Review by Chibiangel9
"Th3 $t0ry c0nt*nu3$... (The story continues)"
As I said before in my .hack//INFECTION review, .hack is more like chapters of the same game instead of just cramming it all into one. I wouldn't recommend buying this game until you've played Infection, but if you don't wanna, well fine. Anywaz, Bandai's motto of this and most likely is Outbreak and Quarantine is ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'' So without further ado, here's my review of the second installment of .hack.
For those of you who don't know what's going on, here's a quick story on the nitty-gritty (I've always wanted to say that ^_^): Kite (the kid you're playing) is a newbie player in a MMORPG game called ''The World.'' His buddy, Orca invited him to play, but while they were in the dungeon, they met a girl named Aura who gave them a book that could bring ''salvation or destruction''. Before she could say more, this thing called Skeith destroyed Orca and his real life persona went into a coma. Kite then met a girl named BlackRose who joined him because of her own reasons. He also gained a bracelet from the book that allows him to data drain (rewrite enemy's data) and gate hack (enter protected areas). However, these powers were the same ones that put Orca into a coma. Now, Kite has defeated Skeith, but a new monster has shown up named Cubia. Kite and BlackRose discover that the game has been based on something called the ''Epitaph of Twilight'', and that Skeith is one of eight phases from the Epitaph. Can't really say more without spoiling the game. The story is, like Infection, very interesting and it has a big cliffhanger at the end. There are still some loose threads in the plot, but parts 3 and 4 will cover it hopefully.
As I said before, there is little character backgrounds except when they e-mail you. The main characters are well done, but it mostly feels like it's quantity players over quality players with this game. However, the main characters are well-developed, and that's what counts.
''If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'' The graphics aren't that great compared to Squaresoft, but I'm giving it a point because the movies are nice. Plus, Bandai didn't do that bad of a job, it's just that they're the same as they were in Infection.
The fields and dungeons have their own themes, but they can get repetitive the next 2-3 times you hear them. A few notable tracks do stand out though like Lios's theme, Helba's theme, Aura's theme and BlackRose's theme. However, I just want to know who was sniffing what when they came up with the Net Slum theme, it's just o.O; like that. The voice actor's are also pretty good, and they don't sound fake (with the exception of Piros).
Battle System: 7/10
Hack-'n-slash action with a twist: You can also give out certain commands to your buddies to tell them what to do. The bad thing is, the A.I. is kinda low, so don't be surprised if you need to say it 2-3 times.
There's goblin tag (which can get tedious at times) in which you try to kill the goblin running in the field and Grunty Flag Race (which can get tedious as I said before) where after you raise three different types of Grunty, you get to try to beat the fastest time. There's also an extra boss that if you Data Drain, you get a pair of rare Twin Blades. There's also the Books of Ryu, which unlock desktop wallpaper, music, and movies. The biggest secret is going back to Hidden, Forbidden Holy Ground at the Mac Anu server and seeing .hack//SIGN characters which is pretty cool because they give you items that later...well, that's for later. A nice pile of Side Quests but some are frustrating and some will just take you at least an hour to get.
Battle System: 7/10
Final Score: 7/10
Overall, if you got hooked on Infection, Mutation is definitely on your list. Not much has changed, though, so don't get you hopes up. While you could do better with Final Fantasy X or Xenosaga, .hack is still something to play if you're waiting for a new game to play. So give it a try. ^_^
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/15/04
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