Too Human Review
It feels like it was just yesterday when two of the PS3's exclusive and hyped-up games (Lair, Haze) turned out to be absolutely terrible, both from the critical and fan standpoint. 360 fans took these review scores as yet another sign that the PS3 would never come into its own as gaming system. Well, now its Microsoft's turn to feel the sweet sting of failure with an exclusive that turns out to be about as much fun as answering the questions of older patrons in retail stores. (Dude! I'm trying think here! Yeah… your 8-year-old would like Manhunt 2…) Too Human, the action-RPG that has been on everyone's shopping list for quite some time, is finally in stores. To say the game doesn't live up to the years of hype is an understatement; Too Human the game is grabbed by Too Human the hype, tied to a tree and brained with a shovel. Even though the game does have its moments, it is far too tedious, easy and confusing to earn a respectable score, and it makes me fear the future. You see, Too Human is meant to be the first in a series of three games, and I just can't imagine anyone wanting to buy the next two. I'll be the first to say it - the 360 now has its own Lair or Haze.
You probably noticed the phrase "quite some time" in my previous paragraph, but we aren't talking about a year, two or even five. Too Human has been bouncing around development cycles for nearly ten years, and even with all that time to prepare, Silicon Knight's finished product is nothing short of a disaster. I want you to think about that - ten years. Ten. How many great games have you played in the last ten years? Games with amazing gameplay, fantastic stories and tons of replay? A lot. A whole lot. You would think that the team behind Too Human might have watched the industry and attempted to make this game as good as some of those. Sadly, no attention was paid, and gamers are stuck holding the bag.
I find it difficult to rate Too Human's story, mostly because even after playing to the end, I still can't tell you what the hell was going on. It has something to do with a mash-up of Blade Runner and Norse mythology, painting those famous gods as mechanically enhanced beings that do little but fight with each other and deal with robotic uprisings. This spirals further into the game's main character, Baldur, fighting wave after wave of identical enemies while attempting to find out who killed his wife, and why. But since the narrative is so vague and is played out in cutscenes that are ridiculously far apart from one another, you'll be equally confused and unable to follow the story because by the time you get any new info, you'll have forgotten what you learned in previous scenes. Things sift out near the end, but I still couldn't make heads or tails of it. Also, it ends in a Halo 2-style cliffhanger, but these endings only tend to work when you care about the characters. I didn't and you won't either.
I guess lack of plot development could be a byproduct of Too Human's unbelievably brief single player campaign. I was working on a FAQ for the game as I played, which meant long sessions with the game on pause while I took notes. My final playtime (keeping in mind the clock doesn't stop at the pause screen) was right around 30 hours, but most people could finish the whole thing in between 10 and 15 hours. The game only has four honest-to-goodness levels, with a hub world connecting them. To me, that isn't nearly enough, especially because they had ten years to get it right.