Review by Chibiangel9

"T*m3 t0 3nt3r Th3 W0r!d (Time to enter The World)"

.hack: Infection is an RPG unlike any other in two ways. For one, it's a simulated MMORPG that's played offline; for another thing, it comes in four installments, so instead of buying a complete game, you get to spend at least $200 altogether (including strategy guides) for four separate games. Anywaz, let's get onto the review of the first of four.

$t0ry (Story): 9/10
Okay, this game takes place around the year 2010, where there is a worldwide best selling MMORPG game called The World. You play as a newbie named Kite, whose friend, Orca (a respected player of said game) has invited you to come play with him. During the trip to a dungeon, Kite and Orca suddenly see a weird sight: a mysterious girl being chased by a thing with a red wand. They meet up with the girl (who's called Aura) later on in the dungeon and gives Orca a mysterious book saying that the power it holds can either bring salvation or destruction at the whim of the user. She flees, and just then, the thing with the red wand (he's called Skeith) appears and drains Orca's character. Somehow, Kite and the book are saved. Kite then finds out that Orca's real life persona is in a coma and that the coma is somehow linked to the event that happened. He then meets up with a girl named BlackRose and during an incident, gains a bracelet from the book that allows him to Data Drain virus monsters and rewrite their data. Incidentally, that power is the same one that put Orca into a coma. I can't tell you anymore without spoiling. So basicaly, the whole story is about Kite trying to find out why people are getting into comas and the mystery of the girl, Aura. This is the strongest part of the whole game, it hooks you on, and leaves you with more questions than answers by the end, leaving you to anticipate the next game. It's a cool story, but it's kinda short and not really $50. Luckily, you also get an OVA anime called Liminality, that shows you what's going on while you're inside the world. It's a nice bonus, but like I said, the story's way too short.

Ch@r@c!3r$ (Characters): 7/10
Okay, there are two types of characters, the main characters and tag along characters (meaning they're just there to be with you when you do missions). The main characters are Kite, BlackRose, Mia, Elk, Balmung, Aura, and Helba. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the characters, especially Helba. Heck, I still don't know whether she's trying to help me or kill me. Anyway, you don't really know who any of these people are in real life, the only way you learn about them is through e-mail (which you can also use to gain affection). Still, they have great personalities so you know who's who. Character development isn't a big role, but there is a little bit of it. I mean, it's volume 1, cut it some slack.

Gr@ph*c$ (Graphics): 8/10
The characters are all anime style with the large eyes, the weird hair, and so forth. They are also designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion), so they're not really half-bad looking. However, if you compare the graphics to something like Final Fantasy X, you'll see that they're al little bland. The environments and dungeons are nice to look at, but it starts to get repetitive once you've seen the same design for like the 1,000th time. However, the movies are nicely done and the anime style is really cool. I'm still knocking off points because of the repetitive design and blandness.

V0*c3$/MuS*c (Voices/Music): 7/10
.hack has nice voice actors (I swear some are from anime)and a nice part is that you can switch between English and Japanese like a bilingual anime. Some of the voices might grate on your nerves, but the acting's nice in my opinion. There really isn't a lot of music to hear, there is town music, field music, and dungeon music, but they only have two-three scores. The only songs that stand out for me are Aura's theme, BlackRose's theme, and Helba's theme. But it's supposed to be a MMORPG, and music isn't that big in MMORPGs, I think. Still, there are some notable tracks, but like I said, most are repetitive.

B@tt!3 $y$t3m (Battle System): 8/10
.hack is basicaly a hack 'n slash game. You have a weapon that allows you to have abilities like special attacks, healing spells, magic, strengthening, weakening, and so forth. You command your two partners to do battle strategies, attack, use magic, use attack skills, or heal. Sadly, your buddies are a tad A.I. deprived and you'll ahve to issue commands at least twice before it gets through their heads that they have to attack. Still, it's pretty fun to slash monsters, but I'm knocking points off because of said deprived A.I.

3xtr@$/ $*d3 Qu3$t$ (Extras/ Side Quests): 8/10
.hack doesn't really have a lot of Side Quests. There is a bonus and a hidden boss when you complete the game, which is nice since you can steal a pair of rare blades. You can also raise these pig-like animals called Grunties into three types and do a flag race in which you can win a special wallpaper. However, I must warn you: the flag race is tough, so I recommend doing some try runs before you spend hard-earned money. There are also some books that you get if you Data Drain 10 times. For every 10 times you Data Drain, you get one of eight books of Ryu, which can unlock movies, wallpapers, and BGM music. There's also Goblin Tag which can get frustrating, but a nice challenge. It's nice, but there's not a lot of things to do, and it would take about 2-3 hours completing just three of the mentioned above.

Overall, .hack Infection's a nice game if you like big cliffhanger endings and wanna find out what a MMORPG is like. It can't compare to the likes of Final Fantasy X or Xenosaga, but overall, it's a nice game. So, why don't you enter The World, and try to stop the infection?

Qu*Ck R3v*3W (Quick Review)
$t0ry (Story): 9/10
Ch@r@ct3r$ (Characters): 7/10
Gr@ph*C$ (Graphics): 8/10
V0*c3$/ Mu$*c (Voices/ Music): 7/10
B@tt!3 $y$t3m (Battle System): 8/10
3xtr@$/ $*d3 Qu3sts (Extras/ Side Quests): 8/10
0v3r@!! (Overall): 8/10
R3nt 0r BuY (Rent or Buy): Buy, it has a neat storyline, some nice extas, plus an anime DVD! Plus, the price has gone down, so it won't be that all expensive.
That's all, Buh-bye! ^_^

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/11/04

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