Review by Lathander

"Very much fun, but shorter and the same again"

When I got .hack part 1: Infection I did not think this could be a good game. But I was wrong: Soon I could no longer stop playing, I played nights and always said: Just one more dungeon...''. So I could hardly wait for .hack part 2.

Graphics (7/10)
More of the same good thing. I liked the graphics in .hack part 1 and in part 2 nothing big has changed. The same dungeons, the same fields, the same monsters. Only some new monsters, characters and bosses (and towns) are in part 2. A little disappointing, but okay.

Sound (7/10)
Once again more of the same good thing. The music and sounds of part 1 were okay - good. I like the voice acting but the dungeon sounds start getting a little repetitive.

Story (7/10)
Since in part 1 the introduction of the characters was the biggest part of the story and since you only spent big parts of the game only running around and clearing dungeons without of big storyline, the story of .hack part 2 is an improvement. The shape of the online world becomes worse - it looks more ''dirty''. Now you get your jobs directly from the system administrator. There are three bosses in this game (the first one only had one) and there are more dialogue scenes in this game. I like it, but I hope they add a little deeper storyline in part 3.

Controls (8/10)
They are pretty easy again and nothing has changed for these who played part 1. If you open a menu in battle the game stops and you can take your time to use items or cast spells. But it often happens that you accidentally choose the wrong spell (always the last item or spell used is highlighted automatically). This can be a little irritating.

Gameplay (8/10)
I had a lot of fun with part 1, in part 2 my enthusiasm decreased a little. This is because the game is still the very same: Using key words, finding dungeons, clearing dungeons, moving on to the next dungeon.
In towns there is not much interaction: You meet characters and trade items with them or you buy weapons, armor and items in the shops. You barely talk to persons in the towns.
The real-time battle system is the same, you get some new spells (but most of them are the same like before - just stronger) and items (usually higher level armor and weapons). You have to make clear that your companions have enough revive potions and you should be fine in battle.
There are only three party members but you can choose from a pool of I think 15 members. You will never be able to use them all. But in the game you will find quests especially designed for certain characters. There you can use characters you don´t use elsewhere. Nice.

Challenge - intermediate
.hack part 2 is not a difficult game. But it is a pity that you can only save your game in towns. You see: You clear an area, move into the dungeon, you clear it and face the boss - when he is almost dead he casts a spell and your party is dead. You have to do everything again. Luckily you have to enter a marked door before facing a boss. So you can exit the dungeon and save your progress (your levels and experience) and return to the dungeon again. The monsters are back but perhaps you know the way this time.
The bosses are tough - you remember the final boss of part 1? None of the bosses will cause you much more trouble but they are tough. Especially this guy with the little prisms who heals himself all the time. But there is nothing you can´t manage.

Value (5/10)
If you want to get through the game without doing any side-quests you will have finished after 10-15 hours. If you want to do side-quests you will be busy for another 5-10 hours, I think. There are these books of 1000 - they offer challenges (challenge 150 different enemies, clear 20 dungeons, clear 10 areas, find 20 mystic pools). By completing these tasks you will be rewarded with cut scenes, music or artwork. Not too much of a reward, but better than nothing, I think.
But since this game is that short you should think about a rental. This might be a good idea.

Overall (8/10)
I am somebody who really enjoys the .hack games. And I will absolutely get all of them, this is clear. But even my motivation playing them decreases slowly. I really hope there will be something completely new in volume 3.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/22/03

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