Review by Exodist
"A frustrating game, but it's worth a go."
I love my RPGs, and as mentioned in my Two Worlds review, I want to get as many RPGs as I can on the Xbox 360 (this essentially means I want them all, although there are a few that haven't/aren't coming out here in the UK so I am limited). Too Human is pretty much an RPG, just played out like an action game. A lot of reviews slammed the game, but I quite enjoyed it.
The story was alright, although I admit I didn't have much of an idea what was actually going on in the game. You play as Baldur (you can only choose your class in the game, not your appearance or your name), who appears to be a great warrior. From what I gathered, the world has been torn apart by war and robots (the robots are named after generic fantasy enemies, Goblins, Trolls, Dark Elves, Undead etc) and you're fighting back. I wasn't quite sure what you are though. There is mention in the game about humans on Planet Earth, or something like that, but I believe you work for some cybernetic people. Your first mission (out of the four) is fairly straight-forward, to defeat a creature. You're then introduced to the city of Aesir, and the Cyberspace world (I don't know if that's what it's called, but if you've played the game you will know what I mean), and you're off, essentially defeating bad guys. The story can be quite confusing, fusing norse mythology (which I know nothing about), some plot points either aren't revealed at all, or are revealed late in the game. Whilst I understood, to some context, the setting of the game, I still felt perhaps there wasn't enough information given. Apart from that, it was fairly standard, although Too Human is planned as a trilogy so who knows what to expect from the next two games.
Too Human is essentially, a console version of Diablo, in terms of concept at least. There are four levels, or "dungeons" for you to run through, defeat enemies in and gain loot. Your first playthrough of the game is story based, you play the level, do a little wandering in the Aesir, then do another level until all four are done. The game then resets the campaign (obviously carrying your stats over), but you can then revisit any dungeon you want, and play through them without the story cut-scenes, and with more enemies. Where as Diablo was a point and click RPG, like those of BioWare (Baldurs Gate for example), Too Human, probably to appeal more to the Xbox 360 crowd, plays like a third-person action game. You can choose a multitude of weapons, swords, staffs, guns, and big-ass laser cannons, you run around the different rooms, and you kill the enemies. The controls are fairly basic, but there is a slight twist. Guns are controlled like any other shooter, with LT to aim and RT to fire, but melee weapons, which I have to say, were much better than guns (trust me, the guns did barely, if any damage at all, they were terrible) are controlled with the right analogue stick. This already presents a problem: controlling the camera, however I'll talk about that later. The melee fighting controls are definitely better than simply tapping a single button, but it does present many flaws. Either way, you run through room after room, killing the enemies, and collecting any loot/health/bounty they drop, or of course, from chests. You gain EXP, you level up and gain skill points, and you allocate them to different skills. Another, different feature of Too Human, is Cyberspace. Dotted around the different levels are cyber wells. Walking to them, you essentially enter a forest like cyber world (I'm not quite sure how it works, but I think the cyber world represents the area you're visiting, but in the past, or something like that). Here, you can perform simple tasks, such as pushing a rock into a fence, to make new paths in the actual word, so you can carry on. It doesn't really change anything though, so don't get excited with it. Equipment consists of all the armour you could ever need, all of the weapons, but a few different things. During the game you can collect Charms and Runes. You equip a charm (you can only have up to two charms equipped at once), where you're given a simple quest, like defeating so many enemies etc. Once this quest has been completed, you can then place the Runes you have also collected into your charms (not any runes, you have to place specific letter runes into the charms). Once they're full equipped, you then gain the status improvements from them, providing they're equipped. This is unfortunately a rather discrete feature. I didn't learn of this until the end of the game since it doesn't really explain it well enough to you. I didn't really find them useful either, so I didn't bothered trying it out. The last thing on your equipment list, are the blue-prints. These are fairly straight-forward and standard. You find a blue print, you pay a certain amount of bounty to make it, and there you go, a new item. Fairly simple, and really useful in the long run, since you can make some really good equipment. It all really does play out like a dungeon crawler, and it's pretty fun. Too Human also features online co-op, however I never really tried it.
So, I've pretty much explained how Too Human works, and that it works well, and it's fun. But why the 7? Well, Too Human also features many flaws. A lot of them. Firstly, you may remember the issue I mentioned with the controls. The game is incredibly hard to adjust too. Since the camera isn't really that good, I tried to adjust it with the right analogue stick so many times, it took a long time for me to adjust. You can use LB (or RB, I can't remember) to place the camera behind Baldur, but it's still rather poor. Another problem, for me at least, is the difficulty. The first level is pretty easy, but after that, it gets rather ridiculous. You will die so many times it is unbelievable. You've probably heard of this infamous death scene, right? Well, I don't mind it. For 15 seconds or so, a Valkrye floats down, takes Baldur's corpse, then flies back into the sky, then you respawn. This isn't too bad compared to the long loading times of other games, although it does get kind of annoying when you're repeatedly getting killed. I already said that the guns in this game are useless, and so are the abilities. Well, I lie, the Ruiner (the default ability) is probably the best (I can't remember what it's called, the LS+RS is really good too) ability in the game, and helps the most whilst fighting. Each class has a unique skill tree. You can only learn one of two available skills, one which assigns to Y, the other to X. To use these abilities, you require, well, an attack meter I guess. When you attack enemies this small bar fills up, and once it's full, it's value is added by 1. You need at least 1 "attack meter" shall we say, to use an ability, and it drops down by one. However I found the Y and X abilities rather rubbish, with only the Ruiner, which essentially throws and damages all enemies within a certain radius of Baldur, to be useful. So yeah, I was talking about difficulty right? Well, since the guns are next to useless, you're mostly forced to use your Melee weapon. You are usually accompanied by AI controlled squad mates, but these are even more useless than your guns, they do pretty much nothing. Imagine this: You enter a room, and you're bombarded by enemies. These massive groups also include bigger enemies, Trolls. The trolls can stomp the floor, and a magic wave moves through the floor, knocking you down. They can also fire mines at you, and if they're elemental, set you on fire or freeze you. These smaller enemies also have guns, but these actually hurt you a lot. These fights, considering you're pretty much alone, are incredibly unfair. As soon as you start the fight, you get shot, blown up onto the floor or frozen, and it's a pain. These fights pretty much require you to die over and over again to beat the group of enemies, and it's not fun, rather just incredibly frustrating. Another thing I vaguely mentioned earlier was that enemies and chests drop health. Apart from the particular class (I can't remember what it's called, and I never used it, but the description said something about them being able to heal themselves), those two methods are the only way to get health. There aren't any potions or spells to get health, it's dropped. The game also includes status effects, which include poison and, well, setting you on fire I guess. These status effects hurt you a fair bit, but theres the thing, you can't remove them. The only way to get rid of them is to wait them out. But if you're in the middle of a fight, and you're poisoned, you're pretty much screwed. Enemies do a lot of damage, the poison is eating away at you (and trust me, it lasts a long time), and you probably won't get much health. Playing solo is pretty much a death-wish. Provided the amount of enemies and difficulty stay the same, co-op will provide a much easier, and fun experience. If you're not very patient, don't bother with Too Human. You die a lot, and a lot of the time it's pretty unfair. This results in the game feeling more like a chore rather than fun, and that's not good.
The graphics are pretty good in Too Human. I don't remember any textures still loading, and all objects loaded straight-away. The levels in the game are really big, and they're completely load free. There were no short pauses whilst playing or anything, and no long corridors to secretly load the next room with. I was quite pleased with the graphics, and whilst there are much better graphics out there, Too Human boasted impressive graphics. Probably my weakest point when reviewing a game, the music was alright. They seemed to be fairly generic action tunes from what I heard, and the voice acting was good enough.
Too Human is definitely a game to try out, whether it's a rent, or just cheap in the shop. The story took me about 10 hours to complete, but there are plenty of things to do, and the achievements, whilst not particularly difficult (apart from beating the levels without dying), just take a bit of time to get. The game can be quite frustrating, but it's pretty fun as well, and it's worth a look. The gameplay is addictive when you're having fun, and the story/graphics were alright, just ensure you'll have the patience to play the game if you try it out.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/08
Game Release: Too Human (EU, 08/29/08)
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