Review by Vespar
"And so comes the end to Kite's journey..."
It's been quite the adventure for Kite and his friends, but it seems at last their journey is about to come to an end....
Odds are if you are reading this review, you've played through the previous three games, and if for some reason you haven't, why are you reading this?! Go get the other three, now!
Now that we got that little bit out of the way, let us get on with the review.
Storyline: Hey, this is the end of 4 games, it has to be good, right?
Ah yes, the storyline. This is the meat of any RPG, and as thus, shall be reviewed first.
If you recall, part 3 of the .Hack// game series, known as .Hack//Outbreak, finished with the epic battle between your party and Gorre-The Machinator, and that's right where this game picks up.
The clues have finally come together concerning the "Abominable Wave" and the mystery that surrounds the "Twilight Bracelet" in this final part of the game, and it's up to you to finally put an end to this mess!
You've made friends and enemies in the previous parts, and this time it's no different. Prepare to gain even more allies to help against the "Abominable Wave", but also expect to meet even stronger foes than ever before.
Even if you've been disappointed by the stories from the previous two games, be prepared to finally become interested once more! The twist and turns that occur throughout the story in this final conclusion will leave you glued to the television screen all the way until the credits, just as it should be doing.
As a minor side note, if for some reason you decided to pick up the final part of this game series but not any of the others, the introduction gives a brief summary of the previous games.
All in all, I give the storyline a 10/10
Gameplay: Didn't we do all this in the last three games?
If you think of the storyline of an RPG as the meat, think of the gameplay as the potatoes. Without the potatoes, the meat just isn't enough to satisfy you. Thankfully for .Hack//Quarantine, there's enough potatoes to go around.
This is perhaps one of the greatest strengths and greatest weakness that the .Hack// game series have. The first part of the gameplay I would like to talk about has to do with the combat system;
Stab stab stab
Unlike many RPGs which exist nowadays, the combat system of .Hack//Quarantine separates itself from them.
The combat system takes the route you might see in action games, in the sense that you need to click a certain button in order to attack. If you want, think of Kingdom Hearts, but a bit more restrictive in terms of what you can and can't do in battle.
If you wish to cast a spell, normally used by the WaveMaster class, you'll need to pause the battle and bring up a menu. The same applies for the melee classes if they wish to use a certain skill. Now, you might think this takes away from the excitement of battle if the game is paused while you select a skill or spell, but that's not entirely true. For you see, once you have selected your spell, and the battles resumes, there is a slight pause for your character to actually chant and cast the spell. Because of this, it still gives you the feeling of rush that you need to pull that one last heal spell off before they can get to you and finish you off. Overall, it's got it's up and downs, but it works, and that's what matters.
Enough about combat, what about the other gameplay?!
Yes, yes, this is where you either become addicted to the gameplay of .Hack//Quarantine or you just want to hang it by the neck. You see, for the most part, a lot of the gameplay is just a rehash of the previous games. Now, while in the first game these gameplay features may have been fresh and fun, that will eventually begin to die out throughout the 3 other games.
On the brightside though, .Hack//Quarantine has several gameplay features that make it fun, even if it does get a little old. You must remember that .Hack//Quarantine attempts to simulate an actual MMORPG so they took special care in some of the features in this game. Some of these gameplay features include;
1. Grunty Raising (Raise your very own animal to ride and get items from!)
2.Grunty Racing (Race the very same grunties you grew!)
3.Item Completion (Get every item in the game for a reward!)
4.A BBS System (See other players post messages and topics!)
5.An interesting Trading System (Trade your own items for other player's items!)
6.An interactive Gate System (Enter Keywords to decide where you go!)
7.Dekstop Interface (Collect your own Desktop Images and Music!)
8.An E-mail System (Send and receive your own E-mail with other players!)
That's just some of the many wonderful gameplay features offered in .Hack//Quarantine, but that should give you the general idea of it. and how it attempts to simulate an actual MMORPG.
When compared to the other 3, I give this part an 8/10 just because it grows old after 3 games.
When compared alone, I give it a 10/10.
Graphics and Sound: Purty..
Nothing too special concerning the graphics. If you've played any of the previous games, expect the same style of graphics. Not to say it's a bad thing, as the graphics themselves aren't that bad, but it would be nice if they had at least bothered to update them a little.
The same applies for sound. Although you may find yourself humming to a few tunes provided in this game, there aren't any that stand out in particular. Especially if you compare the music done in this game to that done in the .Hack//Sign series. Again though, not to say that the songs themselves are bad, they just aren't anything too memorable. As for sound effects, they will get a bit annoying at times, but nothing that will make your ears bleed.
Playtime/Replayability: Huh? Over already?
This is yet another weakness .Hack//Quarantine shares with it's other parts. It's just too short. While it may have been intended and could be thought of that all 4 parts together form an entire game, that shouldn't be any reason for them to make this one shorter than a normal game. Considering how much you can get into this game, time will fly and you'll end up disappointed at how fast it ended.
Concerning replayability, it's factor isn't very high. The game allows you to continue once you beat it, so even if there were things to do, you can simply do them there. There isn't going to be much of a point replaying unless you feel like just going through the game again just for the heck of it.
To Rent or Buy?
Although .Hack//Quarantine may have it's share of weaknesses in certain departments, it' still a great game, and a great buy. So what are you waiting for? Only you can save "The World" of .Hack!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/23/04
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