Too Human

13 09 2008

So undoubtedly you have seen at least one of the reviews from major sites regarding Too Human. Also undoubtedly you have formed your own opinion about the game either from experience with the game, or from reading a review. I’m not writing a review per say, more of an analysis of why Too Human was received so negatively by reviewers. 


Lets start with the top 3 complaints across most of the reviews:


1: Valkyrie death scene.

   This scene is the bane of many gamers, it forces you to sit through an agonizingly long time (15 seconds? too much) before you are respawned not too far away from the battle. 15 seconds by itself is not that long, the annoyance stems from the repetition (sometimes constant) of the scene. Seeing the same thing happen as much as 20 times per level can be a painful experience for many gamers. Too Human has no tangible death penalty, when you die you pop back into existence a la Bioshock with all the currently destroyed enemies, still currently destroyed.  However the devil’s in the details, each time you die your equipped armor and weapons take a structural hit.  An amount of points is subtracted from your equipments “state” (Hit points) and when that reaches zero (usually after anywhere from 6-12 deaths) the equipment loses its abilites, armor becomes about as useful as a tinfoil hat. 

   The reason this is so infuriating is when on those all to frequent occasions, you square off with a room full of trolls dark elves AND snipers, you and the Valkyrie get to know each other on a first name basis. The problem is self perpetuating, if you die to much and your armor fails, you’ll just die faster. The only plausible solution I can think for this is to have say a 3 Valkyrie cap per play through, that way you still can occasionally appreciate the majestic way she blasts away all surrounding enemies, but only a few times.


2. Difficulty ramps up too high

  This issue is really due to a combination of things:

     A) The difficulty does in fact ramp up considerably after the first level.

     B) If you don’t keep your armor repaired, you might as well be clothing yourself in tissue paper

     C) If you don’t choose the correct skill path, life becomes more difficult.

The Ice Forest, is a horrible level. The design is cool, the art is interesting, but to actually play… is a bitch. The amount of trolls and elf leaders present makes the level feel like your skipping from one boss fight to the next, and when you finnally do get to the boss, it is arguably the longest boss fight (assuming your not a commando). Because the developers put this type of level right after the intro level, instead of say, as a final level, it feels out of place. Right after that during the third level the difficulty drops a bit, not a lot, but enough to be noticed. 


3. Items don’t stay powerful or I keep having to change my gear…

   This one is purely user perception, I for one (when leveling up to 50) only changed my gear after a level run, other people like to stop where they are and fiddle around with runes and such in the middle of a battle. While it is true that you will often find items that outclass something you found minutes ago, this again is part of the “loot strategy” something not really grasped until a full play through is completed. Because you will be under a deluge of items all of increasing quality until you hit level 50, basically you should treat them as disposables, stuff to get you to the real prize, level 50. Don’t waste runes on armor that you know will be outclassed quickly, save them up for your level 50 gear, which has far less variation (stats wise). This game is a dungeon crawler, new loot is something that will always be popping up, if you don’t like the idea of constantly getting new toys to play with, maybe you shouldn’t be playing a game like this.

Reviewers generally gave Too Human a 5.0-6.5 score (out of 10), some of these reviewers came from obscure dark corners of the staff, and some of them never played beyond the first level. What it really boils down to is a case of hurt feelings, there was so much hype for this game (it’s 10 YEARS in the making dude!) that when it was finally released people looked for it’s faults rather than it’s strengths. If you save up for a Ferrari, and finally buy one from a friend, and the Ferrari doesn’t go 200 MPH like you expected, you’d be disappointed to say the least. A vast majority of the scores Too Human received were influenced by great expectations that were dashed against sharp pointy rocks by an engine change. Which brings us to:


The EPIC vs SK Lawsuit:

Silicon Knights and EPIC Games have been battling it out in court over EPIC’s alleged withholding of it’s Unreal Engine support and information. Too Human was developed on the Unreal Engine to begin with, when this engine proved unusable by SK, they had to create an in-house engine from scratch and begin from the drawing board. This kind of set back can cripple a weak or average game, so I ask you if the EPIC/Unreal lease worked out, how good would Too Human have been? To have a game essentially get re-created so close (relatively) to it’s completion, and then turn out well (in my opinion) is impressive. Unfortunately most of the consumers out there (yes you) decided to follow what the reviews said.

Overall my review of Too Human is that it is a niche game most will have problems with facing an actual challenge in a hack n’ slash game. We gamers have been coddled into believing that when we pick up the controller for an action came we become miniature gods. Too Human challenges us with a non standard difficulty, new controls, and strategic and tactical thought, and we balk at it in return, maybe we just weren’t ready for a game such as Too Human.



+ Deep Customization

+Games within the game (arenas, charm quests, troll battles)

+Strong Story (very  strong in the last level of the game)

+ Co-op only doubles the fun!

+/- Epic Armor is incredibly difficult to obtain, both frustrating and a challenge

– 4-player co-op was mysteriously dropped.

– No Bank to tranfer items between characters




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