Wednesday, September 3, 2003


Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation 2
Credits: 2001-2003 Bandai, Project Hack, CyberConnect2. Screenshots courtesy of Amazon.Com

.hack Game Shop
.hack DVDs
.hack Strategy Guides
.hack Toys
.hack Music
.hack Item Shop
Cover Description:
As the outlaw player, Kite, you're on a mission of truth. Take a journey into a virtual world where anything is possible and nothing as it appears. Fight your way through contaminated levels of cyberspace as you take on and eliminate enemies, and unlock codes that will allow you to gate hack to even more environments-all in a desperate attempt to discover what's behind The World.
  • Bring your saved data from Part I and hit the ground running in Part 2 with your leveled up character and items.
  • Simulated MMORPG: no internet connection required!
  • Dual Voiceover: choose either English or Japanese for a totally immersive experience.
  • Multiple Quests with detailed environments that transform in real time.
  • Combine Keywords to generate customized fields.
  • From the creators of Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion! Includes a separate DVD containing an exclusive 30 minute original Anime movie! Watch it and uncover clues to solve the mystery of .hack.

A Continuation... >>> by skysenshi

For those who are new to the world of dotHack, I would suggest that you read my earlier review of it first. This is only because all the basic things that I should be saying here in .hack//MUTATION have actually already been said in the first part, .hack//INFECTION. The only difference? After Infection, I've started to play an actual MMORPG in the form of Ragnarok Online and the exposure to the real one, as opposed to a mere simulation, turns out to be an eye-opener.

You think .hack//MUTATION was repetitive? Hah! Try going through Ragnarok Online, leveling up for hours, which turn to weeks, which turn to months, and then going through the realization that you're still not at the desired level that would allow your character to be promoted. Unless you don't have a real life, a social life, or work…that is.

Like it's father, INFECTION, this game allows you to see just how many experience points exactly are you getting from an enemy and if fighting that enemy in that dungeon is actually worth it. You can see how an opponent that used to give you 150 experience points slowly become stingy, until you can only get 3's or 1's. The bottom line: You need 1,000 points per level. The number doesn't get higher, so you're not left psychologically disheartened by an impossibly high numerical goal. I hate it when a game makes you suspect that you've been leveling up forever.

I actually used MUTATION as a substitute for Ragnarok in those hours that I don't feel like going through an extremely real, overcrowded server and cursing just about every jerk that try to steal my kill or loot (or sexually harass my poor female character). The dungeons may look similar but they're very very different—in structure, enemy difficulty, and treasures. You don't spend months in one particular location, killing the same opponents and generally tearing your hair out in frustration.

There are no looters. No killstealers. No online sex offenders. Because everyone gets the same experience no matter if you're just standing in the background, healing your comrades. Treasures respawn quickly. Gifts are given without strings attached. And since there are thousands of dungeons possible in so many 3-word combinations, chances of running into unethical players are nil.

dotHack has the good idea: the users database is separate from the actual gaming servers. That way, you could actually choose which server you want to log into, without having to change characters or develop a new one. The downside: If this were a real MMORPG, players would still be crowding towns because each server only has limited levels. For instance, in Lambda server, you can only get into levels 30-50 dungeons. So if there were 20 million players online, as the game suggests, 1/4th of that would probably be in Lambda…annoying the hell out of each other.

In INFECTION, I only had one gripe. Now I have two. I'm still whining about the save points. Real MMORPGs shouldn't have to have save points except when a character dies. There should be respawn points, not save points. When you get disconnected from the internet, does that mean you have to re-log into The World and then to the town? That shouldn't be the case. On the other hand, at least you don't need to ask another player to warp you to a far far far town/dungeon for a price.

My second complaint is the gift-giving part. There are times when I make a mistake and give the wrong equipment to the wrong party member. The problem is, I can give but I can't receive. I can't take back what I erroneously gave! Some of my party members would say, "Wow, what a great weapon! I'll repay you next time." It's been the second game and none of them have ever repaid me. If this were a real MMORPG, I would be reporting my party members as scammers and have them deleted by the admin. It's not like I knew them offline before I played The World anyway.

In any case, now that Ragnarok's novelty has almost worn off, I'd say the dotHack series is still the better game and could stand a great chance of surviving even if it becomes a real MMORPG. But of course, judging from the environment and current events on my desktop, I'm guessing this wouldn't become real until the next century. Too bad.

Oh and before I forget, Mimiru from the .hack//SIGN anime does a cameo here.

DIFFICULTY: Easy - Moderate
COMPLETION TIME: 20-30 hours
RATINGS: Gameplay 10; Battle 10; Story 9; Visuals 8; Characters 9; Sounds 8; Replay Value 9

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright 1997 - 2010. The Kraiders Otaku Fridge. All content, except screenshots, belong to the webmaster.