In its Initial Release on Ps2, the .hack//G.U. series got a lot of mixed reviews. Well, Coin Drop wasn’t around back then so let’s take a look at the brand new 2017 collection .hack//G.U. Last Recode and see if it’s worth your money.
I guess I should start this off by saying that I grew up watching the .hack// series. For all you Sword Art Online and Log Horizon fans out there who’ve never heard of .hack, your fuckin’ missing out. The .hack// series started it all and it’s hands down better in every way than SAO or Log Horizon. Sorry, that’s just a fact. But I digress, We’re here to talk about .hack//G.U. Last Recode, not the show.
I really enjoyed the Last Recode collection and I want to thank the team at Bandi Namco for supplying us with both a download code and early access to the game. They made it possible for us to have this review ready for you on release.
I think the team behind Last Recode, CyberConnect2, did a great job remastering the game and updating the textures to a full 1080p version. The game feels dated but come-on, it’s a fucking PS2 game man, cut it a little slack. They didn’t rebuild the game from the ground up (as fucking dope as that would have been) they just updated it so let’s give it some slack.
With that said, let’s take a look at the trailer below and jump right into it.
An Average Game in A Previous Life
.hack//G.U. didn’t get the greatest reception at its initial release. The first game “scored the highest” with the critics back then. They said that some of the game felt like filler and a lot of overly lengthy cutscenes made it feel more like the anime than a game. I’ll agree with the latter.
The first real cutscene of .hack//G.U. Rebirth felt very long because it was long. In fact, the cutscene is over 25 minutes long. And you thought Castlevania Lords of Shadow had long cutscenes. However, That doesn’t take away from the game. Sure, my first thought watching it was, “Jesus are you gonna let me play the game again guys?”. The answer was yes, obviously. But the fact remains that the .hack//G.U. series leans on cutscenes very heavily. I’d actually speculate that there are more cutscenes in the game than actual game playtime, though I have no evidence to prove this, yet. With over 20 hours of content just in Vol .1, Rebirth that’s a lot of not playing the game.
The Story of the Terror of Death
For those of you that like me, missed out on these games when they were new and are going into the .hack//G.U. games blind or with very little knowledge I’ll learn ya something today. The G.U. series is a standalone series that takes place years after the show .hack//sign ends. Don’t worry you don’t need to go watch the anime to understand the game. Minor spoilers ahead, like the first 20 minutes of the game.
You start .hack//G.U. Rebirth vol .1 as a new character named Haseo. The game is very uncreatively called “The World” and it’s a PC based VR MMORPG (why don’t we have this yet? get on it programmers?!). Apon logging into The World for the first time Haseo is PKed almost immediately. Sounds like just about every MMO I’ve ever played.
The game flashes forward 8 months and we find out that Haseo has become kind of a badass. He’s known as “The Terror of Death” a legendary PKK (Player Killer Killer) and just fucks people up he comes across PKing. After dispatching the squishy PKs, he asks one if she knows anything about a PK named Tri-Edge. Tri-Edge PKed one of Haseo’s friends and her real-life player fell into a coma after her character was killed. This is what prompted Haseo to become stronger and level up to become The Terror of Death.
Sometime later Haseo gets a tip about where he can find Tri-Edge. Haseo goes to the zone where Tri-Edge killed his friend in hopes of somehow magically freeing her from her coma (gamer logic yea!) by killing him. Spoiler alert Haseo loses. Big surprise right? He doesn’t just lose though, Somehow, Tri-Edge corrupts Haseo’s character data and resets his level from 133 to 1. (Oh I’d be pissed.) Once this happens Haseo’s true journey begins and we get to level him back up from 1 all the way to 133 across the course of three games.
I Just Can’t Stop Playing
So, I’m going to level with you. These aren’t the best games ever. They aren’t groundbreaking, they aren’t “beautiful” per say but they’re fun. The story is interesting enough and takes you down twists and turns you don’t see coming. They’re entertaining and at the end of the day, that’s what we play games for. With easily twenty hours of content per game, these are games worth playing. They even included a fourth previously unreleased installment. .hack//G.U. vol .4 Redemption, the long-awaited fourth chapter. This new chapter follows Haseo returning to The World before it ceases operation when its servers go offline at the end of the year. In this new adventure, Haseo will reconnect with old friends and discover that a long-lost individual thought to have died is very much alive.
.hack//G.U. doesn’t have the best controls and combat can be kinda finicky, the voice acting can go from decent to mediocre at best, and the music/background noise isn’t the great. However, guys, they’re PS2 games. You can’t take a PS2 game and hold it up to Assassin’s Creed Origin and go, “Oh well this games shit!” You’ve gotta be objective and consider the tech and industry standards of the times.
For that reason, if you never got a chance to play these games or want to play them again after all these years, get .hack//G.U. Last Recode. Or spend over $100 USD each of them on PS2. I mean… if you got the money… For $50 USD you get four games and one that you can only get through this deal. To me, that’s a no-brainer. So all you SAO and Log Horizon fans need to get up and go get this game because it’s time you learn that .hack is king.
Side note, the whole fucking time I was playing this game I kept saying to myself “Man, why the fuck don’t we have a VR MMO yet! I want .hack to be real!” Seriously Devs… Get on that. Also, can I just point out how cool it is for a game to be so meta? You’re playing a game of a game and it’s so fucking meta its fan-fucking-tastic.
Are you still here? Why are you still here? Go buy this game! The reviews over. Go! … Ok, I’ll hang up first.
Make sure to check out our YouTube Series “Russ Plays” where I play all 4 games in the .hack// collection.