Review by Alakhai

"Taking of the world..."

has never been this contagious.

First off, a little intro. This game is not online, it is not REALLY Massively Multiplayer. It is simply a simulation, played through the eyes of Kite, whose friend Yasuhiko (known as Orca of the Azure Sea in game) has fallen into a coma. This is the SEQUEL to a great series of anime, .hack//SIGN, and the prequel to another currently airing anime in Japan, .hack//DUSK

Now, on to the review:

Gameplay: 8/10

The gameplay can be a little repetitive. I can't say that it doesn't get old, because it does a little, however the enormous amounts of skill combinations, there is a good bit of strategy involved in how you fight. (I say combinations, because many skills are just based off an original 3 skills, but they become elementally charged as you get better weapons.) Also, there are some 40k+ dungeons, in case you are REALLY insane =)

The controls can be slightly awkward at times, but no more awkward than other fine games with small camera problems (like Kingdom Hearts or the N64 Zelda Games.) Camera problems plague a lot of full 3D games, and the ones here aren't really any better or worse, so they are to be expected.

Story: 9/10

The story of this game is awesome. Without spoiling it too much, it is safe to say that if you pick up this volume, you'll need to buy the other 3 to see what happens, not to mention getting a hold of .hack//SIGN to see the pre-story. The story isn't entirely unique in a lot of places, and can occasionally be predictable, but again, that is a problem with many games.

Graphics: 8/10

There isn't really too much to say about the graphics. They aren't the best I've ever seen, but they definitely aren't the worst. They do take advantage of the PS2's power, and they are definitely good enough, but I could have stood to see more really cool spell effects, and it would have been nice if equipping different armor had an effect on character appearance like equipping a different weapon does.

Sound: 10/10

Oh. My. God. The music for this entire series has an awesome composer, Yuki Kajiura. The music in .hack is right on the money for the situations, and most of the tunes are great standalone as well. If you are in to OSTs, get the .hack//SIGN soundtracks, and I can only hope .hack//INFECTION will have it's own for some of the new tracks not in the anime. The sound effects are also nice, and there is English Dubbing as well as the original Japanese Voiceover, something every game should do. From what I understand, we lost a parody mode to get English, but I'd rather have people who don't like Japanese enjoy this game than to have parody mode, personally.

Extras: 10/10

Extras, Extras, Extras. In the game you can unlock many omake, backgrounds, music, and the cutscenes from the game. The cutscenes will be nice to have to recap for MUTATION in 3 months, the music is as I said awesome, and the images are really cool too.

But, best of all, is the 45 minute .hack//LIMINALITY DVD. This ties in with the game by showing what is happening in the real world as you play Kite in the game, and also has a few secrets that you can use to find rare items in the game.

Final Score: 9

Gameplay can be a little repetitive, and the graphics aren't the best, but Project .hack contains a story that will leave you aching for more, extras that rival some Special Edition DVDs, and Music that makes you want to import an OST.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/18/03, Updated 02/18/03

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