Gamer’s Graveyard: Too Human
Has there ever been a game that you absolutely loved that just stopped being a thing?
Has there ever been a game you hate that suddenly stopped being around to bug you?
They all end up in the Gamer’s Graveyard, and I am the Gravedigger here to remind you of all the games that have come and gone, and why they disappeared.
Some games find their way to the Gamer’s Graveyard just by virtue of being bad games. Whether it’s bad story or frustrating gameplay, bad games tend to slip by most people unnoticed into the annals of gaming history. But occasionally there will be a game that wasn’t too bad that just disappears without a trace. One such game is Too Human.
Too Human was an Xbox 360 exclusive that was set to take the world of gaming by storm. An addition to the action roleplaying genre, this futuristic sci-fi retelling of Norse mythology saw the players as Baldr (associated as the Norse god of justice, light and purity) as he battles the “Children of Ymir” (a race of machines bent on destroying humanity).
Now that sounds fun doesn’t it? Being a Norse god and smashing a bunch of robots. So what happened?
Well to be blunt, the game was initially set for release in 1999 (a good nine years prior to its actual release). Along with the immense delays throughout the production period, when it was finally released the critics were not overly impressed. Though it received fair reviews from Metacritic and GameRankings, Too Human was described as having a beautiful environment that just never seemed to vary.
Another problem that faced Too Human on release was the lack of the promised multiplayer features. Initially, the game was supposed to support multiplayer which was missing on release. Several critics said that a lot of the problems with the game, in terms of functionality, wouldn’t be an issue if the game had had multiplayer. In essence, the game seemed designed to support multiplayer but players had to venture solo, meaning the game felt overly difficult and somewhat grindy.
The length of Too Human left much to be desired. The game was criticised on release for its incredibly short runtime. Compared to other games of the genre Too Human fell short in finding an acceptable runtime.
The runtime seemed to be padded out by the overly long and badly criticised death scene. The idea was simple. A Valkyrie (basically a battle angel in Norse mythology) would descend and take your warrior spirit to the halls Valhalla. Awesome right? Imagine that scene happening over and over and over. Now imagine you can’t skip it and it lasted 25 seconds each time. Awfully repetitive as it becomes, the scene is pretty awesome the first couple of times.
Too Human may have suffered from its time in the dreaded development hell. However, the game made innovative use of the right analog stick. This unconventional application saw the stick used for attacking as opposed to camera control. This saw mixed responses with many loving the innovation and others despising it as it caused camera control to be automatic in a game that allowed the use of firearms, made aiming in the game extremely different to other games of the genre and therefore difficult.
A major problem with the game is simple. It was designed to be a trilogy. The most irritating thing about Too Human was that, among other things, it leaves the plot on an amazing cliff-hanger, one that sadly we will never see the outcome of. The game’s plot was actually one of the better parts of the game. The lore behind the world was well researched and, overall, just kind of awesome. The fact that the plot will never be resolved is a crime and a shame.
All in all, Too Human was a game that was definitely worth picking up whilst cheap. If you can get your hands on a second-hand copy it is worth your while to traipse through the game. If anything the fact you play a sci-fi rendition of a Norse god and hack through legions of enemies with guns swords and axes should be enough to entice a quick play through.
Rest in peace Silicon Knights’ Too Human. Hopefully, this Gravedigger has given you a good eulogy… And so back your remains go.