09 January 2013

.hack revisited

I've decided that for the time being, I'm not to pick up any major game. Not only do I not have the money for a new game, but I've got a nice pile of games to finish. The year started out with finishing Assassin's Creed III and the last level of Child of Eden.

I'm going to put down the PS3 controller for a bit. No it's not to pick up the Dreamcast or Genesis (love my SEGA systems). Nope. I'm going back to PS2 to finally start a series I'd finished long ago.

Let me explain. During a rather boring Summer in high school, I went to the local movie rental / game shop. I'd seen an extended review/trailer for the .hack series as part of a demo disc (remember those?) a year or so prior, so I was intrigued already by the idea of an RPG/Anime combo.

They had .hack//Outbreak, the third in the series of four, so I grabbed it. Now, let me be perfectly frank: I was not getting into this game at all. The opening cutscene was really cool, but I was not digging the dungeons and grinding (something I have since come to love). However, this was the only game I had and it was going to be a long summer if I didn't try to get through it. A few weeks later, I'm hooked on the story, the anime that came with it, the upgrading weapons, equipping fellow party members, etc.

I continued on from that game to finish .hack//Quarantine (I can't find my copy anymore and it's $80-$150 on amazon now). I watched the prequel anime, .hack//SIGN, read the sequel manga, .hack//Legend of the Twilight aka .hack//Dusk, and enjoyed the second/third generation of .hack as well.

The one thing I never did though was to play the first and second games, Infection and Mutation. I bought them to watch the anime and complete the set (the cases lined up next to each other complete a picture of Kite riding a Noble Grunty).

A rather long winded history and explanation, but I've decided to go back and play at least the first two .hack games.

So far, I'm really impressed with the quick pacing of .hack//Infection. A lot of the really famous dialog happens within the first few hours of gameplay. Compare this to the .hack//G.U. series where the best scenes are arguably much later.

I decided to grind a bit right at the beginning, because level 1 is no fun to run through the main storied bits. I like to grind and be a little over-leveled for the dungeons that matter. There's few things more tedious than getting game over when you are just trying to get to a cutscene you know must be awaiting you at the bottom of a dungeon.

So, there’s some things that I came to recall about the game

  • Monster design - It's completely bizarre
  • There's a layer of depth to this game's story and story-within-a-s I always forget about
  • I love the dungeons, but the living one's heartbeat still creeps me out
  • fuck goblins. Seriously, always raining on your parade. I friggin hate having to carry around a bagillion antidotes when I go into dungeons.

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