Review by wolverinefan
"More of the same"
I got into .Hack from the anime series and quickly picked up the first game, Infection. Thought it was good and got everything in it right before Mutation was released. After playing through Mutation I can't help but feel it's all the same thing and not even with a fresh coat of paint.
After Kite defeated Skeith, a new monster appeared and defeated him as Helba watched on. A few days later Kite returns to 'The World' and he receives a mysterious letter and it turns out it's from the system admin and he wants Kite to help them. Mutation is the second part of the .Hack story line. No real need to play the first game as you can unlock all the cut scenes from Infection in this one.
The control is simple to get the hang of. Most things are menu based like party commands and using items and magic. Control is nice and responsive.
The graphics are exactly the same here as they were in Infection. They look decent enough but the dungeons tend to look the same. The cut scenes all look nice and I'm glad you can unlock them to watch whenever you want. No improvements but it's all good.
The voice acting is still great and many fans of anime will remember some of the talent behind the .Hack voices from their favorite animes. The sound effects are still the same. The music is slightly better and you can unlock new BGM for the main menu, the bonus track is much better this time around.
Mutation plays EXACTLY like Infection. First of all, if you beat Infection you can transfer EVERYTHING into Mutation. If you haven't played Infection, no worries! You can start a new game at level 30 but you'll have weak weapons and armor. The keyword dungeon making is still the same as gate hacking but now you get more types of cores and more keywords. The party AI seems to be better this time around but the enemies AI is about the same. Actually, I found the enemies to be harder this time around as I didn't work too well with my party in Infection so I was getting my butt kicked. I quickly learned to use all of Kite's skills and items. You can still raise Grunties, 2 new ones appear in Mutation. You can also race them which is annoying addictive and hard. New weapons and armor can be found and of course there is more to add to your Ryu books. You also get a new type of Data Drain which lets you DD more than one enemy at a time, as long as they have the DD okay sign on them.
The length of Mutation depends on what you did in Infection. Infection took me 16 hours to get everything. Mutation took me a couple hours longer but I also went weapon hunting because I had problems with a boss. Once he game is beat you are offered once again with the final Goblin tag match and another secret dungeon. You can also work more on your RYU books if need be.
If you don't mind playing what's basically the same game, then go ahead and pick up Mutation if you liked the story. The sad thing is the story is the only real reason to play this game and not a whole lot is done in this one concerning the story. If you didn't like Infection then you won't like this one, it's as simple as that. And yet again, it does come with the second OVA DVD which can't be found anywhere else.
Game play: 7
Replay value: 3
Final Score: 8
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/04
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