For those of you who aren’t familiar with Too Human, it can be described fairly simply as a Diablo-ish dungeon / loot-dropping game, set in a futuristic Norse mythology-inspired world. You choose a character class at the outset, and battle your way through hordes of enemies with swords, hammers, guns, and other weapons in order to collect experience points and gear, which you can use to upgrade your character, and ultimately unravel the game’s plot.
To kick off E3, Silicon Knights released a demo of the game on the XBL network, and it’s been available for about 3 days now. I went in with an open mind, and not expecting too much, and I was pleasantly surprised at the game. Beyond a few small quirks, Too Human is looking to be a fun little dungeon crawler that just might satisfy your lust for loot (at least, for a while) as we wait for Diablo 3 to come around.
Graphically, Too Human is good, but not quite on par with other games of similar style, like Gears of War. The characters and enemies are all very detailed, and the combat is filled with lots of neat effects, which serves to add some color to the sometimes bland palette of the indoor environments. There’s even some nifty “organic” environments located in the area called ‘cyberspace.’ Too Human misses the mark in a few of the details though, most notably in animation. Honestly, things aren’t animated all that bad, but the movements of characters, both during playable and cinematic sequences, can be a bit stiff at times – it’s just not the graceful experience other games, again, like Gears of War, have lead me to expect from “next-gen” titles. It’s not all bad though, so as long as you aren’t expecting something on par with the latest offerings of Pixar or Dreamworks, you should be fine. Overall, I’d say that in terms of graphics, Too Human falls somewhere between Halo 3 and Gears of War.
Unfortunately, I can’t comment much on the sound for the game, because during the one opportunity I’ve had to play it so far, I wasn’t able to turn up the volume very high. The voice acting didn’t seem all that bad though, and the sound effects seemed spot-on.
Gameplay for Too Human was what you’d expect from a game like Diablo – there’s hordes of enemies, lots of fighting, and various rewards that usually end up upgrading your character in some way. Occasionally you’ll run into a sub-boss, which is a tougher variation of the other normal enemies you’ve already fought, and eventually, a bigger, badder (and usually larger) boss. The boss enemies drop the best loot, though all enemies have the potential to, and you’ll find an assortment of weapons, armor, etc. Too Human also rewards players with experience points that can be used to spec your character down a certain line of the three branches of the skills tree, and you can also receive points that go towards crafting items and re-speccing your character, should you decide you want to take a different route.
I enjoyed the fact that Too Human employs an item-naming scheme similar to Diablo, where you find items whose names imply what they do (for instance, and not a real item at all, “Fred’s Cardboard Sword of Major Justice”). It lent the game some familiarity, even though the items and descriptions were worlds apart from the medieval weaponry of Diablo and its ilk of competitors.
Another thing that I liked about Too Human was that, although the levels themselves were mostly very straightforward, there were certain points where you were required to enter “cyberspace” (an alternate world of sorts), and interact with items there that influence your path in the dungeon you’re running through. These segments broke up the action in the dungeons nicely, and were a welcome reprieve from the dark corridors of the main dungeons.
As with any Diablo-type game though, you should expect some repetitiveness as far as fighting goes. If you’re like me though, and you’re always in it for the loot, you probably won’t mind grinding hundreds of monsters for a chance at capturing a coveted item… even if only for bragging rights as you play co-op with a buddy.
At one time, I was one of the naysayers of Too Human – I thought that any game which has been in development for almost 10 years, and which kept jumping ship from platform to platform was pretty much doomed to mediocrity (or worse). Over the last few months I’ve learned a bit more about Too Human and I got interested, and now, after playing the demo, I am seriously considering buying the game. I’m a fan of dungeon crawlers, and I in my time with the demo, my problems with its quirks were minimal; I found most of the emerging complaints of the game to be rather petty. No camera problems or horrible framerate issues here.
If the rest of the game turns out to be as good as the demo, I think Silicon Knights can count me among any new fans it might have accrued over the last week. I highly recommend you try out the demo if you’ve got an Xbox 360, and you’re interested in this type of game. It might not be your cup of tea, but I think that if you give it a chance, you might just find something you like.
Screenshot courtesy of Team Xbox