Review by DandyQuackShot
More Like Too Matrix
Too Human was suggested to me by a friend who has a long history of mental illness er I mean interest in all things mythology and hack and slash. For him, Too Human is a sure shot at being a great game. For me, it was a game that gradually bore out a likeable time spent playing considering the flaws of this game. Too Human is a very unique game in terms of concept and game play. You have a fairly interesting storyline where the Norse gods known as the Aesir have been recreated into cybernetic beings that are in the midst of a futuristic war against the Ymir trolls who are out to stop the existence of humanity. With only a basic understanding of such mythology I found having watched the Marvel Comic movie Thor very helpful in understanding the main story line. I'd definitely have to pick up the Thor game later on to compare it to this game. I can already tell you I liked the Thor of Too Human over the Thor of the Marvel movie. So the story and concept is quite unique but the game play is hack, slash, shoot, and awkward. Once I had leveled up I was able to reallocate skill points to stop the constant dying all the time but that will be discussed in detail later. Too Human also carries an active online community which is very commendable for a game going on four years old.
Set in the future, the world has gone cold and matrix style on humanity. Human existence is under threat from being wiped out and the Aesir have stepped in to stop the powers that be from doing so. Unfortunately, the long time black sheep of the family plans to break out of prison and start his own war against the Aesir. It's a regular civil war with high tech and blunt force. You play as Baldur, who is one of the Aesir and not as cool as Thor. He is suffering from memory loss and the loss of his wife and seeks revenge on those responsible. A few things I took notice of about these gods is that the title perfectly fits the concept of the game. These gods like to claim a lot of power from Odin (the big guy in Valhalla) but they act like regular humans. That's expected considering the mythology and so it is right in line. The other thing I noticed though, was how little care for humans is presented. The gods do not have much care for the Wolf soldiers that they command. Usually you will see about two or three cut scenes in the middle of a mission where Baldur's guys are being picked up by a Valkyrie to go to Valhalla (why would the Valkyries need to be cybernetic beings) or get left behind before being blown up by their own people. The whole idea is to die valiantly or go somewhere else where you don't get to sit around and feat and boast.
The cinematics do a good job of setting up the story and keeping it going. I was more impressed by the graphics in the cinematics than anything which were my favorite part of this whole game. You can also go back and watch all the story cinematics in the extras part of the game. I guess one of the problems though is the ending. It definitely sets up for a sequel but hey if Risen and Two Worlds can get a sequel, surely this game could too.
You will quickly begin to see the problems of camera control and the die-a-lot issues that dominate your game play experience. Set in third-person, your typical game like this allows you to control the camera with the right stick but instead the right stick is what you use to slash or hammer your foes with your melee weapon. Pressing LB constantly keeps you looking straight and other times the camera will stay stationary as you continue moving away in some areas. It is a little awkward, but even more awkward is the level up issues. You will constantly be upgraded your armor and weapons to try to stop dying all the time. After twenty times of your dead Baldur being picked up and carried off to Valhalla you get tired and wish you could just press a button to skip that scene. Weapons and armor can degenerate and lose value but you pick up plenty of upgrades all along the way. Eventually I was able to find blueprints for some very valuable armor and reallocated my skill points to be able to call down Fenrir to fight for me. This cut out on the constant dying but I only figured this stuff out four fifths of the way into the game.
The game has a few puzzles along the way. Conveniently placed witch wells will help you unlock doors and move obstacles out of the way. You can also take a long and easy to get lost trip into the well at the Citadel where you can find a bunch of tech upgrades as well.
Enemies will attack in hordes so you will have to kill them all with your guns or melee weapons or rely on a spider that acts as a turret or your constantly nagging human soldiers who mysteriously appear out of nowhere at times to watch your back. The missions can wear you down at times. Where my friend told me this game only lasts a few hours to play through, I ended up logging about fifteen hours on my first play through just due to the constant dying that slowed me down. You can easily get killed until you find some armor worth wearing and you will proceed to fight horde after horde until you make it to the boss of the mission who is not much of a problem because it is always going to be one person.
I came around to enjoying the game play because I felt I could beat this game at some point in time. Once I got the hang of it I was able to finish this game but it would easily get old after awhile at first. Compared to other games I've tried that have similar game play I definitely enjoyed this one more though. Dying gets you put right back to where you were so you can finish off that Diseased Thing That Eats Brains guy that was down to a little bit of a health bar before he got you. Save points exist at automatic spots so if you stop you can pick right back up almost where you left off so that really helped me out.
Online still has a thriving community. I got on to see if anybody was out there on a Saturday night and was very pleased to get put right into a Quick Match. The online play is cooperative through the single player levels so you get a quicker run through of these missions than you do in single player. Online is helpful for trading items and collecting loot. I ended up getting kicked out of some games I guess due to my status at level 26, but still I was able to find games to play.
The music is not very memorable in Too Human but what I did find most unique about Too Human was that the dialogue in the game can be set in four different languages. I've never played a game that I could play in Japanese, German, Italian, or French. If anything this game can be a fun language learning tool.
The cinematics were really well done and while there is no particular blood and gore you feel kind of cheated when serious acts of violence occur off screen. But that's just me I guess. The graphics are great for this game and so are the voice overs. The only annoyance are the off screen Wolf soldiers who complain or say the same things over and over. "You can court marshal me, I'm done!" And of course anybody that has played this game will tell you their favorite part of this game is watching your dead body get carried off to Valhalla.
Final Recommendation 7/10
Too Human works for me. It is not the best game I have played but it is one of the better hack and slash games that I have played with better graphics and an interesting story line. I would definitely pick up the sequel to this game but I do not know what the status of a sequel for this game would be. Fans of Norse mythology will probably enjoy that aspect of the game and how the futuristic setting fits in with the concept. I do not think I would be able to trust the Aesir to protect me but there is not much other choice with them other than fight and die. Or die. Too Human is a great game and it is low enough in price to pick up out of the bargain bin or wherever else you can find this game used. It's worth whatever you find it for though. Maybe we'll see a sequel, maybe not. But this game sets a good standard for other games of this type.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Too Human (US, 08/19/08)
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