Too Human

Cover art for the video game Too Human
Cover art for the video game Too Human

The overall story was good. Sort of. It would have been an engaging tale of one man’s journey through the truth of his life and foibles of his society… had it been original. Instead of creating a unique story, Silicon Knights lifted whole passages from Norse mythology including characters, their folklore and their role in Ragnar√∂k, the end of time. The only change made was to add a “cyber” gloss to everything taking it from the 12th century to somewhere in the 25th.

The fighting system doesn’t really work. I think the idea was to make it easy to use melee attacks but whatever the reason, assigning the close attack button to the right stick on the controller was not a good one. Leaning the stick in the direction of the enemy you want to attack probably seemed a good idea on paper but in practice it means attacking the enemy you are looking at, not the enemies currently attacking you from the sides or from behind. The idea to use projectile weaponry that locks onto an enemy when used also, probably, seemed like a good idea. Again, in practice it means pulling the right trigger on the controller over and over while running to select that single enemy to attack as you are chased through a passageway by a horde of other enemies.

And then there are the Valkyries. In order to keep the player in constant action the developers forsook the Game Over screen and Lives Left system and just went with Valkyries. In Norse Mythology, Valkyries are beautiful warrior women who descended from the heavens to take the souls of great warriors to Valhalla, the great banquet hall in the sky that has everlasting wine, women and song. In Too Human, a single Valkyrie descends when your health runs out. She picks you up and carries you into the sky. And then you start playing again from where you just died. The enemies do not gain back health and you lose nothing. Death in the game means nothing except a several second pause in action as the player must wait out a cut scene.

There is fun there to be found. If you can get past fighting wave after wave of enemies with a fighting system that is lacking, you will find a game that is trying to be good. In many areas it tries out different things that other games have struggled with and failed. That is not to say that Too Human achieves where others did not.  They try, without success, to make the player feel epic while always making the game challenging. Unfortunately, that challenge too often leaves the player with frustration instead of rapture.