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Recordkeeping: Too Human COMPLETE - The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal

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March 15th, 2016

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10:46 am - Recordkeeping: Too Human COMPLETE
On my bad days, I say I'm a filthy apologist. On my good days, I say I have the mutant power to bring out the best parts of a thing. Either way it means the same thing: I enjoy a lot of really bad stuff, things that people just DON'T LIKE. Sometimes games or movies or books are just bad, and I like them anyway. I'll make a passionate case for the best aspects of a thing, and people will go off and check it out. Usually they return angry at me, and all I can do is shrug. Y'all have to know my reputation by now, right?

Too Human is widely regarded as a terrible game, and it's one I snapped up pretty much at launch because I was super-excited about the potential of it. Cyber-vikings in the distant future, Norse gods who elevated themselves to divinity with hypertechnology ruling over a frozen, dying earth. A fusion of big bulky high tech armor with glowing tron-line swords and laser rifles. Cyberspace ruled by the NORNs, a predictive computer oracle software suite. Transparent visors with runic code scrolling across them. Full plate technovalkyries with blade wings. Killer robot goblins. Hell, I still think the aesthetic of this game is AMAZING.

Here is where I would normally launch into a passionate defense of Too Human.

Here is the long, awkward silence where it becomes increasingly obvious that I will not be defending Too Human here today.

I want to find something good to say about this game. I want to say something that isn't "Well, it had a great concept!" or "The story could've been good!" or "I love giant-ass glowing shoulderpads!" and I've got NOTHING.

You're supposed to be the unstoppable warrior Baldur, except you are INCREDIBLY stoppable. Enemies do tons of damage, which I only mitigated by picking the heaviest-armored class in existence.

They also come at you in huge swarms, which would be okay if you had a combat system that worked. But you don't. You have a weird, context-oversensitive system that uses the two thumbsticks in concert, and the thing about THAT is that it would often ... say, throw my hammer across the room at an enemy instead of doing a finisher on the dude I'm standing next to. Occasionally Baldur will stop HIMSELF, swinging wildly at the air in front of him until my combo chain drops (and you never want this to happen, because your chain affects how much damage you do and experience you get) in spite of the enemy I'm aiming for being highlit by the target cursor.

I have a lot of empathy for games with bad or awkward combat most of the time, because a lot of them aren't trying to make combat a focus. Fatal Frame, for example, is very awkward combat-wise, but it works in the game's favor. Fatal Frame makes you control a scared teenage girl trying to photograph/capture ghosts using a camera that keeps running out of film. The awkward nature of the combat accentuates the horror experience, they sacrificed one aspect of the game to bolster another.

In Too Human you're SUPPOSED to be a great warrior and the combat IS the main focus of the game. It's a 3D Diablo-style monster-bashing loot-em-up. Having an awkward, unreliable combat system is totally unacceptable in a combat-focused genre like that. There's nothing about the story or gameplay that's bolstered by my inability to make my gun stop auto-locking onto enemies that are already dead on the floor instead of the ones charging at me. It's not excusable, it's just BAD.

So here's where I have to shame myself and admit I had some fun with Too Human. On the very rare occasions I could get the combat to flow, it was kinda fun sliding from one enemy to another, bashing them around with a mace. Uhm... I did get kinda into the story, although it was mostly just Angry Guys In Armor Bragging At Each Other. It wasn't really good. The setting is not the story, the SETTING was fantastic, the story was drab. That's... about it?

Look, don't play Too Human. Don't buy it, don't play it. If someone tries to give it to you, damage their genitals until they leave you alone. It's not good or fun. I'm just glad to have it out of my backlog, because now I can stop picking it up and going "...maybe I wasn't playing it right? Maybe it gets better?" No, it doesn't.

I just wish I'd found something redeemable in there. It kinda hurts that I can't.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2016 03:28 pm (UTC)
No, I think I see what's going on here. The premise and aesthetic are so cool that they get your hopes up, which makes the near-unplayable execution into some sort of huge betrayal. Like how I really would have better things to worry about than some forgettable mediocre Japanese mobile walk-right-and-click-things sim if they weren't calling it Breath of Fire VI.

Edit: Or the deep and troubling questions about the Maverick Hunters that Capcom spent the entirety of the Mega Man X series NOT addressing and instead just shrieking and throwing Sigma at it whenever it was accidentally starting to creep in. Not that I'm still bitter about the sheer size of the missed opportunities there, ohhhh no.

Edited at 2016-03-15 03:56 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2016 04:11 pm (UTC)
I never had any problem with the combat system. This was one of the games I really loved, until it suddenly stopped 1/3rd of the way through the plot and then there was never a sequel. I don't remember what platform I played it on, though.

The problems I had with it was the cyberspace where they'd forgotten to add any enemies or puzzles and you just had to walk around for hours to find the hidden caches, and, well, the plot sort of petering out 1/3rd of the way through.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
It was only ever a 360 release, although it was announced for original Playstation and Gamecube before it wound up on the 360. There will likely never be a sequel, since the game sort of bankrupted the company, and then there was the lawsuit where they stole Unreal Engine code from Epic, and the thing where all unsold copies of the game were ordered to be recalled and destroyed.

So I think this one is kinda boned, sequel-wise.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2016 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the whole Silicon Knights v. Epic Games fiasco was a goddamn clusterfuck. There's never gonna be a Too Human sequel, and an Eternal Darkness sequel is a kickstarter pipedream that will likely never bear fruit.

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