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.hack//Roots #1 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Monday, 24 March 2008 16:00
,hack//RootsTime for another trip into The World... version 2. This version doesn't seem to be quite as friendly as the original, with Player Killing being positively commonplace, and new player Haseo is quick to start wondering if he should ever have bothered joining. But the mysterious Twilight Guild are equally quick to take an interest in him...

1 - Welcome to "The World"
Haseo's discovering the The World isn't all that friendly to new players - no sooner does he join the game than he has a run-in with a player killer. Fortunately for him, experienced player Ovan - the strong, mysterious type - comes to his rescue, although it appears he may have an ulterior motive. Meanwhile, Ovan's player-colleague Shino works on bringing another player, Tabby, into their Twilight Brigade guild, while a rival guild gets concerned about Ovan's plans...

Recruiting TabbyPhyllo & Haseo

2 - Twilight Brigade
With Tabby having signed up to the Twilight Guild, Shino's attention turns to Haseo. Saving his skin from the player-killers last episode has earned her his attention, but he still seems uncertain about signing up to the Guild - especially as he's uncertain about how Ovan and Shino are connected, and the importance of the Key of the Twilight they're searching for. Shiho's prepared to wait - Haseo has something the Guild needs - so while he tries to make up his mind, Haseo turns to Phyllo for help as he tries to uncover what Ovan's really after...

OvanGathering intelligence

3 - Join
While working out his frustrations on some fairly harmless monsters (at least they help him level up), Haseo suddenly finds himself besieged by players who believe him to be a legendary "Black Multi-Weapon" character - a player who exists only in the game, and not in the real world. A member of TaN tells him that his new-found fame is all the result of rumours planted on the game forums by Ovan - but why would Ovan go to such lengths to keep his attention..?

PK'sDelivering a warning

4 - Forefeel
With Haseo having finally signed up, the Twilight Guild is back at full strength - at least as far as Ovan's concerned. Word of Haseo's decision soon gets back to Phyllo - along with word that there seem to be an increasing number of "glitches" within the game: Bset has noticed that some things aren't quite right, and it's beginning to worry her. Ovan, meanwhile, decides that it's time that Haseo was shown a few things to explain what the Twilight Guild is really about, TaN begin to take a more direct interest in Ovan's scheming, and the Guild's other member, Sakisaka, begins to feel jealous at the special treatment that Haseo seems to be getting...

Friendly kittyShino

Roots is set in The World R:2, a new version of the game created after a datacentre fire destroyed the original version. The basic idea is the same, but as with all upgrades some things are improved and some aren't. Haseo had heard of the game from a friend who had played "R:1", and it's fair to say his first impressions don't really meet up to his expectations - especially when he's PK'd right off the bat and has to restart before he'd even gotten anywhere.

As for the story - Ovan and Shino are trying to rebuild their guild, the Twilight Brigade. While never a large guild in the first place, they've lost some members, and Ovan seems to have decided that Haseo meets his membership requirements. He's also sensed something "special" about him. Shino, meanwhile, has been working on persuading cat-girl Tabby to sign up, but from both Ovan and Shino there's a definite feeling that they're hiding something - and the methods they use to recruit Haseo and Tabby are more like manipulation than a direct approach. Other players don't seem to entirely trust them, either, with flying cat-man Phyllo trying to get information from Haseo about his contact with Ovan, and rival guild TaN doing their best to make sure that, whatever Ovan and Shino are up to, they don't succeed.

"Twilight Guild" gives the strongest hint as to what Ovan's after - R:2 is based on R:1's code, so could the Key of the Twilight has made it intact through the upgrade? Ovan thinks it has, and it's the mission of his guild to try and find it. To most people in the game, though, the Key is just a legend, and not real - and that makes the Twilight Guild's members almost outcasts in the game.

Presentation-wise, Roots is as you'd expect from a Bee Train series, with the usual lush visuals. Music is as high-profile as ever, too, although this time around Ali Project are responsible for most of the background themes, and I have to say they're not as appealing on the ears as the old Yuki Kajiura themes (which do still appear from time to time, making it easy to spot the difference). Every time I hear an Ali Project soundtrack, it seems worse than the last one, and this is no exception.

The verdict, then. .hack//Roots stays true to the previous series and settings, but ultimately that makes it feel like more of the same. As with .hack//SIGN, the emphasis is more on talk and explanation, rather than action - that's okay from time to time, but a full series of it can get a bit tedious. Roots also ties in quite heavily with the .hack//GU game - I haven't played that, so I can't say for sure what you miss if you haven't, but by most accounts you will get more out of this series if you have. Be warned.

All told, this is a solid enough start, but as with most things .hack it's some way short of being exciting viewing.

Rating - ***

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