IMAGES COURTESY OF SILICON KNIGHTS
The first installment in a planned trilogy, Too Human mixes Norse mythology and technology to create an unique world where you wield the power of a cybernetic god. While the Xbox 360 exclusive game offers an action-packed, sci-fi, hack and slash good time, it also has room for improvement.
Developed by Silicon Knights, Too Human is a third-person action adventure game that integrates fast-paced melee and ranged combat with RPG elements like skill tree progression and dungeon crawling. As Baldur, you join Thor, Tyr, Heimdall and other Norse gods and fight your way through hordes of enemies in the pursuit of honor, revenge and answers to your mysterious past.
The controls are amazingly simple. Press the right analogue stick in the direction of an enemy and you will attack. Additional button combinations will activate combos and power-ups. The controls are so easy that a novice gamer would do well at this game, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s an exciting, fluid movement the character makes as he quickly dispatches dozens of goblins, dark elves and trolls.
The action is fast, frequent and extremely exhilarating, but unfortunately it’s also repetitive. There’s a lack of variety in the combo system that may bore experienced gamers as they find themselves repeating the same moves. Once you nail the powerful “fierce attacks” and “ruiner” combos, you’ve pretty much mastered combat.
It’s too bad those easy controls come with a heavy price. Since your right analogue stick is your attack button and your left analogue stick moves your character, the AI controls the camera — one of the biggest problems with the game. The camera is constantly moving in ways you don’t want it to and you have no control of it at all. It’s frustrating and distracting when you’re trying to move in one direction and the camera is pointing in another. It’s also a problem during combat.
To be fair, the autopilot camera does create some cool cinematic effects while you fight and treasure hunt through dark, enemy-filled dungeons. The graphics and art direction are impressive, especially the sci-fi environments and freaky cyber-god characters — yeah I’m talking to you Loki.
While the fighting is simple, the RPG elements of the game add complexity and depth to your character. There are five different warrior classes to choose from, Berserker (master of melee damage), Champion (best at critical strikes), Defender (increased armor and health), Commando (master of ranged weapons), and Bio Engineer (healing abilities). Each has its own skill tree that you allocate points to each time you level up. Climbing each branch of the skill tree unlocks new powers and abilities.
Choosing between Human alignment (increases speed in combat) and Cybernetic alignment (increases strength in combat) also alters your skills. Depending on what class you choose, you can use hundreds of customizable dual-wielded and one-handed swords, hammers, pistols, rifles and lasers that you find or purchase with money collected from various loot drops.
Another issue with the game is the leveling system. When your character levels up, enemies do the same — automatically. This is to keep everyone who’s fighting in the same difficulty range. While I can appreciate not having to fight creatures way out of my league, it also takes away the fun of crushing enemies that are ranked way lower than you.
Since Too Human is part of a trilogy, the game allows you to progress from level 1 to 50 and then stops. When you play the second game (release date unknown) with the same character you will be able to level up to 100, and in the third game level up to 150.
Though the fighting in Too Human is simple and repetitive, it’s also fun as hell and extremely addictive, especially if you’re obsessive compulsive about leveling up, completing your character’s skill tree and collecting all of the hidden loot.
It took me about 10 hours to complete the game using the Champion warrior class. I only got to level 30 so I’m playing through the game again to max out. (The story repeats itself, but the leveling up continues until you reach 50.)
I also started a new game with the Berserker warrior class which changes the game experience quite a bit. The class offers less health than others but is much faster and combat effective, so I’m leveling up quicker and having lots of fun using dual-wielded melee weapons.
The additional classes, seemingly infinite number of collectable weapons/armor and the two player online co-op mode gives Too Human lots of replayability. It’s a solid start for a new franchise and definitely worth checking out. I’m sure they’ll fix all the bugs in the next installment and all of the fallen warriors will be singing praise in the halls of Valhalla.