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45 Reviews

Too Human

My Nan Went to Valhalla, and all I got was this lousy dungeon crawler...

You wouldn't feed a starving child a bag of desiccated coconut so why, on a console where a decent multiplayer dungeon crawler would be like a chocolate enema to a menopausal diabetic, have we have been served this? Too Human looked salivating on the menu, but now we've actually chewed through it, it's sticking at the back our throats.

Exactly what's gone wrong here is difficult to understand - as, structurally at least, it's pretty unremarkable. A series of dungeons, a 'home' of sorts where the story bits kick in and when there's shopping to be done, and running underneath it all is the age old mechanic of Bash-Loads-Of-Stuff-Over-And-Over-Until-You're-Really-Strong.

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There are elements that are genuinely interesting. The controversial combat system, which sees you pushing the right analogue stick in the direction you want to attack (actual swings of the sword are automatic, see) makes for fluid combat that, at the very least, is easier in a physical sense, and in co-op, 'servingup' enemies for a friend to air-juggle is a great way of making you feel as though you're working as a team.

Unfortunately though, this is just one of a handful of redeeming qualities for Too Human, with the bad, tedious, or just plain annoying stacking up against our ability to view it favourably.

Human error
'Special' mention has to go to the unspeakably idiotic way in which death is treated. Should you fall, you're punished in two ways. Firstly, your weapons and armour degrade and secondly, your corpse is revived via a 20 second cut-scene that's completely unskippable. Some sections of the game are brutally tough, thanks to the sheer numbers involved. In these instances, speedy health loss is inevitable, resulting in a Miserable Cycle Of Death, where you have to watch the same damn cut-scene over and over again, while you desperately try to run away or whittle down the enemy.

It's remarkable for its utter stupidity and anyone who doesn't want to send Silicon
Knights a bedpan full of liquid brown hate for it is a better human than us. More often than not this is a war of attrition, not skill - grinding out the numbers rather than relying on deft finger work. And the realisation that the armour damage side-effect of death is irrelevant (you're always picking up new bits) means you can just keep hacking through with nothing but steely, cyborg determination. Which, frankly, is no fun whatsoever for those with real blood flowing through their veins.

Norse nonsense
Too Human's unusual in that it fosters so much genuine anger. It didn't have to turn out like this, not after all this time. These niggles are all easily solvable, even if it meant surrendering some of the game's 'innovations' to travel the well-trodden path laid down by some superb dungeon crawlers. It's intensely frustrating because we want to love it.

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The universe and story are compelling and there are ideas in here, like the self selling crap-o-loot when your inventory is full, which show that plenty of thought has gone into it. Likewise, the sheer number of weapons and armour to scavenge will engage those who are predisposed to obsessively fiddle.

Ultimately though, when you start to crave any given section of the game to end just because you're so utterly bored of it, when you're hacking your way through another swarm of metal enemies utterly identical to those you fought in the last twelve (almost) identical rooms, you're inevitably going to start to feel like there's something not quite right with Too Human. And you'd be right.

The verdict

Its heart is inthe right place,but it's hard to love something so flawed.

  • Great combat and co-op
  • Dreadful design decision
  • Dull outweighs the fun
6.8
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Silicon Knights
Publisher
Microsoft
Genre
Action

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