No, I'm not gonna do a Devil May Cy 4 review. I don't get paid for this, so I don't have people forking up money to buy games for me to review. I will say this though about that game. It's definitely good and bad and comes out to me as an above average game from the demos I've played at various stores/conventions.
I know from the title I'm gonna already hear a lot of groaning, so you may do so now and close the window if you are one of those people.
What was innovative about the first series of .hack// games were that they were able to tell the story beautifully and gave way to decent pacing. With the amount of ridiculous back story (.hack//sign), easter eggs, and funding placed into this game, it's a wonder why the battle system itself was so bland. While it is understandable that this is supposed to emulate an online game, it emulated the online game TOO much. It was too repetitive and I found myself grinding hours upon hours for no reason (or rather the reason was too insignificant to justify the grinding) and I ended up gamesharking all the virus cores. (Damn you Core K. Why are you so goddamn rare and so in demand?)
Enough about the first series. The G.U. series is something quite commendable. It took everything the first series had and improved it. You (the player) now have a more active role (if you wish) in forums, mail and a mini "online" game. Forum posters are no longer completely random people and you often see them in-game which gives a sort of community feeling to it. Since you no longer have the bracelet and play the game "normally" you kinda get a different perspective of the .hack series in my opinion as you're not really the "I'm going to save everyone" archetype. The artwork is unique and very defined. The animators and game developers ability to then transition between animation sequences and game graphics is also very impressive. And such sequences aren't rare either. Some are very minute points that the game developers couldn't do with the game's engine, and that's fine. That shows effort, and it pays off in a better quality game.
The battle system has gotten a complete makeover and is now more focused on action based battles. This is good and bad in a couple ways. It's good now since you don't have to bring up the menu everytime you want to use a skill, but it also nerfs magic a significant amount. Since you can control your character more easily, you will get hit less, you'll deal more damage, you'll block accordingly and the auto heal characteristic outside of battle will make dungeon crawling not such of a hassle. You can also dodge magic now which I thought was well made and since PKing (player killing) is now enabled, you can engage other players.
Overall, there's solid voice acting, and there isn't really anyone I object to passionately. Yes, there could've been better choices, but with the effort all the actors put in, it worked well.
Now for the bad parts. I think Bandai was relying on .hack//roots to fill in the player too much. There are many holes in the first/second volumes that could have been filled in if one were to watch the anime. I can see as to what they attempted to do in terms of the game, but the dependency towards the anime shows and if I were to take the standpoint of someone who didn't watch the anime, I'd say the game's story blows. The characters and their development is fine. The overall plot though, is horrible. There are many important points in Haseo's (the main character)life that game assumes the player already knows. It doesn't give that feeling of mysteriousness either. It isn't as if the developers removed it to fill it in later, they removed it thinking that it was superfluous. The story itself wasn't that great until i started the second game, which then made me realize that the first game may have been made that way to to help the second game reach the climax of the story. Even so, to have such bland plot for an entire game seems ridiculous. The first series was a 4 volume set that didn't really lose any momentum and didn't stagnate much either. Each volume was pretty solid. There are unique characters worth taking note (and other unique ones I hate, but regretfully acknowledge) but everything seems to happen a lot during the second game that the first game almost feels obsolete had it not been there to provide some additional back story.
I'm a .hack// fiend and so giving this this my most impartial opinion is a bit hard seeing as everything seems to connect to everything else in a beautiful weave but I can honestly say that what kept me playing the first G.U. game was simply beating monsters and players with the battle system and finding exploits and ways to cancel delay.
I'll give a tip to newcomers: Once you get the broadsword, and it's the hold to deal damage type. If you tap block right as your sword lands, you'll cancel any and all delay for another attack.
In the second game, look for a weapon modifier (I think called a War Drum) that allows you to "help combos." This will allow you to get all 10 hits on the "tap x repeatedly" weapons.
- ► 2009 (72)
- ▼ February (6)
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