Too Little, Too Late
Too Human is a game developed by Silicon Knights. It has been on and off for 10 years. Finally, the wait is over, and Too Human is here. Was the wait worth it?
Too Human tells the story of Baldur. The story is a fusion of Norse mythology and cybernetics, and that's where the title of the game comes from. You can choose to go a more human route, or you can choose to go with cybernetics. Earlier, Denis Dyack said that this would have a big effect on the story and how it progresses, but it doesn't. There's not even a cutscene or anything to show the choice you've made and the route you've taken. It's quite disappointing. The story of Too Human is VERY linear and doesn't offer different paths you can take, like a Mass Effect or something.
Also, the story of Too Human takes a long time to get its feet off the ground. Actually, the end is pretty much the beginning, which left a bad taste in my mouth. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that some things happen in the end that will leave you starved for more, yet still ticked off. The story in Too Human was satisfying enough, I guess, but the majority of it still felt like an afterthought to me. Only at the end did things start to pick up, which is a shame.
The level design in Too Human can be best summed up in one word; uninspiring. There are 4 worlds in Too Human, not including the main hub world; Aesir. Each world is massive in gameplay length, but quite linear in their structure. Each level consists of linear corridor after linear corridor. It almost felt like the levels were designed back in the Quake days. All the levels have a few differences in the looks department, but they're almost all the same when it comes to the design of the levels. There's really no variety offered whatsoever, which is disappointing.
The gameplay in Too Human consists of hacking and slashing, but with guns and some special attacks thrown in the mix.
First, the hacking and slashing. The melee combat in Too Human is very satisfying. It's all done with the right analog stick. Move the analog stick in the direction of the enemy, and you'll hit him. Move the analog stick twice in the direction of the enemy, and you'll hit him up into air, then you can either jump and attack him in the air, or you can use a gun, and juggle his body. The right analog stick combat feels simple and intuitive. I know it's a love it or hate it way to play a game, but personally, I loved it.
Second, the guns. This is where things can get iffy. Using the guns can be very fun, but getting them to aim at the right enemy can be a lesson in frustration. The aiming system for guns feels like a real chore at times. I won't spoil the last boss fight, but it really will try your patience there. You want to target the boss, but you keep locking onto the bosses minions, so it becomes very annoying. You'll be trying to lock-on, then it keeps locking onto the wrong enemy, and while doing this, you'll be getting hit with projectiles from every direction. I hope they can fix this in the sequel, because it feels a lot like Advent Rising in this area.
Third, the camera. The camera in Too Human is just an atrocious trainwreck. Now, I can see what Silicon Knights was trying to do, but it just doesn't work. The camera freaks out a lot. It's a gigantic pain to fight huge groups of rather powerful enemies, while jump and dodging, then the camera losing focus and always havng the need to manually put it back in focus during the heat of battle. This just does not work. Denis Dyack made a big deal out of the camera system they were putting in Too Human, but sorry Denis, it's a mess.
Fourth, the loot! Now, this is the reason to play Too Human. Nothing is more fun than searching around for all the rare loot. It'll keep you coming back for more. Some of the armor you collect along your journey does look just downright silly, though. I would've liked more badass-ness.
Fifth, the increasing difficulty. The first world in Too Human is quite easy, and it offers little challenge. But then, you get to the other worlds. Starting with the Ice Forest, the difficulty increases dramatically, with insanely cheap enemies swarming you and taking any shots they can at you. I wish Silicon Knights would've found a balance between the overly simplistic and overly frustrating, but alas, they didn't.
Too Human looks good, but not great. Silicon Knights had been using the Unreal Engine 3 for Too Human, but they had to build their own engine after some issues with the Unreal Engine 3. With that said, Too Human still looks like an Unreal Engine 3 game. With the exception of the main hub world; Aesir, everything looks kind of dark and gloomy. Still, there are some impressive textures and lighting on display here. The character models don't amaze, but they're not awful, either. Baldur is the best looking of the bunch, though.
The animations in Too Human are usually quite robotic and unimpressive. Sometimes things we'll animate beautifully, but it's very rare.
I can't say enough good things about the epic score on display in Too Human. The soundtrack is just as good as what was offered in other sci-fi epics, such as Mass Effect or Halo 3. Turn up the surround sound and get ready to be blown away. This one's a keeper in this regard.
Too Human is a very ambitious title, and it fails more than it succeeds, sadly. There are true moments of brillance here in terms of storytelling and gameplay, but as the title suggests, it's all too little and too late. Still, if you enjoy dungeon crawler hack n' slash games with a ton of loot, then you'll definitely get a lot of enjoyment out of Too Human. Just dial back your expectations a tad, forget that this was supposed to be one of the best games since sliced bread, and enjoy it for what it is; a decent, yet flawed experience. All in all, it's a very addictive game, and it has pick up and play simplistic combat that will dig its hooks in you from the very beginning. Even with this rather negative review, I still loved this game from beginning to end, and that's why I'm so harsh on it. When a game has so much potential, yet still shows so many flaws, it hurts even more. Please don't give up on this one. Buy it, rent it, try it -- give it a chance.