The .hack//G.U. series, like the previous .hack videogame series, is basically a set of installments of one big game. With that in mind, I decided to write my G.U. reviews like a set of installments of one big review. As a result, if you want to know the back story, go read my review of .hack//G.U. Vol. 1: Rebirth, because I will just be discussing the improvements brought to the series by .hack//G.U. Vol. 2: Reminisce.
Haseo finally gets to use scythes in this installment. This is good because, not only it is fun to have a new type of weapon to use, but, when you learn to use scythes, you also get a handy new feature that lets you quickly switch between weapon types while fighting. Previously, you had to open your menu and change your equipment to use a new weapon, and you would have to wait a few seconds before you could start fighting again after you switched. Once you get the scythe, you can set up your quick skills bar with moves from all three types of weapons. What this means is, even if you have a broad sword equipped, you can use a scythe move and you will instantly switch to the scythe you have equipped and use the move. It may sound minor, but it makes battles a lot more fun.
Another fun aspect added is the bike customization as well as the bike races. Some people may hate bike racing because it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do (if you don’t have Matt Gardner-level skills, that is), but no one should have a beef with being able to customize the look and performance of your bike. You can make it look a lot cooler, which is important, but you can also improve it so that you find more items, are less easy to detect by enemies, and do more damage when you crash into enemies. And who doesn’t want to maximize the damage they do when plowing into a group of unsuspecting mushroom people?
There’s about the same amount of new party members added in Vol. 2 as there were in Vol 1. For all those people who can’t do math: That’s DOUBLE the characters to use in this volume. Each of the characters adds something specific to the story, as well, and none of them are optional (As opposed to the first series, where there were several optional characters that you did not have to bother getting in order to complete the games). The story in this volume is also on par with the first one, only with a more bearable cliffhanger ending. You still will want to know what happens and will be impatiently awaiting Vol. 3, but at least you won’t be throwing things out windows.
Let’s see… what else. The graphics have been improved slightly yet noticeably, and the movement speed of walking and bike riding has been improved. This is extremely noticeable when you first start the game, hop on your bike and find that you are running into buildings because you are going too fast to maneuver around curves anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it is still way more fun to go faster and run into walls than it is to go slowly and avoid walls.
Oh, and, before I forget, the replay value is still way up there for this installment. In fact, I beat the game and didn’t even put the controller down before starting a new game. To put this more in perspective, I will instantly stop playing World of Warcraft once the third and final G.U. is released.
There are a bunch more subtle improvements here and there that you could notice. The game could stand to be a bit longer, but the same could be said about Vol. 1. To sum it up in a sentence: Vol. 2 adds a lot of things that make the series more fun while keeping intact everything that you love from the first installment. Definitely worth getting if you have played the first one.