• Publisher: Bandai
  • Release Date: Sep 9, 2003
Metascore
70

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. The absorbing plot and compelling gameplay held my interest the whole time. But, please remember, this rating is based on playing the game with a character that completed "Mutation."
  2. 84
    For those of us who have accepted the collection for what it is, however, and have allowed ourselves to be drawn into its phony online world, .hack//OUTBREAK can provide plenty of thrills and spills for 20 to 25 hours.
  3. 83
    Forgive me if I wanted more. I still love this series, but I had higher hopes for this sequel. Nonetheless, it's great fun. [Oct 2003, p.58]
  4. Despite the terribly repetitive combat (broken up by an absolutely terrific trio of boss battles), I still had lots of fun - although it was largely due to the way I played the game. [Oct 2003, p.115]
  5. It’s surprisingly disturbing and scary.
  6. The added AI intelligence helps out a lot though, and made it a little more enjoyable ... and more challenging at the same time.
  7. 78
    While the plot does advance quite a bit, Bandai got a little sloppy with some of the threads, and you get the sense that they fell in love too much with the idea of a cliffhanger.
  8. The entire mood is much darker than the earlier games. I appreciate the scope of this tale, and it makes up for some of the bad feelings I have about the cost of playing the whole series. [Sept 2003, p.109]
  9. 75
    The story continues to simmer nicely if unexcitingly in Outbreak, but it's finally and truly dawned on me that we are paying Bandai $200 for one game. Yeah, I knew that going in, but the extreme lack of improvements from volume to volume is going from merely irritating to downright exploitative of the fans.
  10. Though the basic premise and gameplay are still solid, the cut and paste approach for each installment is spreading a bit thin three games in. [Oct 2003, p.30]
  11. Features an essentially unchanged game system and makes no allowances for introducing newcomers to the halfway-complete adventure. [Oct 2003, p.66]
  12. 70
    While I did enjoy Outbreak I can’t get over the fact that the whole production seems completely padded out. There isn’t any real purpose for the story being split into four separate chapters, it ultimately feels like they just took a large game and split it into quarters to make more money.
  13. Outbreak commits the great sin of being worse than its previous installment. The plot continues, but the mission setup makes it impossible to enjoy as much as you (should have) enjoyed Mutation.
  14. 70
    Outbreak's gameplay differs little from that of the previous two installments...All that said, though, Outbreak is the most engrossing .hack yet from a story standpoint.
  15. Best of all, your character is no longer the somebody-please-talk-to-me newbie that he was in the first episode; it's no coincidence you've made it this far, and as a bulked-up character in your own right, it can now fall to you, as quests, to take other virtual newbies under your wing.
  16. The mediocre graphics, overly simplistic dungeons, and repetitive combat (in which you're alternately mashing buttons or baby-sitting you're A.I.-deprived party members) haven't changed one bit since the first volume. [Oct 2003, p.144]
  17. If you want to know how it all pans out then please carry on, if not then you may find much more rewarding (and certainly cost effective) offerings. It’s a slightly missed opportunity for me, a good concept allowed to become a familiar rehash of existing gameplay.
  18. Though it divulges a few more bits of storyline, Outbreak's gameplay is simple and repetitive to the extreme and is even worse off for being just like "Mutation" before it, which in turn was just like the first episode, "Infection," which was marginally good to begin with.
  19. 60
    Actually, the increased difficulty isn't such bad news. If you're a loyal player who has stuck with the series this far, your character is a considerably buffed presence by now. Indeed, one of the cooler aspects of the game is that some of your missions involve helping newer, greener players.
  20. Outbreak's biggest flaw might be its own previous installments. Players won't find much new gameplay in part 3 besides in acceleration of the story arc.
  21. Dungeons are just plain dull, especially considering how much time you spend in them. Let's face it: The World wouldn't be a very fun game if it weren't for all the coma-inducing virus outbreaks. [Sept 2003, p.73]
  22. In some places it hits the spot, with its superb fighting system and its clever idea of being able to travel to random worlds. However, the clever idea soon turns into a 'miss' when you find out that all the random worlds look the same!
  23. It's like the programmers are making this story up as they go. It's convoluted. Each game is about 20-hours long which is about half as long as a standard RPG. So far the 60 hours could have easily been edited to fit into one game and I have little doubt that the last game could be squeezed in as well.

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