Review by quezacotl68
"A MMORPG, without the price of actually going on-line."
I first saw .hack on a video game show I use to watch called Extended Play. When I watched it, I was intrigued by the way it looked. Then I heard the review for it and wanted it. Well, skip ahead about 6 months and I saw that it was available for pre-order. Not having much to do at the time and hating to pre-order games, I found out that I would get a demo disc of the game. I figured with a demo disc, that if I didn’t like it, I could just cancel my order and get something else. The day I got my demo disc, I sat down and tried it out. I was amazed by how it looked. Well, to make a long story short, 9 hours later, I decided to fully pay off my pre-order. I’m glad I did.
When you first start the game, you have to go through a tutorial, read all the things on the message board, and check your mail. This may seem to be a waste of time at first, but will come in handy later on. Then when you get into the game, you will be taken step by step though how to fight, use items, skills, etc. After going through the first dungeon, the real story starts. The game quickly pulls you in and keeps you playing for hours just to see the many different areas that you can visit. This game can be hard or easy, since the fields you go to have a battle level next to them. On top of the varying difficulty, you will also have to learn how to use the camera to stay alive in battles. As I found out the hard way, off screen enemies can hurt you, but you can’t touch them. However, the rest of the controls are very straightforward.
The story seems simple at first, but within the first five to ten minutes, you see it become more complicated. Your character, who’s default name is Kite, this can be changed to whatever you want. His class, in “The World” is what they call a Twin Blade. There are also Blademasters, Heavy Blades, Wavemasters, Heavy Axemans, and Long Arms. Although you can’t change your character’s class, your other party members will have one of the other classes or the same as you. Into the story a little more depth, your character is invited by his friend Yasuhiko to join him in The World. As he gets there, you meet up with Yasuhiko, who’s known as Orca in the game. He’s a legend in the game. Since he knows it’s your first time in The World, he finds a spot perfect for newbies. As he takes you through the playing field, you find a dungeon. While in there, you and Orca see a ghost like female being chased by something that Orca can’t explain for being there. After you complete the dungeon, you are taken to a place that isn’t like anywhere you came from. Also, not to risk spoiling it for anyone, I won’t tell what happens next. All I will say though is that Kite makes it his duty to help out his friend.
The music and sounds are wonderful, but area music tends to be low at times. The voiceovers are done very well. The creators made it so that it was like you are actually there, and not watching them speak from a distance away. You can also hear your character walk across the terrain he is on perfectly. You can also hear the water, winds, and other elements you can hear in real life vividly.
When I saw that companies weren’t even trying to make games that pushed the power of the next-gen consoles, I was disappointed. Then I looked at this game and you can’t see the normal cgi flaws like in other systems. The people all look so life-like as do the surroundings. Even the weapons your character and the other characters look almost completely real. This kept my interest in the seeing what other fields look like. The only small flaw is when the characters talk in cut scenes. Their mouths move slightly, but if that’s all you can see to be the reason not to get this game, you need to check your view on games.
This game has extras that will keep you playing over and over. Plus, with all the different terrains, levels, and dungeons layouts, you can’t be expected to finish everything in the game on your first time through. Plus, there are bonuses you can get after you beat the game the first time that will keep you playing.
Rent or Buy?
I personally say to buy this game. Don’t let it slip through your fingers. This game is one of 4 in a series, and they all tie in with each other. If you think of renting it, I say go ahead, but you will probably end up buying it anyways. Plus, if you buy it, you also get a free anime DVD that has hidden surprises in it. You just have to find them. The anime also delves into back-story of the game partially. So, if you think that $53 is too much for an RPG, you are sadly mistaken. Of all the ones out there, this one will keep you intrigued for hours on end. Plus, people that hate to play games online, because they cost too much, this is the game for you. You don’t pay anything to play this simulated MMORPG.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/13/03, Updated 02/13/03
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