Too Human Preview (Xbox360)

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Too Human. If the developers aren’t being sued over the gaming engine, then the lead designer is having a flame war with internet forums. All this aside though, Too Human has garnered quite a lot of interest. As part of Microsoft’s E3 specials, a demo of the game was made available over Xbox Live so that gamers could get a sneak peak as to what all the fuss was about.

The demo lets you play through the first half-hour or so, with almost full access to the gameplay features available in these sections. Technically, you’re only allowed to play as one class, The Champion, however a glitch posted on the internet allows you to play all of them if done correctly.

The demo opens up with a cut scene that’s vaguely reminiscent of Mass Effect, and throws you into an abandoned catacomb with a so-far unknown purpose. Through in-game hints, the control and gameplay features are revealed to you as you take your first tentative steps through the area.

You’re introduced to combat almost from the off, and it is here that general opinion seems to get split the most. Make no mistake; the combat system in this game is different. Whilst visually you end up jumping around like Dante from Devil May Cry in reality, the controls are more intuitive then technical.

Silicon Knights have eliminated the generic mapping of ‘A’ or any of the other buttons for attacks. Instead, melee actions are controlled by using the right analogue stick, and ranged attacks have more familiar mapping on the triggers.

One of the key aspects of the combat system, from what I can see, is momentum. With most encounters involving 20+ enemies, it is key that you get a rhythm going. By aiming the right analogue stick towards the enemy, the engine instantly propels your character (disco style) towards them, dealing a usually hard-hitting blow. You can then manipulate the stick in several directions to attack other enemies, and the more you hit, the more powerful your blows are, and the faster you slide from foe to foe. Jump and Roll move have also been mapped for some extra options, and you can also use combination of ground and air attacks.

This can all take some getting used too, and it wasn’t until my second play-through that I actually managed to get the hang of everything. Still, once you have got everything nailed down, the combat can be quite entertaining to watch.

Unfortunately, this system tends to be a bit weak when it comes to one on one combat, since you can’t build up any momentum. It’s not that there isn’t ways of fighting one of one, they are just very different to how you will normally fight, and again it can take some getting used to. The jump and roll moves particularly come in handy here.

Another weakness of the game so far seems to be the camera angles. Instead of more ‘free-roam’ controls, the camera seems to be very linear, pointing itself at what it thinks you want to be looking at. There are buttons mapped to re-centre the view, but it can be a bit iffy at times. It also makes aiming a bit of a pain as there is no solid ‘lock-on’ feature. Baldur will instantly aim at the closest enemy, but it doesn’t always work as he doesn’t turn and face when facing the wrong direction. There is limited free-aiming with ranged weapons, but it’s pretty much useless.

Apart from combat, Too Human appears to have most of the standard things you would expect from an RPG: customizable gear, crafting in the form of “blueprints”, character development, items, and an in-game economy. Interestingly, there’s no manual boosting of attributes – base attributes are automatically increased with each level up, and points earned are instead put towards “skills”. These skills differ from class to class, but they seem a bit limited for a game of this calibre. The player must distribute points between three branches that differ in their own way; however the branches aren’t that long, so you have to wonder what’s in store for late-stage gameplay.

In a genre that’s pretty much dominated by either KOTOR, Mass Effect, or even the classic non-futuristic RPG’s, Silicon Knights will be have to hope that the new combat style and camera oddities don’t ruin the experience for people. But as they have stated, Too Human’s game-play will be very much story driven, and from what’s been revealed so far, it may more then make up to the un-conventional mechanics.

The playable character and protagonist of the game is Baldur, one of the Aesir and a figure from Norse mythology. Too Human appears to draw a lot from this area of myth and subtly alters it for a ‘future’ setting. From what you can glean from the demo, Humanity has suffered some sort of great tragedy in the form of a devastating war, and the last remnants now live in what’s known as the “enclave” – the last bastion of humankind. The ‘Aesir’ or ‘Gods’ as they sometime refer to themselves as, have become humanities protectors. It is unclear however whether these people are human-like aliens, actual Deities, or a form of “upper class”.

In the demo, the story is revealed to you bit by put as you progress through the complex, and by the end of it you find out at least why you’re there. But there are also hints of wider story arcs, which do a good job at hooking you in and leaving you wanting more.

Whilst SK has kept a lot of the story elements under wraps, you only have to read a text book on Norse mythology to get a hint of what might come. As mentioned earlier, this game has a Mass Effect ‘epicness’ about it, so expect an Armageddon (Or Ragnarok as they call it) scale final battle of some kind.

Final thoughts? Too Human looks like it wants to make a big impact, and with a trilogy planned, a lot rests on this title. Provided they keep things interesting in late-stage gameplay, then I see no reason why this can’t be just as good as recent titles. With a release date set in August, it’s unlikely they’ll be time to make any major changes, so the quirks that have already been touched upon will still be there. Still, the Co-op option should add an extra dimension to gameplay, and with the ‘Cyberspace’ realm that we haven’t talked about also integrated into the game, it would be a surprise if it became stale at any point.

We’ll give you a more comprehensive review as soon as we get our hands on a copy. Suffice to say, Too Human looks promising despite what all the ‘haters’ think.

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By BlitzKrieg (SI Veteran Member) on Jul 25, 2008
this is a deadly good game thats what i think anyway,but it kind of looks like WOW.
By angelsreeper (SI Newbie) on Nov 05, 2008
This gamme is awesome
great story graphik and much more !