Review by AsKo25

"Play a real MMORPG instead."

I did not enjoy this game. I don't really know how so may people thought it was so great, but to me is was a boring romp through an uninteresting setting to get to the next game which you have to play full price for. The game just feels like it was created for the makers to make money off of all of the people who buy the stuff that looks "kawaii ^_^ !!", while everyone else just gets ripped off with the cruddy gameplay and bland graphics. Not only do you get ripped off, but the fact that the game has sold quite a number of copies proves that this kind of lame anime stuff sells, even if it isn't good.

Story
Okay, so .hack//INFECTION is a game about a couple of kids playing an MMORPG called The World who inadvertently stumble upon a glitch in the system that harms players on the outside world. That's the plot in a nutshell, there's actually far more to the story than what's given to you at the start. It starts off kinda boring, but the plot gets a little more interesting as you go on. The one really bad thing about the plot is that they split .hack into 4 games and make you play full price for all of them. The game didn't need to be 4 games long since much of the plot drags on in this game and there are a lot of pointless characters who aren't fleshed out too well in the main story. Overall, it had potential, but it really should have been just one game. 6/10

Controls
The controls work, but they aren't particularly tight or responsive, and zooming in/out with the right stick just doesn't work too well. You'll try to turn the camera and you'll accidentally zoom in/out instead of the camera moving up/down like it should. there are not one, but two buttons that activate a menu on the face of the controller. Triangle activates the Personal menu which is the menu for Kite and Square brings up the Chat Menu which lets you tell your party members what to do. You can give them commands like "Attack!" or "Heal!" or... ah hell, there's WAY too many menus in this game for a real time battle system. The fact that there are TWO MENUS ON THE FACE BUTTONS is pretty nasty indeed, as your finger could slip and you would accidentally hit a menu and then make a bunch of selections since your thumb is used to hitting the X button since that's what most battles consist of. The controls are average, so they get an average rating of 5/10

Graphics
This was a tough category to rate since the character models do actually look quite good... Wait a second. Only some of the character models look good! This is another example of how not only did they not flesh out the story of the other characters, they didn't even bother to make the models look nearly as good as Kite or BlackRose or Mia. On top of that, the NPCs all look eerily similar and the backdrops are ugly and boring, especially in the fields and dungeons. I actually got sick from playing the dungeons for too long just because they all looked the same and the gameplay was just so boring, so bland, so... 4.5/10.

Gameplay
The gameplay in this game is just not fun! Okay, you play as a character named Kite (or whatever else you named him) who is classified as a Twin Blade in the fictional MMO. The gameplay consists of you running around and hitting the X button and attacking enemies really slowly. The areas are separated into different servers known as Delta and Theta, where you input keywords that take you to different fields and generate different dungeons. Sadly, the dungeons and fields look largely the same no matter what keywords you put in there. The only reason to play with the keywords is to get more items for your characters, but you really don't get a sense of accomplishment in doing this like you should. If you come across a glitched up enemy, you will have to Data Drain it and then hit X some more. Data Draining is just lowering the level and changing the items an enemy has on them, complete with an overly long cutscene prior to using it. While I admit that this is pretty neat, it really doesn't hold up the rest of the game and you aren't encouraged to use it nearly enough as I would like to, since if you use it too much it could mess up Kite and then you'd get a Game Over. You can also use skills and magic that are all very similar in what they do (essentially the abilities with more SP use = more damage to the enemy). All you can do with your teammates is select what abilities they use, and this takes a little too much menu navigation to be efficient. The menus would have worked better if this had been a PC game, but since it's a PS2 game it feels clumsy and awkward. The worst part of all this is the game is just so unbelievably repetitive! It will take hours of absolutely pointless farming to get to see the next 3 or so minutes of story and it's just boring as hell. So unless you enjoy doing pointless, repetitive, needlessly complex enemy killing in a video game, then forget this game. 2.5/10

Music/Sound:
I can't remember ANY of the music in this game. Not a note. That's how unmemorable and lame it is. The sound effects are terrible as well. Attacking an enemy sounds like a high pitched belch played in reverse. The Japanese voice acting is okay, but the English voices are god awful. Just a generally poor presentation here that doesn't deserve a whole number, so it gets 0.5/10

Replayability
You will not want to play through this game again since it's really only one quarter of a game and if you somehow enjoyed this you'll just move on to the next game in the series. Going back to the side quests is like playing the extremely boring and uninspired main quest, except without the story bit at the end of it all, which makes it thousands of times less enjoyable. It also comes with a DVD called .hack://LIMINALITY Vol. 1: In The Case Of Mai Minase which happens to be just as boring as the game itself and have and the story is actually WORSE than the game's! Unless you want to cure boredom with more boredom, then just don't watch the DVD or play the side missions. To wake you from the boredom, I give you the amazing score of 1/10!

Final Word
This game is no fun at all. The story is a little interesting but that's all the game has going for it, and it would have worked much better as either one game or, better yet, an anime. Wait a second, it is an anime! It's actually 3 different animes! There's a manga too! These games were created to make money! People who care about the story will buy this game even if it were worse than Big Rigs! This didn't need to be 4 games long, it really, really, really should have been ONE GAME. But Bandai and CyberConnect2 knew that they could make a lot of money just by adding in useless filler to the story and make it 4 games long. This game isn't worth your money, it's just an excuse for publishers like Bandai to make money off of a decent story. But even if it was the best story ever, the game still wouldn't be worth your time since the gameplay is just boring. And really when you buy a game, you'll want to play it, and that's why .hack//INFECTION fails.

Final Score: 3/10


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/06


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