Review by Master Tony

"An in-depth look at .hack MUTATION"

I'd like to start off by saying that I do love this game, but from a serious point of view the game did not do too well in retail sales as I'd expect. I work at a GameStop store and I remember selling roughly 25 copies of INFECTION. As MUTATION came out I'd expect higher sales, but found roughly 9 copies that were sold. I believe gamers didn't like the length of the game, because most people told me that the game was too short. They liked the storyline and originality, but the game just lacked quantity.

GamePlay - 6
The return of the famed .hack series is back. The game was explosive when it came out, because of the originality it had. The gameplay is your typical free movement RPG game, but it has elements of turn based combat and free style movement. When attacking you aren't allowed to move, so the game is a bit slow in gameplay. The gameplay is a bit less entertaining as you are doing the same thing like the last series.

Story - 9
The strongest point in the game would be the story. This isn't your typical ''guy saves world from destruction''. The elements of the storyline unfold new and creative ideas. You are in control of a character named Kite. Your friend Orca invites you to play an addictive online game called The World. While Orca teaches you the ropes of the game he is attacked and drained of his data. In the real world the character who plays as Orca(who is your best friend) falls into a deep coma. The series picks up after the INFECTION and Kite further continues his investigation as to how he may find a cure to save Orca. Being able to hack through gates and data drain enemies Kite must continue his search using the illegal ability wide on the net. Along the way you will meet cute character and some brutal characters that help you on their quest.

Audio/Video - 9
One of the better things in life is music. MUTATION gives us the beauty in soft music and rock music. The towns are perfect as they sound peaceful. Battles get you in that fighting mood and has an upbeat sound. The game delivers powerful cinematics that can be serious or funny at times. A true masterpiece!

Replayability - 8
The new storyline and battle system gives gamers a crave in returning to the game over and over again. All the neat characters add excitement and can cause gamers to try and use everyone equally giving more gametime. The loading times aren't as bad either.

Extras - 9
The bonus DVD included may seem boring to people, because it's not your typical Dragon Ball Z fighting. This DVD is well put together. The DVD storyline collides with the game. While you watch the DVD you will witness what happens in the real world as you venture through MUTATION. You are also given a $5 mail in rebate for the game, so that's another good reason for you to pick up this game. I also found the saving time to be fantastic. I love the 5 second saves that the game provides. Finally, all I know is that anyone who reserved a copy at GameStop should have picked up a Preview DVD which had a trailer for MUTATION. It's not much, but seeing that it's free I can't blame it for much.

To buy or to rent?
This game is a definite BUY for all RPG lovers. If you like a powerful storyline and fun characters then .hack MUTATION is the game for you. The game is packed with many side quests and it should be well worth the money.

Overall - 7
To sum up, MUTATION delivers the same battle system which is lacking the gameplay. The repetitive battles tend to get boring until you switch characters. The storyline and extras included with the game should make it worth your money. All RPG players should pick this up for sure. If this is your first RPG I'd say rent it, otherwise head out and buy this!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/19/03, Updated 05/19/03

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