The star of Silicon Knights's upcoming action-RPG, Baldur, begins the game as something some of the other Norse gods believe to be too human. The Aesir use cybernetic implants to improve themselves, but Baldur only has trace implants that can enable other modules to be added. In addition to giving Baldur that spider web blue design that criss-crosses his face, this also sets him up as a blank slate for the player to improve as he or she sees fit. For more on the upgrade and physical augmentation systems in Too Human, we went to Ken McCulloch, Director of Content and Henry Sterchi, Director of Design.
Baldur has a soft spot for the humans the Aesir are sworn to protect. He sits at the crossroads with the Aesir and their technology calling him one way while humanity beckons from the other. Says Silicon Knights, "He feels a kinship with them and faces a hard choice: should he accept cybernetic upgrades to protect the humans more capably, or in doing so would it drive him further away from what it means to be human?"
Of course, the cybernetic enhancements the Aesir make use of are an asset on the battlefield. "Most of the Aesir believe that any good warrior needs as much technology as possible. However, a smaller, more conscientious faction realize that while having the tools is important, knowing how and when to use them is just as important." After taking a look at the different ways you can customize your Baldur, we'd have to agree. You'll definitely want to know how to use the tools at hand. Silicon Knights sent over this list of ways you can upgrade Baldur and what they do:
- Armor: Armor pieces can drop with different kinds of bonuses -- bonus armor, experience bonus, bonus chance for a critical strike, etc.. There are also armor pieces that have empty slots, allowing you to add your own combination of Runes (bonuses).
- Weapons: Like armor, weapons can drop with full slots or empty slots. Weapons also have the chance to drop with an onboard Status Effect, such as a chance to do fire damage on a successful hit.
- Runes: Runes can upgrade everything from attack speed and damage to spider deployment time and sentient weapon speed.
- Charm Quests: Through the completion of the Charm Quests you can gain bonuses or status effects for Baldur. An example of a Charm Quest bonus would be Wreath of Fallen Minds : On contact, there is a chance of scrambling a target's mind, causing it to attack your foes.
- Leveling Up: Leveling up your character by killing enemies and gaining experience increases your base stats and awards you skill points.
- Class Skill Tree: The class skill tree is a group of skills broken into 3 branches, allowing you to put points into each, adding stat bonuses and completely new abilities.
- Alignment Skill Tree: This adds additional skills to put points into based on your alignment -- human or cybernetic
These changes to Baldur are integral to the story and his personality as well. You'll spend your time customizing his look and attributes with equipment that changes his armor look (and sometimes even his physical appearance) while the experiences open his eyes.
"By the end of game one, he changes quite significantly," says Silicon Knights. "He becomes more of a realist and begins to see the world for himself, rather than just accepting the current state of the world. I suppose he loses his wide-eyed innocence."
Silicon Knights is aiming to make the upgrade system as deep as possible. At the beginning, its just the new gear and skills that you'll need to succeed. But according to the developers, "The closer you get to level 50, the more your equipment and character's build matters. We fully expect that people will be sharing character builds they've discovered, and new ways to use weapons and skill combinations in order to really rock these higher levels."
Though the level cap is at level 50 for the first Too Human installment, that is hardly the end for Baldur. "All the bonuses and equipment you earn in Too Human will carry over to the second game, but what you earn in Too Human 2 will likely not carry back to Too Human 1. When you get to level 50 you may wonder how your character can possibly get more powerful without turning into an atom bomb, but we have our ways, and it doesn't involve taking away your stuff or hanging an anchor from your boot. As the trilogy progresses and Baldur grows as a character, he will evolve in ways you may not expect."
Too Human releases August 19 for Xbox 360.
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