"A fitting end to a series full of repetitivity, both good and bad."

.Hack//Quarantine is the fourth and final installment to the .Hack game series consisting of 4 chapters: Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and now Quarantine. To put it simply, Quarantine does a fine job of ending the 4-part series in a positive way instead of Data Draining itself to utter mediocrity.

Story Line: 10/10

Pros: .Hack's plot is definitely the main core and best part about the video game series. In Quarantine, the plot comes charging in at full-throttle, explaining why the bad things in the game happen. After just beating the 5th of the 8 Phases, Kite realizes the true rule ''The World'', which is the video game .Hack is based upon. Not only that, but Kite(along with Blackrose and company) comes up with a plan to stop ''The Cursed Wave'', or in other words, the cause of the unwelcomed disturbances in the game and in the real world. Players who continue to play just for the story line will be pleased to know that the story's engaging grasp is stronger now and the ending will be truly entertaining.

Cons: None whatsoever. It is simple enough for newbies and complex enough to veteran RPGer's.

Gameplay: 5/10

Pros: If you have played any, or even one of the other volumes in this series, you already have a full understanding of the .Hack battle system. When you engage with opposing monsters from the numbers of a measly 1 to a staggering 7, all you have to do is run up to one of those meanies and tap X or use one of your skills from different elements like Fire, Water, or Lightning. You can even ask one of your party members to use their own skills in battle. On the healing part, just open up the Item Menu, pick the item needed for the situation, and there you go. Healed in no time flat. The system is simple and is very easy to master over the course of 20 min.

Cons: I stated somewhere in the above paragraph that if you have played any of the volumes prior to Quarantine, you already know the system inside and out. That is a good thing, but is also a very bad thing. A very, very bad thing. This brings one word in mind: repetitive. All you do is run around on a wide field or in a mysterious dungeon until you encounter a monster and tap X over and over again until the opposing monster dies from either too much stabs from your two daggers or an overdose of magical whooping from your skills. Early on in Vol.1, the system was fun and new. Well now, it's becoming so repetitive that wrestling with a hungry, 20 Ft. crocodile looks more relaxing. One more thing: you just run. Seriously, you just run. No jumping upwards, no climbing, no picking up objects, no variety. Some players can live with this, but normal people will just get bored over the dull variety this battle system offers.

Graphics: 6/10

Pros: The graphics are fair in Quarantine. The various dungeons, fields, and Root Town Servers are colorful and BIG. One example is the third root town Carmina Gadelica. It has a big city in the background and even has water that reflects all of the lights! The characters also look good. The costumes are colorful and fruity, but in a good way. Heck, even the weapons look nice, especially a weapon called ''Prepare to Die''.

Cons: But that's all for the pros. As mentioned before, the graphics are fair. By saying this, it isn't spectacular. The various dungeons and fields I examined all look and feel the same, and I emphasize the word ''all''. Although the characters look fairly good, they do have flaws. One, they are blocky in a few parts and look plain despite their colorful and varied costumes. The other is that they stay that way the whole entire series, so no changing in appearance whatsoever. Another bad thing is that the NPC's(Non-player characters) look like their respective class-type. When you take two male Wavemaster NPCs, guess what? They both have the same costume design! Talk about no time put in. The spells in battle are no different. When you use a physical skill, it'll look like other different skills according to their class type. When you cast a spell, they look like their respective elemental class. Oh yeah, did I also mention the poor monster variety? Nope, I didn't think so.

Difficulty: 7/10

Pros: Good News: The game actually gets a bit harder! Yay! Now, the new variety of monsters have more HP, more strength, and are alot faster than their predecessors. The Phases get a bit stronger too; they have more widespread moves that are now more damaging and most of them are resistant to a certain type of attack strategy, forcing you to change your fighting style every so often. Also, there also more Data Bugs now! What this means is that you'll be more aware of your Data Drain status in the game.

Cons: Bad News: It gets a bit harder, but only a bit. The monsters in this game are almost exactly that same in the previous volume, except they are more upgraded. I won't talk about the Phases, because they are a much different matter. And about the Data Drain thingy: you Data Drain more, sure, but dungeons in this game get longer and longer. This equals to frequent dangerous status zones for Kite and could possibly end the game for you even though you are still at full health.

Music: 8/10

Pros: I'm happy to say that the music is still good. Although the fight themes are generally still the same, the boss themes like against Phases are now better than ever. There also other themes introduced that are great. All in all, very solid.

Cons: The only problem: too few songs are added. The small amount of new good themes hurt the game a bit.

Re-playability: 7/10

No pros and cons part here. Replayability is determined on you. You decide if you want to level up more and etc.

Overall: 7/10

.Hack//Quarantine is a fine way to end the .Hack video game series. It's story and music is top notch in this volume. Although it has its faults(gets repetitive, kinda ugly, and...um...gets extremely repetitive), fans of the series should be happy with the ending. If you are just starting this game, I suggest you get all the 3 previous volumes and play those first. Oh yeah, and make sure to have A LOT of patience; you'll be suffering from .Hack fatigue like others like me after playing through all the games.

Final Verdict: 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/20/04


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