.hack//G.U. Volume 2 (PS2) – Review

.hack//G.U. Volume 2 - Cover.hack/G.U. Volume 2 – Reminisce, developed by CyberConnect2 and distributed by Bandai-Namco, continues the story and gameplay from the previous volume, set in the near future and involving the spread of a computer virus in a virtual game world which causes the real-life players to fall into comas if infected. This RPG game, while technically standalone, really cannot be fully appreciated without having played the previous volume (Rebirth), and also may lose some things if you’ve not played through the original .hack series of games. While a few small additions have been added to the game play primarily due to increasing in character levels within the virtual game, the game still ends up feeling repetitive, drudging you through the same tasks to get from plot point to plot point.

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.hack//G.U. Volume 2 (PS2) – Mid-game Thoughts (~17hr)

Not much to say on this right now beyond the fact that I’m burning through this – the gameplay is not hard at all except that you just need to make sure that you have a healer with a lot of spell point revival items along for the ride.

I’m also finding what is sort of annoying me about the story with this one.  Specifically, there’s basically three different plots with some intermeshing between them due to the AIDA infection: one is the two “bumbling idiots” that seem more oblivious to the overall problems with “The World R:2” and want to keep playing the game, another is the GU team with Kuhn and Pi to take care of the AIDA infection, and the third is the Atoli story which involves the player tournaments.  Basically, each ‘mission’ seems to switch between these, some forgotten for several missions, which makes the whole thing right now disjointed.   I’m expecting that there will be a tie-up of these by the third volume, but right now, it’s very soap-opera-ish.

I will also say that I think after all three volumes are said and done, this is a game that could have been shipped as a single 2-disc set (size for voice acting and CGI moives), because the gameplay doesn’t warrant the size.  The full set may end up being a 75hr game, but compared to other games boasting 80+ hrs of gameplay, that’s nothing.

But, if you’re going to play this without playing the first volume of the GU series, bad idea.  It also helps to have played the first series.  The anime series, at least, is optional.

.Hack G.U. Volume 1 – Review

.hack G.U. Volume 1 - Cover.hack G.U., Volume 1 (GU), published by Bandai-Namco for the PS2, is a continuation of the .hack game and anime series. As with the former game, it’s a multi-part game, with latter volumes to come out at a later time. While the game attempts to remove some of the stale gameplay that was found in the first with improvements in the battle system and with a more fleshed out story, there’s still overall issues with limited graphics, sound, and gameplay that slows down this title. Continue reading

.hack G.U. Volume 1 ~ 20hr

Wow, this game is cutscene heavy (moreso than FFX) – this morning , as part of my 45min stationary bike workup, I think I ‘played’ maybe 3 minutes of the game, the rest watching and going between the various story mechanisms.   I’m glad there’s a bit more store, but some of the voice acting is a bit overdone and so these scenes can draaag.

But I’ve finally gotten to the Data Drain aspect, just shy of 20 hours into the game.  It’s hard to judge how much I’ve got left in this first volume too, so the pacing of these events seem to be just a bit slow.

.hack GU V1 ~ 15hr

Unfortunately, I’ve hit the point that made the first series a bit too long and drawn out – while you want to keep leveling (and the game makes no bones about the fact that you have to level up outside the main plot, which is fine with me), the gameplay gets rather repeative really quickly.  There’s only been 3 general types of enemies: those that have no defenses, those that will defend once in a while, and ones that have special shields that you need to wear away before you damage the foe.  But all three just take the same overall tactics of hitting hard and fast until they’re down, and make sure you have a healer in your party. 

And while the story’s hinted that you’ll have special “out of world” avatars (akin to the Data Drain from the first .hack) called ‘avatars’ in this series, your character has yet to use one where I am (roughly level 25 now). This better get introduced soon as a player option, or this is going to look bad for the rest of the series.

.hack G.U. Volume 1 – Initial Impressions

I know that the first 4 game series for .hack was hit or miss with some.  The random dungeon/world approach sat well, but with a lot of repetition and a plot that meandered for a while, plus extended likely too much over 4 disks, made it a somewhat average game.

The new series looks to correct some of the problems, though being only about 13 hrs into it, it’s hard to see where it’s going yet.  The ‘offline’ MMORPG in the new series is more like a World-of-Warcraft world, with a history to why the world is the way it is, quests, guilds, and player “killing”, which is a key point of the game.  While I’ve not yet gotten to a point where your character can affect the data streams of the world (playing outside the confines of the system), the plot has hinted at such a device that the character eventually gets.

The random dungeons are still there, but combat’s improved as to avoiding being overly repetitive button mashing (combos, special attacks, morale to unleash party combos, and so).

Unfortunately, while the first 10 or so hours have a rather direct plot (playing mostly on rails through specific missions), I’ve hit a point where you need to level up in the player battle arena to continue, but this requires a good amount of leveling through random worlds.  However, this is holding my interesting, though I think FFXII will be a higher priority at this time.