Review by Algus

"It's not a new game it's a second installment"

You have to understand the concept behind the .hack franchise. Yes, yes it is an evil money sucking beast, but as opposed to that, I've paid a good $50 for an RPG that was the same amount of time as a .hack game (20 hours or so) and a lot less fun. Plus, RPG X didn't come with anime =)

The .Hack franchise is really incredible when you think about it. I have heard many complaints that the story is nothing new, that plenty of anime has covered it already. Well that may be true, but the difference here is, Bandai made something that's more then a game, its a phenomenon.

I never once have felt used when I bought .Hack merchandise, yes I have both of the current volumes of //SIGN on DVD and I'm not ashamed.

But enough... onto the game. Mutation.... where to begin.

When you understand the concept that Mutation is not a new game, but merely an extension, you will live a happier, healthier, and better life. Remember it's only been three months since we first gazed upon the glory of //INFECTION and what would you expect in that time, ground breaking new graphics? I am sorry, no.

When I rate the game an eight, I rate the entire franchise an eight. This is a game worth looking into. It continues directly where Infection left off and will be money well spent. Indeed it is more of the same, but not in a bad way.

.Hack is as addictive as a real MMORPG, well to an extent. I truly wish it were sometimes, I have fallen in love with the world that much.

For those who are fledglings to the .Hack name, I suggest you go to the Infection reviews to learn, but I shall summarize regardless. As the outlaw player Kite, you are attempting to discover why your friend, the famous player Orca, has fallen into a coma. Among the cast of the game include a master hacker, Orca's partner, and numerous other marvelously well-written characters.

With this review I wish to emphasize how great .Hack is not as a single or group of games but as an entire franchise. Mutation is worth your purchase, as is Infection. The graphics are beautiful, the environments wonderful.

It is entirely possible to walk around town and 'listen' as the simulated players have conversations. In addition, a system is built in where characters that you can add to your party will become better friends with you if you play with them often and help them out by giving them better items. With the number of keywords there are several hundred thousand areas to explore.

The dungeons are Diablo-esque, randomly generated, random monsters, random treasure. You never know what you will find at the end. Will it be a rare weapon or piece of armor? Maybe it will be an expensive treasure that can be sold.

Characters in 'The World' are fond of saying that 'the game can be played however the user wants' and nothing is truer of the actual games. 'The World' can be incredibly linear if one so desires, a player going back and forth between the storyline dungeons, with only a bit of leveling up in between, or a player can, right from the beginning, go off on their own, exploring dungeons to their hearts content, amassing wealth, experience, and treasure. .Hack is an incredible experience that should not be missed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/27/03, Updated 05/27/03

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