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Too Human

Too Human

Too Human

Too Human is an action role-playing game developed by Canadian developer Silicon Knights and published by Microsoft Studios for the Xbox 360 console.

The game is noted for remaining in development hell for almost ten years, originally planned as a four-disc release for the Sony PlayStation in 1999. Development later went into the Nintendo GameCube in 2000 before eventually selling the rights to Microsoft in 2005. It was scheduled for release for the Xbox 360, where it eventually became a finished product.

As part of a planned game trilogy, the story is a science-fictional futuristic retelling of Norse mythology that portrays the Æsir, the Norse gods, as cybernetically enhanced humans, tasked with protecting mankind from the onslaught of Loki's army of machines. The player takes the role of the Norse god Baldur, who is less cybernetic than the other gods, thus being "too human".

Too Human Gameplay

Too Human is an action role-playing game from a third-person perspective. The player takes control of the lead character Baldur in a third-person perspective with the camera distance being adjustable, even controllable during some in-game cinematics to involve the player in the story further. Camera control is limited to player, with the choice to re-adjust the camera back to its default third-person view being the primary following the player and swinging when the player does the same, similar to an auto targeting system. This is because the right analog stick is used for melee combat, instead of traditional camera control, with certain attacks and combos being executed by pushing the stick in the direction of the target with follow-up stick movements applying further attacks with projectile attacks only using an auto lock-on system. Attacks can be combined to execute attacks such as performing combos on enemies in mid-air, attack slides, and juggling foes in the air with projectile weapon attacks. Another aspect of combat are "Ruiner" attacks, powerful abilities that can indirectly affect surrounding enemies and can be mixed with other attacks to perform finishing strikes.

The RPG elements of the game come in the form of advanced character customization. At the beginning of the game, the player is given the choice between five different classes; berserker, champion, defender, commando, and bio engineer, with each having an advantage over another. The berserker is focused on melee combat while the commando is oriented on ranged combat. The bio engineer has advanced healing abilities and the defender has a strong armor defense. Finally, the champion is a balanced all rounder with multiple air strike attacks. During the game, players can collect various items that they can equip and use. There are fifteen variations of weapon classes such as pistols, heavy lasers, dual and two-handed combat weapons, armor for different body parts, and "charms" that allow players to use powerful Ruiner abilities. Many items can also be bought and customized by color and effectiveness—using collectable runes—in-between levels back at the Æsir’s base of Asgard.

As players progress through the game, they can level up by slaying foes and achieving high combos, allowing access to more efficient items and skills; these items and skills can be used in the game's Skill Tree mechanic, where points earned with every level up are applied to improve stats and unlock new abilities unique to each different character class. In the early stages of the game, the player can choose between two alignments; Cybernetic and Human. The Cybernetic alignment allows use of certain weapons like heavy lasers and further cybernetic upgrades, while the Human alignment emphasizes quick movement and improved combos.[9

Reception
Upon the game's release, Too Human received a mediocre to fair reception from critics with an average review score of 68.59% at GameRankings and 65/100 at Metacritic.

The game's concept of mixing science fiction with Norse mythology was praised by critics with X-Play saying while it "sounds like a stretch", "on the whole, it works" where "the art direction manages to seamlessly blend the grandeur we think of with this mythology and make it come alive again with a healthy dose of futurism." GamerNode called it "a highly captivating beginning to an epic and meaningful tale about the ills of transhumanism." IGN found it to do "a great job of keeping you engrossed in the game". It found the game's audio to be its stronger part, calling the music and voice acting "top-notch". Graphically, GameSpot was most impressed with the environments that "feature excellent detail and lighting, with towering statues lording over the proceedings and shafts of light spilling onto mounds of snow." However it did note "each setting seems much like the last", with "stiff combat and facial animations become more and more noticeable", a point Game Revolution echoed by stating "the game begins strongly with some stunning art design throughout the first level" before becoming too familiar. GamerNode noted, "Too Human's graphical presentation is not jaw-dropping in a technical sense, but the cinematography, artistic direction, and environment design work together to present players with awe-inspiring scenes, conveying a sense of magnitude that ties directly into the game's plot."

Response to the game's unconventional use of the right analog stick for combat was mixed. Some critics, like GamePro, found it to make the game more "slick", while GameTrailers called it "broken", likening it to button mashing. While Game Informer liked the idea, the change, it felt, made other aspects of the game worse, notably the camera control and lock-on system for projectile weaponry. In general, most critics dislike the analog stick configuration, arguing that it removes manual camera control.

A common criticism was directed at the death sequence where a Valkyrie collects the player's body as being too long. Official Xbox Magazine called it a “sheer annoyance”, with other critics like TeamXbox jokingly wondering the game's total play time if the sequence was skippable. Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw said in his review for Zero Punctuation that "no one can look at this and think 'Yep, this will never get old'" He has since named the game as the worst he's ever reviewed. Official Xbox Magazine UK however, while finding it "frustrating" felt that it prevented players from abusing the respawn system as result. Eurogamer however felt the game's biggest problem was its relatively short length for its genre. As with other critics, 1UP found the addition of cooperative multiplayer made the game more entertaining. While agreeing, Edge concluded "The irony is that many of Too Human's problems wouldn't exist if another pair of human players were allowed to enter the fold (as was originally intended)", referencing the previous feature of four player multiplayer being absent in the finished product. GameDaily called Too Human the "Underperformer of the Year" saying, "we expected the years of development time to turn out something better than this."

NPD Group reports that the game sold approximately 168,200 copies during the month of August 2008 in North America; it was the eighth best-selling game in the region during that time. Too Human "sold around 700,000 units" quoted from Denis Dyack in a Joystiq interview.


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