Review by Sunrie

"Great addition to the story line in this chapter"

Well, I waited not very long for this game to come out, and I should say that I am DAMN happy with my purchase. The graphics remain unchanged (pretty much) and the game play is very smooth.

There are a few things that people should understand about this game. First off, most games, such as Final Fantasy, run about 70hrs. to complete and when you complete that game, it's done. Well, in the .Hack series, you play for about 25hrs. and when you beat it, you haven't defeated that game yet. The .Hack series does not really have any sequels yet.

You must think of the game in these terms: I have defeated the first installment, but the game isn't finished. This game isn't 25hrs long nor was the first. You're playing a game in ''chapters'', so you're really playing a 50 hour game thus far. By the end, you'll have put in nearly 100 hours...JOY!

Game Play:
If you liked the first one, then you'll have no problem with this. Well, okay, you'll have a few problems with the camera, but other than that, the learning curve is very low.
Those who haven't played the first game will learn how to operate the controls very quickly, so don't worry. Everything that is needed to know is clearly stated in the instruction manual. Oh, and the manual isn't very thick, either, so you won't have to worry about having a lot to read...which can also be a bad thing if you like really getting into a game by checking out everything the manual has to offer first.

There is basically no change over the original. Sure you'll notice a few more colors here and there, but if the graphics changed dramatically it would ruin the idea that you are playing from the first one straight into the second. I will say, however, that if they did that and at the start of the game a ''patch'' was offered via your E-mail, then it wouldn't be so bad.
While the characters and NPCs in town are done up extremely well, some of the enemies you'll encounter a kind of lacking in the ''OMG OMG OMG!!! Check it out!!!!'' department. With that being said, though, there isn't enough to complain about. At least I can't.

Sound: works, let's keep it at that. Most sounds are very cliche, but, hey, this is supposed to be an MMORPG, right?
The voice acting is so well you wonder if you're not dreaming. Come on, let's face it, most English voice actors SUCK. Each character comes across strong and clear and with their own personality shining through. The voices match the characters, thankfully. You also have the option of selecting the original Japanese voice actors instead. Yes, the Japanese actors are much better.
Music in the game isn't horrible, but after a while you'll turn the TV down and play your own music. Most music in MMORPG's make you do that, anyway.

LOTS and LOTS of them. Every time you Data Drain a creature, defeat a new creature, open dungeon portals and open field portals, trade with NPCs, and meet new gaming friends you get new items through the use of Ryu Books.
Many of the items and options you get will not be used in this chapter of .Hack, but you can use them in future versions.
Another bonus is you can import your characters over from the original to this game and continue with everything you had from before hand.
Like the first game, this game comes with a 45 minute DVD that you can watch to help understand what's going on in ''The World''.

Rent or Buy:
If you like MMORPG's and would love to feel like you're actually living one, then buy this game quickly. Most people might want to rent the game, though, as it plays through quickly and all you need is your save game data to continue onto the next to get the ''special'' items and options unlocked right away.
Either way, pick this game up if you've played the first or even if you haven't to get a feel for the game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/08/03, Updated 06/08/03

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