Too bad this game turned out to be just another body that the Valkyries had to swoop down and collect. Once again on Throwback Thursday we delve into the past to look at the gems, the dirt and all the fun in between.
If you had an Xbox 360 in 2008 you probably saw the release of Too Human, that RPG that nobody really knew quite what to make of.
Ok so generally speaking the game received Ok reviews with many critics saying that parts of it were good like its visual effects and the voice acting, but the parts which let it down were the gameplay segments.
To me it was a mixed bag too.
But I cannot talk about this game without first going through its development hell. Development hell is a term used for games that just didn’t ever seem to come out of development, switching platforms, developers and pushing back release dates is a common feature of this hell.
Originally Too Human was going to be a game for the PlayStation and was announced in 1999. So you can already tell we were going be in for a treat. It was going to be in the same style as the Final Fantasy games with multiple CD-Roms being used to house the game. The plot was also just going to be set in the future, and the Norse Mythology angle taken in the Xbox 360 release was non-existent.
Eventually Silicon Knights, the developer, partnered with Nintendo in 2000 and the game was halted for a moment before being announced it would appear exclusively on the GameCube. Unfortunately the staff at Silicon Knights needed to focus their attention elsewhere and the Norse Gods decided to take a nap for five years and we didn’t hear anything about it until 2005.
Finally Silicon Knights partnered with Microsoft and Too Human was announced as the first of a trilogy to tell this story. Imagine how many discs that would have been on the PlayStation.
Even with their new partners Too Human still wasn’t out for its 2006 schedule and development continued for two more years until finally in 2008 we were given the finished product. But was it worth the wait?
Well now that I’ve given you the development history, might as well give you a brief plot overview.
Too Human starred the “Norse Gods” in the futuristic setting whereby many of them are cybernetic’d out to hell and are now leading the campaign against a group of machines hell bent of destroying earth.
Now these aren’t necessarily gods, they’re just the guys lucky enough to get the cybernetics which make them more powerful than the mortals and are therefore worshiped as gods.
You play as Baldur, you know that god everyone knows about, as he is the least pimped out of all the gods and thus making him the main focus of the title.
Now I’d recently completed Mass Effect, so the whole legions of robots thing was a little stale to me, but I was an RPG maniac so I picked up Too Human and wanted to give it a go.
I thought it’d be pretty good. Melee and ranged weapons was a feature, the leveling up seemed solid and the levels were bright and colourful. What could go wrong? Oh how I was surprised.
The stick based melee controls seemed fun at first, flicking the stick sent Baldur zooming off to the nearest enemy in that directs to smack with whatever melee weapon you had equipped. Of course the problem stems from wanting to get rid of the guy chewing on you and then Baldur dashing off to deal with the guy who wasn’t going to be in range for a good few seconds.
But I stuck with it and ran along the paths set out for me. Trying, as I might, to get used to the combat was still a real pain in the ass since I was so used to a traditional RPG not one which used this style. That’s where the game did fail for a lot of people I feel, the control.
But I had yet to meet the true terror of Too Human, those god damn Valkyries.
When Baldur dies, or becomes too tired and wants to go home because his cybernetics need re-oiling or whatever it is that cyborgs need to do then it’s not a simple case of the game telling you that you’ve failed.
You have to watch Baldur fall down and die then a Valkyrie, a cybernetically enhanced woman, descends from the sky in a beam of light, picks you up in her arms and flies you off to the magical kingdom of sunshine and flowers while the battle you failed at carries on around you.
This is a constant thing.
It doesn’t stop the second, third or hundredth time you die. Each time you have to watch her descend and then pick you up in an excruciatingly long cutscene which by all rights should be skippable.
But aside from that was Too Human too little?
Yes is the short answer to that one. For a game that was planned to be several discs on the PlayStation back in 1999 it didn’t inflate much with the times it seems.
The story given to us is an interesting one, I’ll give it that. We’re shown an awesome glimpse into a cybernetic world with twists and plot points which are intriguing. It’s also nice to see the Norse Gods other than Thor show up, but it all just falls flat with the combat.
They might have been trying to go for an interesting style but it just is too annoying to get to grips with. Auto targeting hardly ever works well in games and the more control I have the better.
Whatever happens now Too Human is never getting its sought after sequels anyway. Another potential story lost forever to development limbo.
Was Too Human not enough to satisfy your Norse needs? Do you want more cyber-esque adventures with Baldur? Let us know in the comments below.