Review by SithisSanguine

"Too Human: Behind the Times"

In opening, I would like to say first off that I have not finished the game. If I decide to finish it, I will probably write another review, but that is a big if. My main standing here is that I find myself asking if this game is even worth finishing, and I am sure many who play it will find themselves in a similar situation. Let's break it down:

Story (2/10):
To put is shortly, the story of Too Human is shallow and pointless. It is by no means entertaining, and instead it is broken into a series of cut scenes between the levels. The characters have no depth as far as I've seen, and the dialog is just plain stupid. The main thing I'm getting at here is that it just isn't fun. It doesn't leave you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. The story just doesn't make sense, and there's nothing about it that gives the player a desire to make sense out of it. On top of that, there's the rather frustrating fact that you have absolutely no freedom at all in this game. Markers on your map, blunt instructions from NPCs, and little mini-scenes show you where to go next, and what to do when you get there. It's as if the Silicon Knights think you're a helpless little dog who they must drag around on a tight leash wherever you go. In addition, you don't have any choice but to play along. The only way in which you can have any freedom at all is in how you fight, but that is a pain in the arse all to itself.

The main problem is that they do such a bad job of fleshing out the characters that the player just doesn't care. For example, when you start play the main character's wife has recently been murdered, and he goes on a bit of a revenge spree, but the player will find that they don't even care. This is because they never give any really depth to the main character, or his wife.

Combat (5/10):
Normally this section is called 'game play', however, the only game play in Too Human is combat. Yes, there is the occasional trip into cyberspace, with the goal of solving some painfully simple puzzle to advance in the real world. But those scenes are so brief that they don't really count for anything. I'm going to break Combat into a few sections: Close Range, Long Range, Enemies, and Boss Battles.

Close Range:
The close range or melee combat in Too Human is not that bad. In fact, I have found it to be the least annoying method of trudging through the hordes of foes that are sent at you. At first fighting close quarters was fun, it was amusing to dash around the room delivering rapid blows to different opponents, along with unleashing the occasional Ruiner to take out a group. However, after a few hours of doing exactly the same thing, the novelty quickly wore off. The melee combat is about as shallow as the story, in actuality. Once the initial fun of it is gone, it becomes a painfully repetitive process. All you can do in the way of melee combat is use the right joystick, tap it to toss any enemy in the air for a mid-air combo, or hold it in the direction of the enemy to do a ground combo. You can't actually do any of the combos, meaning that this game has absolutely none of the depth or appeal of games like God of War, where using the right complex combination of buttons can unleash a devastating attack to wipe out an entire room of foes. But wait, didn't Fable 2 have a one-button melee system? Yes, but Lionhead actually had the forethought to make the melee combat interactive with the environment, along with using button timing to block or even counter close range attacks. The makers of Too Human, however, decided that a button to block incoming attacks just wasn't necessary. Instead, they left you to roll around in order to dodge attacks, which really gets boring especially since you can't roll as far as your enemies can swing.

Instead of giving you other buttons to do different cool things in battle, Silicon Knights made the Y button drop a Spider robot, which is useless. The X button does a battle cry that will give you a worthless bonus in fighting. These abilities can be useful if you put more experience into them, but that can be better spent on other things. All together, the close range fighting in Too Human is nothing compared to what is found in other modern games. All this leaves Too Human just too far behind the times.

Long Range:
I'm not certain I would even call it long range. The ranged fighting in Too Human is easily the worst I have seen in any game for the Xbox 360. There is no aiming system, which means you are reliant on a sort of auto-lock that tends to target enemies too far away to hit while nearby enemies close in and beat the crap out of you. The way you switch between targets is to use the right analog stick. However, since that is also the only stick for close combat, you often switch from shooting to simply swinging your melee weapon at thin air. The range of the weapons is pathetic at best. Even Rifles and Cannons can't shoot much farther than 30 feet. So, while you're shooting and walking slow, large groups of enemies have time to come up close and surround you, beating you down. Then you have to resort to melee, and if you're a commando, you suck at melee. Commandos also happen to be the only class that is any good with ranged weapons, once again making this fighting style worthless and annoying.

Enemies:
Your common opponents in Too Human are all horribly repetitive. You have the little numerous guys, and the few big guys. That's about it. The little guys swarm you, and some of them stand back and shoot you while you go through the time-consuming task of defeating their allies.

The big guys are called Trolls, they come in only two types: with cannons, and with hammers. The one with cannons are not that bad, unless they shoot you while you're being swamped with other enemies. Then they can kill you quickly. Ultimately, trolls aren't that hard to defeat. The fastest way is to damage their torso, then get around them and jump on their back. This triggers a little mini-challenge where you have to balance on top and then deliver a blow to the head, which finishes them. The problem is that this is easy and no fun at all. In games like God of War 2, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, you do finishing moves to large enemies. Those are always a very cool cinematic where you have to push certain buttons at the right time to complete them. For example, in The Force Unleashed you can fight AT-AT walkers, when their health is low you can run up, slash them, then shoot them with lightning, finally lifting them with the force, crushing them, and slamming the destroyed wreckage into the ground. In addition, that's just one of the many variations to finish them. In Too Human, you get on top of the Troll, then poke it in the head and it dies, every single time. In addition, there's the fact that when Trolls do this move where they stomp the ground, somehow that hurts you even when you're in the air. Maybe this would have been awesome five years ago.

Bosses:
As I said, I haven't finished the game. What bosses I have seen have been painfully drawn out and just plain annoying. Also, let me take a moment to point out that your AI allies in this game are worthless, and they constantly spout cheesy dialog, blah.

Graphics (4/10):
Too Human has graphics that are fairly below Xbox 360 standards. While they do provide the occasional sense of beauty and awe, upon further examination they appear cheap and two-dimensional. However, that's not what really gripes me. What I really can't stand are the countless invisible walls. I put them under graphics because I wasn't sure where else they should go.

Yes, invisible walls, the oldest, cheapest, and most pathetic means of preventing exploration of an environment. I can fully understand how sometimes invisible walls are necessary to prevent players from going to areas they shouldn't, but this is just ridiculous. Absolutely everywhere you go in any area has invisible walls. You can't even walk on desks, benches, rocks, and things, you can't jump over bushes that are three feet high, you can't even jump off ledges to fall to your own death. It's frustrating and just pathetic. Honestly, why did Silicon Knights even bother making the levels look big, when you can't even go to 70% of what you see? It brings the same kind of feeling the story gives you, NO FREEDOM.

The cinematics in this game are boring. I don't know how else to put it. It's as if they tried to make them exciting, but they're just plain boring.

Sound (2/10):
The music in Too Human is made mostly of ancient Greek types of chanting and singing. This provides a nice backdrop for the fighting, and the ancient and mythical looking levels. Still you hardly notice it's there, and it does nothing to immerse you into the world.

The dialog in Too Human is linear and meaningless. Characters spout off typical phrases, and ultimately leave the player not even paying attention or caring what they're saying.

The sound effects are as cheesy as the dialog, and ultimately the fact that they're much louder is rather annoying. Especially since you CAN'T adjust audio settings in this game.

Summary (4/10):
So, we have repetitive and frustrating combat, coupled with a pointless shallow story. That is the death of this game. If the combat was awesome, you wouldn't mind putting up with some cut scenes between entertaining fights, but it's not. If the story were great, you wouldn't mind trudging through the frustrating and boring game play to see how the story turns out. Unfortunately, the combination of those two makes this game not even worth playing to the end to see what happens.

Ultimately, I find that Too Human would have been amazing if it had come out of the Xbox or PS2. However, this game just doesn't make the cut when compared to other titles on the New Generation. If they've been working on this for ten years, they should have just come out with what they had five years ago. Because as it stands now, even though Too Human's combat system is unique, it's still outdated, and needs tons of work.

I would not recommend buying this game. In fact, I would not even give it a rental unless the next one is great and you want to know how it got started.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 08/17/09

Game Release: Too Human (US, 08/19/08)


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