Hack Part 2 Mutation
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
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Much like the first game in this four-chapter serial epic, Mutation does an admirable job of mimicking an online RPG gone awry. You'll be surfing faux message boards, reading semibelievable e-mail, dealing with server problems, and chuckling at the purposefully misspelled chat dialogue. It's a clever idea, and the previously vague story line actually heats up this time. But sadly, the game still doesn't quite live up to the coolness of its high-concept premise. Battles often degenerate to button-mashing, the difficulty is still wildly inconsistent, and the dungeons are woefully unimaginative. If you're like Gary (who derives sick pleasure from optional crap like monster raising and building up Friendship meters), you can squeeze enjoyment out of this fundamentally limited experience--but hacking through dull labyrinths with fake online buddies just isn't that compelling to me. I still see potential here, though, and I hope the last two chapters pump up the story quotient and offer better dungeons. If they do, .hack might yet be saved.
I didn't play Infection, and some (Gary!) would say that means I shouldn't be reviewing Mutation. But we all agree that certain gamers might want to start .hack from Part 2 onward. Don't. It's extremely uninviting to newbies (with no intro, tutorial, or help system), so an already complex game becomes almost impenetrable. The boards in the game's metaworld aren't nearly as helpful as the real-life ones you'll have no choice but to haunt like a desperate ghost. If you really want an awesome online RPG, wait for Final Fantasy XI.
Arewe even playing the same game? Jen, I get that you don't get .hack. You're not supposed to. And Shane...where do I begin? This is a combat-heavy dungeon-hack, with some intensely brilliant boss battles. So what if the level design is kinda bland? There are so many layers to this game, but unless you dive into the depths of the hack experience, you're gonna miss out.