Dot Hack Games Overview
Today we are going to be talking about an insanely popular JRPG series with a huge cult following. This series is none other than the .Hack franchise that revealed itself to the world in the early 2000’s. These games can be found on top 100 lists all across the internet and our still hailed today as the birth of a genre in Japanese media. Recently, it was announced that we are getting a remake of the 2nd set of games in the franchise. This has caused wide spread glee through the gaming community and this article is here to help catch any new gamers up to speed about the celebrated franchise.
The World is the fictional universe where all of .Hack has its event spawn from. The World is an online MMORPG that is connected to the real world. In this variation of the earth, The World relies on the internet for a lot of its daily necessities making life easier for its citizens. This all, of course, comes crashing down when an AI grows intelligence and starts crossing the boundaries between worlds. This, in turn, causes real world locations to become endangered by malfunctioning electronics. This goes as far as halting the rail systems across Japan and even causing deadly malfunctions in movie theaters.
Inside the game, there are a lot of problems going on as well. The driving force behind the series involves players becoming comatose. This starts to happen right before the start of the first set of games and is covered up frequently by the company in charge of The World. The cover up causes players who are personally connected to the victims to search for answers on their own. This spurs the events of the game into overdrive as more players go unconscious.
The whole concept of .Hack is that you control a player controlling a character inside a game. This is credited for the start of the trapped inside the game genre and at times the lines become blurred between the reality of the situation. The game series does a wonderful job at stating the fact that you are a player and has you doing things such as checking emails on your desktop or reading news. The games also all come with a separate disc featuring a movie describing the events happening in Japan at the same time. This all creates a really unique universe that keeps itself constantly in check at all times.
One of The Greatest of All Time
The first set of games follows the Adventures of the Dot Hackers. A set of players led by popular series hero Kite. In the game, Kite is a newbie who is starting the game for the first time to play with his classmate. Upon adventuring to their first area they end up chasing down a girl dressed in white who was running from a monster. This causes them to be transferred to an unregistered area of the game where the creature captures Kite’s friend Orca and proceeds to data drain him. Data draining is essentially a tool that messes with not only the game but the real world as well and causes players to fall into a comatose state.
Once Kite logs out of The World and realizes his friend has been hospitalized he decides to go looking for answers. This causes him to run into another player named BlackRose who had her brother go comatose as well. Along the way the encounter multiple characters each with their own drive to help Kite unravel the secrets of The World. The characters all feature a unique role and personalities along with their own side story lines to indulge in. This caused many fan favorite parties to be developed by playing through the game. Although story wise all players are not always available to be in your party some fans would spend hours exploring randomly generated areas with their favorites.
As events press on you soon learn of the Epitaph of Twilight a poem in the game that tells of the events to come. The poem lays out the enemies that have to be beaten in order to return The World to balance. These enemies come in the forms of epitaphs that have the ability to create more havoc for both worlds and even end up taking away some of your party members from time to time. To make matters worse Kite has to frantically search for anything that may look like a clue which isn’t helped by the fact that there are an infinite number of areas that can be reached in the game.
Additionally, the game has a lot of fan pandering at the end when you can bring in characters from the pre-equal anime. Side quests are also very common and all have interesting stories to give the games tons of bonus content. The combat has RPG elements with the ability to control your party while leaving you in an open field to fight the enemies. The only time you will be warped into an arena for a fight is during a boss battle giving you the option of creating interesting ways to play. The armor and ability list is also extensive giving collectors a lot to hold on to during their play throughs
After the game success.Hack became a full blown franchise. At the start of it all, a prequel anime called .Hack//Sign came out around the same time as the games. This anime detailed how the start of the weird occurrences began and followed around a boy named Tsukasa who had unknowingly fallen into a coma in the real world. The prequel showed how the girl in white came to be and the force driving the destructive forces started using its power. It also explained the true reason The World was created in the first place.
Next, the series began to publish books further fleshing out the world as well as more anime series. There are also two other games besides the core sets. One is titled .Hack//Link and is a non-canon adventure similar to the core games where you travel across the universe meeting and assisting other characters in the series. The next was a PS3 fighting game feature a few main characters across the series that is packaged with a movie that covers the latest events in the timeline. Most of these are localized to English speaking countries with a few exceptions including the spin off games, but even then Link has been patched by the fan base.
.Hack//G.U.: Last Recode is a remake of the second set of games that happen in the year 2017. The G.U. series consisted of 3 games with a much darker storyline than the quadrilogies. It also changes the battle system to an arena style that starts up after you encountered an enemy. Even with this new limit the battle system is greatly improved and runs incredibly smoothly. The World is also changed into a steampunk design with all new dungeon layouts. The two games do share a lot of similar attributes, but one of the heaviest themes of the new games is how The World has changed and evolved since its last installation. The World overall feels a lot bigger and has gained far more area types for players to enjoy.
The story of G.U. revolves around the player Haseo who lost his best friend to an in game anomaly named Tri-edge. Shino his friend is lying in a coma in the real world and Haseo has been searching for answers to the situation for about a year before learning that Tri-edge will reappear where he last saw Shino. Upon going to the location and facing off with Tri-edge Haseo becomes data drained and ends up with his player reset to level one and all of his contacts deleted from his computer. He then starts his search over again by making new friends who help him level and connects back to the events that have started to occur once again within the game.
G.U. features a lot of nods to the first game like the fact that some players are linked to the original Dot Hackers. Tri-edge himself is corrupted version of Kite who begins wander the world in search of a mysterious treasure. You also get to learn more about CC Corp the company who has ownership to the game and even work with them to try and stop the events that are unfolding. Along the way, you will find several side quests and even compete in the arena a PVP area where you have to take down other players to win. The characters for this game are older and more mature than the previous installment causing the game’s subject matter to be more complicated. The remake will also include a 4th volume to the game that was never released before that will give you hours more of gameplay after completion of the original 3 volumes.