Too Human Xbox 360
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by: Silicon Knights Inc.
Release Date: Out Now
In Too Human you'll play as Baldur, Odin's favourite son. Too Human is a game that mixes Norse mythology with cybernetic science-fiction; an unusual mix to be sure but nevertheless it's an interesting one. The game begins with mankind under threat from man-eating machines and it's up to Baldur, a 'cybernetically enhanced super warrior' to protect them. With a lack of decent action RPGs on the Xbox 360 you might think that Too Human is a game that most fans of the genre would take to. It's a game that has its fair share of problems and as enjoyable as it can be at times, it's not a game that everyone will take to.
Whilst you can only play as Baldur, which makes sense given that this is supposed to be the first of a trilogy, you do get to choose his character class. There are five different classes to choose from. Champion offers good all-round abilities. Berserker is the character class to choose if you prefer melee attacks. The Bio-Engineer is a master of cybernetics and the Commando is a master of ballistics. Finally there's the defensive option with the Defender class who begins with more HP and tougher armour. Each class has their own skill tree and you can develop as you see fit. During the course of the game you'll acquire many items and there are plenty of weapons and armour types that you'll want to obtain to customise your character. As you progress through the game you get to align with either the Cybernetic path or the Human path. Whichever you choose will determine what special abilities you'll acquire.
Regardless of the character class you choose, your tactics will be pretty much the same. While the mostly robotic enemies are a distance away from you, you can fire at them or lob grenades at them. Once they're up close, you'll attack them with your melee weapon which you'll operate using the right analogue stick. You can knock your enemies into the air and carry on the attack whilst airborne if you wish. There are more advanced tactical options available to you but the aforementioned tactics work so well that you're rarely forced to consider them. That said, there are some larger robot enemies in the game which require a change of strategy but much more variation of enemies is desperately needed here. Whilst it's always good to level-up your characters in any kind of RPG, you'll probably notice that it doesn't appear to buy you any kind of advantage. The enemies' strength appears to scale to your abilities, so there's always a fair challenge irrespective of what level Baldur is.
There are other aspects of Too Human that could have been much better. The storyline in the game is very limited and poorly delivered. At no point does the storyline ever become involving. Sure you'll want to play through the game to develop your character and acquire items and abilities as you can, but you certainly won't give a fig for the storyline. Maybe this is why the online two-player co-operative play doesn't even attempt to include the story sequences into the experience? Whilst you won't see a game over screen in Too Human, you will see a cutscene of a Valkyrie descend to take your body back to Valhalla (and you'll resume your game from the last checkpoint). However you can't skip the Valkyrie cutscene, so you'll still have to wait before you can resume your game.
Whilst Too Human isn't a bad looking game, it does have a few rough edges. There are some clipping issues which are slightly disappointing to see. The character models generally look OK but some of the environmental details look a little too angular for an Xbox 360 title. The camera can be a little unruly at times and even though you can press the LB button to pull the camera back behind Baldur there are occasions when this isn't possible. The frame rate for the most part is fine and whilst there are some dips they are never problematic.
Too Human does offer subtitles but it's far from being an ideal experience for deaf gamers. The game's subtitles are disabled by default but even with the subtitles enabled there's still a good dose of the dialogue that isn't subtitled. The opening movie (that plays when you load the game) isn't subtitled. All dialogue given on the main menu and during the character setup process also isn't subtitled. Some of the game's cutscenes are subtitled and unfortunately, some are not. There are no character names or portraits placed alongside the dialogue meaning that it's not always clear who is saying what. During the main game there are plenty of comments from your AI taskforce members and communications you receive and none of these are subtitled. Whilst none of the omissions are crucially important, some of the verbal messages do occasionally provide a small amount of guidance and a decent amount of background information and it's a shame that deaf gamers will be unaware of this. Tutorial messages are shown in text.
Those looking for a solid action RPG to play on their Xbox 360 would do well to give Too Human a look. The game does have its fair share of problems but it still manages to be an addictive action RPG experience. If you're the kind of the gamer that likes to play action RPGs to constantly get new items and improve your character then you might find Too Human worthy of your attention. You can even play through the game multiple times with your character in an effort to keep levelling them up and to gain better items. Some will be deterred by its problems however and it's a real shame a mess has been made of subtitling the game. I would have also liked to have seen an offline/local multiplayer option included as that would have added extra value to the game. Too Human's not a bad game then but it certainly could have been better.