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.hack//Fragment - Tokyo Game Show Impression

.hack//Fragment
Platform:
Developer: Cyber Connect 2
Publisher: Bandai
ESRB: Pending
Release Date: 11.23.2005 (Japan)
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As a staff reviewer for RPGamer, I took on the task of trying to review all of the .hack titles, which proved to be an expensive and ultimately annoying task considering the limited gameplay in each of the titles. Given the initial closure of the plot in the first four games of the series, I was surprised to hear of at least two new additions to the .hack universe. One of these titles was playable: .hack//Fragment, and it is slated for a November 23rd release in Japan. While the title itself does look solid and ready for release, its gameplay elements honestly reminded me of more of the same, which is not necessarily a good thing.

"...if Bandai can show that it can make the jump to a true MMO...then maybe this series is worth a revisit."

Like almost all demo games available at conventions of this nature, gameplay time is extremely limited, though I was able to roam through town and try out a few battles. As such, .hack//Fragment looks at first appearance more of the same of the original titles. Diehard fans of the series (and myself, as I logged at least 80 hours into the first four games) will be happy to know that character data can in fact be imported into the new game, so all that time you spent with Sora and company in the original series will not be put to waste.

However, like all the other previous titles, there is the option of starting from scratch with base characters, and this should suit fine for anybody trying out the series for the first time. After glancing at the main desktop (a staple of all .hack titles to this point), it would appear there are a few extra features enabling online play as well, something hinted at in previous Bandai press releases. Sadly, this feature was not live at TGS, but it would be interesting to see how Bandai would implement it in the near future.

After my extensive experience with the first four games in the series, I remain a humongous cynic when it comes to most things .hack. Nevertheless, if Bandai can show that it can make the jump to a true MMO instead of a farce-MMO like the rest of the series has been so far, then maybe this series is worth a revisit. If not, I'd stay away from this one for the time being, unless more information comes out in the near future.



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