More moans? How about the way that you’re constantly bombarded by creatures with hard-hitting missile weapons, and that your own missile attacks rely on a useless and unwieldy targetting system that makes hitting the cowardy custards almost impossible. Or how about the fact that, while Baldur can’t die permanently, neither can he heal himself (unless you choose one specific character class).
As a result, you’ll find yourself constantly coughing it and returning to the last checkpoint to throw yourself back into the fray – a process that wouldn’t be so irritating were it not for the fact that each death is accompanied by an unskippable 25 second cut scene of a valkyrie descending. You will come to loathe this cut-scene by the time the game is over, but in fact this is the only really serious penalty for dying in the game (bar some minor damage to the weapons and armour which you’ll inevitably be replacing in a minute). What a way to spoil the tension.
Yet, having said all this I can still find a soft spot in my heart for Too Human. Even as I got more and more bored with Dyack’s opus, I still found something oddly compulsive about it. I wanted to know where the game was going and see what new weapons and arms it had to dish up. More importantly, the whole experience came alive when played online.
Like most people I think it was a huge mistake to trim back from four players to two, but even with just one stranger Too Human comes close to what a lot of action RPG fans want: a decent next-generation Diablo clone for the Xbox 360. Competing to see who can batter the most trolls or collect the coolest armour is enjoyable, and the spectacle of the combat puts it a cut above any clone of Blizzard’s classic seen to date.
Having help also makes working your way through the levels (and the bigger brawls) a lot faster and more thrilling. Too Human might not be perfect, but it’s a lot more fun than Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom, for instance.
In other words, I wouldn’t want you to be put off buying Too Human entirely. Neither, however, would I want you to come away from this review thinking it was a flawless or exceptional action RPG. The reason that makes me sad is that it could have been one if only someone had cut back on some of the game’s excesses and just paid more attention to the minute-by-minute experience.
That damn valkyrie sequence, for example, should never have made it through testing. Too Human will, I suspect, end up with a cult following. There will be gamers out there who will push through the worst bits of the single player campaign and then keep coming back for the multiplayer. If you can live with all the bad bits mentioned above and think you’ll relish the good stuff the game has to offer, then that cult may well have another member. If not, then it’s best to leave Too Human alone.
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Too flawed, too confusing and too repetitive for greatness, but too intriguing and too much fun in multiplayer to discount entirely. Too Human is worth playing, but only if you think you can put up with its longeurs and frustrations.