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Friday | December 9, 2016
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Too Human (Xbox 360)

Too Human (Xbox 360)

Too Human is a game which has been getting considerable hype for  quite some time. This hype is somewhat justified as the title is made by Silicon Knights who have made games such as Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. High hopes indeed for this Xbox 360 exclusive, let’s see how it fares.

Too Human is set in a world which mixes science fiction and Norse mythology. You are Baldur, a member of the Aesir gods who have decided to protect mankind against the battle with the machines (terminator anyone?). The Aesir gods have opted to help boost mankind’s chances with cybernetic implants. You start the game by searching for a rogue machine called GRNDL, and after this then the storyline twists into infighting amongst the gods.

It is all rather dramatic so far and certainly a good basis for a computer game, especially as pieces of it are drawn into play via flashbacks and interactive cutscenes. There is some rather nifty coding as well …. these cutscenes require no load times which enhances the feeling of a swift fast moving action movie. The storyline is better than most, however it is a little bit silly when you stop to think about it, so the game is best played with your brain mostly switched off and your eyes focused on the cool things that happen. This is the first game in a forthcoming trilogy and there is plenty of room for the story to unfold as the other titles are released.

Too Human uses a dual analog stick system, one controls Baldur’s movements while the other is the attack system. There are many games on PSN and Live stores which implement this exact same system so it should be immediately comfortable to most gamers. Certainly this is no 2d scrolling shooter, as it’s a third person RPG with elements of Diablo and Dungeon Siege but it works pretty well. So while this is easy to learn and use, many people will complain it is too simplistic and shallow as there are no complex moves to memorise and even the advanced attacks require just a few movements on the analog stick. Good for some and a disaster for others, I think. Additionally there are other attack options in the form of special moves which are mapped to the face and bumper buttons. Guns are fired by using the triggers.

I quite enjoyed the control method as it was easy and intuitive to pick up and get on with the game, but had just enough depth to keep me happy. The only problem I experienced was the lack of options to control the camera system. With both analog sticks occupied with moving and attacking there is nothing left to adjust the camera angles. This is fine if the camera is spot on, but unfortunately it’s not. Sometimes when you move near a wall, the camera goes a bit haywire, leaving you wondering just what the hell is going on. Thankfully the developers obviously noticed this during play-testing as there is a handy button which you can press to centre the camera behind the character, however I still found it annoying that you had to move your hands to fix the dodgy camera.

Those of you "looters" who read my recent review of the medicore Space Siege will be pleased to hear that Too Human has treasure galore. New weapons and new armour land at every opportunity and you will be spending a lot of game time customising and improving your character. This is a GOOD thing !

Equally so, the character customisation options are first class, with five different character classes such as Bioengineers (who heal) to Berserkers (who erm, don’t heal). Each class has their own obvious strengths and weaknesses and depending on the character you end up with, the game will change dramatically. My personal favourite was the defender, who can take a hell of a beating and still live to tell the tale.

Each class has branch trees which allow you to choose which methods of attack you want to focus on, as well as defence. There are also runes which you can slot into armour and weapons to get bonus effects and charms from. There are some serious customisation options in this game that initially all but the most experienced gamers will feel somewhat overwhelmed. Only spending some time with the interface will help improve your handling of the menu system.

Graphically the game is impressive with the title being split over 4 distinct stages. The art design is quite stunning with vast sweeping landscapes on view. Each stage has some secrets and some places where you can find more loot as well.

The animation is also generally impressive, however from time to time you can notice little corners being cut, however the overriding factor is that this game has NO load times and its constantly streaming data in and out of the Xbox 360 hardware which still has me impressed. The outcome of this attention to detail and lack of loading interruption just adds weight to the whole cinematic vibe which just sucks you in.

Audio in the game is stellar, with top notch voice acting as well as ambient sound effects, even if in places it seems a little overdone. The score is very nice and adds an appealing fantasy aspect to the world.

So far it’s all very good, and for the most part it is, however there is one huge design flaw which has kept me from waxing lyrical about the title. You don’t really get penalised for being killed. Seriously. If you end up dead, a magical valkyrie appears and you respawn as if nothing happened. This might be forgivable if you lost some goodies, or had to fight through some of the parts again. Nope, even if you are killed in the middle of a boss fight, you just reappear, until you kick his ass. This in effect just negates the purpose of the bioengineer class in the first place. After all, why waste time learning to heal if you just die and reappear as if nothing happened? The bioengineer union should unite and get this stopped…..

This is not the only problem and I noticed after some time playing that there is some rather horrific auto-levelling incorporated into the coding. More than once I found an awesome weapon only to immediately notice that the system was upgrading all the enemies around me to keep it on a fairly equal footing. I wouldn’t mind a system that had "improved" creatures as the game progressed, but I noticed characters I was struggling to battle before my upgrades, suddenly improving to match my new weapons and armour. So basically what we have here is a game which doesn’t punish you for dying, but yet also doesn’t reward you for improving your character. By the end of the game I was merely going through the motions and not even bothering to upgrade the character "Hell, if I die ill just reappear anyway, and what’s the point of getting a new weapon? they all improve anyway!" was a frequent thought that went through my head playing this game.

Two player cooperative mode removed the story side of the game and gives both players straight action with enemy encounters at random. Not only is combat more fun with a buddy but you can trade items and share them across the party, however it plays much better if both people are of a similar skill level. Not only because the more skilled player will find it frustrating but the game decides that scaling the enemies to a few levels above the stronger player is the best course of action. Ass kickings galore…

Too Human is a reasonably fun romp in lootville, the character customisations and modifications are sophisticated and entertaining. Unfortunately it is ruined by the fact you are basically invincible and will respawn after you die without any penalties. I can’t help but feel this will only be appealing to the guys who just love to loot and not really concentrate too much on everything else. Recommended, but with reservations.

Gameplay

80/100

Loads of player customisations and unlimited loot. Autoscaling and invincibility lower the feeling of achievement however.

Graphics
84/100

No loading, and it all streams flawlessly. Good art design.

Sound
88/100

Excellent voice acting and the music is attractive.

Value
75/100
This really depends on the kind of gamer you are. Most will probably be bored soon enough.
Overall
(not an average)
79/100

Fun for the most part, but a few annoying quirks can ruin the game.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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