Hack the system!
I recently was given the opportunity to review the game .Hack//G.U. Last Recode from the folks over at Bandai Namco. This year marks the 15th anniversary for the franchise that launched way backed in 2002. You play as Haseo during his journey to find Tri-Edge. Let’s get right into it, there’s a lot to cover.
For starters, the game plays just an online RPG would. There is an online hub city that you can interact with non-playable characters as well as talk to other characters in the game. Without giving away too much of the first Volume story, Haseo gets rudely introduced to the game “The World” when he logs in for the first time and this affects him. He becomes a PK or Player Killer, a player who hunts other players. He is looking for Tri-Edge to figure out what happen to his friend, Shino, who Tri-edge killed in the game, and thus put into a coma in the real world.
However, through an interesting encounter, Haseo gets his level reset and has to basically start over from the start, in level and discovering what happened to his friend. Like most classic RPG’s there are plenty of quests to perform and characters to interact with. You’ll be recruiting players for your party from the minute your character gets reset in the game and you will need these new characters to help you achieve your goal.
The controls are pretty simple and easy to pick up but I do consider them “button masher” like. I feel this way because you don’t need to use multiple combo attacks for victory; you can just press X or another attack when prompted for the win. You can use the simple combo attacks as well as the group combo attacks, where you combine special button combos to get the party to attack at once. You’ll also be able to sneak up on enemies while in dungeons that you can see to make the first move on them. The fact that you can drive vehicles into the enemies for the first strike was pretty cool to me.
You’ll be able to go on quests with your party as well and you’ll have the option to invite party members to go on these quests with you. Before you go on these quests the game gives you the option to purchase items and weapons as well as upgrade these items and weapons. This crafting system was a little bit of a headache and the same could be said for using the items that you bought. What was tougher was using the items during battle because it was tough to see who the items were being used on sometimes. There were also times when it really tough to see how to upgrade an item/weapon in the menu or what you needed to upgrade the item/weapon.
Graphically the game is remastered and looks great but still has the PlayStation 2 feel to it, since this was the first Volume. Last Recode has Volumes 2, 3, and 4 included which are Reminisce, Redemption, and Reconnection. Reconnection is the 4th Volume in the saga that shows Haseo coming back to The World before it shuts down for good! You’ll have to play Volume 4 for yourself to discover what happens!
There is a Terminal Disc that allows you to see background info/footage that gives you a better understanding of what happened in previous Hack games. Major fans of the series wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing this. There is also a Cheat mode that will give players the chance to start playing with full stats but the games recommends this for seasoned players or for players who just want to enjoy the story. There is also the retry mode that will allow players to retry certain areas without having to start over from the title screen, something that could come in handy for players!
.Hack//G.U. Last Recode has enhanced graphics from the games of the past as well as spoken dialogue from familiar voice actors. The game plays like a movie with all the dialogue and a button masher at the same time. Having issues being able to upgrade items/weapons hurt the RPG aspect but don’t kill the playability of the game. Die-Hard fans of the Hack series will want to play volumes 2, 3, and 4 and it’s these reasons that I’m giving .Hack//G.U. Last Recode for the PlayStation 4 an 8/10. I would like to thank Bandai Namco for the review code.