May 19, 2008 – Argueably, not many games out there have had it as rough as Too Human has. When you look at Too Human, you are seeing a game that has spent over ten years in development on three different systems. Not only that but Silicon Knights has been in a lawsuit-inducing conflict with Epic over the Unreal engine that they licensed to finally try to bring the game to life on the Xbox 360. Talk about getting kicked while you’re down: Too Human also had a less than stellar showing at E3 2007, dissuading many gamers before they even had a chance to actually play the title. With this ever-growing cloud of doubt, delays, and miserable luck, Too Human finally looks primed to attempt to disprove the naysayers come August 19th
The version of Too Human I had a chance to play at the recent Microsoft Gamer’s Day has come leaps and bounds from that ill-fated E3 demo we saw almost a year ago. The game was running stably and had eliminated many of the numerous problems that plagued the previous demo version. Unfortunately, every time Too Human starts to show the slightest glimmer of hope that it will be what fans are expecting something bad tends to happen. The originally “promised” (there is, of course, a debate) four-player co-op play has been changed to only support two-player co-op play instead. Although Silicon Knights’ reasoning is sound, that it worked and played better with two instead of four players, I can’t help but be disappointed by this news.
While this announcement is upsetting, the rest of the game will continue to be what it was originally intended. This is basically a 3D next-generation version of Diablo coated with Norse mythology and futuristic tech and weaponry. This game will surely elate fans who have been waiting for a game such as this to fill the void left by the large gap between Diablo sequels. There is also a good chance that fans of action RPGs and/or Norse mythology will come along for the ride and enjoy the experience.
You will have five different character classes to choose from, all with varied attributes that suit a variety of play styles. No matter which character you ultimately choose, you will earn experience points while playing that can help you further customize your character’s attributes and abilities. The game did seem to feel rather clunky and slow in the beginning, but after some leveling up it began to play much better. Still, fans looking for more Devil May Cry and less Mass Effect type gameplay may be disappointed by the game’s somewhat sluggish introductory combat.
Waves of similar looking enemies were constantly attacking me from every angle. By using a good mix of sword and gunplay these foes were easily dispatched in mass quantity. The sheer number of enemies you will face is quite impressive, and there is a decent variety. The potential drawbacks from this are the drop from four to two-player co-op and the overall deserted feel of the rest of the environment. To display that many enemies on-screen at a time is bound to have consequences, and I fear they may not be worth the tradeoff.
Another potentially disastrous compromise this game makes also has an ugly result. Your melee weapon attacks are controlled by the right analog stick. While this does work well for the game’s combat, it leaves you fighting the game’s awkward camera just as much as its numerous enemies. The extremely cumbersome camera, that would otherwise be manageable with the use of the right analog stick, is instead allowed to run wild. This often results in not really being able to see many of the foes you wish to attack. You will be able to press a button to recenter the camera, but unfortunately this doesn’t always help when surrounded by a wave of enemies.
The ability to aim at specific points on your foes is an interesting feature. This actually allows you to be more tactile with your gunplay. During massive battles this feature can be easily ignored, as you are just trying to wipe out massive quantities of enemies. I did, however, fight a larger boss type character later in the demo that really had to be attacked intelligently using this aiming feature. Hopefully this will end up being well-balanced and more useful during group combat when the game finally hits the market.
Fans of Silicon Knights, Diablo, Norse mythology, or just a quality action RPG should check this game out. The game still appears to get a few things wrong but also manages to get many things right. Too Human also seems like a game that may not appeal to all gamers, so you may want to try this game before you run out to purchase it. Although there is supposed to be a demo released for Too Human, Silicon Knights is still keeping the release date for it close to their chest. I just hope it gets released before the game does so anyone planning to pick up the game will have a chance to try it out for themselves, instead of just blindly listening to the plethora of negative press this title has received in the recent past.
More Human Than Human
Feb. 15, 2007 – It has been a long battle for Silicon Knights to bring their creation, Too Human, to the public. It was originally slated for development with PlayStation as a 5-disc RPG. Shortly after it was shown at E3 ’99, Nintendo announced an exclusive with Silicon Knights in 2000 and then it was thought Too Human would arrive on the GameCube, but that never happened. Even though Silicon Knights is best known for the Eternal Darkness title and the Metal Gear Solid port for the GameCube, it would be 2005 before anyone heard about Too Human again. Announcing a partnership with Microsoft to develop Too Human as a trilogy for the 360 confirms that after a long anticipation, the wait is almost over.
Too Human has several influences that will be apparent throughout the game. The first one that will be recognized is the intertwining of Norse mythologies. The most notable difference will be that the Gods are not Gods, they are cybernetically enhanced humans. The runes on the cover of the box even suggest the influence of Norse mythology, they read “Of God Of Men Of Machine.” The parallels between Norse mythologies will be apparent through all three titles of the trilogy. Since everything is a direct parallel, you can expect to see versions of Asgard, the Valkyries, and even the God of Mischief himself, Loki. Secondly, the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, author of the book Human All Too Human , will play a heavy part throughout the story of the game. One of his quotes, “He who fights with monster might take care lest he thereby become a monster,” has been shown at the beginning of the trailer.
Players will assume the role of Baldur, the God of Light, second son to Odin and brother to Thor. Baldur has been given the charge to protect the humans from advanced machines. So it will be an all out war between machines and sentient beings. The game itself will be from a third person perspective that will allow the player to unleash massive combos upon a host of enemies. Nearly every weapon imaginable, including swords, hammers, pistols, and lasers, will be at your disposal. You will also be able to get upgrades for your cybernetics and, possibly, your armor. If the action becomes too much and you need to take a break, there will be an in-game Matrix style computer network that you can patch into called Cyberspace. Too Human will also be supported online through Xbox live. There, players will have the opportunity to join up to four others in cooperative play similar to Phantasy Star Online.
The gameplay is where the appeal of the game truly is. Use your weapons to pull off incredible combos, not unlike games like Devil May Cry. Very similar to Devil May Cry inspired games, players will be able to use their melee weapons to launch enemies into the air and suspend them in midair with their guns while they fire away. The controls of the game have been set up to make light work out of doing otherwise complicated combinations. You will use the right analog stick to strike with a melee weapon and the trigger buttons to fire your weapons. This simplistic approach to the controls will guarantee hours of enjoyable gameplay.
One of the unique things about Too Human, aside from the graphics, will be the camera angles, dynamically controlled so that the best possible shot of special attacks will be shown. This different style of camera control will give the game more of a cinematic feel. This could pose as a problem however, since you will almost never control the camera yourself. Equally a concern is the possibility of the independently controlled camera getting stuck in a certain spot making it hard for your next move could harm the playability of the game.
Too Human looks beautifully rendered according to the trailers and screenshots, and it is to be expected since it is using a modified Unreal engine. The character models look highly realistic even when accompanied by several detailed robots on screen. The environments are equally detailed with the same passion as the characters. As you’d expect, the lighting and shadows perfectly play off one another. With anywhere from 50 to 100 enemies planned to be onscreen at a time, it will be interesting to see if the images shown in the trailer will still look as intoxicating.
Sleek character designs, quick gameplay, and all the Norse mythology you can shake a stick at, Too Human will finally arrive on the Xbox 360 August 2007. It has only taken eight years to get to this point. Yes, the road has been long for Too Human, but with everything that is set to be in the game hopefully it will have been worth the wait. Let us just hope that Ragnarok is not around the corner.