Development times are funny things. Take too short a time, and people are going to get suspicious that you've made a rush-job game that'll fail to satisfy. Take too long, and the whispers of cannings start. Take ten years, and your game either becomes the biggest gaming in-joke of all time - hello, 3D Realms - or, in the case of release, a total let-down. Too Human, Silicon Knights' magnum opus (or at least as they'd like you to believe), originally started out as a four-disc, eighty-hour game on the original Playstation. Then Knights signed a deal with Nintendo which made them produce Eternal Darkness (A first-year English student's attempt at a Cthulhu fanfiction, to quote the ever-amusing Brian Clevinger), and would have eventually seen Too Human appear on the Gamecube along with it. However, the deal eventually dissolved due to the overlong development time, and soon Silicon Knights had signed a deal with Microsoft, to produce Too Human as a trilogy exclusively for the Xbox 360.So, the first game in the Too Human series is now upon us. I picked it up on launch day, as I do with most games I want, and sat down to play for six long, gruelling hours. My initial impressions after finishing the first two levels? If I had been waiting the ten years for this game, it would not have bee anywhere near worth it. The game has a lot of flaws - but we'll get to them in a minute. First, a brief explanation. Too Human is an EPIC!!!! action RPG I've heard described as a "cross of Diablo and Devil May Cry" - not the most accurate soundbite, but it gives a general idea. Whilst fighting, you build up your combo meter with attacks using melee or ranged weapons, and once enemies die, they sometimes drop loot - be it money, an armour piece, a new weapon, or some other piece of equipment. The story of the game is basically the legends of the old Norse gods - specifically, the story of Ragnarok, with the rather subtle difference of it being set in some dystopian future. You play Baldur, one of the Aesir - a group of "gods" who are, in fact, cybernetically enhanced humans. Baldur has recently been resurrected after another Aesir, Hod, had been tricked into shooting him - and as the story goes, Baldur's resurrection sets off the chain of events that eventually leads to the end of the world (to once again quote Brian Clevinger, the story is nearly a thousand years old, so if you didn't know it before now, tough).The game handles its source material quite well; it would have been easy to make a game without any kind of respect for the original mythology, but Silicon Knights apparently know their stuff when it comes to the Norse. However, while the story is sound, the dialogue isn't. Throwing in a few references to mead and having Baldur call the NORNs "wenches" doesn't pass for EPIC!!!! dialogue, no matter how much Diag et al may think so. I suppose it's not really fair to pick on bad dialogue considering how many games suffer from it, but to be fair, SK did hype their story up like **** from the get-go, so let's consider it just desserts.The cutscenes are also a major stumbling block - put simply, they suck. The animation is just flat-out bad, and some of the characters look particularly awful - Freyja, for instance, just kind of weirded me out the entire game. Her hair looks like it's one of those plastic hair pieces LEGO figures have. It's strange that the characters can look so sub-par when other parts of the game are a joy to look at - the Aesir tower, for instance, is architecturally astounding, and the various armours you can equip Baldur with are all well-designed, and I've yet to find any that are truly ugly. The weapons all look quite cool, too.The actual gameplay is rather simplistic. Using the right analogue stick, you attack enemies with your melee weapon (or the triggers for your guns), pushing the stick in the direction you want to attack. It's a fairly interesting system, but there doesn't seem to be much you can do with it beyond hold-in-direction-for-combo, tap-in-direction-to-launch-enemy. The air combat isn't really anything we haven't seen in other action games. The whole setup does take a bit of getting used to at first, but after a pretty short time you'll be zipping between enemies administering Nordic beatdowns with ease.The thing is, for the eight or so hours of gameplay, that's all you'll be doing. The gameplay is incredibly repetitive, and by the time you reach the last level, Helheim - an almost continuous stream of enemies from the beginning unti Hel, the shamefully easy final boss - you'll be glad it's all over, which makes replaying the game to get to level 50 and get even better loot all the more painful. A little bit of variety in the combat and enemies wouldn't have gone amiss - there's a very small selection of beasts to fight, not counting bosses - and you can't help feeling that there's just a lot of wasted potential here. While you're fighting, you're never really in danger, either - while you can die (and be treated to an unskippable sequence of a cybernetic Valkyrie appearing to revive you), there seems to be almost no penalty, and there certainly isn't a limit on the number of times you can croak. You'll just respawn at the start of the room you're in with everything as it was when you died. With this, you can pretty much throw yourself at enemies safe in the knowledge that you'll get through them no matter what.To conclude this rather long-winded review, Too Human is not an atrocious game. There are plenty of good ideas here, but they're marred by bad design choices and poor implementation. Hopefully Silicon Knights have learned with this instalment, and can produce a better game for the middle section of the trilogy, which I have hope will get better from hereonin. After all, Ragnarok is when the Norse mythology stopped being great and started being awesome.