Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation 2
Credits: 2001-2003 Bandai, Project Hack, CyberConnect2. Screenshots courtesy of Amazon.Com
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You are Kite, a newbie who starts playing the bestselling game The World. You enter a portal that brings you to different worlds-from grasslands, to deserts, to volcanic plains. Sometime during your exploration, however, you discover a glitch in the system that puts a friend in danger and your existence at stake. You investigate to get to the bottom of the mystery and new friends come along to help you in your quest. Time is of the essence, because you come to the realization that The World is not just an ordinary game. It is something else. And that something else is affecting the real lives of its players.
Stale bread. >>> by skysenshi
As a whole, the dotHack series is one very good game. It had an innovative battle system, a story that piques the mind, and an atmosphere that is so real, you'd feel like you're playing an actual MMORPG. I do not really need to expound on the qualities of dotHack because I've already described it twice. First in .hack//INFECTION, then on .hack//MUTATION. You will notice upon reading my last two reviews, I have given each installment a 9. Now I am giving the third of the series a 5. So what's different this time around?
All the good things in the previous games have remained. All the bad things in the previous games have remained. There are no improvements, and no earth-shattering developments. The story continues to be as cryptic as ever, except for occasional bumps that let you meet the familiar ghosts of .hack//SIGN (the anime).
Well, the good news is, the players you might have always wanted to party up with in the previous installations will be available now. Other than that, it's a tedious and repetitive game of leveling up and trying to whack that final boss to death, while still not getting any progress in your investigation. Ironically, this third .hack is also the shortest, which makes me think that maybe, they should've just released three chapters instead of four.
Painful as it is to say, I didn't get to finish this one. It's been a little over a month since I've last touched this. I reached the final dungeon by the third day of playing, but I stopped. Here's one little mistake the distributors made: they've taken their sweet time releasing every chapter that in-between release dates come other RPGs worth checking out. By the time you've reached OUTBREAK, your attention span would've been swept off its feet by improvements in real MMORPGs like Ragnarok Online and Final Fantasy XI, or other RPGs like Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, Final Fantasy X-2 and Castlevania: Lament of Innocence have already been released and I still procrastinate over OUTBREAK.
One other aspect I disapprove of is the obvious money-making scheme behind this. With four very short chapters, you'd be paying a total of approximately $180-200. Sure, INFECTION and MUTATION now only cost about $30 each, but think about those people who have bought these as soon as they got released. Their original price was give or take $45. Project Hack could've just combined all four into one big 80-hour game and you could've just paid $45 for the entire thing, which is actually what it should be worth. Granted, the scheme could have worked, but judging from my very own experience, I'm sure the number of .hack gamers have dwindled.
DIFFICULTY: Easy - Moderate
COMPLETION TIME: 20-30 hours
HIGHEST LEVEL ACHIEVED: 34
RATINGS: Gameplay 7; Battle 7; Story 5; Visuals 8; Characters 9; Sounds 8; Replay Value 1