.hack//MUTATION is a worthy sequel to .hack//INFECTION, and manages to improve upon the original. The game starts off just where you left the last game (or would have left off, had you played it). There is no tutorial to get you into it, nothing but a short summary of what happened in the previous game (if you want a tutorial, play INFECTION, don’t just complain about it like a whiny punk). If you have played the first one, the controls will be a breeze to pick up since they are the same as in INFECTION. The audio and visual aspects of the game also remain the same, as does pretty much everything else, aside from the story.
The story of this game gives it the key fun points that put it above INFECTION. From playing the first one you already know all of the characters and the background, so instead of spending time setting everything up, you are quickly thrust into another edge-of-your-seat thriller of a chapter that will leave you breathless!
This is the kind of game that can be very fun to play if you know enough about it, but very un-fun if you don’t. If you have not played the first one yet, do so before you play this one. There is an excellent chance of becoming quite confused about what is going on if you don’t. If you choose to ignore my warnings, you can still play the game with relative ease, even if you are just a beginner. The controls are easy to pick up, and that little summary I mentioned earlier might lead you on the path to figuring out what’s going on.
The replay value in this one, just like the last one, is very high. There are even more worlds to explore than last time, and you can even go back to all the worlds you could visit in the last game. There are also Grunty races, where you can ride the Grunties you raised around towns to gather flags as fast as possible. There are also more secrets to be found (the secret dungeon in this game is quite spectacular, visually, in my opinion) in this game, inducing special appearances from the characters of the .hack TV series, .hack//SIGN.
Overall, this game is an improvement upon the first. If you liked the first one, you will not be disappointed with this game—and if you had some complaints with the first one (like not being able to race Grunties in town…), then they are probably cleared up in MUTATION. If you are into .hack already, or even just thinking about getting into it (*cough*playINFECTIONfirst*cough*) then MUTATION won’t disappoint (*cough*unlessmaybeyoudidn’tplayINFECTION*cough*).