I’ve been waiting for Too Human since playing Eternal Darkness, Silicon Knight’s last title. It has been in development hell since the PlayStation 1 era, so the fact that the game has even come out after all this time is shocking. Early impressions from reviewers and preview copies were wholly unimpressive, and the demo turned many people off from the game that the developers have been working on for nearly ten years. Not unlike Haze, Lair, and Kane & Lynch, a bandwagon of hate began, assimilating everyone in its path that didn’t care enough to give the game a try. Even before the first reviews came out the title was seen as a failure and pushed aside by the media and gamers alike, refusing to even give the title a chance. Well, I gave it a chance, and, while disappointed, I don’t regret my playtime one bit.
Too Human puts you in control of Baldur, son of Odin, in a futuristic world of Norse legends. Walking among gods such as Thor and Loki, the characters and environments of the game look and feel like adapted versions of those from legend. Humanity is locked in an endless war with machines, which are all given appropriately fantasy-inspired names like Goblins, Trolls, and Elves. Sadly, the characters and story falls victim to their creator’s ambition, and there is little development of either in preparation of turning the series into a trilogy. When the game ends at just less than 10 hours you’re left wanting more, annoyed at the sudden halt and lack of explanation for the game’s events. I suppose Silicon Knights thought it would be fine to end the game on a cliffhanger because of their planned trilogy, but with the first game in the series taking nine years to release it doesn’t look like we will be playing Too Human 3 until 2026. There is also a severe lack of variation in the enemies, and you will quickly find yourself growing increasingly bored of killing yet another troll or wave of goblins. The game’s four levels aren’t nearly varied enough, and it feels as though there is at least four hours of content missing off the game disk.
Gameplay is typical hack-and-slash dungeon crawling easily relatable to Diablo II, where the player must descend into different levels and beat hordes of enemies, all the while upgrading armor, weapons, and skills. The number of items in the game is awe-inspiring, and each dungeon scales its enemies to your own level.
Even so, Too Human can be fairly difficult, and dying becomes a fairly common occurrence without careful planning. Luckily the future seems to have a solution to death, with Valkyries descending from Valhalla to resurrect the fallen. Many have drawn issue with this aspect of the game, as the resurrection process takes upwards of thirty seconds and cannot be skipped. I don’t mind much, because skipping the scene would eliminate the penalty for death entirely. My only problem with it is that the Valkyries are a massive plot hole similar to Phoenix Downs in Final Fantasy, making me wonder why plot character’s deaths aren’t prevented like every other character’s are. It also makes the AI controlled teammates screams of “We’re all going to die!” and “Someone save me!” even more annoying than I thought they could be. And believe me, the script can be plenty annoying.
Graphics and textures are generally good, but the occasional rips and framerate dips are present. The armors, which are highly customizable, look nice, and the weapons and character models are usually good from a distance. Once up close, however, the characters are all fairly ugly. This isn’t really important due to the nature of the genre and its pulled back camera, but it would have been nice to see a more fluid framerate and some nicer animations. Considering the time spent on the title, it's a little insulting that it isn't the absolute best looking thing ever, but we can hardly hold it up to that standard.
Cooperative play was originally planned for four players but was eventually cut to two, and the game definitely would have been better with larger parties. The actual co-op is similar to the original Rainbow Six Vegas’s, where the story is stripped out and the multiplayer is more like an arcade game set in the original’s levels. This isn’t an issue on a second or third play through, but when it’s your first time in the Ice Forest and you don’t know why you’re chasing a god down the hallway it is jarring, and lowers the experience’s importance. The different classes would have also benefited greatly from an expanded cooperative campaign, because there isn’t really a huge benefit to playing a healer class when there is only one other person in the group.
Once you get the hang of the gameplay the controls are quite enjoyable. Tying combat to the right analog stick isn’t really an issue, and saying that it lowers the complexity is just a flat out lie. I could understand people saying that they didn’t like the controls, because yanking the camera off of the right stick definitely makes the game harder, but arguing that it simplifies it and involves “just hitting the stick” is just wrong. The same argument could be made about any button masher, or, for that matter, any Wii game. Whenever I read that reviewers say that combat boils down to tapping the stick with no rhyme or reason it feels as though they are simply trying to justify their phony hatred for the title, further piling on the logs to enflame the bandwagon mentality. There are different ways to attack by using the stick; tapping it, holding it, and pressing it in different directions in conjunction with other buttons result in different maneuvers. Not unlike any other game ever made there are different types of moves, and just because they are assigned to a different button doesn’t mean they are actually any simpler or worse. They can, at times, be slightly more unwieldy than a typical button masher, but the sense of control usually makes up for it.
Too Human is a disappointment for anyone following its development, but an entirely playable and enjoyable experience for those willing to ignore the unnecessary hate following Silicon Knight’s latest title. As mentioned before, the title isn’t without its many flaws and problems, but the good aspects of the title heavily outweigh the bad, and the amount of hate for the game seems disingenuous. That said; it feels like the game could have benefited from another year of development time, which might sound crazy given the game’s delays. The huge amount of items in the game and fun cooperative play will definitely bring you in, and the different classes and paths to take justify at least a second play though. It’s easy to find yourself taken away by negative press, but give the game a chance – there are far worse ways to spend your money.