At a recent Microsoft press event, we were able to get our hands on Silicon Knights' Too Human. It was quickly explained to us that Too Human is a one- or two-player-cooperative hack-and-slash experience that will be hitting store shelves like a hammer this August 19th. We were also briefly introduced to two of the five character types: the bioengineer and the champion. We also got to see a unique cooperative mechanic: One is good at knocking enemies into the air, and the other is good at stabbing them while they're up there.
Then we actually got to play the game cooperatively, and discovered that it's incredibly easy to pick up and play. You really only need to manipulate the two analog sticks to start beating down bad guys by the bushel, as the left stick moves your character, and the right stick makes him attack. When you're near an enemy, you can simply flick the right stick in that general direction to charge like a rhino, swinging your weapon. If you're playing the bioengineer, you'll unleash the business end of a huge sledgehammer upon your foe, knocking him a dozen or more feet into the air.
From there, the champion can simply jump and flick the right stick to launch into a devastating midair combo on the helplessly floating bad guy, courtesy of a wicked blade. As fun as it is to work together like a volleyball team, setting up enemies before a violent and final spike, you have many more options. Both classes wield guns, and can use them to blast enemies that have either been knocked down, or up. The guns are also useful against large, heavily armored foes. One in particular was a giant robot with a terrifying hammer fist who was way too big and powerful to take on toe-to-toe. So we backed off and targeted its chest armor with our rifles, quickly depleting its defenses. Next, one of us distracted the monstrosity with more laser fire while the other circled around from behind, and jumped on the behemoth's back with a simple button press. The robot tried to shake us off, but with some deft left-stick balancing we managed to stay on, and deliver a mighty smack to its chrome dome, blowing its artificial mind. Who knew bioengineering was such a hands-on field?
When we weren't pulverizing huge androids, we were whacking waves and waves of their smaller kin; this called for less strategy, and way more violence. We simply charged around the field with our hammer in a deadly dance of robot whack-a-mole, while our partner sliced and diced from above. Through it all, we were traversing alien landscapes and ruins with lots of jagged stones and glowing crystals. The scenery changed, however, when we entered cyberspace, which we accessed by leaping into a shimmering well. Where reality was a gritty alien ruin, cyberspace was a lush and vibrant place seemingly suspended in midair. We roamed around, got some money, unlocked a couple new powers (like one that let us push open large stone doors, or the alien Internet's equivalent of a firewall). Then we popped back out for more two-against-all.
Though our time with the game was way too brief, it should take you anywhere from 15 to 20 hours to make your way through the single-player campaign, and about 10 to 15 to make your way through the cooperative content. You won't be able to tackle this game's action with a friend on the couch next to you; however, Too Human will feature drop-in/drop-out cooperative play over Xbox Live. Our brief time with Too Human created as many questions as answers, but one thing is certain--Too Human can't arrive too soon.