on November 8, 2006
I fell in love with the original Dot Hack series of games (Infection, Mutation, Outbreak and Quarantine) and when I heard they were coming out with a new series, I was very happy! I went out and bought the game the day it came out, and I have to say, I'm greatly impressed.
First off, the graphics are good. They're not the best, as Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria and Final Fantasy 12 are slightly newer with better graphics, but they don't completely suck.
Sound is pretty good too, but it gets very repetetive after a few hours of gameplay. The combat sounds are exciting and "pop", but the background music gets on your nerves. Especially the background music when you're in the first town, "Mac Anu", gets stale so fast.
The controls are easy to pick up. The R1 button can now be assigned different skills so, unlike in the first games, you don't have to open several menus just to use an attack skill. Sadly enough, though, you cannot assign healing spells to the R1 button. The camera control is somewhat better than the last game, but I feel it still needs work.
The voice acting is decent at best. Most of the characters show little emotion, or over-react their emotion to the point of making it rediculous. Just wait till you meet Gaspard, and you'll know what I'm talking about... The main hero is also rediculously one sided, getting frustrated at each and every event trigger in the game, and often for stupid reasons. If its supposed to portray how gamers react in an MMORPG, its completely off the ball, at least as far as I've seen (been playing Guild Wars and World of Warcraft for about two years.)
There are TONS of stuff to do in this game too. You can become part of a number of guilds, which opens various options to you as a player, such as special shops that allow you to make creative items, access to a faster mode of transportation, etc. You can also do a number of fun and interesting, if not repetetive, quests. The designers definetely tried to capture the MMORPG feel, but I don't think they accurately got it. Close but no cigar. For example, the towns are bustling with people, but oftentimes you'll see one person, turn a corner, and they'll be there again when they were running the opposite direction a few minutes prior. The town recycles the inhabitants over and over, so no matter how far away you get from a "player", they'll be right there when you go to a different district in town.
The story is o.k. as far as I've been. A lot of it feels forced, like the hero has to do this because the programmers made it that way, not because the hero "wants" to. It started out that way, but quickly took a dive.
I'm not impressed with the grading system after you complete dungeons and fields. You get graded on how many things you kill, sneak up on, boxes or other destructable items you destroy, how many items you collect etc. There is almost no explanation of that system that I've encountered, and I feel its useless. All you can unlock is extra words to create new dungeons and fields and useless items. Literally, I've had 50 health drinks, which is like a potion in other RPGs, since the first couple hours of playtime. I never use them, cause I don't take that much damage ever.
Thats another thing. The game's battles are entirely too easy! No one battle provides any sort of challenge. If you go to an area three levels higher than you, it gets harder, but the difficulty is masked in more hitpoints and damage capability, not true improved AI or anything.
All in all, however, the game is a vast improvement over the previous games. There are tons of unlockable stuff, tons of places to go, and you'll be entertained for hours on end. I would definetely pick this game up if you get the chance!
on December 3, 2006
There were many people who enjoyed the original, 4-game dothack series. I was not one of them. After a good opening, the game immediately fell into dull repetition. The story was so-so (what? a virtual world can feel real, it's inhabitants feeling the effects of game elements in their real lives? How novel!), the graphics were so-so, and the whole experience was incredibly easy (and short - I finished the 2nd game in a mere 9 hours). The best part of the original game were the sidequests, often opened after the main game ended (and one of which, the item collection quest, I'm STILL not finished with).
Bandai learned. Sidequests are fun? Then let's put a lot of them into the next outing! Graphics are only so-so? Let's spruce them up! Gameplay is a bit repetitive? Let's add a few more dungeon models! (OK, they could have done a lot more with the last one, but still...)
Add it all up, and you get the sold outing, ".hack//G.U.". The original world has been destroyed, the computers which generated it having been lost in an inexplicable fire. CC Corp releases, "The World 2", which has many elements of the original game, but also included the option to "PK", or "Player Kill". Some people love it, some people abhor it. Your character is PK'ed in his first outing, and decides to devote his RPG experience to PKK'ing (I think you can figure this one out yourself). He is an incredibly powerful character ("Haseo, the Terror of Death"), whose motives are obscured. However, while searching for a PK'er by the name of "Tri-Edge", his character is wiped out, and he is forced to start from the beginning.
From here, I'll let you discover the story on your own. No, it isn't great, but it isn't bad either. But this game lives and dies through sidequests. Bounty hunter, Lucky Animals, Mecha Grunties, arena battles - all of these and more can be discovered and conquered as you manoeuvre the game simply known as "The World".
For forty bucks, it's not so bad. Happy hunting...
on January 31, 2007
If you've played the original .hack games, then you won't be disappointed in this one. If you haven't played the original .hack games and like MMORPG games without the MMO part, then you'll like this game. The OS interface is familiar, yet improved from the first set of games. You still get e-mails and still respond to a few, getting responses back and so on. However, now you have greeting cards and "affection levels" of characters you can call on. The higher their affection level, the better they will fight with you in battle. There are still "message boards" but now there are more of them, both on and off "The World" that can unlock certain events and levels within the game by either reading or responding to them. There's even a section of boards where fans post art that you can download to use as wallpaper on your OS. There's also still a News section, but now it has clickable links to short movies and even sometimes ads, making it seem more like an actual Internet connection.
You play as Haseo, who has conveniently been attacked by "Tri-Edge" which resulted in him being leveled down to 1 and having everything reset so you get to begin with starting equipment. Just as if you were starting a new game! One big addition to this game is the ability to kill other players. Those who do are called "Player Killers" or PKers. Now, you can't just rush out and start hacking away at your own party, but if you come across a glowing blue area, that means that someone is fighting inside. If you enter, you can't leave unless you have a smoke bomb or defeat the enemy. Often times it will be a player being attacked by a PKer and your party has the chance to save them. If you do, you get an item from them as thanks. Haseo's character is an "Adept Rogue" which can eventually use multiple weapons and magic, but never to the mastery of the job classes of the ones who ONLY use those weapons. Sort of like the Red Mage of the game. Don't worry though, it doesn't slow you down. Haseo pushes right along, starting off with the familiar twin blades and eventually learns others. It can be difficult at first, but just pay attention to what the other characters are telling you, take breaks from the story to level up every so often, and you'll do fine. Its a great game with interesting character development and unique game play. Plus, when you're done, your saved game data can carry over to the next game, GU Vol. 2. All of your weapons, abilities, e-mails, everything. There are three volumes in all, but no word yet as to when they will all be released in the US. Good luck gaming!
on November 23, 2011
The story follows the anime of .hack//roots which I recommend watching, but you don't need to follow it to understand the story. There is plenty of flashbacks that explain the story what has happened in the past. This game starts off really slow, but it speeds up incredibly fast so thats a good thing.
1. The story is what keeps you going, and trust me the story is outstanding and very interesting.
2. The updated graphics make this .hack a lot better to look at for sure. I noticed there more cutscenes, but that is okay.
3. I liked the idea of being able to switch weapons which was a plus in my book. Haseo is also my favorite character this time around, and he is also the main character.
1. The dungeons basically look the same, and the battles get quite repetitive, but that can be overlook.
2. There is less sidequests this game, and a lot more collecting of items and I hate that personally, but you might like it so I don't know lol.
Overall this game is pretty decent I must say. It kept my attention and I was really interesting the whole time, and the ending was like a huge cliffhanger. This is a solid 8/10, and I am excited to play the next in the series. Play on my fellow gamers.
on June 28, 2011
Well, it's taken me two years to review. I bought this game in 2009 and am still not tired of it.
This game series is amazing. It's one of the best I've played. Its difficulty level is good; sometimes fighting bosses is hard, but after a few tries, or after some more training in the field, no problem. Sometimes I leveled up characters so much, or used save game data so my level (you can save a file after beating the game and play again with all your items and experience) would be higher, that I actually won battles that technically I was supposed to lose (and still lost, because that's how the story had to go, which was funny).
New copy prices of this game are expensive, so I'd stick with used copies--they'll still be in good condition.
on June 14, 2013
I love this game. The story, the soundtrack, the lost ground areas. Its great all around. If this isnt your type of game the gameplay might get a bit stale but luckily there are job changes to spice it up a bit.
on February 16, 2016
This game will forever hold a special place in my heart. If you love an amazing J-RPG with a mix of hack-and-slash adventure games, along with a killer plot to back it up, this is the game for you.
IMPORTANT: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND PLAYING .hack//Infection and the original 4 games, THEN WATCH .hack//Roots the anime, THENNNNNNN play this game. If you don't play the first 4 games then watch the Roots anime, this game will confuse the s*** out of you and you'll have no idea what's going on. Good luck, all!
P.S. GOOD LUCK WITH CUBIA BOSS. FOR REAL.
on January 25, 2007
This is one of the best games i ever played.Its fun from start to finish.
And when you finally finish the game,you'll be wanting more of it.In my opinion this game was as good as kingdom hearts 2.
Having played through the first .hack series (and gotten a bit jaded in the process) it's no surprise that I first looked at this game with a jaundiced eye. But, whether I want to admit it or not, that series, which was one of the earliest I played on my trusty PS2 was worth hours of enjoyment and frustration. How could I refuse to embark into The World once again? This is the post-apocalyptic World, rewritten since the time of the original series with a few key differences. On this world there are players who prefer to kill other players instead of hunt monsters. And, every once in a while, someone like Haseo comes along. Driven by the need for revenge, he likes to kill player killers.
A chance encounter leaves Haseo mysteriously drained of experience and identity. In this first episode he struggles to regain his stature as a player and solve the problems that seem to surround him. This is no small challenge few of his new friends are strong fighters, and those player killers who recognize him have no qualms about seeking his destruction. Something has happened that has granted him new powers, but they are two-edged swords and, if he abuses them, may ruin everything he hopes to gain. It doesn't help that Haseo has more than a little trouble working with other players. He is a loner at a time when being alone might be fatal.
Technically the game improves on the first .hack series with better animation and character expressiveness and an improved graphics engine. But don't expect a whole new look. The Battle modes are more extensive, and it took me a while to get the hang of combat. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get experience and it pays not to rush up the scale. You can only get to level 50 in this game and once you get there you will find that most battles become a bit tedious.
The side games are more or less extensions of the original side games with the addition of a competitive battle arena that provides a number of opportunities to level up and plays an important part in the game. I found the addition of the guilds, with their secretive agendas and fields added interest. Rebirth also gives the characters richer personalities, and provides more of them with actual characters. For a change, the story line is as important as the endless series of battles that marked the first series. There is a good deal more to The World R:2 and I think you will like the changes.
I do agree with another reviewer that the battles get too easy too fast. This really begins to get on your nerves during the latter stages, when you are trying to complete the Book of 1000 quests. My advice is to pay attention to the Book quests early and pace yourself carefully. After all, there are still more episodes to come.
on March 7, 2010
People new to the .Hack franchise (or who never saw the precursor anime Roots, both applied to me) need not be concerned about missing story: all you need to know will be presented to you through a gorgeous if faintly lengthy introductory segment of some of the best cinematics I've seen on the PS2 (most can be skipped if you want). Some players may find Haseo rather steeped in teen angst, and .Hack fans seem to line up to either hate or love Atoli, but pretty much everybody has understandable motivations and history that you can often relate to. Good as this may be, like many beginnings of a series, the story and characters don't truly get fleshed out until later in the trilogy.
Graphics are sharp, while not brightly colorful nor are they drab and muted. Character models are all interesting and the areas you'll spend much of your time do a fair job of depicting random area generation. Magic looks nice and I virtually guarantee that you will never get tired of slamming the enemy with Rengeki heavy attacks.
The sound effects are well done, everything from blade clangs to footsteps changing in pitch from the tap on stone to the softer push against long grass. Your only control options are for stereo or mono, though, which led me to drop the score slightly.
I listen to all kinds of music, but rare are the times when a soundtrack snares my attention from the beginning and holds on all the way to the end - the work here composed by Chikayo Fukuda is even more stunning than the visuals and was so good I bought the soundtrack for the whole trilogy (it comes in two volumes with every song in the games) from a music import shop. It's true that the music can sound a little repetitive after a while, but as fitting as most of it is it shouldn't be much of a problem.
Leveling up is slightly easy, but the enemies will still challenge you throughout the story, and there are always interesting bonus enemies like Haseo's Doppelganger (your level plus 8, with enhanced gear that you can gain yourself in later volumes). Most items can be customized, though like many series, Rebirth will tease you more with hints of the things to come. You can charge in quickly and challenge yourself at lower levels, and people who want an easier time can over-level without too much tedium. The pace is great and combat remains energetic from your first trip with Gaspard to your last battle against Azure Kite.
Like all .Hack games, after finishing the story you can continue playing to level-up, completionists can hunt for items, and you even get a bonus boss to tackle. However, there's really no-where to go but forward. Still, the variety of things you unlock by doing things like filling out the enemy bestiary and unlocking wallpapers, music tracks, and videos are neat. Unfortunately, some of the videos are short and miss a couple of the most dramatic narrative segments.
This is an excellent series and anybody interested in action/RPGs will probably enjoy this a lot, but be aware that it's really a package deal: if you get one, you'll have to grab the whole trilogy or else the sense of incompletion will be obvious. Go for it. They are that good.