Too Human Hands-On - Not Just an Action Game

We pay a visit to Silicon Knights and find out that there's much more to Too Human than just fast-paced action.

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Currently scheduled for release in 2008, the first installment of Silicon Knights' Too Human trilogy is "one of the most misunderstood games in the industry," at least according to Denis Dyack, the developer's founder and president. We had an opportunity to visit Silicon Knights' Canadian office earlier this month, and after spending a couple of hours with a work-in-progress version of Too Human, we can report that Dyack is, or at least was , right. Nothing that we've been allowed to see of Too Human previously led us to believe that it would be anything other than a fast-paced, single-player action game, but we now know that simply isn't the case.

For starters, Too Human will be very much story-driven, and without wishing to give too much away, those of you who dig Norse mythology (albeit with a sci-fi twist) are in for a real treat. Those of you who enjoy role-playing games with an emphasis on loot collection should also find plenty that appeals in Too Human because based on what we saw of the game's loot system, it's going to be every bit as robust as those found in many massively multiplayer online games, including World of Warcraft. Furthermore, Too Human will support cooperative play, and although we're not certain how many players can team up to play through the campaign, we can confirm that there will be five different character classes from which to choose.

The loot system for weapons and armor looks to be as robust as those found in most MMO games.

If you've been following our previous coverage of Too Human, you'll know that the game's protagonist is Baldur, an acrobatic warrior who's every bit as skilled with his sword as he is with firearms. However, the Baldur featured in trailers and such isn't necessarily the same Baldur that you'll be playing as--that's just what you might look like if you choose to play as a champion. The champion class is a jack-of-all-trades whose only specialization is aerial combat--the ability to "juggle" enemies and keep them up in the air using repeated attacks. Other character classes on offer will include the commando, who specializes in ranged weapons and explosives; the berserker, who can dual-wield melee weapons and dole out massive damage; the defender, who can carry a shield with a one-handed melee weapon and "tank" in group situations by drawing agro away from other players; and the bio-engineer, who's a healer, as well as a fighter. Additional character classes will purportedly be made available for download via Xbox Live post release, but nobody at Silicon Knights is talking about those just yet.

After opting for the commando class, we jumped straight into a single-player game. We found that it took a little getting used to some of the controls and gameplay mechanics. As a commando, our main weapon was an automatic rifle with a grenade launcher, and oddly, the two very different projectiles came from the same ammunition pool. Furthermore, although the size of the weapon's ammo clip was quite limited, our bullet-and-grenade resource was infinite, so the only real challenge with ammo was to make sure we reloaded at every opportunity and didn't end up fumbling with our weapon in the middle of a firefight. Unsurprisingly, our commando's main weapons didn't fare too well when enemies got up close and personal, so we were relieved to learn that the huge polearm on his back wasn't just for show.

The commando's weapons are only really effective if you can keep enemies at range.

Because the camera positions in Too Human are more or less locked, the right analog stick is available to serve a far greater purpose: melee-attacking enemies in any direction. With a well-timed double-tap, you can launch enemies into the air where they're helpless and can be juggled with subsequent projectile attacks. Incidentally, the right analog stick is also used to move your crosshair between targets when using ranged weapons, and we found that the system worked very well once we'd spent a little time with it. In fact, our commando proved to be a great choice as he destroyed wave after wave of incoming enemies with well-placed grenades, and we'll be very surprised if the class hasn't been made a little less powerful once the game is finished. With that said, we should mention that we were extremely lucky with some of the drops that we were getting from slain enemies, and our commando was barely recognizable as the same character that we'd started out with after about an hour of play.

If you're familiar with the loot/drop systems in MMO games and action role-playing games, such as Diablo II, you'll have a reasonable idea of what you can expect from Too Human. Many of the enemies that you kill--most of which are robotic variations on classic fantasy goblins, dark elves, and the like--will drop weapons, armor pieces, or item blueprints for you to collect. Items are color-coded according to their rarity, and unsurprisingly, the most powerful items in the game are those that drop the least frequently. The rarest and most powerful items in Too Human can only be obtained by collecting a blueprint for their design from an enemy then spending a significant amount of money on having the item crafted. In the finished game, you'll only be able to craft items in between levels, but in the demo version that we were playing, we were able to do so at any time.

We're told that there will be "thousands" of different weapons and armor pieces to collect in Too Human. If you're the kind of player who (like us) gets a real kick out of getting your hands on the best gear, you'll be pleased to learn that the loot table will include extremely rare epic items that afford you bonuses when you have all six matching armor pieces, for example. Some items can also be augmented with runes to afford you attribute bonuses on top of those already offered by the weapon or armor piece when you find it. For example, one of the epic-class weapons that we got our hands on had three empty slots for runes, so we wasted no time applying some of the runes that we'd found to it for bonuses, such as better loot drops, increased attack power, and faster reload times. In addition to the six different pieces of armor, Too Human's items include nine different classes of melee weapon and nine different classes of ranged weapon, so the odds of you running into a doppelganger when playing online are very slim indeed.

In case you were wondering, that's Baldur and Thor battling a dark elf.

The first game in the Too Human trilogy will cap your character's level at 50 (you'll use the same character in subsequent games), and as you level up, you'll earn points that can be spent in one of the three skill trees of your chosen class. In case you're not a World of Warcraft player already familiar with a similar system, that basically means that within your class, you can choose to specialize in one of three specific fields. For example, as a commando, our options early on included spending points to increase the range of our rifle or to make our grenades more powerful. Later in the game, you'll also have the option to improve your characters with cybernetic implants, though we got the distinct impression from one or two of the developers that there will be some kind of price to pay for choosing mechanical parts over those parts with which you were born.

Another interesting feature of Too Human that we got to see for the first time during our visit to Silicon Knights was cyberspace. The bulk of Too Human's campaign takes place in different regions of a world known as Aesir, with such names as The Ice Forest, Hall of Heroes, and Realm of the Undead. The gameplay in those locales is combat-based, but occasionally, you'll come across pools of water that can be used to travel to cyberspace versions of the same places. Whereas Aesir's locales all have a very cold futuristic look to them, the cyberspace areas feel much warmer and more natural with plenty of greenery. The gameplay in cyberspace will be mostly exploration-based, and by performing simple tasks in cyberspace, you'll be able to unlock otherwise impassable doors on Aesir.

Not all of the enemies in Too Human are robots with fantasy names. Check out this undead wraith.

At this point, we're considerably more excited for Too Human than we were prior to our trip to Canada, but there's still an awful lot that we don't know about the game. For example, will players of radically different levels feasibly be able to play through the campaign together? Will groups need a healer and a tank to stand a chance of succeeding against enemy bosses? We look forward to bringing you the answers to these questions and a whole lot more in the not-too-distant future.

Discussion

297 comments
benfiicaboii136
benfiicaboii136

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Sorrow012
Sorrow012

just played the demo, pretty good.

gene14
gene14

1Slide5 this won't come to PC ??? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- X360 exclusive, and it's a trilogy. So I don't think it will. They're gonna have to spend time making 2 more games hopefully closely released to each other, so putting it on the PC would take out a lot of time of their schedule.

1Slide5
1Slide5

this won't come to PC ???

Futil1ty
Futil1ty

Misunderstood game? The only one to blame is the creator. Seriously, I played the demo of this game, and it was terrible. The art style was terrific, regardless to the graphics themselves not being up to par, but the gameplay was just boring and beyond. And besides that, it's looking like another MGS4 (without having any preceding games), what with its random and confusing cutscenes plentiful in number.

gene14
gene14

Berserker and commando are already unlocked. As far as the other classes just hit right on the left analog stick and the A button at the same time. YOu don't have to rapidly hit anything. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Well, I posted that walkthrough BEFORE any of the classes were released. If you hit A rapidly, and press left it's the same thing as pressing left and hitting A at the same time, there's just a better chance of success if you press A a lot. And you don't have to press left, really, just towards the next available unlocked character.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

gene14 RE: If you search the wonderful and at the same time terrible internet you will find the secrets of this technique... Or I could tell you. To unlock the Berserker and the Commando: Turn off your Xbox 360 Unplug your Ethernet cable/wireless adapter Turn on your Xbox 360 Go to system settings and change the year to 2009 Don't plug anything back in and play the Demo To get the Bio-engineer and the Defender: They'll still be locked but... Highlight who you want and rapidly press the A button... I mean RAPIDLY Then while you're pressing the A button (rapidly) press left on your analog stick and the icon to select the character should appear (Because you're technically going to the next class, but the icon appears over the guy you want, and if you do it right, it'll select the class you wanted). You're welcome and have a GREAT time. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Berserker and commando are already unlocked. As far as the other classes just hit right on the left analog stick and the A button at the same time. YOu don't have to rapidly hit anything.

Krome_Z
Krome_Z

I've already played the demo like 5 or 6 times, I'm sure it'll be a great game.

kvan33
kvan33

Another overhyped game. 75/100 at best.

nunoisbigboss
nunoisbigboss

the battles feel a little clumsy particularly th melee attack but other than that i lik this game

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

Vasot Sony with God of War 3 is in serious trouble now Too Human is coming to kick some serious butt !! ------------------------------------------------- Lol no it's not.....

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

Diablo style lootage and devilmay cry, god of war, and (list action game here) gameplay? What more could you want from a game!!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Did we even play the same game? God of war or devil may cry my butt!

H_U_R_D
H_U_R_D

looks like every other hack and slash out there with some weapons and armor collection and some crappy ranged weapons

MdPapa
MdPapa

Bioengineer and defender FTW

Vasot
Vasot

Sony with God of War 3 is in serious trouble now :D Too Human is coming to kick some serious butt !!

osiris
osiris

Downloaded the demo, played as beserker and champion... liking the looks of the game, the excellent diablo-style loot system. The story is all thats left. Hopefully they do as good a job with that part, since thats what always makes you want to play that little bit more. I'm buying into it.

gazzad
gazzad

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

gazzad
gazzad

Downloaded the demo, tried it out.. This game is mediocre as hell.. The combat is slow and unsatisfying, and the camera angles suck. I'll wait for fallout 3!!

Redhairboy491
Redhairboy491

Thats weird...i was able to play with the berserker when i downloaded it. I could use him and the champion and i didnt do anything out of the ordinary i think...

yomama15
yomama15

Diablo style lootage and devilmay cry, god of war, and (list action game here) gameplay? What more could you want from a game!!! You want it to please you?..............

mingfu
mingfu

this game is gonna BE AWESOME!!!!!

gene14
gene14

RE: If you search the wonderful and at the same time terrible internet you will find the secrets of this technique... Or I could tell you. To unlock the Berserker and the Commando: Turn off your Xbox 360 Unplug your Ethernet cable/wireless adapter Turn on your Xbox 360 Go to system settings and change the year to 2009 Don't plug anything back in and play the Demo To get the Bio-engineer and the Defender: They'll still be locked but... Highlight who you want and rapidly press the A button... I mean RAPIDLY Then while you're pressing the A button (rapidly) press left on your analog stick and the icon to select the character should appear (Because you're technically going to the next class, but the icon appears over the guy you want, and if you do it right, it'll select the class you wanted). You're welcome and have a GREAT time.

Manicfragger
Manicfragger

gene14 this one is for you. You said that you've played all of the classes in the demo hows that possible if you can only choose the champion class????

kevo25
kevo25

this game sounds more awesome the more i hear about it at first when i heard some small details awhile back i was like meh but now after playing the demo and hearing so much about it i cant wait!!!

gene14
gene14

When I saw the original trailer, I was just considering the game... Then when I read about them suing b/c of the Unreal Engine, I was against the game... And then I played the demo. It blew me away. I played all the classes and found the one best suited for me: Berserker. Because I'm a DPS class in every other game. =P Moves extremely fast, attacks are visceral, and even though I didn't change my dual swords throughout the whole demo, it only took me a few hits to pwn the large robots and the red eyes. The Defender was pretty amazing too, fast attack speed and extreme defense (never went lower than 90% health. The champion was, like the lady said, the most balanced. The commando, yes, excels at ranged weaponry, but ranged combat isn't for me since this isn't an FPS and epic looking swords are involved. Finally, the bio-engineer. This is gonna be the hardest class to play through the game alone, imo. Can't tolerate lots of damage, very, very weak, and the lower level health regen is garbage... Just isn't for me, I can't be a heal bot. The corny camera didn't stop me from having fun. I'm, hands down, getting the game. If there will be PvP, it would be even more epic. I also uploaded some epic armor I found in the demo on youtube. my channel is fpsgene.

Miteme
Miteme

I played the demo too. I was expecting a mindless shoot em up but found an intrigueing shooter with role playing elements such as leveling up and customization. The story also seemed far more exiciting than I original thought. The videos from E3 showed the player to have almost limitless customization of Baldur which means that one playthrough can completely vary from the next. All in all I was pleasantly suprised and Too Human went from a game I'd consider buying to one I will buy.

Manicfragger
Manicfragger

One last thing if they put PvP in this game even if its One on One. It really is going to rock then. Cuz just think of it, your collecting all of this epic loot but u're not going to have someone other that A.I to test it on. Theres no fun in that.

Manicfragger
Manicfragger

Yup just played the demo. Truth be told I didn't know what I was in for. But I was surprised to say the least that I really enjoyed it. To describe this game in a sentence. Nice gameplay with a chronicles of riddick necromonger feel to it, awesome loot coupled with some stylish devil may cry fighting.:) If they polish this one up real nice its going to be big.

rharrigal
rharrigal

I played the demo too- yea the camera gets annoying at times but the combat is easy. The animations were stiff too. The only other problem was the gun aiming, because at one point my guy starting shooting off the screen at an enemy I couldnt see. I think the game could be pretty awesome- the combat and graphics overcome the small issues

pk10222
pk10222

I agree with Jokis, played the demo...camera system is a little wierd cuz u dnt have control over it but u get used 2 it...i like the way the melee system is...personally i like it better cuz its jus smooth better than button mashing....from what ive seen from the demo....i think this game will be pretty good

Jokis
Jokis

Played the demo, just got to the end - I really like it, I think the melee weapon system is stiff but fun - could be different with the different characters and maybe different weapons. Still as long as most reviews dont torpedo this game I'm going to pick it up. For some reason I couldnt use any relics on my gear in the demo, might be a limitation I missed somewhere. I died a few times, was overwhelmed - I like how the health packs drop but I think there should be a way to heal yourself manually without resorting to getting drops - I dont know if this is addressed already in the game. Anyways, try the demo if you havent...its pretty good and long. Took me just under an hour to beat it.

tawnybaka
tawnybaka

no load times! yes! I was already excited about this game, but now I'm really counting the hours until launch.

Kaleb_B
Kaleb_B

I am still can't get clear definition of this preview title "Not Just An Action Game" from the available previews all (maybe i should say "most") i see is action. I am tracking this game but still can't decide whether this is my kind of game or not.

SethandJeremy
SethandJeremy

I wish I could get this game but I don't have a Xbox360

rharrigal
rharrigal

already heard everything in this report before, but I have to play it to know if its good now

rharrigal
rharrigal

already heard everything in this report before, but I have to see this game with a controller in my hand to beleive it.

typef
typef

i just found out this lame ass game does not have pvp/vs. i dont want it anymore. Is just like phantasy star online with no fighting each other. blah if they do add it in the game i might consider getting it >.>

typef
typef

this game only has co-op? is there co-op battle/pvp or just pve? cuz if there's vs mode like any other mmo type of game then im down for it.

nikoofus
nikoofus

Looks good, looking forward to this one.

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

10 years in da making... I'll look into it, tht's for sure.

6reatNate
6reatNate

This game looks pretty good, but i might see a chink in this games armour. II saw so many enemies what happens when there are so many more. Will it get choppy and skippy? But overall this game looks pretty sick. .....Oh wait i forgot to ask somthing. if your character carries over from the first game to the second , what if you never buy the first, but you wanna play the second. And this is the first game right?

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

Your kidding right? Did no one listen to the developers when they said it was a RPG/ Stylized Action game? Why are people seemingly so suprised? I've known it was DMC with RPG elements for awhile, overall this game will be amazing... but so was Advent Rising and we all know how it did. So we'll see if the nearly retarded masses can open their eyes to this title, my hopes are high that I'll actually get the second in this trilogy. It's basically just a faster paced Mass effect, which makes me plenty happy. GO COMMANDO!

Kakalun
Kakalun

looks good.i hope the gameplay wil be as good as the graphics

Ghost_702
Ghost_702

First time I saw this game I thought it would be phenomenal, then after a while I thought is was going to be just another wanna be epic game that ends up failing. But after reading this preview along with others I can't help but wait to get my hands on this game. It looks to be shaping up nicely.

green_ghost1
green_ghost1

My excitement for Too Human is ever growing, for a while I had always thought that this game was just "meh" But the graphics have been shaping up real nice! Contrary to many others beliefs. I also like the "rune" system as it reminds me strongly of Fable's "Augmentation" system. The "Loot" system sounds epic! I esp. like the idea of taking blueprints that have been dropped and then decideing whether or not to craft that rare item is pretty sweet, there is just no other way to put it. And if there really is "thousands" of items.....exciting! I like the sounds of the "Cyberspace" as well. However with all of this excitement I feel. I will for the time being remain skeptical of this title. And after I've played the demo will come to a decision. I can't wait for the Demo. It should speak volumes, whether in a good way or not it will.

cdo1536
cdo1536

I seen a gameplay video, and this game looks awful. The sword swinging was too similar to Two Worlds, which was just stupid and horribly done, and the amount of overpower in the player's hands just makes it as boring as all other "1 player vs 40 enemys at once, and kill them all in 10 seconds" kind of games. Can't really rate it until you play it, but I don't think ill play this.

deadstarr
deadstarr

Cannot wait for this one. :D