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Too Human Review

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Developer: Silicon Knights Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: August 19, 2008 Also On: None

There have been several examples of games crossing platforms from one generation to the next, including Star Fox Adventures, Animal Crossing, Resident Evil 0, Kameo: Elements of Power and Eternal Darkness (which like Too Human, was also made by Silicon Knights). But few video games take ten years to make and even fewer can say that they spanned development across three different platforms. Too Human began as a PlayStation game, worked its way to the GameCube and finally settled on the Xbox 360. With all of this time and the creative minds that brought us Eternal Darkness behind it, Too Human couldn’t possibly fail, could it?

You play as Baldur, son of Odin. Too Human is a play on Norse mythology with the twist that the gods are cybernetically enhanced humans. Baldur is one of these gods and it is his duty to protect the human race from a machine menace intent on eradicating human life. Ironically the human gods are using implants to supplement their own abilities, while the machines are harvesting humans to become more human. Baldur is viewed by the other gods as “too human” because he lacks the enhancements that they have.

The story proves to be too foreign for you to understand unless you are a buff in mythology. The story insufficiently fills in plot points and it does not get nearly enticing enough until the conclusion, which can be reached in a measly ten hours of gameplay. The only thing connecting the cut-scenes together are patchworks of tedious beat-em-up action and walking aimlessly around your home base, known as Aesir. It is here where you will connect dots in the plot and trigger many of the cut-scenes, but also where you can purchase weapons and armor. The size of the place is unnecessarily large and likely will result in you getting lost and/or not know what to do next.

The core gameplay revolves around melee and shooting action. The right trigger is used to shoot your gun, while the left fires a more powerful (and energy consuming) blast. The analog stick is used in a way that is not traditional to action games on consoles. Someone told me before I played Too Human that, oddly enough, it played a lot like Geometry Wars. I was not exactly sure how to take this, but they were right, it does feel oddly like Geometry Wars. Baldur’s attacks are performed by moving the right analog stick in the direction of enemies while the left analog stick controls Baldur himself. That leaves the camera to the right bumper, which only centers the screen.

Therein lies the problem. While the controls are simple enough for anyone to jump in and play, the camera is a persistent nuisance that will often get in your way, either resulting in your death or complicating matters in a way that it should not. Furthermore, you will find in combat that while you are locked on to an enemy with your weapon the lock-on often times does not “lock-off” even after the enemy dies. This makes fighting threats that have not been dealt with all the more difficult. I would have gladly traded the current system in place with control of the camera with the right analog stick and using the attacks on the face buttons of the controller.

With ten years of development behind it and the talented team behind Eternal Darkness, what happened here? Too Human is a mess of a game, a patchwork of levels stringed together with an incoherent storyline, visuals that could be described as glorified Xbox graphics and a control system in place that is almost unusable. Add to that the fact that the gameplay is so repetitive and the character development tree so rudimentary that you are unlikely to remain interested throughout the full duration of this short adventure. Too Human? More like “too bad”.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide