So a few months ago, one of the guys at my local retro game store recommended a series to me as I was looking for another good game to add to my PS2 collection. That was the .hack game series, and I just recently picked up the anime .hack//Sign.
For those who are unfamiliar with the .hack//Sign anime, it revolves around the fictional MMORPG called The World, and follows the player character Tsukasa, who is a Wavemaster (magic user). Tsukasa wakes up to find himself in a dungeon in the game, but he suffers from short-term memory loss as he has no idea where he is and how he got there. His situation worsens when he discovers that he can’t log out and is trapped in the game. With the help of other players that he becomes friends with, Tsukasa embarks on a quest to figure out the truth behind his abnormal situation.
I’ve watched the first 13 episodes of the series so far, and it’s pretty good. It starts off slow, but like most of studio Bee Train’s anime series, it gets really good once you hit the 4th or 5th episode.
But before I checked out the anime, I got a game from a series that made me want to check out the anime:
.hack//Infection, which came out on the PS2 in 2002, is the first of 4 games in the original .hack game series. The series takes place a few years after the events of .hack//Sign, and follows the protagonist Kite, a new player of The World. While first playing the game with another player character Orca, the two of them encounter a girl in white, Aura, who is being chased by a humanoid monster in the first dungeon they visit. She tries to entrust Orca with a mysterious item known as the “Book of Twilight”, but the monster attacks him, which crashes The World’s servers. Kite then learns that Yasuhiko, Orca’s player, has fallen into a coma after the attack, and has decided to investigate this mysterious cause. Kite then eventually meets BlackRose, another newbie to The World whose brother is also in a coma, and the two of them work together to help the coma victims.
Kite is joined by around 20 other players in his quest to solve the mystery behind why players are falling comatose from playing The World. The characters who have the greatest impact on Kite’s mission are BlackRose, Balmung – a veteran player who seeks to eliminate sources of corruption in The World, Wiseman – an information broker, Helba – a professional hacker, and Lios, a system administrator.
The story was written by Kazunori Ito, the writer of Ghost in the Shell, and the art and character designs were done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who was the character designer for Neon Genesis Evangelion.
I’m currently working on .hack//Infection so far, and it’s a decent game. The gameplay is okay, though there is plenty of room for improvement, the camera not so much, however, the story is excellent. I also noticed that each game came with it’s own complimentary 45-minute anime DVD. Unfortunately my copy of Infection is missing the anime DVD. Hopefully they’re not going for too much money these days. What is going for a lot of money is the final game in the original series – .hack//Quarantine, which has been going for well over $100.
Anyway, have any of you played any games from the .hack series? Let me know you thoughts on the series in the comments below.