Too Human has been in development for more than a decade by Denis Dyack and the crew at Silicon Knights. The kick-off for the Cybernorse trilogy was critically panned when previews hit and Dyack was quick to attack those who dug into the early code. But now the game is in stores and there's no more room for excuse making. We've gathered together a cross-section of critical analysis from across the web to try and find a bit of insight into whether the game is worth buying and playing.
Hit the jump for our Epic Frankenreview.
The Guardian did not provide a score or grade.
I've tried to love Too Human, I really have. For a start action role playing games - think Diablo 2 etc - are rarely found on the consoles. And those that are tend to emphasise the hack and slash action over the deeper character development stuff. Too Human has skill trees, levelling, looting, big guns, co-op - heck, this should be great, right? Sadly not. Repetitive action, bland graphics, iffy controls, technical glitches - for a game that has been in development for years this is unforgivable. Or maybe the protracted birth explains the game's flaws? The clumsy inventory and general lack of interface polish are possibly symptomatic of an overly inward looking development process. Or maybe I've been spoilt by the likes of WoW? But with the amount of inventory management that Too Human requires you'll wish there was a more elegant solution.
Presented in-engine, the cinematics are horrible. They are poorly scripted, poorly animated (for the most part) and just downright painful to watch. Much ado was made about the cinematic capabilities of Too Human, with Denis Dyack (the head cheese at Sillicon Knights, the studio behind Too Human) talking about how this was the next step in story telling and would really blow people away. One can only assume that the good stuff got left on the cutting room floor because what shipped in the title really is quite poor - garishly so compared to the likes of Heavenly Sword, but even old PS2 games like Tomb Raider would have beaten this presentation hands down. It's unfortunate but it's hardly a show stopper - you don't even see them at all in multiplayer, which is where most hardcore players will spend most of their time.
Baldur maybe a little bland and walks around like he's got something pointy in his boots but put a crowd of enemies in front of him and he suddenly turns into an Olympic speed-skater. With simple rotations of the analogue sticks, you can send Baldur flying across the screen like an angry hornet, doling out punishment with bright sparks and the satisfying clank of metal on metal. The combat system is pretty slick, letting you launch guys into the air and then juggle them with gunfire to rack up combo points for devastating "ruiner" attacks, or leap up to get out of the fray and bash them silly. I personally loved every minute of it. The targeting system is less helpful when using guns because it stubbornly "sticks" to one particular enemy when you're frantically trying to target another, but the action is intense and enjoyable nonetheless.
The HD Room
Is Too Human a dismissible "hack and slash" best eternally shelved with the likes of Kingdom Under Fire as reported from E3 2006? At times in the thick of battle it sure feels like it. But even when staleness creeps into combat and urges to "save and quit" grow, there's the enticing payoff of leveling up one more time in the quest to reach level 50 or trigger the next extensive cut-scene unravelling a story on-par with, or better than, most of what airs on the Sci-Fi Channel. Diablo may continue to skirt around ever appearing on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, but Too Human is finally here and has a legitimate shot at successfully picking up some of the big production action/RPG-on-consoles slack.
Too Human drops a juicy plot development at the most inopportune time: its very end. It's the obvious manner of setting up a sequel, the infamous "to be continued..." we've come to expect from television shows and, yes, even some modern video games. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it exemplifies the core experience of this action/role-playing hybrid. Too Human is a game of false starts and unrealised potential that infiltrate almost every aspect of the game, from story, to combat, to balance. Its elements feel stitched together, making for a patchwork quilt of a game that's fraying at the seams.
Our review won't run until later this week because we've decided not to review the review code which was sent out early but with several notes that it didn't represent the final and completely polished product. Instead I'm just finishing up the final, boxed retail code (my second full time through the game) and will be posting our review later this week.