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REVIEW: Too Human

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It’s been quite a while that a game has become such an object of scrutiny as Too Human. Sure, there are always debates about big releases like Metal Gear Solid 4 and GTA 4, and on and on. However, those debates are somewhat even between the sides. Too Human, though, has been dumped on by nearly everyone, it seems, well before it came out. Ten years (or was it actually four?) in the making, Xbox 360 exclusivity, and one aggressively involved development team President later, can Too Human manage to climb out of it’s pre-made grave?

From the start, you’ll notice the graphics are fair; nice and shiny, but somewhat dated. The frame-rate manages to keep up most of the time, but you may experience some slowdown during battles with lots of friends and foes on-screen, with explosions and such pushing just a bit much. Neither of these issues are a big deal, though they are worth mentioning. Another nagging issue is with collision detection of the various game boundaries. In many cases, it seems like you should be able to jump over or walk around something, but invisible, extended collision prevents you from doing so (such as areas where you can walk around a railing to the other side, but you can jump over it – say what?). Perhaps this is a personal gripe, but I think adding invisible barriers is a non-creative way of expressing limits and adds more to the already present feel of linearity throughout the game.

Yes, linearity is abundant in Too Human, both in the real world and Cyberspace. Since I mentioned it, Cyberspace can be entered through pools located in the real world. Generally, these areas present a simple puzzle (like pushing a door open or knocking a tree over with your force-like push skill, which is only accessible through Cyberspace. Either way, Cyberspace is just as linear as the rest of the game. While this overall linearity may or may not be viewed as a negative, it can create a degree of disconnect with immersion.

When it comes to action, of which there is plenty, all the stuff going on is quite impressive. Getting used to how combat works can take a bit of getting used to. The Right Thumbstick is used for melee combat, not camera movement, as most people are familiar with. While it is different, it’s also pretty well thought out. The best advice is not to lift your thumb off the stick while in combat, just rotate and you’ll rack up the combos. It’s a pretty cool and different system; a nice change of pace. Camera control, on the other hand, can be tricky since the LB is used to center/control camera movement. This system is also not bad, but can be unwieldy when you need to turn around or need to get a specific angle.

As far as being an epic production, Too Human doesn’t quite reach that level. The in-game cinematics are sometimes interesting, but can also be corny at times. The voice-acting is also fair, but neither the cinemas or voice-overs help at inspiring the ‘epic’ feel that this game tries to achieve. There are definitely moments that you’ll be impressed by, such as when Baldur travels the moving bridge for meetings with Heimdall, but those are generally few and far between.
It should be known that AI friendlies seem to appear and disappear, often at times when you think they should be with you. Oddly enough, though, it doesn’t seem to help if your allies are around; generally they just get killed and make the same comments over and over.

You can expect about fifteen hours of gameplay (if you take your time collecting stuff). However, with five different character classes, all of which can be customized in terms of ability points, skills, and gear, you’ll probably want to play through a couple times. Regardless of classes and skill trees, you will be presented with the option to follow the Human path or the Cybernetic one right after you defeat the first boss. This permanent choice unlocks another skill tree; the Human path sticks more to strength and smarts, while the Cybernetic path favors technology and gadgets. The question is will you want to play through again and, honestly, I think most would say yes. If you don’t mind repetition and item hoarding, there’s really nothing else out there on the X360 that can offer similar. The lack of loading screens is pretty impressive, given the decent amount of detail and number of objects moving around all at once.

Too Human is an interesting take on a futuristic, Norse mythology-based world. It’s fun and packed with great action, not to mention plenty of objects to chase and collect. If you need an action fix that hasn’t yet been scratched by previous X360 games, check it out! Truly, regardless of how long this game took to make, it simply won’t capture any glory for this good, but not great, action/adventure. At any rate, it is a fun experience that is worth a rent, or possibly a discounted purchase.

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