video game review

August 26, 2008|By Tim Swift

Too Human

The first of a planned trilogy of games for Xbox 360 reads a lot like Dungeons & Dragons meets Halo. New this month, the game creates an interesting parallel universe that allows high-tech robotics to co-exist with Norse mythology. And who doesn't want to see flesh-challenged cyberbabes duke it out with Valhalla's finest?

Yet both constituencies are in for a luke-warm hybrid. The sword-and-sorcery set are the most ill-served as the game relies heavily on cinematic cut scenes that aim for mystery but ultimately just confound. It was three hours into the game, and I was still unsure who the bad guys were. Most glaring was the voice acting. It's almost nonexistent as if the actors (especially the female characters) were encouraged to drone.

The game play fares better, but as a standard hack-and-slash title it has few elements that help to distinguish itself from a slew of similar games. There are plenty of goodies to gather, and you can play as one of four characters. One of them, a self-healing medic, seems to have an unfair advantage over his colleagues.

Yet my favorite (and probably everyone else's) was the lead hero, the Norse Champion Baldur, who can zoom around with his sword like a hockey puck to ensure maximum carnage.

Microsoft Game Studios; One to two players; cooperative. Rated T for teen. Retail: $59.99

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