"A second installment in a great series"

GamePlay - 7.5
They battle system is a mix of menu's. While you can run around freely u still have to go into the menu's to use Skills and Magic, Which can sometimes get annoying. There are othere flaws too though. Since you cant move when you attack, and it often takes a while to attack anyway depending on what attack animation you character uses, it is easy for enemys to hit you. Otherwise the controls and gameplay are good.

Story - 10
The story of .hack is one of the best I have ever seen. Besides just bieng a game it is also a manga and a Anime. But refoucusing on the game it starts out with your friend going into a coma. Which leads to you trying to get your friend out of a coma but also trying to *save* ''The World'', The game not the Earth. Anyhow after going through the anime, games, and Manga will u ever truly completely understand the story. Which i suggest you do since the anime and manga are both very excellent.

Audio- 9
One of the better points is the games music. The game always has fitting music. From symphonic melodies in root towns and grassy plain fields. To fast beat when batteling. The games music always reflects the mood, Weather Happy, Sad, heavy, Light. The games in battle sound effects are decent too, from the slashing of swords to the explosions and twinkles of magic. The game's music is very nice indeed and i suggest getting the perfect soundtrack which is coming out soon.(Japan) It would be well worth the import.

This is were the game lacks in my opinion. Since the Fields never significantly change you are always going to the same types of places. The only thing that varies is weather it is bugged, and where that buildings are placed. On the bright side the character and Weapon designs are very good. The chacters exspressions are very nicely done. Also the weapon designs are very intriguing.

Replayability - 7.5
After you beat the game you unlock a secret dungeon and can use a chacter that was unavailble to use before beating the third Phase. But the real reason to contniue playing is to level up and get rare items that way your chacters will be stronger in the next installment. And of course unlocking the Extras from the Ryu Books. If this is your first time playing thenu will find out what those are soon enough. I don't want to spoil anything for you.

Extras - 9
Extras!!! One of the best things a game can have. The DVD which come with each installment of the game is excellent. Though it might not be to some it is a must have for .hack Otaku's. The DVD is a OAV and runs during the same period of the events in the game, but isnt one of that of action but more of mystery as the events unfold. You also get a $5 rebate on both //INFECTION and //OUTBREAK, But it will probably be more of a hassle then just not using it.

I would defentially recomend buying this game, since its the only way to get the DVD, and by using the save data from all 4 games u can watch .hack//GIFT if it's realesed in the US.
It also makes a great part of any game collection and can be used to play whenever you have nothing to do or feel like getting ready for the next installment.

Overall - 9
Overall it is the same gameplay as the last game with just a few little things tweaked here and there. The graphics are the same also. But the DVD and replay value make this game worth the money. It's kinda like saying that the game is $25 since anime DVD's are usually $25 each. Defiently buy this game. Especaily if u LOVE .hack like me and bunches of other people

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/30/03, Updated 06/30/03

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