Too Human Review

August 25, 2008

I finished the campaign of Too Human on my first character over the weekend and decided to give a review post about the game. Overall it’s a good game; I only really have a few gripes. Since they are planning on creating a trilogy for the franchise, I expect to have these issues resolved in the next installment of the game or maybe if lucky, a patch via Xbox Live. I have a feeling they are more likely hard at work on the sequel.

Game Play
Fundamentally the game play is solid, the controls are a little difficult to master at first but once you get the hang of it, Baldur is pretty easy to control around the environment. Movement itself is very simple, it gets complicated when you start wading through mobs of enemies with larger mini-bosses towering over you mid-battle.

At first I had a very difficult time timing the juggle move and the instructions weren’t clear that you had to move the right-stick 2x in the same direction, without that you end up slide attacking all the time and while that may work well for the weak enemies, you will find yourself dead quickly when going up against “leader” mobs. Leaders or mini-bosses usually are named and will display a health bar underneath Baldur when you have them targeted. Learning to master the juggle move is essential for successful game play or you will end up frustrated and resurrected by valkyries every few minutes.

Every class seems to kind of be a one-trick pony, you do attack A to kill weak mobs, juggle and try out attack A & B on the tougher mobs, trolls require a decision to go destroying it piece by piece or just enough to deliver the final blow while atop the great beasts. You’d think it gets boring after a while, but it really doesn’t because there are enough enemies coming at you as well as your special attacks (spider abilities, battle cries, and ruiners) to keep things interesting.

The levels themselves are very long and just when you think you are getting close to the end of a stage you find you have another 15-20 minutes of enemies to slog through. The promise of new shiny loot keeps you going from enemy to enemy, level to level. There is so much loot that if you don’t take a couple minutes of looking at what you have recently received in your inventory every 5 or so minutes of playing, you can easily be overwhelmed with the amount you need to go through sifting the good from the bad from the epic. Luckily there is a salvage assistant which you can set to auto-salvage certain quality types of items, but you still find yourself looking for armor/weapon upgrades that you can quickly toss into a slot.

It almost seems like the cut-scenes in the game get a little better in quality as the game progresses. In the beginning, the don’t quite have the same level of polish as the rest of the game areas that you are playing in, almost seeming like they are from a 1st generation Xbox title, however, once you are about half-way through the campaign they all of a sudden get a little better and the few graphics quirks I noted originally seemed to disappear.

Some fantastic looking environments and lots of eye candy to please in this one. They do a good job of pushing the 360 to it’s limits and you will only find there is any considerable amount of game slow down when there is just an absolute amount of stuff going on in the game. At one point I was fighting a troll, surrounded by smaller enemies and also being shot at by missile-goblins, the game finally succumbed to the madness as about 20 rockets exploded all around me and there was a few seconds of slow-down while the explosion animation was multiplied across the screen. All the stages have their own unique look and feel so you don’t get bored playing through the campaign, there is enough to mix it up and keep things fresh. This is essential as you will spend time replaying levels to gain additional experience and hunt for elusive armor and weapon sets.

Music & Sound
The game does a good job of creating the environments along with sounds that surround Baldur’s position. Whether it be explosions off in the distance, or characters speaking near you while in Midgard, they are believable. The music will quicken pace when entering combat areas with lots of enemies to provide the player with an epic feel and that lends to the satisfaction of cleaning out a large group of enemies without taking much of a scratch. The only complaint I have is that the in-game sounds are extremely loud compared to the voices at the default levels. I had originally cranked the volume up while watching a cut-scene and nearly went deaf when the game came back in, trolls around screaming for my blood.

The multiplayer system allows you to run back through areas you have un-locked with your character in the campaign and bring a buddy or random Xbox live player along for the ride. You get to pick the area, the loot distribution, and that is all you really need besides someone to join. What you embark on is a 2 player loot drop romp back through a previously cleared stage. The enemies you fight will be a mixture between your level ranges which is best if you have players fairly near each other level-wise. I had a game with my level 30 champion bringing in a level 48 commando and it made things difficult when I was one shot-stomped by a troll while trying to break off its armor. The game scales making the enemies more difficult as you progress, keeping it challenging.

If you happen to lose a connection while in the middle of a game, a new player can re-join right at the same spot in the level. There is no need to restart the session, just drop them in and keep killing things.

This is probably the most important aspect to the game if you want to consider it for a long time purchase over a rental. The campaign itself only houses about 12-13 hours of game play before you finish and will start over again either with a different class or continuing on with the same character to try and reach level 50. There are quite a few things to attain beyond the campaign for any individual character. First of all, reaching level 30 from one play through really only starts to scratch the surface of the human vs. cybernetic skill paths, you will want to continue to level and pump points into either of your skill trees to make your character even more powerful. Loot, loot, and more loot! There is so much loot to obtain, out-level, re-attain, that it is easy to find yourself re-playing areas and trying to win all of the best loot you can out of them. There are even areas in cyberspace that are only accessible after you have obtained all your cyberspace powers that garner you with fancy charms that in and of themselves have their own quest chains to complete. So while the main campaign is a little short, there are plenty of reasons to re-play through that content as your characters progress in level.

Final Thoughts
Too Human has been a long awaited game, and it does not disappoint. I wish that the campaign had 1-2 more levels in it to round it out around 20 hours of game time, but the extensibility of all the other content that is not just story but character progression more than makes up for that. If you are the type of player that likes action-oriented RPGs with a very deep class specialization system and all the loot you can get your hands on then you will like this game. If you are on the edge about the game, give it a rent or give the demo a try and see if you can stay away from all the awesome loot.