I really want to like this game. There has been so much hype and so many expectations, that it seemed that nothing short of perfection would be acceptable. This game was being sold as something that would change the way we look at video games. The real question is, does it come anywhere close to what has been promised?
When you start the game, you are dropped into the role of Lord Baldur. He exists in a science-fiction reimagining of Norse mythology. From the very beginning, I was amazed at the fact that cut scenes made absolutely no effort to fill the player in on the back story of the game. Conversely, you are thrust into a world where cybernetics, swords and laser guns coexist. There is such a glaring conflict of technologies, that one is left wondering how feasible something like this could truly be.
The next exercise in confusion is trying to understand the control scheme. Silicon Knights has torn a page out of the God of War manual for regurgitated game design, and removed all camera controls. When executed well, like in the aforementioned franchise, the player is allowed to be fully immersed in the environment of the game. The problem is, this camera has a serious case of the short bus syndrome. On many occasions I found myself getting attacked by supposedly invisible enemies, or at least it seemed they were invisible, because the camera would not allow me to see behind myself! Other times, the battle would be so zoomed out that I would loose track of which multicolored dot I was, thus making me want to destroy my monitor, using my controller as a projectile.
Instead of using the right thumb stick for controlling the camera, it is used to attack the enemies. A simple flick on the right stick in the direction of the baddie will launch them flying into the air like a Red Bull commercial from hell. While this seems flashy and straightforward at first, it is still hard to shake habits from other similar looking titles like Mass Effect and Gears of War. There are other moves that can be executed by using different combinations of flicks and swipes on the thumb sticks, but I think I will save your brains the frustration of having to comprehend it. Here is the kicker, Silicon Knights had the same idea when they designed the game. A tutorial for these supposedly groundbreaking controls are nowhere to be found. It turns out that to learn all of the controls, you are forced to read the instruction manual. This will be a big problem for illiterate gamers everywhere.
As I continued on, mutilating droves of the same repetitive enemies, I came to a startling conclusion. The story in Too Human is about as irrelevant as the male lead in a porno flick. The best parallel I could draw is sitting in the audience for the first screening of the Helen Keller Story. The kicker is that the director had kept the audience in the dark, (pun intended) that Keller is deaf and blind. "... I just thought that Anne Sullivan was an awful teacher and she was being really mean to the retarded girl..." That is about as far from the intended story as possible, but if the viewer has limited information, this extreme misconception could be drawn.
However, not everything is bad. This is a game that has more loot then all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies combined. The death of every few enemies sends a geyser of useless nick knacks skyward. I have spent a considerable amount of time pimping out my character. Currently, my Baldur looks like the gay lovechild of The Green Lantern and Robin from the early Batman comics. Needless to say, I have very much enjoyed the deep character customization.
So is this game a hit? As of now, no, but it isn't a total miss either. I will continue to forge forward through the game, until the bitter end. (Disclaimer: If my frustrations continue, the bitter end may mean the end my life, not the game!) You can expect to see a full review sometime next week.
In the meantime check out the trailer for Too Human from E3 2007: