In a culture that’s quick to abandon a video game entirely based on a single numerical digit, it’s easy to overlook the nuance and niceties of any given title. Moreover, many are quick to discount any piece of software to fall south of a particular critical divide, leaving any potentially compelling ideas to rot in a creative wasteland, unexplored and undeveloped.
Here, we briefly examine the merits of Silicon Knights’ Too Human.
Few games could match the intensity of Too Human’s moments of crowd control. Oft surrounded by a gathering of mechanical Goblins, combat would be Baldur’s self-beaten path to freedom. Dieing, whilst of little cost in the grand scheme of things, was irritating – the pressure induced by a compulsive need to avoid a lengthy ascension animation made cheating death all the more exhilarating. This, I’m sure, was not quite what the developers intended.
This avoidance subsequently fueled an insatiable need for more experience points, better abilities and more advanced equipment. We couldn’t help but seek out every conceivable advantage to help us ditch the angel of death. Too Human, then, in-spite of its flaws, could be a mindlessly entertaining game.
Its dualistic dedication to the tenets of both action and role-playing ultimately left it in a position to excel at neither. Outside of this vague crossover, however, laid an addictive, accessible and, particularly with a friend, enjoyable hack ’n’ bash experience.
Silicon Knights’ insistence on a dual-analogue combat system, whilst perhaps inherently limiting, minimized the typical acclimatisation period often associated with its more complex counter-parts. Despite compromising a certain degree of depth in the process, Too Human’s ’point and click’ style of play invites a refreshing amount of simplicity – it was possible to feel powerful with a minimal amount of effort, a potent example of instant gratification.
Sliding, too, was one of the game’s finer pleasures. Bouncing between foes, whilst killing many in a single hit, evoked a sense of power almost like no other. Being entrenched amongst a sea of goblins, with little more than a hammer and suit of armor, made its inevitable destruction all the more satisfying.
Its infusion of Norse mythology and cybernetic technology provided a refreshing backdrop in which to slay enemies. The digital realm, represented by luscious green forests – a jarring contrast to the real world’s harsh environment – further examines whether or not technology is a natural evolutionary path, and if such a dependence is a progression or a regression.
In the ether of a designer’s mind, Too Human is a fascinating concept. However, a rough presentation, largely uninteresting story and lack of mechanical diversity prevented Silicon Knights’ creation from becoming everything it was capable of. With that said, however, it’s certainly not too late for Too Human.