November 19, 2017

.hack//G.U. Last Recode Review

Mini Review: .hack//G.U. Last Recode is possibly the most unusual HD remake so far. Not many people remember the series and even fewer have ventured through all entries during the Playstation 2 generation. I was a huge JRPG fan during the PS2 era, but the .hack franchise never clicked for me and I only have vague memories of the plot and its characters. Playing the series today is even stranger because despite a content-rich offering, .hack//G.U. Last Recode doesn’t hold up well by today’s gameplay standards. It’s an odd choice considering the countless other games from the same era and genre that would’ve made for a more logical contemporary remake.

With that in mind, .hack//G.U. Last Recode remains an interesting journey from a video game history perspective and pure nostalgia. Looking back at the fake, old in-game OS and the generous amount of extra content hidden within the game world’s web pages is fun, even if the appeal is short lived. .hack//G.U. Last Recode takes place in an in-game MMO world titled The World where your avatar can leave for the real in-game world by accessing the game’s OS via a desktop. After one of your friends is killed in the game and left in a coma in real life, your avatar Haseo sets out to find the powerful player killer (PPK) Tri-Edge.

".hack//G.U. Last Recode is an unnecessarily remaster that provides some satisfying moments of nostalgia, but ultimately fails to feel relevant in 2017."

The plot has some interesting twists and turns, but it’s hard to sit through due to unlikable characters and boring combat. I’ve had more fun reading the in-game news articles and watching the anime video clips from the game’s fake browser than actually playing through the main quests. This is mostly due to the fact that .hack//G.U. is an MMO without any of the MMO appeal. Without social aspects and actual online quests, you’re left with a bland world that’s best left in the past.

Visually, .hack//G.U. Last Recode looks crisp and sharp, but the lack of improved textures and poor art direction don’t exactly result in eye candy. Most environments are vast open empty spaces with very rigid layouts and little room for genuine exploration. After playing the excellent Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age not too long ago, I find it hard to connect with .hack//G.U. Last Recode’s uninspired universe. Out of all the HD remakes this generation, this is the most unimpressive remaster.

In Short: .hack//G.U. Last Recode is an unnecessarily remaster that provides some satisfying moments of nostalgia, but ultimately fails to feel relevant in 2017. The Playstation 2 was brimming with brilliant JRPGs that were vastly superior to the .hack series, so it’s disappointing to see so much effort went into a project no one really asked for. For the few .hack fans out there, this is going to be a no-brainer since the entire trilogy and its special features are bundled together, but for everyone else, there’s literally hundreds of better adventures waiting to be played. 

Final Score: 6

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