Too Human: The New Diablo?

Finally, a decent demo of Too Human, the exclusive Xbox 360 action RPG that can only be described as intriguing. We can't wait to see more.

Before we tell you about how positive the latest showing of Too Human was, it's important to first point out the negatives for reference. Two years ago we wrote off Too Human as just another action RPG, but with the worst camera system known to three-dimensional gaming. The unintelligent camera angles were so troublesome the game was inconveniently unplayable. This was at E3 2006 when we saw Too Human playable for the first time on the showroom floor.

We approached the glowing-green kiosk to find only one person playing the early build -- already a bad sign for such a hyped up game. Baldur, the lead character, ran forward across a lengthy bridge covered in ice and snow. But as the Nordic warrior trekked towards the far end of the bridge the camera remained stationary on the opposite end. By the time Baldur reached the other side, he was the size of a piss ant. At this vulnerable junction, an army of enemy robots joined the fray leaving the poor player blind as to which character he controlled. Frustrated, and rightfully so, the man playing the game in front of us immediately set the controller down and walked off.

The New and Improved Too Human

The new Too Human camera system features multiple camera modes to choose from. This allows the player to select from a variety of different camera angles that best suits the action onscreen. For example, the Iso camera mode is catered towards players who prefer the overhead isometric view of games like Diablo and Baldur's Gate. The Close camera mode gives players a view more akin to God of War. All in all, Silicon Knights founder Dennis Dyack said Too Human has six or seven different camera modes at any given time. Thank the Nordic gods.

The combat control scheme in Too Human is unlike any other action RPG. The right-analogue stick controls Baldur's primary hack-n-slash attack, which depending on your character class Baldur wields a sword and shield, dual swords, hammer, or mace. And no matter which class you choose from, Baldur always carries a pair of pistols. Pistols are fired with the right trigger and can be aimed at two separate enemies.

There are five character classes to choose from. The Champion is the standard character class well versed in combat, defense, and magics. The Berserker class leans more towards players who like to smash things, the Defender class plays like a traditional RPG tank class, so on and so forth.

So it's like Diablo, right? Pretty close. The player level caps at 50, and unfortunately Silicon Knights aren't ready to show any end game content beside epic armour sets. During the demo, Dyack loaded up a level 50 Defender class equipped with a complete armour set, which besides looking bad-ass offer bonuses for equipping a certain number of high-end armour set pieces like Diablo and World of Warcraft.

Technically Proficient

Too Human runs at a consistent frame rate in 720p with 4x anti-aliasing and up to 50 enemies on-screen. That's quite the technical feat considering all the issues developer Silicon Knights has been having with Epic and the Unreal Engine 3.0.

There is only one load time in Too Human and that is at the beginning of the game. The no-loading touch should be considered standard at this point, but it's especially impressive for Too Human considering the massive amount of content and abrupt environment changes, which ties into the rich, futuristic Nordic story.

There is no need to worry about inventory micro-management in Too Human. Auto-salvage is an inventory feature catered towards console users, which intelligently salvages your low-class items when your inventory becomes overburdened. Of course this feature can be turned off or on depending on your style of play.

Baldur can enter the Matrix. Well, Cyberspace Dennis Dyack called it. Cyberspace is a simulated version of what the world would be like without any artificial intelligence or world wars. Witches who serve as oracles to the human race inhabit Cyberspace. They offer worldly knowledge and useful items that aid Baldur in his quest.

We know it's crazy to say, but Too Human is the new Diablo. Well, at least until Blizzard shows us Diablo III, which who knows when that could be. Although Too Human is set in an entirely different universe with numerous cutscenes overlapping the gameplay, the actual core fundamentals are exactly the same, and it looks beautiful. Show us more Silicon Knights! You can't keep that "Online Play" menu option secret for too long.

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