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Too Human is the first of an 360 exclusive trilogy of dungeon crawlers, drawing its inspiration from the rich wellspring of Norse mythology. Although appearing to be a derivative dungeon crawler, scratch beneath the surface and there is an addictive loot (read: treasure) filled game just itchin to get out.
Silicon Knights' have spent nearly ten years getting this game to us which is a long time in anyone's book; but at least its got here (which is more than can be said for Duke Nukem - there are probably 360 gamers out there who weren't even born when we were promised a sequel to Duke Nukem way back in time when 3D gaming was just getting started on PCs). Anyway, back to the game in question!
After playing through the single player campaign I'm still not really sure what to think about Too Human. On the one hand it's a terribly repetitive, uninspired slog through room after room of enemy hordes interspersed with tedious boss battles, confusing storyline and meaningless forays into the games 'cyberspace' regions where actions such as bridging a chasm with a felled tree can open a door in the real word. But, and it's a big but, I never felt inclined to just stop playing - indeed on the one evening I managed to get an extended session on the game (work and family commitments allowing) I was shocked to find I had been bludgeoning my way through goblins, dark elves and trolls until 2 a.m. Maybe that says more about me than the game (!) but I haven't found that level of 'just a bit longer' for some time.
One evening I managed to get an extended session on the game (work and family commitments allowing) I was shocked to find I had been bludgeoning my way until 2 a.m.
Or, maybe it was the incessant nature of the levels - while playing each of the game's four levels there never seemed to be a natural break where I might have decided to take a rest. You defeat an enemy horde, move to the next room or further into the current one, and you're set upon once more. The relative simplicity of the game, combined with the fact that after death you re-spawn in more or less the same location, ready to rejoin the battle where you left off (a'la Bioshock 360), removes the irritation of endlessly having to replay the same levels over and over after dying. And talking of dying - you will die a lot. And I mean a lot. On occasions you will find yourself facing insurmountable odds and no amount of firepower will get you through in one go. So you'll die and you'll be treated to a brief cinematic as a Valkyrie descends to take your limp body to Valhalla. Unfortunately this can't be skipped and so gets old very quickly.
A few words on the combat system which is both fun and annoying in equal measures. You have a choice of six weapon types: three close range (swords, hammers and staffs) and three long range (pistols, rifles and cannons). The close combat system is quite novel in that you tap the right analogue stick towards an enemy to attack them; stringing moves together can have you bouncing between enemies dealing death and destruction as you go. You can also 'juggle' you enemies into the air and can either keep them there with your long range weapons, or leap into the air with them and batter them do death as you both defy gravity. The long range weapons unfortunately can be incredibly frustrating. The game uses an auto aiming system which seems to work ok and awfully in equal measures. While its not a big deal to have to stop firing briefly in order to get it to stop targeting a dead enemy, it is a big deal when there is no way that you can get it to target the most dangerous enemy of the bunch attacking you - and indeed sometimes to target any enemy at all. Which invariably leads to death, and that damn Valkyrie sequence.
When it comes down to it, Too Human is largely a game of loot collection and the use of said loot to enhance your armour and weapons in order to better beat the crap out of your enemy. And there is an awful lot of loot to collect - enemies drop it, destructible scenery drops it and special pillars spread liberally though the game drop shed-loads of it. You'll be able to mix and match helms, gloves, shoulder pads and more to your hearts content; as well as choosing from endless weapons, some of which are extra special ones that you create from dropped 'blueprints'.
There is definitely a level of addictiveness there which will pull a lot of people into the game and not let them go.
So there is definitely a level of addictiveness there which will pull a lot of people into the game and not let them go. There is around 15 hours or so of gameplay available, and if you're still enjoying it after that you can play through as one of the other four character classes, try co-op, or just use your levelled up character to carry on playing.
For those with no real interest in levelling and looting then the poor storyline and the inconsistent and rather repetitive gameplay makes it advisable to steer clear of this one. Hopefully Silicon Knights can build on this first instalment and address some of its issues. I'd certainly be keen to take a look at the next game in the sequence, but if it's just more of the same then there will be little incentive for gamers to stay interested.
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