Friday, September 25, 2009

New .hack PSP game

I have a bitter-sweet relationship with .hack. Part of me loves the series with all my heart, the other part hates the way I've been tricked into buying cheaply made video games for full price.

Confused? So is my soul.

In one part, .hack is a genius exercise in synergy, having a story encompass many different forms of media, thus resulting in the consumer spending a ton of cash to get the "full experience". In the planning stages the creators produced memorable characters, and a beautiful, thoughtful, engaging storyline. However, the initial set of four games were 20 hour RPGs that were released over the course of one year, and you had to pay full price for. Basically they took one normal RPG and split it among four games that in the end you pay $200 for. While the games were good as far as action and story goes, the graphics lacked finesse, and they were so short they ended before you got into the meat of it. But I admit I wasn't held at gunpoint to play them, I was into the story and gameplay enough to sucker me into buying all four parts.

Then a couple of years later they try the experiment again with .hack//GU. This time with only three parts, having each part be slightly longer, and greatly improved graphics and battle system.

Unfortunately I could never get into the main character. He was one of the biggest douchebag characters I've ever had the misfortune of playing. I don't understand why this is such a popular archetype in Japanese RPGs. I understand by the third game (which I never finished) he turned around and became a slightly nicer guy, but too little too late in my opinion. Character development should be a gradual thing, not a "His heart grew three sizes that day" type moment.

This says nothing for the anime series of .hack which I liked quite a bit (except for the one based on GU for the same reasons of the game). The Legend of the Twilight Bracelet especially which features Wincest.

That is another interesting thing the game tackles, strange love situations from online relationships. In .hack//SIGN you find out one of the characters playing as a guy is really a girl and she starts an offline affair with another female character who fell in love with her male avatar. And in the above mentioned Legend of the Twilight Bracelet, the main guy has the hots for his twin sisters avatar, so much that he ends up falling in love with her. Great stuff.

So this new PSP game which is 50% done lets you team up with ALL the previous .hack characters. The main character looks like a Digimon reject, but I'll probably give this game a spin like I have all the others. They've suckered me in again.