"A sequal is always worse than the first"

After getting infection, I thought, I would get all of the .Hack games. But if the third(Outbreak) is as bad as this one, well you too would get bored really fast. All in all, I think Bandai has come up with a great idea, but it has too many flaws in it.

Gameplay- 3/10
If you take the infection's battle system and add new techniques to use, trade more items to get better items, and call it good? Well, it isn't. In the first game the battle system was fairly ok. The only gripe I have in this version, it's basically the same thing brought over. All though, it fits with the aspect of the story line, it could have been better. The item trading gets boring very fast. I mean, you can trade fifty health potions for a level 16 weapon. In this, they could have added a little more, too. like go get me this in this dungeon, but that would be tedious. The new techniques are really cheap. Think the same spell only stronger, that looks the same, with new names. Those are the new techniques. And then, there's the chaos gates. A wonderful idea if it didn't take so much programming. A keyword is made of three different words, witch warp you to the levels. the different keywords change the look, and element of the level. It also changes the monsters and the dungeon.
Overall- A bland rehash of gameplay from the first installment.

Story-9/10
In my opinion, one of the two redeeming factors of mutation. The story continues infections.Some guy is invited to play a MMORPG by his friend, who happens to be highly respected among other players. Well, you and your friend see a white girl being chased by a monster, all hell breaks loose. Your friends fall into a coma, and you want to know why. This is an outline of the story. I thought this was great, only the other parts of the game bring it down.
Overall- ingenuity at it's finest, just the other flaws bring this down.

Graphics-5/10
The graphics in .hack look like toned down, ps2 graphics. You can see the rough edges on some of the character models, and you can see how most of the weapons look the same. I understand this is for the feel of a MMORPG, but, they could have at least smoothed the edges more. But, it does the job.
Overall-Graphics that are ok, but get the job done in a good looking way.

Sound-8/10
The sound is the second redeeming factor of mutation. The reason why it didn't score higher is, after awhile the music can get very annoying. Most of the music in the game are good, and long. On the other hand, the short, lively melodies just are plain annoying. Most of the dungeon music fall in the latter and former, being long, dull, and annoying. The phase music is some of the best I have heard in a game. Sadly, they all sound the same.
Overall-A good mix of good and bad mixed thoroughly and handed to you.

Replayability-6/10
I don't call leveling up after the game, getting the best items bad replayability. it's just that it was too easy to do the quests after the game. Most of the places after you beat the game are low leveled, and quite easy to get the treasure. With getting all the grunties, and trying to beat the flag race is all good fun, till you do it.
Overall-Good till it's gone. The fun quests are a bit too short.

Difficulty-3/10
The difficulty in this game was pathetic. The last boss was a push-over. An earlier boss was stronger than him. The regular monsters are easily beaten. The only hard difficulty is if you go to a dungeon ten levels higher than your level. Then there is difficulty.
Overall- This game severely lacked difficulty to an extreme. There are no strategic battles.

Rent or buy?
If you have the first game, and liked it, you might want this one for it's storyline. If you are a new comer to the series, try to skip it. It'll just confuse the hell out of you. So, If you've liked the first, buy it. If you are new wondering what this is, rent, if you like it, then buy it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/30/03, Updated 05/30/03


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