Like many, I was looking forward to getting immersed into Silicon Knight’s lovechild of 10 years, the action-RPG Too Human. And, like many, I was brutally disappointed as anti-stellar reviews started pounding me in the face like a warhammer. “Guess what!?” the reviews said to me, “You wanted to buy this game, you had the right idea about how awesome it could be, but they effed up! Turns out it’s only moderately awesome! You can’t buy it now beeeeaatch!”.
Hey, maybe I’m a sap for game review sites, but these journalists discuss undeniably good points, and bring up the flaws that subtly remove the incentive to invest time or money into playing Too Human.
Too Human looked like it could do it. The main draw of MMORPGs is the fact that you can showcase your avatar. The time and effort you put into a game is directly translated into the abilities and gear that your avatar wields in the virtual world. Great, I thought, Too Human and it’s thousands of customizable weapons and items can have the same appeal, while at the same time maintaining a richer, less point-and-click style of gameplay that would last for a long time. But what happened? Too Human decided to focus elsewhere, and didn’t give the elements that would have made it satisfying in this way enough attention.Somewhere around mid-August was a difficult time for me. It was a time when, so help me, I was almost convinced to begin playing World of Warcraft. I had managed stayed away from MMORPGs for years, but at that point I had broken down enough to actually download the 10-day trial and create a combat-speced Undead Rogue. I was searching desperately for some reason not to pick up this RPG, some sort of alternative in which I wouldn’t find myself repetitively clicking, waiting for cooldowns, and clicking again.
Too Human makes you grind similar enemies in an attempt to deck out your “Baldur”. This would be fun if you could do it with more than one other person. Alone, or with a friend, you feel as though the effort you put into Too Human hits a dead end with your own personal satisfaction. Sure, you could film a blurry off-screen video of your epic level 50 character and put it on YouTube.. But rly. Too Human also ramps the level of enemies along with you. This means the challenge of combat stays roughly constant regardless of your gear or level, greatly devaluing the illusion of progress.
At the very least, Too Human could have utilized a system similar to WoW’s Armory, an online breakdown of a specific avatar’s stats and equipment to show off and mash-up with the world. But… nah.
Alright, so Too Human is going to suck up my time and never spit it out in any tangible way. I’ll just stick with another 5 months of Gamefly, and allow my time to be sucked with more variety and ever-changing multiplayer opportunities. But still, I need to get that RPG withdrawal out of my system…
Enter Castle Crashers, the Behemoth’s Alien Hominid-esque beat-em-up RPG sidescroller, available on the XBox Live Marketplace for $15.
Let us quickly peruse this comparison chart between Castle Crashers and Too Human.
|Action RPG from Respected Developer||X||X|
|Character Attribute Customization||X||X|
|Lots of Items/Unlockables||X||X|
These two action-RPGs are oddly similar, however, you’ll notice that even with the price difference out of the equation, Castle Crashers still has an edge on it’s first-party big brother. What Too Human has in firearms Castle Crashers makes up for with magic, and the Norse god’s battle cries are akin to a less adorable animal orb buff.
Castle Crashers is the ideal sort of arcade game, combining both the old-school simplicity of a true arcade cabinet, the witty writing and art expected from The Behemoth, and the lasting appeal and satisfaction of an accessible RPG that you can easily share with friends. And after all, who doesn’t want to ride on a shit-propelled deer? Regardless, Too Human is still a fine experience. Silicon Knights has planned a trilogy, and future installments will hopefully address what this first game lacks. Until then, I’ll be button mashing in 2D.