Review by kjjksj

"A fairly original RPG"

Considering .hack//infection is supposedly one of eight (or some relatively high number for videogame sequels) it is definitely a good start. The game puts players into an online game type setting. It is neither awkward nor difficult to get into the whole 'single player online,' which was also in the highly underrated megaman.exe games for the Gameboy Advance. There are two problems with the layout though, and that is it offers numerous ''message boards'' and ''e-mail'' system, however interactivity is no where near as fun as it could be. For example, it would be really fun to have been able to use the voice recognition system or be able to post messages (that the player could type in) on the boards. While I know that this would be nearly impossible to pull off, it would definitely have allowed the player to immerse themselves into the ‘online world’. Aside from the ''executable commands'' for levels and the ''message boards'' and ''e-mail'' .hack is a fairly standard, average, RPG/ Adventure.

The battle system has certain elements from games such as Zelda, in the sense of a real time combat engine where you control where your character goes. This is not the turn based combat system that is in such games as Final Fantasy or Wild Arms, and it works fairly well for .hack. However, I think a system similar to Grandia would have worked better.

The story itself is pretty cliche; conspiracies, mysterious and shady allies and enemies, and an attempt of layering the themes with unnecessary symbolism. After Evangelion was made, it seems like all these animes and RPGs are attempting to be as memorable by adding stuff like religious symbolism. I was able to tolerate it, but I expected something a little more entertaining.

Sound and music is really good, and the graphics are heavily anime influenced (with character designs done by not Akira Toriyama (Dragonball, Dragon Warrior, Chrono Trigger, Dr Slump) but Yashiyoki Sadamoto (sorry about the spelling; he did the art for Evangelion and Nadia)) and the games uses some nice effects to convince the player that he or she is on an online game. The interface and layout is easy to use.

The game is fairly short, when compared to most other RPGs. It offers a little replay value, but like most plot driven RPGs, it probably won't be played through again right away. And .hack has a very strong plot.

I would not necessarily recommend this to everybody; for anime fans and RPG fans, this is definitely one to add to your collection. It has fairly high production value, however, Final Fantasy X delivered a stronger (emotional) plot and was much more polished and perfected in terms of gameplay, layout and the combat system. .hack is an RPG that provides a very innovative and somewhat refreshing interface, a good plot, good music and graphics, and most importantly; a fun, and fairly memorable, game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/15/03, Updated 02/15/03

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