Tuesday, May 4, 2010

.hack//Alcor Manga Impression

The .hack// franchise on the PlayStation 2 was an MMO that was not an MMO. The series mimicked the popular massive multiplayer online setting in a single player experience with decent graphics and a deep story built around The World, the online game setting. Hours of gameplay and tons of unique characters stretched the original four game releases and subsequent three games follow-up. Each game came with a related anime DVD while Bandai also released numerous related DVD’s of their own. A trading card game, soundtracks and manga kept the series going and created a unique fan base.

With the games long since gone, the trading card game a thing of the past and the anime complete all that’s left to carry on the legacy is Tokyopop’s line of .hack// manga and novels. For fans, each of these writings offers a unique look into The World and .hack//Alcor is no exception. With a story not tied to the Key of Twilight this is a look at normal players in The World and the challenges they face on and offline. Do you need to be a fan to enjoy, let’s take a look.

The Story
– Nanase is just another gamer escaping reality in The World. She falls in love with her guild master, Silabus, and while she tries to reveal her feelings she is too shy, timid and weak to do so. Her only hope is to become stronger, but in seeking strength she puts herself at odds with Silabus. Can a strong friend in Alkaid help Nanase overcome or will she stand on the sideline and watch Silabus fall?

This is not even a side story as it takes place in The World but has nothing to do with any of the key gaming/anime characters. It’s a visit to a place that seems to be fading with fewer and fewer stories but it’s a welcome story. Simple and fun it is .hack// but only in setting and character class. Story alone will not be reason enough to go with Alcor.

The Art & Design
– Young and innocent. The style is simple yet detailed and relays the softer story that lies inside. The design is straight .hack// as are the character classes and settings. The arena may be new to some gamers but again it all fits. Many stories like this tied to a larger franchise skimp on the art but not Alcor. It’s solid, detailed and easy on the eye while keeping all that fans love.

Why Gamers Should Care
– Fans of the franchise should care for one main reason. How much more .hack//, new content, will be coming out? A new game would reboot the franchise but for now it’s all about the manga and even a story set in The World is worth the read. At this point only fans should apply as any noob will be lost in the overall setting of the .hack//

.hack//Alcor is a solid story, not spectacular, but solid. The art and animation continues the polish this franchise has put out from day 1. Fans should take a peek, all others would be better served picking up earlier .hack// manga.

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