E3 Impression

.hack//G.U Vol. 1: Rebirth



Haseo laying the smack-down.

They say history repeats itself. They say history repeats itself.

Apparently, the digital World of .hack and the real world have become intertwined once more. Fans of the original .hack series or the anime won't be surprised to learn that players who die in The World are once again falling into comas in real life. The hero, Haseo, is questing for answers in order to bring back a friend who has fallen into such a coma. Thus is the story for for .hack//GU Vol. 1: Rebirth--if it seems familiar, it probably is. We weren't told much, but the plot seems to connect with the first. A large image at the Namco Bandai booth featured a pair of very dark and melodramatic characters from the original game, hinting at more than just a subtle connection.

The demo of .hack//GU placed Haseo and two allies, Atoli and Kuhn, in a large plain. Somewhere on this plain was a ruined temple, apparently. To assist in finding it we had a very interesting vehicle at our disposal: a golden motorcycle. Pressing square engaged the motorbike, and Haseo was able to traverse the plain with minimal ease.

Hanging around a root town.

Of course, we stopped to kill some monsters. Combat was action-based, where rapidly pressing X engaged melee combination attacks. As the battle progressed, a gauge above the player's head was filled. Once it was complete, we were able to press R1 to engage one of four special attacks (assigned from the camp menu to the four buttons). Monsters were present on the field before battle began, and you could sneak attack them if you felt like it. Alternately, you could also barrel into them on your motorcycle. Allies were not controlled by the player, but it was possible to engage powerful combination attacks by filling up the Morale Gauge during battle.

Graphically speaking, it was nothing special. The plain that we were cruising through had very few features, and was rather unpleasant to look at. Characters were nice, but not incredibly detailed or vivid. The fact that the game is still in development probably reflects on that. The special attacks were dramatic but nothing unlike what we've seen before. Team attacks too; the three-way triangular split of the screen featuring the three relevant characters screaming against a blurry background is something totally original, right? Didn't think so.

What was in the ruin? The demo ended.

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