Finished Too Human on the xbox360

I finished Too Human on the Xbox360 over the weekend and thought it was just ok. It’s a 3rd person action RPG set in a riff on norse myths – imagine mixing cyberpunk with norse mythology, then add in pretentious dialog and overwrought acting and you about have it. I can sort of sum up the game by observing that every time you die a Valkyrie descends from the sky to carry you off to Valhalla. This takes about 5-10 seconds, is unskippable, and most times when the Valkyrie lands her legs are planted in the ground somewhere around her shins. In other words the game’s a bit buggy, lacks polish, and isn’t well thought out.

Aesthetically Too Human is a mixed but mostly positive bag, with decent character models, mostly good voice acting, great music, and epic scale levels. The levels are a bit sparse though, with almost nothing in the way of furnishing or details – just endless bland corridors.

The core gameplay mechanic is reasonably fun. It’s a bit novel too. It’s your basic action rpg – hit or shoot all the enemies then move on to the next group – but the combat is unique in that you sort of ‘slide’ from enemy to enemy using the right stick on the controller, and you can string together maneuvers. It almost looks like and feels like dancing at times, and you can spec your character such that the more combos you string together the faster things get, making it hectic, spastic looking fun at times.

Unfortunately it’s also poorly balanced, or at least it seemed like it to me. Possibly it was my character spec, but a couple of the bosses and areas had me dying repeatedly while others I breezed through with no difficulty and no deaths, including the final boss.

The plot is a bit of overwrought, forgettable nonsense, I stopped paying attention halfway through. Truth be told, I probably would have stopped playing about halfway through, figuring (correctly as it turns out) that I had basically seen everything the game had to show me, but I had heard it was a short game and figured I may as well soldier on. In the end it took me a bit under 12 hours of playtime to finish it. I only paid ~$12 for it and figure I got my money’s worth. There’s coop online multiplayer and maybe there’s some more fun to be had there too – I didn’t try it.

This was one of Microsoft’s big console exclusives and one of their Christmas games last year and as such it’s a bit of a disappointment – compared to games like Halo 3 or Uncharted this game is not nearly in the same league. It’s a bit of a shame too – the game ends on a big cliffhanger and it’s clear they wanted to do a sequel, and if they spent time polishing the engine and main gameplay mechanic the sequel could have turned out well. My guess is we’ll never see it.

Here’s a gameplay video to give you a sense of how it plays:

and here’s the metacritic page for the game if you want to read some reviews (it’s averaging a 65/100 right now, which feels about right to me).

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