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Too Human Review
developer: Silicon Knights
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Aug 19, 08 (released)
|» All About Too Human on ActionTrip|
Silicon Knights' action RPG Too Human has been creeping in and out of production since 1999. Things got even more complicated when Silicon Knights went to trial with Epic Games over the Unreal Engine 3. Silicon was suing Epic due to "breach of contract" and "inadequacies" of Epic's support regarding Unreal Engine 3, which powered Too Human. Epic Games said Silicon was using their technology as they pleased without any cost. The developers of Too Human decided to go for an in-house built code for the game, but, as we understand it, traces of UE 3 were still being used. Be that as it may, the game finally made it to retailers.
Too Human hurls the player into a semi fantasy setting, featuring a slightly bewildering futuristic take on characters and stories from the Norse mythology. Gods such as Thor, Loki, Heimdall and others, are presented as cybernetically enhanced humans. You enter the human world as Baldur, son of the mighty Odin, who goes on a quest to guard the humans from a powerful race of machines. Oh yeah, and you're pissed 'cause someone killed your wife and you want vengeance. From the outset, it's plain that character concepts are way off. The protagonist is a cross-over between Jason Statham and your average British soccer hooligan, while Heimdall can basically be described as a bad-ass top executive with cool cyber-shades and as such doesn't exactly strike us as the great guardian of the Gods and the one who "bridges" Midgard with Asgard. Story-telling, in fact, appears to be one of the weakest elements of the game. The designers and writers of Too Human obviously had an elaborate concept in mind, but ended up scribbling down a poor story about a revenge-seeking muscle-head, who simply fails to entice as a leading character.
Creativity isn't exactly the art team's forte. Apart from the feeble-looking characters, the environments are mostly bland and unimaginative. The art style in general borrows from every triple-A game ever released on the Xbox 360 (think Halo, Mass Effect and so on). True enough, there are probably gamers out there who won't be bothered by this and may find the overall design acceptable. However, we doubt the game's generic universe will hold anyone's attention for long.
Too Human has some redeeming features, which could make you set aside its drawbacks. The developers did invest a lot of time into incorporating RPG elements. Earning new skills often makes way to new and interesting combat techniques. The wide choice of melee and ranged weaponry fits well into the picture, allowing players to make dozens and dozens of combinations to suit the fighting style of their character. There's also plenty of room for customizing armor and weaponry. Almost every item in your possession can be upgraded by inserting runes to ensure special features. Crafting plays a vital role as well. You earn bounty (sort of the game's currency) by killing opponents or by salvaging items you already picked up. You collect blueprints of armor and weapons and then use the bounty to craft what you need.
Getting used to the inventory system takes a bit of time. In fact, the gameplay mechanics appeared quite confusing, making for a somewhat steep learning curve. Coupled with the generally mundane setting and bad character design, Too Human is bound to ward off many players. Still, we have to say that Silicon Knights had a few genuinely terrific ideas for the gameplay, some of which worked out. Now, for the most part, the hero hammers his way through hordes of baddies, Diablo-style. Apart from that we did enjoy the many different character skills that are put into play via combat efficiency. In other words, certain special powers and strong attacks can only be used once you've proven yourself in combat. Much to our surprise, this proved to be an enjoyable aspect of gameplay. For a while we actually had fun with some of the abilities. On top of that, you can choose your alignment further down the road - either Human or Cybernetic, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks. Opting for Cybernetic, for instance, grants access to powerful artillery such as cannons - the drawback being that cannons significantly slowdown the character's movement and may take a long time to reload.
Rewarding skill system, tons of items and weapons to toy around with, 2-play co-op is fun.
Steepish learning curve, dreary story, you are tossed in an endless cycle of repetitive levels and similar-looking enemies, short and technically flawed, frame-rate issues.