Xbox 360 Review: Too Human

After a long struggle to finally come out, has the wait been worth it?

Step into the world of Too Human, the next-generation third-person epic action-game from famed developer Silicon Knights. As the Cybernetic God Baldur, Too Human players are thrust into the midst of an ongoing battle that threatens the existence of mankind. In Too Human, an ancient machine presence has forced the God’s hand. In the first of a three part Too Human trilogy, Baldur is charged with defending mankind from an onslaught of monstrous war machines bent on eradication of human life.

In Too Human, players are treated to a non-stop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and ranged firearms combat and fueled by breathtaking visuals now possible thanks to a powerful combination of the Xbox 360 and the Unreal Engine 3. Battles unfold in awesome scale as Too Human players engage with vast numbers of enemies.

Too Human Features:

  • Synergy of Melee and Firearms Combat: It’ll take more than brawn and raw strength to supplant the machine hordes. Utilise Too Human’s sophisticated blend of seamless melee and firearms combat to vanquish foes close and far. Feel each punishing blow through Too Human’s advanced visual effects made possible through the unmatched horsepower of Xbox 360 and the Unreal Engine 3.
  • Advanced Cinematic Presentation: Characters and environments come to life with unparalleled visual fidelity. Experience the full excitement of Too Human’s combat through a dynamically-driven presentation system that portrays the combat with cinematic quality. A sweeping orchestral score sets the mood for heartbreak, anger and bloodlust as each tune in Too Human encapsulates the gamer within Too Human’s immersive gaming environment.
  • Intuitive Combat Provides New Level of Accessibility: Perform Baldur’s elaborate and complex combat maneuvers through the press of a button and chain together Too Human’s rapid-fire Too Human provides gameplay that is easy to learn and rewarding to master. Too Human will introduce combinations of weapons combat on a level that exceeds some fighting games leaving players in awe.
  • Modern Take on a Classic Story: Too Human chronicles the ongoing struggle between Cybernetic gods, machine giants and mortal men on a massive scale never before seen. Play the role of a cybernetic god charged with protecting the human race against a relentless onslaught of machines.

    After almost a decade in development between the PS1 and Xbox 360…Too Human seemed to be one of those games that would never come out. Silicon Knights had great success with the mind-twisting Eternal Darkness and did a fairly good job in remaking the original Metal Gear Solid for the Gamecube, so you would expect the same effort and charm to go into something that’s taken about 10 years to produce? Unfortunately you would be wrong.You play as Baldur, the son of Odin as he goes hunting for a killer robot by the name of Grendel. As you do, you begin to learn the story of Baldur and the world of Asgard which is linked to a cyberspace world which Baldur goes to in search of answers and to activate things in the real world, think of it in a Matrix concept and you’ll get it. The story itself is actually good, despite heavy criticisms of it. Tying in Norse Mythology with Sci-Fi is a great concept and definitely matches the overall world of Too Human, there are times where you’ll think it doesn’t work but most of the time it does.

    When you first begin, you get to select one of 5 character classes: Berserker, Champion, Defender, Commando and Bio Engineer. There are achievements for mastering each and also you can choose to have cybernetic or human enhancements after the fight with Grendel.

    Where Too Human begins its descent into average-ness is through its combat, essentially it’s all done with the right analog stick and you simply bash it around to swing your weapon at an enemy. It sounds good but it’s actually very frustrating after a while, its fine for attacking smaller enemies but the tougher and taller enemies can be a nuisance since you have to destroy specific body parts to make it die, the problem is that it’s incredibly tough to target a specific limb during combat apart from shooting, even then the lock-on doesn’t know where to target. It’s just a mess.

    The game isn’t helped by a camera that has a mind of its own and gets stuck behind objects, jerks around awkwardly when you need it to behave and is just a royal pain in the backside. As you progress through the game, you’ll pick up an absolute ton of loot but you have to spend so much time in the menus trying to salvage and equip it that you end up doing that more than playing the game itself. There’s also a rather complex ability tree which you assign points to when you level up, it can be tricky trying to pick the right path and spend points wisely.

    In the end, I probably spent more time in the menus than in live combat, which is ridiculous. The first playthrough took me around 10 hours and I died over a hundred times, which is in fact an achievement for the game. Basically, you can die over and over but it won’t affect you or make you replay the previous bit. Instead it does a bit of damage to your items, the trouble is that respawning takes AGES. The fact that the game has a “Die 100 Times” achievement indicates that you will die a lot, so how they expect you to do each stage without dying seems insane to me. Unless of course, you are the highest level you can be and have all the best loot possible.

    Too Human offers local and online 2 player co-op to help lighten things up, you get double the number of enemies and can have much more fun than doing it solo, but the host decides rules on loot so you can join a match to find he’s keeping it all or sharing it, it can be a mixed bag depending on who you end up with.

    Presentation-wise, Too Human is a mixed bag. The character models can be impressive and disappointing, depending on who you are looking at. Each level is well detailed and the game runs fairly smoothly, even with a ton of enemies on screen at once. It doesn’t look as good as say, Gears of War but its surroundings and mythology both have a certain charm to them. Voice-acting is classic of Silicon Knights but not as good as Eternal Darkness was.

    The Verdict

    Too Human had so much potential with its mythology, setting and the great character of Baldur. Unfortunately they added in a pesky camera, awkward combat and made you spend too much time in menus. Let’s hope the second instalment of the trilogy begins to redeem it and that it doesn’t take another decade to emerge.