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Hate Plus tries to wrap up a story that already ended

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 2, 2013
Hate Plus, the add-on-cum-sequel to 2012’s Analogue: A Hate Story is wonderfully written, but doesn’t invite nearly the level of emotional investment as its predecessor.

Other parts of Hate Plus's interface are less impressive, though. In what I can only guess was an effort to streamline the game, Love removed the command line interface of Analogue that you could use to (for story reasons) disable the active AI or download files. While it's certainly more accessible to present those as GUI options, it lacks some of the intentionally-obtuse and retro charm of Love's previous games.

I also take issue with scrolling text in the game. Since paging through long pieces of text is the primary mechanic in Hate Plus, it's frustrating that scrolling through that text is such a chore. My standard method of scrolling long articles is to grab the bar and just pull it up and down, but trying that in Hate Plus kicks you out of the log you were reading. You're limited to either rapidly clicking the down arrow (if you just hold it down you'll probably be dead of old age before the game scrolls enough for you to keep reading) or spinning the scroll wheel, which is marginally better but still not ideal.

The bottom line
The most damning criticism I can leverage against Hate Plus it that it feels  like an expansion pack, not a full game. There's a lot of content here—a lot of well-written content, for that matter—but the story told is nowhere near as critical as Analogue's. I kept waiting for that moment, the revelation that would leave me heartbroken the way Analogue did, but it never happened. I felt fascinated by these people, but it was the distant, removed fascination of an archivist or historian. Even *Mute implied several times that certain events didn't matter because the past was the past.

Love is a fantastic writer, but she wrote herself into a corner with Hate Plus by revisiting a story that already attained closure. I can't wait to leave the Mugunghwa behind me for real next time; let those ghosts stay ghosts.


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