Too Human demo now live / Impressions

An early E3 present has come our way in the form of the Too Human demo.  It is currently live and available for download from Xbox LIVE Marketplace. There has been a lot of hype and anti-hype surrounding this title so it’s nice to see that Silicon Knights if confident enough in its product to put it up for everyone to experience.

Having just finished the demo, lets run down the highs and lows. The demo starts out giving you the basic control layout and then tosses you into the gameworld to fend for yourself. Small hints pop up throughout the demo and give you more information about special moves and tips on how to better deal with your enemies. The controls have come under a bit of scrutiny lately for the decision to use the right analog stick for attacks instead of the camera, as is the case with most third person titles on current gen systems. While it does take some getting used to, it’s certainly manageable and has flashes of brilliance when you’re dealing with multiple enemies that are scattered around the battlefield. However, you’ll likely randomly attack a wall more than once before you start to remember that you’re no longer controlling the camera.

Speaking of the camera, lets talk about frustration. Now, this isn’t to say that the camera is completely broken, but it could definitely use some work. The camera is set to center behind you automatically after a few seconds of facing a different direction, and most of the time it works. However, when you’re in the middle of battle and you have to re-center the camera manually just to see what you’re doing, it can be rather cumbersome. Another aspect of the camera system that can be both a blessing and a curse is the auto-transparency feature. What it does is make any the NPCs on the screen transparent if they are in your line of sight, so that you can concentrate on combat instead of the camera being blocked. It works most of the time, but unfortunately the system also causes your enemies to become transparent as well, leading to many instances where I was being attacked by enemies that were effectively invisible to me. This happened frequently with the larger enemies and just made the lack of camera control even more noticeable.

The graphics are a mostly-excellent mixed bag. There are some mighty impressive high-res sequences and some stunning lighting effects and some very smooth animations. Yet, it’s not all perfect. There are several areas that blend some nice HD textures with textures that would look more at home on the N64. I’m not sure why there is such a gap between the two, but hopefully it will be corrected for the final build.

It took about 50 minutes to an hour to finish the demo, and when it was done, it had left it’s mark, be that good or bad. It’s safe to say that there is truly nothing like it on the Xbox 360, so it’s hard to have anything to compare it to.  While it’s hard to say if it will warrant a day-one purchase, it will certainly require a lot of play time with the finished game before that judgement can be made.

[See also: Too Human gallery]