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A decent online RPG or dungeon crawler is still something of a holy grail for the 360 – and consoles in general for that matter. So our hopes for Too Human have been understandably high. It’s from a great developer, it’s been in development for what seems like an eternity and, bar one disastrous early showing a few years ago, it’s always looked to be on track. Unfortunately, the results are a little bit disappointing.
That’s not to say it’s a terrible game though. The venomous criticism that the game’s received of late is largely unfair and blown out of proportion – Too Human is a solid enough, level-up, hack-’n’-slash effort, with plenty of depth in skill customization and item hunting to make it compelling – particularly in co-op. But for every smart idea it introduces, there are plenty of aspects which are downright irritating.
Let’s take the combat system for example: it’s a little unusual to say the least. Rather than hammering at the buttons to perform combos, you simply hold the right stick in the direction you want to attack and your character automatically starts swinging at the target. In fairness, once you get your head around how it works, it’s a smart mechanic (it alleviates some of the repetition normally associated with dungeon crawlers) but the payoff has been an irritating compromise on camera control, with the preset views not always proving useful while the camera motion feels jarring and disorientating. Aiming your firearms doesn't work so well either, as it can be tough to pick out the one enemy among ten that you need to shoot even when the camera isn't moving.
This is just something you’re expected to put up with, but it joins a long list of similarly clumsy problems. Like the game’s handling of death for example. When you’re out of energy, an Angel-like figure comes down to revive you - it takes almost half a minute to complete, is utterly tedious and criminally unskippable. Combined with an often bewildering plot and the game’s assumption that you’ll just understand and figure out the game mechanics yourself, you can really feel your patience being stretched to the limit. This, for many, will be a barrier that prevents you from enjoying the action, and prevents the game from reaching its true potential.
And there is potential here – like we said, at its heart lies a decent game. Smashing robots is satisfying. There are very clever ideas tucked in (like low-level loot automatically selling itself when your inventory fills up) and the whole sci-fi space vikings theme is pretty cool, as is the art direction throughout the entire experience.
So the question remains, should you actually fork over your hard-earned cash for it? Well, that depends on how forgiving you are. Anyone determined, with a love of dungeon crawlers, and all the loot-hunting and levelling they involve, will find something to enjoy here. After an initial playthough, they’ll find satisfaction in replaying it just as long as they have a like-minded friend willing to join in the action.
For everyone else though, it’s a tough one to recommend. It’s short-lived and frustrating as a solo-experience. Many of Too Human’s game design decisions are inexplicably idiotic and it will probably end up making you angry – so what’s the point?
[Ed note: While Geraint Evans is the author of record for this piece, a few key edits have been made based upon the GR staff's own time with the game. Any discrepancies between this and the original version of the piece published in GamesMaster UK are deliberate, but wholly the responsibility of the GR edit team.]
Aug 18, 2008
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