The shockingly large firm of Namco Bandai announced yesterday that they will be releasing the latest arc in the .hack// series with the first installment in the second video game series, .hack//G.U. The game, like its predecessors, will be released solely for the Playstation 2 console this coming October 24. And for the serious .hack// fans, there will be a Special Edition of the game available for pre-ordering with GameStop and EB Games who will be solely marketing the Special Edition. This Special Edition release will only be available for a limited time and will contain a Haseo action figure, complete with weapons, along with a DVD known as the Terminal Disk. The Terminal Disk will serve as a primer or a refresher for the player new to the .hack// series or the veteran .hack// player looking to recall their moments of glory from the series. It will feature a synopsis of the four .hack// games for the player to read along with a compilation of movies from them. The Special Edition will be available for $49.99, while the simple game retails for $39.99. Still, it's not a bad deal, is it?
The game itself takes place a year after the fire in the CC Corporation building, which ended up destroying the original World (the name of the world the MMO takes place in), which leads the corporation to start over and set about creating The World R:2, a completely new version of The World, which still utilizes the Chaos Gate system to move from one area to the other, but still allows users to travel to previous areas from the original World that still remain from the big kaboom before like the HULLE GRANZ CATHEDRAL and the ARCHE KOELN WATERFALL. In the game, you play as Haseo, a member of the Twilight Brigade an anti-player-killer guild, which he joined after promptly being attacked by PKers his first day in The World (which he narrowly escapes after some help from Ovan). Haseo levels up and starts handing out massive beat downs on other Pkers which, eventually, led to Haseo gaining the nickname “The Terror of Death.” Eventually, rumors of Ovan appearing throughout the World spread and reach Haseo’s screen. Along his way, he ends up in the fabled HIDDEN FORBIDDEN HOLY GROUND, the cathedral which returns in each .hack// series. In there, he is confronted by Tri-Blade, a Kite look-alike capable of Data Draining players who puts him in his place very thoroughly, and Data Drains him. When he awakes, he is greeted by Ovan who gives him a cryptic greeting, saying “welcome to The World.”
.hack//G.U. is going to include a number of improvements over the previous installments in the series including updates to the battle system. First of all, there is the Surprise Attack. As the name would suggest, this skill is used opponents are in sight but Haseo is not in their line of vision. When you select this option your character will charge the enemy, do high damage, and knock them back. Another new ability is the Skill Trigger which is activated by pressing R1 and then selecting the desired attack. If an attack is not selected, however, the player will be unable to move for several moments. You will also be given an Avatar, named Skeith, to assist in-battle quite similar to the Aeons in Final Fantasy X. There will also be an Arena, located in the WARRING CITY OF LUMINA CLOTH, where players can fight in three different areas to be dubbed Emperors of that particular region. What rewards this will bring are uncertain, but if the number of innovations set for the battle system are equaled in the rest of the game this will be an exciting addition to the Dot Hack series.
Namco-Bandai has promised several noticeable changes over the original series of games. First of all, and most noticeably, they have revamped The World and given it a new, sleek, significantly more graphically-impressive appearance. Secondly, .hack//Quarantine veterans will be allowed to load their previous save data to unlock special features in .hack//G.U.Vol 1: Rebirth. The email system from the previous game has been drastically upgraded as well, providing you with new features, options and a new interface into the mix. There is also a significant tweak to the battle system allowing Haseo to become Skeith, the final boss from .hack//Infection in the Avatar Battle Mode. And, finally, in a nod to other MMORPGs a guild system will be implemented that will provide players the opportunity to make your own guild to exchange information or items and provide sanctuary for your player.