Friday, November 03, 2017

".hack//G.U. Last Recode" Review

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the obnoxiously named yet deceptively fascinating cyberpunk JRPG series, ".hack//G/U. Last Recode" compiles the PlayStation 2 trilogy in sorely needed remastered versions, also adding the long-awaited fourth game, subtitled "Reconnection."

The ".hack" games were always visually strong, but shine like never before in HD. The old RPGs take on a new life, playing like the interactive anime they were always meant to be.

The convoluted, self-important trappings are still every bit as gleefully dorky and shamelessly inspired by the likes of "The Matrix" and its own antecedent, "Ghost in the Shell." You play as Haseo, a heroic hacker who is steeped in fantasy tropes. The blend of deep-dive cyber sci-fi dystopian projections with 1990s coding nomenclature makes for an oddly compelling blend.

Sticking with the hacking motif, there is also a new "cheat mode" that allows you to just watch the story and disregard all the combat and inventory maneuverings. Those who take on the games the old-fashioned way will find them much more easier to navigate than before, thanks to a streamlined interface and save system that brings the franchise up to modern standards.

The ".hack" games have always been geared toward an insular crowd, but "Last Recode" is a genuine attempt at making the series accessible to the masses." It's an unexpected treat to have the entire series to date rounded up in a single tight, well-calibrated package. ".hack" has been hacked, and the JRPG scene is all the better off for it.
Publisher provided review code.

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