To get the loot you so desire you need to get to grips with Too Human's at first jarring but ultimately satisfying combat. Dyack says it's the most complex combat system ever seen in a game of this genre. By genre we assume he means dungeon crawler, because it's nursery school stuff compared with other combo centric third-person action games on the 360, like Devil May Cry 4 and Ninja Gaiden II.
Melee attacks are directed with the right thumb stick, which sounds simple in theory but takes half an hour or so to get used to. By pointing the stick in the direction of an enemy Baldur will slide toward it and attack with his currently equipped melee weapon (swords, staves or hammers). You can either keep the stick pushed toward the enemy and continue hitting, or direct it towards another nearby enemy, causing Baldur to slide toward that and start attacking.
The idea is to aim towards a new enemy just as Baldur strikes a killing blow, causing him to seamlessly slide from goblin to goblin and rack up combo bonuses. Against more powerful enemies it's a good idea to double tap the stick, causing Baldur to hit his enemy high into the air. From there, rekindling memories of DMC's Dante, you can jump (A) and use the stick to combo in the air. Then, as you fall back down to earth you can whip out your ranged weapon (pistols, rifles or cannons) with the right trigger and finish them off before they even touch the ground.
At its best Too Human's combat feels incredibly smooth, satisfying and oddly therapeutic, especially when there are tons of cannon fodder goblins just waiting to be sliced up. Sliding from one enemy to the other at speed looks great and, once you've wrapped your head around it, feels more like Bizarre Creation's incredible analogue-based 2D shooter Geometry Wars than, say, God of War. It's just a shame that it's let down by bouts of frustration, boredom and technical failings.
Let's go through each of those criticisms one by one. The frustration comes from constant death and the 'tear your hair out' camera - because the right stick is reserved for attacks the only control you have over the camera is centring it directly behind Baldur with RB. You will die in Too Human. A lot. In the game's last two levels we died more times than we could count. What's worse - when you die an angelic Valkyrie appears from Valhalla to resurrect you. This cinematic takes about 15 seconds to complete, but, when you've died for the 10th time in five minutes, it feels like it takes a year.
The boredom comes from the repetitive nature of the combat. While there are only four levels each is huge and can take hours to wade through, especially if you fancy exploring. And because there are only three base enemies to fight things can feel very samey (you can climb on the back of trolls and one hit kill them). The environments certainly have their moments (the World Serpent level, set inside a massive, mechanised sea creature frozen in the ice is of particular note), but the bosses are incredibly anti-climactic and the Cyberspace sections - pointless puzzle sections set in Too Human's version of the internet - are sleep inducing.
And finally, the technical problems. Silicon Knights originally planned for Too Human to support four-player online co-op play but dropped it down to two. You'd think that would be to ensure a quality experience but the game still feels unfinished. The frame rate can drop to absolutely shocking levels, especially when explosions fill the screen. Baldur's animations are poor - his jump particularly bad. It's even worse in co-op. We know this is a dungeon crawler and so a linear experience is implied, but we haven't seen this many invisible walls for years. It's puzzling. We quite like Too Human's art style - the game's main hub, from which you select missions and visit weapon, armour and cybernetics shops is beautifully designed, as are very specific sections of the game's levels - but on the whole there's little to grab you, smack you in the face and demand your admiration.