.Hack Infection sure has potential enough to compete against Final Fantasy, yet it doesn’t beat the master of Role Playing Games. .Hack is just the ideal game for the hardcore RPG lover. Don’t play it if you have already fallen in love with the emotions of Final Fantasy. Despite of the original story, it feels rather antique. Let me explain why this is.
I just mentioned that .Hack is blessed with a nice story. You are dropped into a fairytale world, while the developers of the game try to synthesize the hysteria caused by games. For example, you play a game in a game. Sounds disturbing, but it is actually very logical. You’re a guy who has just bought the newest and most popular game of the moment. To get to know it better, you assemble with some friends who will explain the basics. Your best friend is big and strong, and he will lead you the way in this unknown world. The game is also originally named “The World”. You could compare it with a MMORPG, except this time you don’t play with real persons in the middle of Tokio, but with computers created by the makers. Although you get the impression you’re talking to real people, and this makes the game special.
After a half hour of just discovering the world, things get complicated. Your best friend, Orca, is hit by a mysterious creature and dies. No problem, one might think, you just log in the next day and that’s that. Nope, you will find out that this boy became really sick and has fallen into a coma. Strange shit, and Kite (that’s you) has to find out why these strange things happen in “The World”. When you’re just cruising, you will meet lots of different people who are more than willing to help you out. Good thing they do, because you will be dead in five minutes when you’re travelling alone. And so begins the magical story through “The World”.
Enough about the original part! Get ready for some breathtaking, groundbreaking, over the top and out of this world….. Clichés. I’m talking about potions, abandoned dungeons, HP, returning enemies, you name it and it’s in the game. Although it all looks original, it certainly isn’t. That’s the way it goes with RPG’s. If you think you’re playing an original game, you get hit in the face after 30 minutes. You could compare the fighting system with Zelda or Dark Chronicle. Unfortunately, you’re just hitting the enemies until they hit you back. Nothing a potion can’t heal and magic will always sting. Oh, I forgot to mention that you will also have to worry about your team-mates, because you can’t control them yourself. It is possible to give them commands, like use magic, or defend, yet that’s not the same as really controlling them of course.
I really didn’t like the mediocre graphics. The prominent presence of the lack of details in the environment became very boring after a couple of hours. All the dungeons look alike, and you will get lost more than once. The fields and towns you must visit aren’t much better. Green and grey colours that are too dull to mention. The Characters do look cool enough though, the best designs would nicely fit in the artwork of Final Fantasy games. Which better compliment could you wish for?
.Hack is delivered with a special dvd which continues the story with more background information. That’s a nice gesture from the developers, isn’t it. Things like this should be done more often. It’s a reason to buy a game, instead of just renting it. Unfortunately, the movie isn’t interesting enough to last long. The drawings are just nice, that’s not the problem. It’s the slowly developing story that kills the movie. Hopefully this problem is tackled in the second dvd. Exactly, there will be a new game with an even newer dvd.
.Hack: Infection offers you a strong story with nice characters for the gamers who are looking for something bigger. Too bad it isn’t that strong on graphics or new gameplay. The hardcore RPG lovers will have a new game to cherish. Just like Arc: Twilight of The Spirits, it’s a game for the real gamer who loves a pinch of oldskool gameplay. I doubt the fact that the second part of .Hack: Infection will change a lot, and therefore, I think a lot of gamers don’t want to play this game too intensely.