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.hack Part 3: Outbreak (PlayStation 2) artwork

.hack Part 3: Outbreak (PlayStation 2) review

"Throughout all of time, new innovations and new ideas are constantly being thrust upon us. One such idea, the advent of the internet, completely changed how we communicate with each other... And like all innovations, there are good uses... And there are bad ones. "

Throughout all of time, new innovations and new ideas are constantly being thrust upon us. One such idea, the advent of the internet, completely changed how we communicate with each other... And like all innovations, there are good uses... And there are bad ones.

.hack//OUTBREAK, the third game in the original .hack series, is a tale of the bad. In the MMORPG that never was, The World, hackers reign supreme. The hackers who control the world of The World have corrupted the very game's data, modifying monsters to become incredibly powerful, creating new areas, corrupting old ones, and even bringing people into comas.

Wait... what?

.hack//OUTBREAK's story is about a youth named Kite, whose best friend Orca was thrown into a coma by playing this ill-fated game. This was all explained to you in the first game, but luckily players that haven't yet experienced that atrocity are given a nice little summary of the first two storylines.

Disregard the fact that this means that playing those original two games has essentially become rendered pointless since you have their stories spoiled within the first two minutes of play.

Speaking of play, it's outdated the moment you boot it up. The battle system is the exact same as the one in the first game, completely lacking any evolution whatsoever. It's a real-time battle system where you lock on and mash the same button over and over. While you get party members, you never directly control their actions. You can go into the menu to use spells and other such abilities, but doing so greatly breaks up the action. While you can equip different weapons and armor to get more abilities, the only one that you ever really need to use is the healing skill, so equipment choice becomes a simple matter of "Which one gives me the biggest stats and the newest healing spell?"

Here's the answer: It doesn't really matter. Every single enemy in the game is easily defeated, and the few that aren't can be taken down by Kite's signature ability, the Data Drain. By using Data Drain, Kite can absorb the power of other monsters and weaken them, then easily crush them. Of course, you won't get any experience points that way, but considering the game starts you off at a viciously high level anyway, it becomes a moot point.

Of course, this also gives the game a little freedom. One cool feature is its ability to import save data from the past two games, which will allow fans of the series to hop back into the action with THEIR party and THEIR abilities.

But, considering there's really no point to play the earlier games since there's a summary of everything right at the beginning, it doesn't even matter, right?

espiga's avatar
Staff review by Kyle Stepp (December 21, 2007)

Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.

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