Review by antiflagpunk2

"Greg Kasavin couldn’t have been anymore correct."

Dot Hack Part three shows how little something can change in a 3 month release period. I remember a time when I said that I'd give dot hack a chance seeing as how the story had a promising concept and could very well turn into a wonderful epic with plot twists at every corner. Unfortunately none of that ever happened, particularly in the third installment named Dot Hack Mutation. It really illustrates the grit of game developers and how poorly something can be translated to the point where all the characters (including the protagonist) seem so two dimensional and simply just unlikely able.

Gameplay: 7

Unlike my predecessors I have to admit I do enjoy the dot hack battle systems, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Similar to traditional RPGs the action stops every other second for you to use magic or give commands to your party. But Bandai’s big misconception is that it gives you the feel of MMORPG but you simply can’t stop action in online RPGs like Dot Hack has done. Like the first two installments you can transfer data over and continue the game with all the armor and levels you had gained. The only real challenge the Dot Hack series has ever seemed to produce is the immunities to physical and magical attacks, but even then you’ll plow thru legions of enemies with little problem. But, in Dot Hack Part 3 you’re again restricted to one new server and only able to gain 20 more levels. Gaining the new levels is fun, especially when you’re fighting all new enemies and gaining new weapons and armor along the way though I’d have preferred going from level 1-100 in a good 60 hour sweep instead of the 60-80 level cap that they’re pass along to you in Outbreak. In this installment exactly like the previous two it’s most basic hack and slash button mashing with the occasional magic thrown in for java flay. Something. I’m off track now, to sum it up it’s really just about getting a few more characters that “surprise” belong to the same classes as previous characters you already have. If you’ve played any of the other Dot Hacks, well that’s this game all over again. Another gripe of mine is the idea of having member cards(the item you use to call your friends) is that they’re always on The World, that’s unrealistic to other MMORPG unless these people have no life, don’t sleep and all their free time revolves around this game….umm wait this does sound realist. Never mind! But when you really strip down Mutation (like the other installments) all you really have is randomly generated dungeons and sliver of story thrown in to try and appease the audience. I’d have to say its fun, as fun as mindless dungeon crawling can get but that all really stacks up to how you can handle the repetitious nature of it all.

Story: 4

I understand a legion of idiot American kids still in their teens are going to be fighting tooth and nail to try and justify the story, but I’ll take the story for what it really is; a fragment of a tale that was never deep, insightful, or had any of the traditional successful elements of RPGs prior. I really wanted to be amazed, possibly have my opinions completely change on the way I looked at the Dot Hack series but the story ended in the same way the others did, with more questions to be answered and sparing content. Another fault of that falls on Bandai’s shoulders is that they continue to try and press a marketing campaigns to force you buy the mangas, dvds, and other assorted junk to begin to understand what’s going on. I’ve already begun my final thoughts on how this one is going to be wrapped up, and I’m extremely confident that I’ll be nearly correct. It’s the old theory of something that looks good on paper will look just as good when its created, Dot Hack Outbreak proves that theory wrong in so many instances its not even funny. I’m serious, I wish I was kidding or exaggerating but I can’t stress enough how weak this story ended up. Considering this was suppose to be the height (climax for the slower folks) of the entire series, sadly it was about as climatic as reformatting my computer. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.

Sound: 7

While nothing in the way of sound has really changed in Outbreak the dubs are as horribly translated as ever. I’m not sure if the characters really are that cloying but they sure as hell don’t push the limits of quality dubbing in this one. I suppose for what its worth I didn’t really dislike any of the music or voice overs, everything seemed to fit in some abnormal way.

Controls: 8

After picking up Outbreak the controls really just seemed to stick and flow with the game, maybe that 3 month break had something to do with it. I’m not sure anymore. It’s a fairly freebase camera with the only minor indiscretions I had was sometimes my characters would chase an enemy off-screen, though this rarely happened it was annoying to try and flip a camera to get an eye-view of the fallen comrade to heal or revive them. I seem to hate the controls less from chapter to chapter but I blame that almost entirely on nostalgia.

Final Thoughts:

Just another slice of the pie that should have been served whole instead of charging outrageous full price for each game, and you know when I think about It Bandai would have been thrown against the wall 60 years ago for this. That’s high hopes. Nothing new or original, with a story that leaves you feeling empty inside(not to mention your wallet) that just never picked up and became anything more than an on par RPG series at best. I really leave the purchasing up to the consumer, if they feel that another slapped together chapter with some worthless half hour anime is worth the money, then by all means. See you kids in 2004 when the final chapter arrives on are shores.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/27/03

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