"In comparison to FF, this game actually matches it"

OVERVIEW:

INFECTION:
Kite is a new player who has joined the popular game ''The World''. His friend, Yasuhiko, is Orca of the Azure Sea, a legendary player character. They go to a begginer area, and Orca gets Data Drained by a mysterious creature later to be known as ''Skeith''. Kite recieves a mysterious bracelet from ''Aura''.

End of game result: Kite and friends defeat Skeith. Aura has apparently been destroyed.

MUTATION:
BlackRose invites Kite to go back to ''theta Chosen Hopeless Nothingness'' the dungeon where they fought Skeith. He goes back and the door to Skeith is locked. They meet a system adminstrator named Lios who bosses them around.

End of game result: Kite defeats two more phases, messing the world up.

You've seen a lot of love/hate reviews, this one is perfectly fair and unbiased. As a lover of RPG's, this game has captured me, hook line and sinker. It is well worth $50 to buy the third installation of the series. The dungeon exploring may be a bit repetitive, but no one complained about dungeon exploring in most other games, such as Zelda (one of my favorite series).

Most people consider Final Fantasy THE RPG, as do I. But for the following reasons, .hack is definately up to par.

Graphics: 9

Ok, folks, the graphics may not be FF worthy, but the release a new game every few months, and they are defiantely above average.

Storyline: 10

This is NOT a sequel. The .hack games are 1 LONG game seperated into 4 different volumes, making it one of the longest games every made. This is DIFFERENT than having 4 discs (like Final Fantasy 9). As in a Final Fantasy, .hack does NOT have any sequels, just the next ''disc'' if you will. The games were organized like this: Infection would be an introduction, Mutation is when the stakes get high, Outbreak would be the climactic battles, and Quarantine would be the resolution. This MEANS that Infection may not have as much progress as Outbreak. Now anyway, the plot constantly goes back and forth, between good and bad. This game goes more with the latter.

Gameplay: 9.5

This game is supposed to simulate a MMORPG, and it does it very well. For example, it shows that your other characters are actually have lives, because sometimes characters won't be logged on (living their life). But at the end of Part 2, ''The World'' got more corrupted, meaning many of your regular characters ''parents'' may not want them to play such a game, meaning they won't be on.

Battle Engine: 7

This can use some work, but there is still strategy involved. Besides the button mashing, you can instruct your characters to do certain things. Not only that, but you can make one character do one thing, and another do another thing. The attack skills are a nice touch, and the enemies have ''tolerances'' which invoke a different strategy.

Magic Names: 9.5

Yes, this section is serious. I am comparing this game to FF, after all. Final Fantasy now uses a three level magic system. For example: Fire, Fira, Firaga. The addition of a word will invoke a more powerful attack. .hack uses a ''keyword'' system. For example: ''Gan'' would be earth, and ''Zot'' would be rise, or from under, so ''Gan Zot'' would be earth from under. ''Gi'' would be to invoke a lvl 2, so ''GiGan Zot'' would be more powerful.

Overall: 9

This is definately par with Final Fantasy. Part 3 closes up some mysteries, but STARTING at Part 3 would be stupid. That would be like starting Final Fantasy 8 on Disc 3, you would not know what happened. The game only gives you a little overview, you won't feel what the characters feel. A lot of people think only fanboys like this game, but I haven't watched a lot of .hack//SIGN, and I still highly enjoy this game. Try to rent part 1 first,and see if you like it. It is DEFINATELY worth the investment, and since you have the chance, buy all three at the same time. It is worth it.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/09/03


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