.hack//G.U. & Roots Overall Review Part II – Story

Well this is the second and final part of my overall review of G.U. This also heavily includes Roots because of how tightly bonded with G.U. it is. I will direct all comments about G.U. to this post unless it specifically talks about a character, which will go in the first half of the review, or about Returner, which will obviously go there.

I’m not quite going to say as much as I did in my “What .hack Means to Me” post here: but truly, G.U. was great. There were so many things that were all mingled together, everything mixed together made his just amazingly enjoyable and I loved it. The game was truly made by the characters, the story, and how everything came together.

The characters were one of the things that made this amazing. I won’t talk much about this here at all, considering I have a separate post just or that, but really the characters and their interaction made things great. The one thing that makes G.U. as good as it is, to me at least, is that the characters had flaws and from that they were made interesting. They all had problems getting along with each other and had different kind of relationships with each other, all of which just added together to become interesting. At times it was more interesting o find out what was going to happen between to characters then it was to actually see what was going to happen next, and that alone is just great.

One thing that I always compare G.U. to is of course IMOQ. And one thing in particular are the antagonists. This is what amazes me the most, especially by comparison. In IMOQ, the enemies were really just seemingly mindless and faceless monstrous creatures. They were effectively the phases and Cubia. However in G.U. a majority of the game was focused on human antagonists, which just adds so much more to it. Really I couldn’t care less about monsters. There is no way that it makes you feel for them; there is no seeing it from the monsters point of view. However in G.U. the enemies had motives and for the most part where understandable. Ovan was doing everything for the better good yet appeared to be an enemy at first, but was always mysterious. Just thinking of him as a bad guy was a difficult view because it could go so many ways. Just by having him be a point of interest instead of some monster and creature you don’t really know places so much more detail and conflict into the story and characters, it just blows IMOQ out of the water, and really most of the other installments. Really, not even comparing it to other .hack there are few stories that use this, which is a shame. Not to say that the focus is always n monsters, but it is generally on bad guys who you don’t know. In G.U., especially Ovan, was an antagonist that was seen as a good guy as well as bad, which really just adds whole new layers of interesting.

Of course, the main part of G.U. is also the story. No it’s hard to say overall what the story really means, seeing as it took all these games and a prequel to really play it out, but really I thought it was great. The main thing that I’m surprised about is how dark it is. Yes sure Ovan didn’t actually die. That’s shown for sure in Returner by the fact that…well, they show him. And even in the game Haseo says he feels like Ovan isn’t gone, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t still dark and deep, serious and interesting. Just the simple fact that there was an issue of someone giving their life or at least putting themselves at serious risk was great. The scene in which Ovan activated rebirth was great, as it was him risking himself for the sake of Aina. Even not referencing what happened to Ovan it was great. There was always the drama about what was going on. Nothing was clear cut, there was not white and black, good and evil, it was all gray. Things were constantly a mess and there were continual scenes of people grieving and when emotions were running high. That by itself makes the story great, not to mention anything to do with Ovan.

I do have to talk about the actual ending of the game. I heard a couple of people complaining about it, and I just don’t understand it. I thought it was done great. Someone complained about the final part of the game not being about AIDA. So what? That doesn’t make it bad at all, that’s just a statement. The AIDA wasn’t supposed to be the overall focus, which became obvious when they revealed what the focus was. AIDA was there to get Ovan to eventually use Rebirth, and that is what then caused for Cubia, and so on. I thought the overall story was great as it focused really on the characters. AIDA was faceless and didn’t have a history with everyone, Ovan on the other hand did. Sure the final boss was Cubia, but everything happened because of Ovan which is much more interesting then the story just being that AIDA groups together and makes a huge creature and you fight it, Ovan helping you out in the end, which is really where it would be left to go if they didn’t have there be a different problem. I thought it was done well, the use of AIDA in the story was great as it caused for problems to happen, and then was the overall drive for Ovan, him wanting to cure his sister of it.

Overall, I think Roots and G.U. are the outstanding examples of all of ht .hack installments, mixing in amazing character development and interaction with story. The story follows along the path that previous .hack installments did yet really seemed to bring a much darker and deeper, really a more interesting, story to everything. It all just seemed to fit together and just Roots and G.U. by itself has proven to be epic just standing alone, and matched with everything else it transcends that as well. Really, to put it simply I loved G.U. I thought the story and ending was great and everything that leads up to it was amazing. This isn’t’ to say it’s not without flaws, but they don’t hinder my impression or thoughts on this game, or more importantly, the story.

4 thoughts on “.hack//G.U. & Roots Overall Review Part II – Story”

  1. Actually…I thought that the 3rd Volume was more than slightly confusing. Of course, as I’m a closet nihlist, my views might be significantly different…

    1.) Kuhn: I thought this guy was meant to die, or at least end up comatose, in Vol. 1. It’s not that I don’t like him- In fact, I find that he’s a thoroughly interesting character. However, his battle against Haseo is so emotionally resonant, and seemingly so final, that his revival (“Hey, I used Magus to copy my data! I’m fine!”) seems like something of a cop-out. I mean, he just…Fades into the background…In the later volumes. He plays a minor role in Vol. 2, but it’s one that could be done by any other Epitah User, and he’s barely present in Vol. 3

    2.) The AIDA. We never quite understood what this was. In fact, in the 3rd Volume, it’s severely underutilized, and apparently purged when Ovan activates the Rebirth…Kind of a letdown, as we were chasing it non-stop for two Volumes. After the awesome scene with Sakaki and Atoli in Volume 2, this ending is a bit…Anti-climatic.

    3.) Ovan & Eina. Don’t get me wrong, I love these characters. But really, Ovan’s plan, revealed as a Xanatos gambit to save his little sister, seems a bit…Well, limited. I mean, he manipulated the entire game, set into motion cataclysmatic events, all for one girl? While it’s touching, it’s a bit…Well, unexpected.

    You see, I thought Ovan was Amagi, the game designer who went insane- In my opinion, his insanity was explained by the fact that his ‘sentience’ was trapped in his character, Ovan, which explained why he didn’t just ‘log out’ when he was being ‘examined’ by the Mods in ROOTS.

    Eina? I thought she was the goal of the ‘Recover Aura’ project. That, y’know, she was Amagi’s AI replacement for Aura. Instead of using the Phases to gather data for her transformation, she’s using the AIDA (Which are attracted to human emotions, just like the Phases) to gather data. So, the 3rd volume would have her Awaken as the New God of the World, triggered by the activation of Ovan’s Rebirth- The logic here is that, while the AIDA gather data, all Eight Phases still have to be activated, for the final transformation to take place. So, that creates Cuba, and leads to the final battle.

    Again, while this is a stretch, I think it makes more sense than Aura’s 3-second cameo in the game. It also explains why Ovan can’t log out, and makes him a lot more consistent; He’s so willing to save his sister from a coma that he’s willing to…Infect more people? Turn control of the World over to Sakaki? That just doesn’t make sense. In contrast, Amagi was already an obsessive bastard, so this would fit him perfectly.

    4.) Sakai & Bordeaux:

    Oh, man. These two…What I can’t understand is why they weren’t ‘killed off’. Bordeaux has been a thorn in Haseo’s side since ROOTS; After the battle in the 2nd Volume, isn’t that enough to send her into a coma? Why, then, does she turn up to help him in the 3rd Volume, and even join the party? That’s not a very satisfying conclusion to her psychotic obsession, and implied rivalry, with Haseo throughout all three games. Really, they just should’ve left her in her comatose state.

    Or dead. Really, considering how hideously she’s been infected by AIDA, it might really, really be a battle to the death.

    Sakaki: Again, I found his fate to be a ‘cop out’. For all he’s done, he just…forgets everything? Hell, even his plans become increasingly unstable from the 2nd to the 3rd games. And why would CC Corp. even turn control over to him? It’s utterly insane. I’d thought that he would be a more credible threat in Vol. 3- Maybe he’d continue his plan to infect the entire World, so he could control them…But instead, he simply decides to hold a tournament (A nice touch), that accomplishes- Absolutely nothing.

    Also, I was quite sure that he’d be killed by an AIDA-infected Haseo, not ‘erased’ by the Azure Knights. Even the trailer sets this up, with Haseo looking all evil and possessed- Unfortunately, it becomes a throwaway scene.

    The Azure Knights: Really, too little screentime. Yes, I know that they’re not exactly ‘The Enemy’ any longer, but their role in this game is just sloppy. The Cathedral fight is nice, but after that…They simply don’t do anything. And what’s up with them joining your party at the end? In fact, the entire battle just reeks of a rush to the deadline- You realise that Balmung and Orca use the exact same mechanics as they did in Vol. 2, right? That’s barely a proper boss battle.

    It’s frustrating, really, the lack of resolution. Yes, the Tri-Defense is mentioned, but we never get anything more than that. It also doesn’t explain why they aren’t present at the final battles. (Hah, for a cameo, you could have the original players take control of the Azure Knights, at the end of the game, when they ‘return to the World’- Remember, Kite and Balmung are *both* employed by CC corp- to help fight Cubia again.)

    Possessed Haseo: Oh, boy. Another scene with a *lot* of potential, wasted. Again, this is heavily foreshadowed in the tournament, where Haseo becomes increasingly evil- Remember, he wanted to carve the ‘Terror Of Death’ into the PK’ers, after that little speech, and Sakaki is doing everything he can to increase Haseo’s hate…But in the end, nothing happens. You’re telling me that Haseo just shakes off the AIDA’s possession? Where no-one else has *ever* done it before being defeated? You have *got* to be kidding.

    I thought that he’d be possessed…And utterly out of Sakaki’s control, engaging Sakaki in an Avatar Battle to the death, before raging through the netscape to confront Ovan. Having to solo Ovan would make the boss battle against him actually interesting, instead of again being a Vol. 2 rehash (Yes, Ovan is actually *weaker* than his Vol. 2 boss form.) *Then* you could have Haseo purged when the Rebirth triggers. It’d also make his ‘X-Form’ scene more resonant, as he reflects and comes to terms with himself, and communes with Skeith.

    As it is, the framework of the story is there, but it does seem as though it was severely compromised. Personally, I detect the hand of an Excecutibe Producer in it, but you have to agree that the *mood* of this game is very different from the previous two- And that a lot of situations were completely bypassed.

  2. Yeah, I was going to do a post about it but kind of forgot so now I’m going to wait until there is some more info on it, like a trailer.

  3. I always found that the characters of G.U. had so much less substance than those of the first four .hack games. Honestly, even Haseo is essentially a hormonal, moody teen. And that Elk’s player would actually become like that, while understandable, is extremely disappointing. Everyone who met Kite was affected by it, and it’s like he’s the only one who never really changed. The remaining characters, they can pretty much all be defined as emo in the extreme. When I first read about Atoli, I couldn’t help but think how unbalanced she seemed, and that impression hasn’t changed much. In the end, she’s still just a girl with confidence issues who can’t quite seem to stand up for herself. Most of the characters also seem to have issues that are far outside the norm and make them extremely dramatic but not all that interesting. Just like Roots didn’t use real world flashbacks in comparison to SIGN who made good use of them, G.U. also focused too little on the players behind the characters, and essentially, everyone inside the game took themselves too seriously. Overall, I can’t help but feel that G.U. accomplishes nothing in the long run. I don’t find Haseo to be a very realistic character either, unlike you. The guy spends most of his time in grumpy mode, insulting or just plain talking rudely to everyone he meets at least once, and yet this guy supposedly earned the respect of other players and became the hero of G.U.?

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