Fans of the original .hack series and anime have another reason to dust off their virtual desktops with .hack//G.U. Vol. 1//Rebirth scheduled to release early next week. With a story intertwiend with .hack//Roots - a new anime series that debuts on Cartoon Network in November - the game takes place in the not-so-distant future, where a fantasy online role-playing game called The World has become a cultural phenomenon.
You control Haseo, a brash Adept Rogue who needs to find a way to save his friend Shino from certain death byhunting downTri-Edge, a mysterious PK (Player Killer) who put Shino into a real-life coma with his in-game attacks.
Like the original .hack games, .hack//G.U. succeeds in enveloping you in the premise that you are a pawn investigating adiremystery within a MMORPG. You'll post on the (totally fictional) forums to look for healers to party with, check your emails for clues, and search the news for information that will lead you to Tri-Edge.
But things aren't always so serious. The World is a game, after all, and towns are filled with player characters who add depth and humor to the experience. One player named b1u3 will explain that she really wanted to make a character named Blue, but that it was already taken. Another female character will confess that she's a guy in real life.