.hack Part 1: Infection


posted 4/10/2003 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2
DotHack certainly shows a very interesting premise. A game that takes place in the world of an MMORPG but is not actually played online. Players assume the role of Kite, a young kid whose friend tells him to join The World, the “greatest selling MMORPG/game of all time” with a user base of 20 million and counting. Although during the course of the game you don’t see what looks like 20 million people playing, more like only a few hundred. Must be a small server or something.

Once Kite/the player gets his login and character set up then its time to go dungeon crawling with your buddy who is this massive level 50 character who bashes stuff good. Once you reach the bottom of a dungeon you encouter a ghostly image of a girl who is being chased by this strange red mech looking thing. Curiosity be damned you both follow until you reach what appears to be a new plane of the game. Before you can leave your friend gets the stuffing knocked out of him, and is later knocked into a coma by an attack called a “Data Drain” an ability which is passed to your character and becomes what everyone in The World is after.

Once all that has been completed you are ready to really start the game and figure out just what in the hell happened to your friend. In a strange twist you start off at a desktop when you start a new game or load your data. This is on the OS that controls The World called “Altimit” this is your platform from where you start the game. From here you can change the desktop color, desktop music, check email, watch movies, and essentially get to The World.

Once you launch The World you are taken to a new title screen, from here you actually log on or you can troll the message boards for some information as to what is going on. Most of the time you will find new keywords for getting into new levels inside The World. Keywords work in an interesting way here. When you reach a Chaos Gate, which is where you jump to levels from, you select three keywords that are strung together that determine the difficulty of the area you go to, the attribute of the area, whether it be fire, water, ice, lighting or some other element. Once you jump you are placed in an outdoors area where you can either run around and find all the gates that spawn enemies or items, or you can make a bee-line for the dungeon and get to some treasure hunting, or if there is a special weapon that people are looking for in a specific dungeon then it means you are on your way to picking up a new ally.

The allies in this game each have their own interesting quirks, many of which I remember fondly of Phantasy Star Online and some not so fondly. The AI for the most part is decent, although you will be calling a lot of the shots. Most of the time you’ll be telling them to heal constantly while you just hack and slash at the opponent.
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