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Worth while sequel.

Byline: By Gary Beckwith

Title: Dot Hack//Mutation Part 2

Format: PS2

Publisher: ATARI

Price: pounds 34.99

We all know sequels can be dodgy. Jaws 3, Grease 2, Speed 2 and Police Academy 3-6 were all disappointing and failed to impress.

The same can apply to computer games and it's not always easy to follow up the original.

So when dot Hack//Mutation landed in my in-tray I was curious as to how ATARI would improve on the first instalment.

dot Hack//Mutation is a follow on from the fairly successful infection, following the outlaw Kite and his puzzle solving action adventure.

A word of warning though, Mutation offers no tutorial or teaching mode whatsoever and newcomers may be baffled.

The games plot is quite easy to follow but the intricacies of gameplay become the stumbling block.

The original plot is as follows; a 14-year-old boy named, Kite, is invited by his schoolmate, Orca, to play the online game The World.

While playing the game both Kite and his friend are attacked by an unknown monster. As a result, Orca becomes comatose in the real world.

Despite his friend's condition, Kite continues to play The World believing he'll find a way to revive Orca.

So once again you log into The World as Kite, right where you left off in the first game.

The story continues with Kite eager to find out what the developer of The World is hiding?

Armed with the forbidden abilities of Data Drain and Gate Hacking his quest is to save Orca and the other coma victims.

Along the way he makes some startling discoveries and some new friends.

As in the first part you have some help and in Mutation you are joined by new companions who each have their own skills and abilities.

Nuke, Moonstone, and Wiseman are some of the new blood and prove to be powerful aides in your quest as you search for the truth about the strange new world Kite finds himself in and the mysterious girl in white, Aura.

Those who completed infection can load their saves into Mutation with the click of a button.

Character levels, keywords, items and weapons are retained and implemented into Part 2.

Graphics are similar to those of the first game utilising the same impressive character designs.

Returning characters are completely unchanged but new ones come with a little extra style and charm and overall graphics are very colourful and stimulating.

Since it hasn't been long since the first game (around three months) the lack of improvement in overall graphics isn't a great surprise, the main additions to the game are the new puzzles and enemies (over 400) so the game comes over as more of an expansion pack than a sequel.

Saying that with its compelling storyline, addictive gameplay plus two more games to follow in August and November respectively, it's a series of games well worth riding out.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 23, 2004
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