.hack//G.U. Volume 1: Rebirth

.hack//G.U. Vol 1 Rebirth Cover

Title: .hack//G.U. Volume 1: Rebirth
Type: Action RPG
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T
Available Files: Depends on the size of the memory card.
Special Notes for ESRB Rating: Fantasy Violence, Language
Summary: The first of a trilogy, Rebirth starts off where its animated counterpart – .hack//ROOTS – left off. CC Corporation – which published a popular MMORPG called “The World” from the other series of the franchise – released a new version of “The World” after its servers were damaged in fires. Rebuilding the game from the ground up (but still with elements from the past) with new character classes, new areas, new monsters, CC Corporation and its customers believed the game to be safe and fun… But, that wouldn’t make a very interesting story, would it?

“The World R:2” became a haven for “PKers” (Player Killers) which were previously frowned upon in “The World R:1.” The main character, Haseo, first starts playing the game but was PKed. His troubles with the game begin as he logs in for the first time…

A Disclaimer to all the readers: I have NOT finished the original four (Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine) games yet. I have played enough for SOME comparisons however.

My Ratings:

Graphics: 8.5/10
The full-motion videos/animations were very well done. The style had a touch of cel-shading. The areas have shown graphical improvement from its predecessor and even resemble the areas seen in .hack//ROOTS. However, the character animations while not in a full motion video are a touch subpar.

Story: 6.5/10
Alright, so for most of the .hack fans, story is of utmost importance. For those who have watched .hack//ROOTS, this series will seem like a continuation/finale. In that respect, it does not disappoint. However, after playing a bit, and players falling into comas again, the not-so-hardcore fans are more than likely to think, “Great… this again.” However, the way in which the gameplay is integrated with the story is better executed than its predecessors, as you will read in the following section.

Gameplay: 8.0/10
Alright, so gameplay. Those who have played the old games will be somewhat relieved that the gameplay isn’t QUITE as repetitive as before. The areas will at times seem repetitive, (I lie. They ARE repetitive.) but they throw in several “Arena” battles and “Sidequests” as part of the main storyline to further develop the bonds and characters that show the growth of Haseo. To this end, as Hiroshi Matsuyama – President of Cyberconnects2 – wanted to “create a ‘coming of age’ story… for a very long time,” they successfully plant the seeds for character development/coming of age.

Music: 9.0/10
I’ve been listening to the soundtracks in my car and iPod for a few months now. Doesn’t that tell you enough? 🙂

All joking aside, Chikayo Fukuda has done a great job with the music, developing a rather unique flavour to the environment of “The World R:2” with a variety of choral, electronic, easy listening, metal, and many other genres of music.

What prevents me from giving this a 10, however, are the “Mecha-Grunty” and “Piros the 3rd!” tracks. I cannot even stand to listen to those for the first few seconds. There are also a few tracks that seem reused (only because they were remixed, slowed down, or sped up).

Overall: 7.5/10

This is an okay game for the casual gamer and a definite for those who are fans of the series. The story is better integrated and told at a better pace in THIS VOLUME than the IMOQ games. However, although the main theme of the trilogy is of “growing up”, it is still told under the same circumstances of players being put into comas, of which some will undoubtedly be getting tired of.

Disclaimer: .hack//G.U. and all content associated thereof are the properties of BandaiNamco Games and CyberConect2.

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