CyberConnect2's sophomore action RPG is now available for PlayStation 4 in one impressive compilation. I recently completed the first volume in this collection so allow me to share my thoughts so far.
For the unfamiliar, .hack//G.U. Last Recode just released on PS4 and it contains all 3 volumes of the .hack//G.U. series with 1080p visuals, the "terminal disc" that provides info about previous .hack titles, many improved system features, two new modes (cheat and retry mode), a new fourth volume called "Reconnection", and a parody mode that contains silly versions of serious scenes from the games.
Hacking into .hack//G.U.
The story of the first .hack//G.U. game had me basically working to get through the ranks of the arena in order to level up the main character Haseo who finds himself suddenly stripped of all power and having to start again in "The World", an online MMORPG where he used to be known as the "Terror of Death". If he was that well known, there must be an interesting story to tell here as to why he suddenly lost all that power and notoriety. In his previous exploits, Haseo was known as a PKKer (player killer killer), someone that kills other players that kill other players. The term PK and PKK is thrown around right at the beginning of the game and it took me a while to put together what they were actually talking about. There's clearly a divide amongst the players of The World as some like that the game gives them the option to kill other players and others wish it was disabled. Apparently, Haseo had no problems with PKKing in the past.
Rising in the arena ranks
Haseo meets a couple of players who just want to hang out and have fun in The World: Silabus and Gaspard. He soon runs into another player, Atoli, who bears a striking resemblance to a player that he used to have a deep connection with before he was stripped of his game experience. Haseo teams up with Atoli and Silabus to enter the arena and raise his rank while determined to beat the current ranking winner, Endrance. Through leveling up and learning again about The World and its players, Haseo plans to find the player "Tri-Edge" and defeat him in turn for PKing Haseo's friend, Shino (the woman who Atoli bears a resemblance to).
At the end of vol. 1, Haseo manages to find Tri-Edge and seemingly takes him out but not before Atoli is attacked by an AIDA (an anomaly that is compared to an in-game bug). How will Atoli fare in the next volume? Has Haseo really taken out his enemy? I'm excited to play through vol. 2//Reminisce to find out. By the way, I will be reviewing the collection as a whole once I've completed all of the volumes so look out for that! For now, read on about the main thing that left an impression with me in this first volume.
Learning about the world outside
What impressed me most so far about .hack//G.U. Last Recode is its ability to immerse the player not only in the online world but also in the world outside of it. Although you play as the character Haseo, when you log out of the game, you're shown your computer desktop. Here, you have access to lots of content to help set the tone of what the real life player and their world is going through outside of the MMORPG. Email arrives often from players in the game where they will express concerns about Haseo and the world as well as provide tips on places to level up. The community forum shows lengthy discussions between players that provide insight into how vast of a game The World really is and how much of a community there is around it.
Lastly, the News Capture app allows you to access articles in general news, technology, and arts. They even have short animated video clips that are made with very good quality and all of the news content comes across as if I was reading a real newspaper. These touches show the care that was involved in immersing the player into the .hack//G.U. universe and I'm thoroughly impressed!
I'm very surprised with .hack//G.U. so far. As of right now, I'm a little bit into vol. 2//Reminisce so keep an eye out for my coverage of that once I complete it. Have you played .hack//G.U.? What are your favourite aspects of the series? Leave a comment below and I'll be happy to discuss this gem of an RPG with you.