STAFF REVIEW of Too Human: Part 1 (Xbox 360)

Sunday, August 31, 2008.
by Rick Wallace

Too Human: Part 1 Box art Too Human finally arrives on our 360 with much anticipation from gamers. Did Microsoft Game Studios succeed in delivering a must have in your 360 game collection? Well, for the most part, yes they did. The game overall is very well done, and despite some issues plaguing the game here and there, its definitely a title I would recommend to anyone on my friends list.

The game is best described as a hack and slash RPG with plenty of looting, leveling up and equipment crafting throughout. Looting seems to be the primary focus of the game, and I have to admit its pretty darn cool to hear the dramatic sound effect that chimes in when you pick up something of great value. Different from most hack and slash games, you'll actually use the analog sticks for attacking purposes rather than button mashing. Your buttons are mapped out for special attacks such as battle cries, or powerful ruiner attacks. For th most part this works well most of the time and is welcome from the typical button mashing. Definitely saves wear and tear on your thumb.

One of the glaring issues in the game is the camera angle and targeting system. You'll find yourself getting turned around a lot and facing in the wrong direction or targeting the wrong enemy. A quick tap of the left button will center your camera, but with the fast paced action and the numerous amounts of enemies this becomes a repetitive action. It does not really deter from the gameplay, but becomes more of a nuisance than anything. Another issue I ran into was one point where I died outside of combat. I had just stepped onto an elevator and began to proceed upward when my character died. When I respawned it put me back to the bottom of the elevator shaft without an elevator. The door was locked behind me so I couldn't leave and come back. I had to quit the game and restart from my last save point. Luckily, it was just outside of where I was stuck and I was able to proceed from that point without having to redo anything.

You play the game as Baldur of the Aezir, and your sole purpose is to protect humanity and restore the world to what it once was. Your brothers and sisters are all gods under the watch of Odin. One of those brothers whom you will go to battle with in one of the levels is the almighty Thor. A lot of Norse mythology comes into play along with a technological twist but it is blended together beautifully and works very well for the story. As the story unfolds, you come to know that Baldur is more than he appears and it has me excited for the next game to see how the whole storyline plays out.

While the game is mostly linear, meaning you'll pretty much always have a set path for you to follow, you'll still get your chance to roam around quite a bit. There are many secret areas to be found in which you'll do battle with enemies in order to collect some loot, or you'll venture into cyberworld to visit with the Norne and complete tasks, open doors, and once again collect lots of loot and skills.

You'll get 2 modes of play to choose from with this title. You can choose from either single player campaign mode or take your character online for some online co-op with a friend. The campaign mode has an intriguing storyline with some plot twists and cliff hanger moments. Keep in mind that title is the first of three in what is deemed as a trilogy. The story ending definitely opens up for the next game with plenty of drama. The single player campaign can probably be completed in under 10 hours of gameplay, and a lot of that time is consumed by cut scenes. A quick press of the back button will help skip past these scenes if you so desire.

The second mode of play is online co-op for you and a friend. You'll basically get to choose one of 3 levels. You'll also be able to set the looting system up to specific conditions such as free for all, loot only specific items, etc. The difference between online co-op and single player campaign is that online you will see the cut scenes and story interludes as you do with single player. You'll just hack and slash your way through each level picking up lots of loot and basically leveling your character up to 50 eventually. Keep in mind, the chances of leveling your character up to level 50 in single player the first time through the story is practically impossible. At least from what I understand after playing the game from beginning to end. You can run through campaign again with your created character at the level you were at when you finished the previous campaign. One thing to keep in mind is that the monsters you fight will always resemble the level of the strongest character in the duo. So if you are just starting out the game, do not jump in with a level 50 guy into a game because you will get annihilated.

So lets get into the game mechanics and options a but. From the initial start of the game you'll create a character. You will be given the option to choose your character class from 5 choices. Those choices are: Champion, Defender, Berserker, Commando, and Bio Engineer. The Champion class is the most rounded class and excels in Air Combat, Critical Strikes, and One Handed weaponry. The defender excels in defense of course and has high hit points, armor with the Hammer and Shield as the equipment of choice. The Berserker is your damage dealing class whom uses dual wielding weapons and has high melee damage. The Commando's weapon of choice is rifles and his forte is ballistics such as explosive attacks and technological weapons. Finally the Bio Engineer is your healer class whom has high hit points and focuses mostly on regeneration and healing. The class you choose will cause the game to be played somewhat differently, but in the end you still be hacking and slashing your way through each level no matter what character class you are.

As you progress through your campaign mode you slowly level up your character by killing enemies. The loot you pick up will be level specific and obviously the higher graded loots will require you to have a higher level. Each loot has a color style to it ranging from gray to red. Red of course is the highest grade and best equipment you can have. You'll have to get your level into the 40's to be able to apply any red gear to you character. 50 looks to be the cap level for the game as at the time of playing that is the highest level online I had seen. The loot is divided into 4 categories: Weapons, Armor, Charms, and Runes. Weapons and armor are self explanatory. The Runes allow you to add effects and attributes to your character by placing them into empty rune slots on equipment that allows you to do so. The Charms are somewhat of a mini game in itself. Each charm will give you a goal to complete such as killing a certain number of enemies, accessing wells, etc. You'll also earn skill points as you increase levels which you can distribute onto a skill tree. This tree will add stronger attacks and aly the game is beautiful and the cut scenes are well done and interesting. Some textures are a little on the bland side at times, but overall the game is exceeds folks expectations for next gen titles. Only one downfall to the cut scenes would be the death scenario. Each and every time you die you are treated to a cut scene of a Valkyrie descending from the heavens to take you to Valhalla. This is pretty neat to see the first or second time, but after that you'll just skip past the scene to get back into the action. Oh wait, you can't skip it! Yup, thats right. You spend 20 seconds staring at the same cut scene after each death with no ability to skip it. I guess thats your punishment for dying since you always pick up where you left off after each death. I'd still like to be able to skip the scene though.

When it comes to sound, the game again exceeds most expectations. Voice acting can be somewhat corny and amusing at times, but all the characters have their moments and non moments. The orchestral background music is very good and adds to the whole charisma of the game.

Again, overall the game is very well done and should be played by anyone that like a good action game or even an RPG. If you liked Oblivion than you should give this game a try for sure. Odds are that you won't be disappointed. Online co-op would probably have been better if they would have allowed up to 5 people as then you would have been able to form a group using each character class. As it stands, there isn't much value to the different classes as is other than giving you a little replay value in the single player.

Allow for up to at least 4 other players online, as this would give more value to the character classes. Definitely allow folks to skip the death scene. After several deaths this scene gets quite annoying. Overall, nice job on the game.

Overall: 8.4 / 10
Gameplay: 8.1 / 10
Visuals: 8.7 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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