel like a bigger bad ass. The scores for the game are very beautiful but the score used in the third boss fight annoys me. It was such a good piece but it was ruined by the fact that it was extremely short, maybe 30 seconds at the most, and looped in a way that you could tell it was looping. Bad move!
Here is another bad move! The sound within the actual fighting areas of the game is loud and obnoxious at times making you turn the TV down. When you do this, a cutscene hits and you cannot hear a word they are saying unless you turn the TV back up. Spend more time balancing sound please!
This game is all about the loot. As you level, you can get access to bigger and stronger equipment and at level 50, you get access to what is called "Epic gear" meaning it is the best thing you can ever use for your class. This makes the game more rewarding especially if you play online with a friend because two heads are better than one a lot of times. Also, you can replay through the story mode itself as each class as well. however, each class does not have anything to add to the story other than your skill set and the difficulty.
In short, Too Human by Silicon Knights deserves a 7 because of the average taken from the content of my review. If they had improved upon the sound issues, lack of camera control and certain smaller issues, this game could have easily been a 9.
Thank you very much for reading this review!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/08, Updated 09/12/08
Game Release: Too Human (US, 08/19/08)
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