f there is one reason to buy this game, it?fs for its originality. Dot Hack Infection for the Playstation 2 tries to simulate an online world, and it does an excellent job of doing it.
The game starts at your desktop, and lets you read your e-mail or check the forums. It is also possible to change the background color of the desktop. When you are ready to start the actual game, you may log in to the ?gonline?h game called the World.
After arriving in the World, you are shown around by your friend Orca. Eventually Orca is defeated in the game, and falls into a coma in real life. You then play as Kite, a teenage boy who must now find out what happened to his friend. During Dot Hack, Kite teams up with other players of the game, and traverses various dungeons. Like a typical RPG, characters level up by defeating monsters in these dungeons. In order to progress in the story, Kite frequently needs to log out and check his e-mail for any new developments.
Dot Hack?fs strong points are also its drawbacks. Kite travels to different areas of the World by inputting various keywords from a list. Depending on the keywords used, the areas will have different enemies, seasons, and dungeons. Since there are thousands of possibilities, each area looks and plays a lot like the last. Even though this can provide hours of gameplay, it gets repetitive and sometimes boring. Another problem with the keyword system are the enemies. Until Kite travels to an area, you don?ft know whether the enemies are level 1 or level 20. This makes leveling up in the beginning of the game difficult and sometimes painful.
Depending on who you are, you?fll either love or hate Dot Hack?fs fighting system. All fighting takes place in active time, ( like Phantasy Star Online) but in order to cast spells, Kite must bring up a menu that pauses the game. This can prove very awkward in the heat of battle. To make things worse, the AI of your teammates isn?ft that great either. They usually stand in one spot and keep attacking until they die. (Whatever happened to moving?) On the good side, your teammates heal you when needed, and there are a nice variety of enemies to fight.
Not only are your teammates stupid, but they sound awful too. The voices of your companions go from whiny to extra whiny. The only redeeming quality, are the character designs, which are very cool. There are also many characters that will join your team. The graphics in Dot Hack are good, but won?ft leave you staring in amazement at your T.V.
Dot Hack Infection is the first in a 4 part series. Don?ft expect to find out all the answers in this first installment. All progress made in the first part will be transferable to the next part. Fans of the T.V series Dot Hack will be pleased to know that each game comes with a 45 minute DVD. These DVD?fs contain an ongoing story that will aide the game. Although these features are attractive, it may not be worth dishing out 150 bucks for the next 3 parts.
Dot Hack Infection may not be at the top of your buy list, but it should at least be a must rent. Dot Hack?fs original concept sets it apart from the rest, and would make a fun play even for non-RPG fans.