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Too Human, a lesson in wasted potential.

September 13, 2008

My biggest disappointment with Too Human is how much it has in common with a certain title from a couple of years ago and how it isn’t like that game when it so obviously should be. Let’s think about this for a second, a hub world with shops and many high ranking ‘good guys’ that could hand out quests, linking from this is a selection of four massive levels with hidden secrets and more loot than your local pawn shops back room, give up? Phantasy Star Online had a similar layout except it let you jump online and interact in the friendly area, party up with three buddies or strangers and knock the stuffing out of enemies through large levels completing quests and building your body count.

And what does Too Human offer for a multiplayer mode? Two player co-operative with the story taken out. It’s still fun but for a game that offers five classes and RPG progression through multiple tech tree with an emphasis on buffs, aggro, and thousands of loot drops the game openly says ‘hey! I’m like an MMO, but if you only have one friend!’

The biggest issue with this? I’ve found the commando near unplayable as a solo class but I know that if I was online with some buddies his gun is the perfect back up. Is it enough with one other player? No, because unless he is a defender he won’t be able to keep the hundreds of Goblins that swarm off me, but if we were a proper group I could be firing in while our defender and berserker deal with aggro and a bio engineer is concentrating on healing, the games potential writes itself. I realise that four player co op was removed scant months before release, but why? Ten years in development and it was promised up until the last minute, what went wrong?

The game needed a lobby system where you can openly interact and inspect players gear, because right now I find there is no way to show anyone my cool new chest and shoulders when that is half the point of these Diablo style dungeon crawlers, you spend ages getting the beastly greatsword of gutting because you can wave it in ChuckNorris2008’s face and you feel a glow of pride as he says ‘wow! That’s awesome!’. Perhaps the game could also have included some four vs four arena matches as well as the ability to go with a few buddies to smash some goblins around for an hour or two, perhaps the designers could constantly have added quests that give players new reasons to revisit levels as new locations are made open, but we got bog standard two player co op.

I guess I’m so annoyed by this because I like Too Human’s style, the locations are varied, large, and pretty to look at, and the armour sets and weapons look great while the sheer amount Silicon Knights crammed into the game is staggering, I wouldn’t be surprised if half the games development cycle was spend designing them.

If Microsoft was to look at its available franchises with a mind for making an MMO, while not the most financially sound option I think Too Human has the blueprints already on the table, blueprints that are languishing as a single player adventure when the game could have been so much more. Here’s hoping Too Human 2 does it right.

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