.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.