I go through so many different games a year, that for the most part I don’t have trouble playing through and reviewing them. There are only select titles that really throw me for a loop in terms of trying to get into them and then trying to figure out what I like and what I don’t. Today is a perfect example of a game that I honestly will admit I have trouble writing about, because first off I don’t necessarily understand the entire storyline, and secondly the game has so many different aspects that its hard to nail it all down in one review. However we will do our best in this review of .hack//G.U. Vol. 2: Reminisce for the Playstation 2, the latest installment in the .hack franchise. Does this game manage to continue the long success of the franchise? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who are wondering what exactly .hack is and what this game is all about, let me try to give you an idea. Basically .hack is a single player RPG that takes place in an MMORPG. Weird right? You’re playing a single player game inside of a world that is an MMORPG, which is aptly named "The World". It’s interesting to see how this game really just gets inside of itself through everything that it does and definitely tries to appeal to fans of the previous titles as well. The basic premise of this game is that everyone is having trouble logging out of the game, and not only that, but they’re actually in the games as their characters. This isn’t a new concept and has been done before, but the story itself does manage to help the game out.
The biggest problem I had with the story is that the way it is told. First off, it’s not all that appealing to the user, and secondly it just is so off-base that a lot of times I was left scratching my head. The inside manual really helped me understand the story, and having played other .hack games in the past I was really feeling out of the loop in this title. This brings up a great point too and that is the accessibility of the game to players who haven’t got into the series before. In this case I would say that the developers didn’t necessarily do enough retracting to help you understand what this game is about and where it is going from here.
The game itself just doesn’t feel like a huge boost from other .hack games that I have played in the past, where in fact much of the gameplay is rather simplistic and unfortunately that does hinder the experience as well. The combat system, which you would think for such a long running RPG would just be as thick and as complex as they come, actual is rather simplistic, and in this editors opinion extremely unusual. Normally you would see a game like this have an extremely long drawn out system that just gives you all the options in the world, but instead .hack is more of a normal button mashing experience that doesn’t try to do to much different in terms of combat.
The game itself is really just a page from the RPG handbook, in that it really doesn’t take all that many risks and manages to stay with a very familiar RPG feel. The gameplay seems highly repetitive and tedious at times, at least to me, but it doesn’t fans of the original and the RPG genre to get their hands on it. Namco should be commended for being consistent, and making the game accessible to their existing fan base.
To me however I have to review this game the way I see it, and my overall feel of this game was that it was lazy. The storyline was there at times, the gameplay was moderate, and the amount of content is huge. However the shear amount of content doesn’t guarantee success, especially when a lot of the content in the game is repeating the same sort of thing over and over again.
Visually there is not much I can really say that is going to change from what I have said about this game in the past. With this much content it just feels like everything gets a decent amount of treatment, but nothing that is going to just blow anyone’s socks off. In fact, .hack just carries this bland atmosphere that to me just did nothing for the overall experience. The character models are the typical anime style, that I mean don’t look bad, but getting to the end of the PS2 we have seen it done so much better in the past. It’s a shame not to see the quality that could have been brought to this game.
.hack Vol 2 Reminisce is a game that as much as it has a following I am one that played this game for hours, and through it I have to say that I have not seen a huge push from the developers of this series to bring it further. In fact, I am surprised in some respects that the series has not really been pushed quicker to the PS3 as that is a console already in need of RPG’s. This is a title that has some elements that are quite enjoyable, along with the massive amount of content. No doubt this will appeal to fans of the original, but to me Reminisce is just a so-so game.
I am sure I am going to be receiving a few e-mails from the .hack faithfuls who will say I don’t know what I’m talking about. However I do hold firm that I think this is a great series, one of the most underrated series out there. However I am not one that can be satisfied by the same game over, and over again. Fans of the series don’t need to hear me say go out and buy it, because I am sure that is already done and over. But for those who may have been interested in getting into the series, I would say move elsewhere, this game just doesn’t have all the necessary ingredients to make it worthwhile.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.