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.hack // Series


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I watched most of the .hack // SIGN anime in highschool when cartoon network was airing them. Something reminded me of it recently and I finally got around to watching it from start to finish. I'm not really into anime that much, but I found it pretty interesting as a gamer and an MMO player. Tsukasa is a bit emo, which gets annoying at times but as a whole it was pretty good. I do feel a little short changed and confused by how it ended. I know it all takes place in The World, but I would have liked to know a little bit more about who the characters were outside the game. They did drop little hints, but you never got too big of a glimpse who was sitting behind the terminal.

After a few google searches I found out there was a LOT more in the series. I knew there were a few games, but I didn't know about the other anime (roots) until tonight. Has anyone played the games? Are they any good? The premise of playing a game inside of a game sounds kinda interesting... Theres something like 4 games chronologically between the next anime series. Even if I could find all of them and shell out the cash, I'm not sure I'm up for 4 RPGs in a row. Am I missing anything skipping out on those?

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I own two of the first tetralogy. Infection was an excellent game. One of the really good PS2 games, actually. Unique gameplay, addictive dungeon crawling, and a really well-told storyline. Sadly in my case, the gameplay novelty wore off with Mutation. Played into it for a couple of hours...the storyline rocked but I couldn't go on 'cause it's basically the exact same game with a different storyline. Sadly, that is what plagued the .hack series; not enough changes in gameplay from one title to the next despite an excellent storyline. They really could've meshed these 4 titles into 2 games to say the least.

I watched .hack signs and found it to be great as well. Nice, cryptic storyline.

Regarding the GU series, I really wanted to try out the first game but did not have the time. I hear that it's much better than the first series, but the same problem plagues it. 3 games is simply stretching it. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll find new copies of GU today.

In short, if you're a really huge fan of the .hack series and have the ability to get by 4 exact replicas of dungeon-crawling games just to see where the storyline is going, then check it out if you ever find cheap copies. Perhaps the GU series is a good place to start since it's more recent and one game shorter than the previous series.

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I agree with SB here. I own all of the games.. I managed to grind through the first series of games, but .hack//GU's PS2 series was just too much. At the third game I had to stop. The story makes you want to keep going, but after a while it's not fun; you're just playing to get to advance the story.:|

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The lore of .hack is incredibly interesting. There was some really weird sentient A.I. stuff going on in The World, and the crossover to the off-line stuff was great, especially in .hack//sign.

I haven't played any of the games, but I've read some of the novels (AIBuster, Another Birth), seen SIGN and Legend of Twilight's Bracelet (and read the LoTB manga, which is considered the canon version of the story) and read a little bit of the ROOTS manga.

There's been talk of actually making a real .hack MMO based on The World. I imagine they'd incorporate some creepy ARG stuff into it, which would be pretty cool.

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I quit .hack anything after SIGN. It turned into a cash cow afterwards.

That's a load of crap. .hack//SIGN was created as a lead-in story to the PS2 games. The story of Kite and Black Rose is the main story of .hack. Why do you think SIGN ends in such a vague way?

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But is a cash cow. Multiple anime series, multiple manga series, multiple games, and STILL MORE GAMES with characters noone cares about.

Anything that begins to diverge from the original media and characters and starts branching out into a gazillion other things is a cash cow. It's no different from making a shitty video game adaptation of a movie.

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I own all seven games, and have played through all of them. The first four were very interesting to me, and I enjoyed them a lot.

GU is a different story. Dialogue and cutscenes are a PAIN in my opinion. Things seem poorly written and EXTREMELY repetitive. Parts that you can spend hours trying to accomplish come off as totally pointless in the end (and not the cool, plot-twist kind of way), and they really screwed with the battle system. That's what drew me to the series in the first place was the seamless battle system in the first four games... then in GU it's all start-and-stop-like, with that infernal trigger gauge. Storyline-wise, things failed epically toward the end.

Anyway, I've written a couple articles about the .hack// series on my blog. The storyline is incredibly deep and gripping. I wholeheartedly recommend the first four games. Quarantine might be hard to get, as it is rare, and even used costs $50+

I've been trying to work on different .hack// remixes, as the music is very pleasing, but skipped over. That will all be changing soon, though.

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But is a cash cow. Multiple anime series, multiple manga series, multiple games, and STILL MORE GAMES with characters noone cares about.

Anything that begins to diverge from the original media and characters and starts branching out into a gazillion other things is a cash cow. It's no different from making a shitty video game adaptation of a movie.

I got that feeling from GU onward, but DS is right... The main story revolves around the .hackers of SIGN and IMOQ. The other stories (AI Buster, Fragment, etc) add the backdrop of The World, explaining Harold, Emma, the Epitaph, and where it all started.

The thing to remember about this series is that it takes place both on-line and in real life. The games tend to focus mainly on the on-line part, while the manga and anime tend to focus on both. Cash cow? Maybe... but at least all of the other media holds purpose.

For me, the term "cash cow" is more useable on things that are done and over with. Things people never really asked for, and hold no actual purpose or depth to the storyline. Anymore, anything Hollywood spews out are just sequels no one's looking for. Video games are turning the same way, but that's a different discussion for a different thread.

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But is a cash cow. Multiple anime series, multiple manga series, multiple games, and STILL MORE GAMES with characters noone cares about.

Anything that begins to diverge from the original media and characters and starts branching out into a gazillion other things is a cash cow. It's no different from making a shitty video game adaptation of a movie.

No, you're still wrong, because you said "after SIGN" it turned into a cash cow.

SIGN is not the original media. The PS2 games are the original media. The entire pre-R2 storyline revolves around the PS2 series. SIGN is a prequel/tie-in promotional anime. The PS2 games are not adaptations.

.hack was developed as a multimedia project from the get-go with the video game series at the very core. The novels, the manga, the anime series, those are all part of the project, but the focus is the original four PS2 games. Nothing is "branching out" or spun-off. All of the non-video-game stuff was designed from the very beginning to enrich the .hack world.

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I think I might head down to gamestop and see if they have a used copy of the first game. Not sure if I'm up for playing through 7 games... lol. I'll definitely play through Infection though.. If I can't handle all 4 games in the first series ( or can't find them ) I'll probably just read the wiki =P.

Since .hack // SIGN is a prequel, is there anything I should watch/play/read before playing Infection? I'd really like to get some more backstory on the main characters of SIGN if possible.

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I've only watched SIGN and a bit of Twilight (which I hated I should just find/read the manga since it's the canon story).

I have a feeling it doesn't matter where you start, while each part of the series connects to the other they are all pretty stand alone in their own respect in my experience.

For people that like the sound track, try out the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles OST, the same person did a lot of tracks for that one. (Yuki Kajiura)

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I think I might head down to gamestop and see if they have a used copy of the first game. Not sure if I'm up for playing through 7 games... lol. I'll definitely play through Infection though.. If I can't handle all 4 games in the first series ( or can't find them ) I'll probably just read the wiki =P.

Since .hack // SIGN is a prequel, is there anything I should watch/play/read before playing Infection? I'd really like to get some more backstory on the main characters of SIGN if possible.

Although SIGN and such come before IMOQ, there honestly is no need to know anything beforehand, really. I didn't even know about the anime/manga before picking up Infection, and everything was perfectly clear to me.

I didn't touch the wiki (they generally have spoilers) until toward the very end of Quarantine. There's some pretty interesting stuff in there about the story, but nothing you need to know before playing Infection.

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Wait, seriously? I must be retarded or something. I think just the opposite. I couldn't find the third and fourth PS2 games, but I never even finished the second one because I got bored of it. I thought G.U. was just INCREDIBLE. I beat the second one before the third came out and got pissed. The battles were so much better for one thing. You could use rapid attacks instead of one slice over and over again. The fields were much more interesting, rather than just a huge open area. The towns were much more developed imo. I dunno, the whole thing just seemed to be designed a whole lot better.

As for the anime, I saw SIGN and loved it. Have all 6 DVDs. Didn't finish ROOTS. Can't remember why. But it helped fill in some things from G.U.

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First series: I played all of the games, I liked the gameplay and I loved the storyline. I didn't care that the gameplay didn't change between the games of the series, but then again I bought all the games used, so I didn't spend as much money on the games as I could have.

Second series: I played the first game, but there were too many changes for me to get involved in this series. The game I played was fun, but I felt like the path GU was going with things was tangent to the path the first series went with things. A few of the things I didn't understand was why Skeith served a different purpose in GU from that of Infection, and I didn't understand what happened to Kite between the first series and GU to make him change roles as well. Maybe these things would have been explained, but oh well, I've long since stopped caring.

Sign: I liked the show, loved the music, but I found Tsukasa very annoying.

I never watched the rest of the anime, so I have no suggestion for what order to watch/play things in.

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Wait, seriously? I must be retarded or something. I think just the opposite. I couldn't find the third and fourth PS2 games, but I never even finished the second one because I got bored of it. I thought G.U. was just INCREDIBLE. I beat the second one before the third came out and got pissed. The battles were so much better for one thing. You could use rapid attacks instead of one slice over and over again. The fields were much more interesting, rather than just a huge open area. The towns were much more developed imo. I dunno, the whole thing just seemed to be designed a whole lot better.

As for the anime, I saw SIGN and loved it. Have all 6 DVDs. Didn't finish ROOTS. Can't remember why. But it helped fill in some things from G.U.

Hey now... to each his own, I suppose. There were some things I liked about GU, the towns and a few of the battle aspects being a couple... but there were just too many other things that kept me from enjoying the game.

A few of the things I didn't understand was why Skeith served a different purpose in GU from that of Infection, and I didn't understand what happened to Kite between the first series and GU to make him change roles as well. Maybe these things would have been explained, but oh well, I've long since stopped caring.

Yes... these things were explained... it just takes a while to get there.:smile:

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Hm, I have to say, I remember trying .hack Infection and getting stuck somewhere back when it first came out and was thinking of trying it again. Gotta say, I kinda like now this isn't like a .hack love thread because it comes across to me, as giving both the good and the bad. As for some of the games being bad though, every game series almost seems to have a bad game, (least...in comparison to the others) like Suikoden had with Suikoden IV, for example.

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A few of the things I didn't understand was why Skeith served a different purpose in GU from that of Infection,

Heavy Spoiler Warning (Highlight the text after the colon to read): It's hard to explain without going through huge walls of text that are explained in the Terminal Disc, but the short version is the data of the 8 Phases buried itself in select PCs. Why did Skeith bury itself in Haseo? Because Haseo's operator was Sora's operator. Sora being coma'd (And your subsequent rescue of him from Skeith's Wand) gave him complete amnesia of all of the events. His parents kept him away from THE WORLD, and when he struck out on his own, he got dragged back in

and I didn't understand what happened to Kite between the first series and GU to make him change roles as well.

Again, heavy spoilers (Highlight the text after the colon to read): The Kite in GU is two things: A) an AI, and B) Not Tri-Edge. Him and 'feral' versions of Balmung and Orca serve as protectors, knights, if you will, destroying all corruption of the world. (Hackers, AIDA, etc) They do this since Aura herself is not around to do the cleansing. Which is why they go after Haseo, due to events in //Roots (Even if it was against his wishes/without his knowledge, it was done to his PC)

I never watched the rest of the anime, so I have no suggestion for what order to watch/play things in.

Should you still care:

Watch //SIGN

Play Games (OR: Find the 'Terminal Disc' packed in with Special Edition of //GU1, which explains quite succinctly the events of the games, plus other things)

Read //Another Birth (The events of the games from Black Rose's perspective)

Read //Legend of the Twilight Bracelet (Set 3 years after the events)

Read //AI Buster 1 & 2 (Snippets & stories from around the timeline that flesh things out)

Skip Legend of the Twilight Bracelet anime (Non-canon, and turns on the pedophilia aspect)

Watch .hack//Roots

Play //GU (In //GU, the "Eight Months Later" timeskip = the events of Roots.)

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I remember watching .hack//sign back in high school. The music was brilliant, but it suffered terribly from glacial pacing. I found myself rooting for Sora, bastard though he was, only because he was damn near the only one who actually did anything (even if it was only fucking wtih B.T.... which is actually a pretty cool thing in and of itself, but I digress). I watched Legend of the Twilight Bracelet and found it much more entertaining than Sign, primarily due to the fact that it didn't take itself seriously at all (while the super-serious "THIS IS ART GODDAMNIT" feel of Sign was its biggest flaw after the pacing, in my opinion). Other than those two, I haven't played/read/watched/whatever anything of the series. So, a few questions:

1) What's the actual sequence of events? I know it goes Sign -> Games -> Legend, but there's also a bunch of other crap in the series too. Lyrai's list just confuses me. How many games are there, actually? Is it just one series of games, or are there different branches to it like there are different anime?

2) How independent are the games? Can you pick up any given .hack game and start playing it, or will you be hopelessly confused unless you play everything in order from start to finish?

3) How good are the games, really? I've heard that the gameplay is good but the story is crap, that the gameplay is crap but the story is interesting, and everything in between. Is there more to it than just random dungeon crawls with emails and stuff in between? The most fun part of an RPG, at least for me, is exploring the setting and getting to know the world and the people in it. If the games are just like "a forest area! now a castle-dungeon! then a cave-dungeon followed by a mountain area!" as the anime seems to consist of, it seems like it'd get really old really quick.

4) When you're talking about reading stuff (Lyrai mentions like four different things to be read) are you talking about manga or actual novels? I've never been able to get into manga, but if they're novels I'd give it a shot.

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I remember watching .hack//sign back in high school. The music was brilliant, but it suffered terribly from glacial pacing. I found myself rooting for Sora, bastard though he was, only because he was damn near the only one who actually did anything (even if it was only fucking wtih B.T.... which is actually a pretty cool thing in and of itself, but I digress). I watched Legend of the Twilight Bracelet and found it much more entertaining than Sign, primarily due to the fact that it didn't take itself seriously at all (while the super-serious "THIS IS ART GODDAMNIT" feel of Sign was its biggest flaw after the pacing, in my opinion). Other than those two, I haven't played/read/watched/whatever anything of the series. So, a few questions:

1) What's the actual sequence of events? I know it goes Sign -> Games -> Legend, but there's also a bunch of other crap in the series too. Lyrai's list just confuses me. How many games are there, actually? Is it just one series of games, or are there different branches to it like there are different anime?

I don't think this has TOO many spoilers, but I accept no responsibilities!:

http://dothack.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_the_.hack_series

As far as amount of games, there is only Infection/Mutation/Outbreak/Quarantine, and GU Rebirth/Reminisce/Redemption... Seven in all, but two stories.

This is how it goes, I think:

AI Buster

SIGN

Wotan's Spear

Games (IMOQ)

Another Birth (Blackrose's vantage point of IMOQ)

Legend of the Twilight (Manga, NOT the Anime)

End of the World*

Roots

Games (GU)

There are a whole bunch of other stories, but they are either side-stories about minor characters, or non-canon

* = End of the World is more a time period. The Terminal Discs go over this time period, and I don't think any other media covers what happens here. I may be wrong, though.

2) How independent are the games? Can you pick up any given .hack game and start playing it, or will you be hopelessly confused unless you play everything in order from start to finish?

Really, you have to start with Infection or GU - Rebirth and play the sequence from there (Infection --> Mutation --> Outbreak --> Quarantine, Rebirth --> Reminisce --> Redemption), but you can play either series independently (you don't have to watch the anime or manga to understand what's going on).

With the games I played from start to finish, transferring my data from one game to another, so I don't know if you started, say, with Outbreak, if they explain anything that happened in the earlier games or not.

3) How good are the games, really? I've heard that the gameplay is good but the story is crap, that the gameplay is crap but the story is interesting, and everything in between. Is there more to it than just random dungeon crawls with emails and stuff in between? The most fun part of an RPG, at least for me, is exploring the setting and getting to know the world and the people in it. If the games are just like "a forest area! now a castle-dungeon! then a cave-dungeon followed by a mountain area!" as the anime seems to consist of, it seems like it'd get really old really quick.

You're partially right here. It is a sequence of dungeons and fields that would seem to get old... but for some reason never did for me. The storyline is excellent, in my opinion, which may have been the driving factor behind my continuation through the series.

Due to the nature of .hack, there really is no specific "world" to explore, Areas are randomly generated, and only the key words given to you through the game are really unique.

4) When you're talking about reading stuff (Lyrai mentions like four different things to be read) are you talking about manga or actual novels? I've never been able to get into manga, but if they're novels I'd give it a shot.

dothack.wikia.com has a different category for Novels and Manga. I honestly have never picked one up of either, so I don't know... I would assume, though, that the novels are, in fact novels.

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