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Jim Sterling avatar 8:12 PM on 09.02.2008
Alternate Reviewality: Too Human



What can I say about Silicon Knights' masterpiece, Too Human, that hasn't already been said before? From its engaging and enthralling storyline to the kind of gameplay that should have been seen in the medium six years ago, Too Human is an unrelenting triumph that grabs hold of the player and refuses to let go. From the moment you insert the disc into the Xbox 360 to that climactic moment when the end credits roll, you will be little more than a helpless fish caught on the end of a line. The bait? Awesome exposition. The hook? Rock solid gameplay. And the fisherman? Only the greatest mind this unworthy industry has been honored to ever know.

The story behind Too Human is as brilliant as it is fantastic. Taking on the role of Baldur, you are a member of The Aesir, a band of Godlike beings sworn to protect humanity from a race of murderous machines. The sheer genius of Denis Dyack's wonderfully crafted tale that seamlessly blends Norse myth and sci-fi trappings is at times subtly perfect and at others Earth-shatteringly rousing. After experiencing the first chapter of this epic saga in full, I felt ... insignificant. Pathetic, even, to think that I had the sheer nerve to exist in the same world as such effortlessly superb narrative.

If the story is terrific, then the gameplay is impeccable. Using a unique and innovative analog stick combat system, Silicon Knights has redefined in-game action as we know it. Taking down hordes of robotic enemies -- brilliantly given names like goblins and dark elves -- is a blast and so simple to perform, you'll feel like you're doing nothing at all. However, you ARE doing something -- you are taking part ... conspiring, if you will ... in something that will turn the videogames industry on its head. Mark my words, Too Human is the future of gaming, and that makes for a future so bright, you may very well scar your retinas if you look too long into it.

Of particular note is the hauntingly beautiful Valkyrie cutscene that we are privileged to view every time Baldur dies. The way that it runs through the game as a central theme is incredibly poignant and simply gets more interesting, engrossing and stunningly astounding every time you see it. It's so deep and philosophical that sometimes I almost felt like crying -- like throwing the controller to the floor and swiftly following it, crooking the knee and weeping nakedly before the power that is Too Human -- possibly the greatest interactive experience that has ever been created.

This game is everything I wanted and more. No other title has done anything to surpass the accomplishment that is Too Human, and I don't think anything will come close until Silicon Knights bests itself yet again with Too Human 2. If I have one criticism of the game, it's that I know we only have two more sequels in the works. If I had it my way, this franchise would continue forever and ever.

Having closed the book on this chapter of the Too Human sage -- a trilogy set to humble Tolkein himself -- all I can say is thank you. Thank you, Silicon Knights, for changing my life forever, in the most beautiful way possible.

Score: 11 (The best game ever made.)

 
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