So, the saga of .hack comes to a close (on PS2 at least) with .hack//Quarantine. In Quarantine, Bandai refines all the things that detract from the past three games, particularly Virus Core hunting, and work them into the scheme very nicely. The sidequests have also been keened to the point of being worthwhile, many of which keep you playing long after you have beaten the final boss. Also, the DVD is finally worth watching in Quarantine and has some particularly nice features. All these set Quarantine above the others in the series, and make it one of the best PS2 RPGs out there.
Quarantine effectively wraps up the .hack game series, and ties up loose ends from .hack//Sign. You finally get to finish off all the Phases, defeat Cubia and lead your team to victory over Morganna. The game, of course, starts off where Outbreak left off; Kite and team are backed into a corner with Morganna winning the war and more people being put into comas while CC Corp. is about to pull the plug on The World, which would result in death for all the comatose players. Like in Outbreak, you have to go from field to field chasing the Phases but, unlike Outbreak, the Virus Cores are easy to find, which allows you collect them while on other missions and while leveling up. Also, the climactic finish adds to the joy of beating the game, and the excellent finishing FMV doesn’t hurt either.
The sidequests are, at long last, not pointless. The Books of Ryu are still there taking up space, the dumb goblins are still stalking you and with the new server there are more grunties for you to raise, but those are dumb and have been in all the other ones. The main draws in this one are the many things related to .hack//Sign. As you progress through the game, more and more of the heroes from the show popup. A-20, Bear and Mimiru all show up in towns and have excellent items up for trade. In an optional mission you meet up with Crim, who makes finding him worth your while. Best of all, after the final battle, you get an e-mail from Helba, and she informs you of some new recruits who are none other than Subaru, Tsukasa and Sora who all join your party as playable characters along with Helba. Lastly, you get to meet with Maha, the president of bipedal scarecrow cats, who resides in the single deepest dungeon in the series (15 levels!).
The DVD… What can I say? Well, to start off, I can tell you that this episode of Liminality has action in it, so you won’t fall asleep half way like in previous episodes. This episode does contain spoilers in it, so don’t watch it until you are past the final battle. One thing you can watch is .hack//Gift. Gift was originally a promotional tool used in Japan which you would acquire by mailing in the proofs of purchase found in each game, but in America they just threw it in with Quarantine. Gift is pretty much entirely focused on mocking .hack’s most popular characters (sorry, but that means almost none of the game people). It is mostly about mysterious death of Orca/Bear (the Sign cast thinks it is Bear and the game team thinks it is Orca) and the race to the Twilight Hot Springs. Anyway, it is funny. The third worthwhile feature of the DVD is the hidden section. In it, there is a chronicle of each Phase, character or happening throughout Sign and the games. This lets you have a deep knowledge of EVERYTHING from the .hack universe. Once again be cautious, major spoilers ahead.
Since this is the last game in a pretty good series, it is fitting they saved the best for last. In every way (except graphics, AI and sound?I’m looking at you Bandai), .hack//Quarantine is the best .hack game. The plot keeps you very into the story, and the ending movie is one of the best FMVs out there. The .hack//Sign additions add a lot of value to the game for any fan of the anime, and the items they give you makes them worth visiting, the DVD is top-notch and the after-ending extras will keep you playing for hours after completion. So really, this is a worthwhile grab for anyone who has played the previous installments.