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Shenmue II (DC)

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  • you're going to have a lot of cold dinners
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      24.05.2010 23:29
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      If you're a fan of Shenmue, you need to play this game

      We may have been waiting well over eight years for the rumoured release of Shenmue 3, but Yu Suzuki sure had it right when he created one of the most highly anticipated games at the start of the noughties. Though now a rare gem throughout the gaming world, if you ever get the chance to play Shenmue II, Xbox version or Dreamcast, you won't be able to let it out of your sights.

      Shenmue II blows its predecessor right out of the water. It's polished well, it's even longer than before, and it therefore refines every aspect the original fell just short of.

      The start of the game opens a short while after the end of the original Shenmue, following Ryo Hazuki's arrival in Hong Kong. If you've played through the first game, and I'll assume you have, Ryo will be armed with a map, some yen, and half of the Phoenix Mirror. Setting out to find his fathers killer, Lan Di, his journey will take him to various different towns all over the country, be it mountains, docks, or even street markets. On the way, as in the previous Shenmue, he'll interact with an array of new characters and learn more about the Phoenix Mirror and its counterpart, the Dragon Mirror. All will be explained.

      Shenmue II's gameplay is similar to that of the first game, and if you're familiar with Shenmue, you'll know just what to expect. Ryo will go to various locations, talking to characters, learning new things, solving puzzles, and learning moves until the alarm tells you it's time for bed. The controls for the game are the one improvement over the last which made a general positive difference to the gameplay. The D-Pad will move Ryo along whilst he can look with the analog stick, and run with the right trigger. The "talk" feature makes all the difference, especially if you're lost. NPCs you bump into may even guide you to where you need to go, as well as finding out useful clues needed to advance. In some instances where you have to meet someone, you';ll get the option to fastforward time or warp to another location.

      Quick time events, otherwise known as QTEs have also had a few tweaks themselves. You still have to replay the whole scene if you make a mistake or ten, but luckily, the QTE will continue from where you made the mistakes if you restart it.

      The general pacing and fantastic storytelling mean that Shenmue II is almost certainly a better game overall. The fact you can save anywhere also helps matters, and having guidance wherever you are means you don't end up wandering aimlessly around for ages trying to work out where you're supposed to be headed.

      One definite plus is the option to make money in various different ways. If stacking boxes isn't your thing, then there's usually something else going down, be it gambling or arm wrestling or any other various means you may pick up along the way. When finding money for the first time, right at the start of the game, you may have to do some tedious work which might well seem mediocre but don't let this put you off - jobs aren't meant to be fun, and the various ways of cash building will make up for it.

      One factor that really stands out is the general feel of the game itself, and this game has enough atmosphere to make you feel like you're really there.

      Luckily for us, the graphics are outstanding on the DC. Thanks to the DC's hardware, huge environments are displayed with no problems at all. Facial features of all the characters are very well defined. The brightness and lighting of the game reflects everything so much better than before. The camera movements are smooth, and movement flows well.

      The sound fits perfectly alongside the graphics, and everything is brought to life and creates the perfect atmosphere throughout. Every location you find yourself in will have different sets of sounds or music to personalize every setting. The games music is sold very well throughout, and every noise and piece of music create the perfect soundtrack.

      Since I'm reviewing the game on the Dreamcast, I just have to add in that the Japanese voice acting is fantastic throughout, and you'll find it much more worthwhile picking it up on this console rather than its alternative platform, the Xbox. The Xbox version loses the Japanese voice acting and instead goes down the same route as its predecessor with the English voices. The Dreamcast version definitely came out the superior of the two.

      Although Yu Suzuki has swore that the story will be told over a course of several games, we've yet to see that long-awaited Shenmue 3. We'll just have to keep hoping, maybe they'll surprise us yet.

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        03.09.2009 17:14
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        Agonising but amazing

        If there's one Dreamcast game that's absolutely like goldust to track down, it's Shenmue 2. Copies on E-Bay start at about £25, and you can look to pay up to £40-50 for a mint condition copy of the game. This caused many to buy the Xbox version, which includes a dub, whereas the Dreamcast version is simply subtitled (which is strange, considering the original game had a dub done for it!). Because of the pure nostalgia factor, it's the DC version all the way for me!

        Shenmue ends as Ryo with Ryo still in pursuit of Lan Di, who murdered his father, and must travel to Hong Kong to square up with him. The Hong Kong scenery is mostly similar to that of the original game, although there are a few nice vistas you come across every now and then that are quite a welcome change from the numerous markets and districts you usually travel through.

        From the second the game turns on, this is just a wonder to play - if you've kept your save from the first game, you'll be relieved to see that your money and other items will all transfer over, giving you something of an edge. Furthermore, the story is as engrossing as the first game, and whilst the ending may not be entirely satisfying, in that it simply leaves things open for a third game which, as we know, is probably never going to get made. That said, some producers still maintain that we might see an end to Ryo's story, because it ends in the most frustrating fashion possible, and gamers have been on tenterhooks for years now!

        Despite this frustration, it, combined with its original game, create one of the finest video game stories of all time, and certainly the best on the Dreamcast. Over four discs, this is an epic adventure that tells an emotive story of a young man desperate to avenge his father, with splendid visuals, and a great melding of action and puzzle elements. Magnificent.

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        02.02.2005 14:59
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        The Shenmue series has to be the most exciting and brilliant series of games I have ever played. I spent the whole of the summer of 2003 playing the games. The fact that you could wander around and talk to anyone and open and close things is amazing to me. Also you can get a job and talk to anyone at all. Everyone has something to say.

        Also the time moves on and so do the months and you have to be in bed at a certain time.

        I loved riding the bike and wandering around the hotels and bars etc and making various friends along the way in the game. It is all done in realtime and is inspirational to me.

        If you go wrong in any of the fights, it will go back to the beginning of the fight, you can also save before the fight to come back to it at a later time.

        I just couldn't wait for Shenmue III to come out. I did read that it could be a movie. I wonder now if it was a game, what games console it would come out on as Dreamcasts are no longer made or sold here in the UK.

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          02.08.2003 21:36
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          Developed by Yu Suzuki, Shenmue II is the follow up to one of the most engrossing video games in recent memory, Shenmue. While a lot of people tend to dismiss the game as boring, or uneventful, they typically do not play past the first hour, which is when the action really picks up. Picking up where the first game left off, Ryo Hazuki leaves the small town of Yokosuka behind to arrive at Hong Kong, hoping to find his fathers killer, Lan Di, and avenge his death, all the while trying to solve the ever unraveling mystery of the Phoenix and Dragon mirrors. Arriving in Hong Kong literally takes your breath away the first time you lay your eyes on it. As the boat crosses the river, you get a panning shot of the first area of Hong Kong, Aberdeen, complete with huge fountain. The sheer feeling of depth you get from this one area can even be slightly off putting to those gamers who would rather get down to business right away, but is fantastic for the rest of us. As you step off the boat, into the bustling pier, you won't have a clue what to do first. Buy some Zippo's, talk to people, start a collection of toy figurines, or just explore the surroundings, there is enough in this one single area to kept you busy for hours. The great thing about Shenmue II is the huge scale of the environments and the amount of interaction you can experience with them. I haven't counted, and I don't wish to try, but there are thousands of houses, shops and alleys that you can enter to explore and maybe even gain rewards for your troubles. Once the story begins to pick up pace, it never let's up, constantly hitting you with twists and shocks at every turn. Shenmue II helps develop a much more deeper plot, in which the strange mirrors play an important role and Ryo learns of his fathers past. At the end of the first Shenmue game, Master Chen gives Ryo a letter, which explains about a person named Lishao Tao, much of which the first part of the
          game is spent searching for. The second half of the game is more action packed than the first, and really get's the adrenaline pumping, also giving a chance to show off the simple, yet beautiful combat system. When one of the many battles ensues, the game switches to a side on view similar to the fighting games out there today, namely Virtua Fighter, on which the combat engine is based on, albeit a more watered-down version. The controls are simple with each of the four main buttons assigned to a particular action, kick, punch, block and grab. You can easily button - mash your way through this, but then you would be robbing yourself of the overall experience, and we wouldn't want that would we? The best way to enjoy the combat is to learn a few combinations to pull off the more difficult moves, which will usually deal more damage or have extra style. Once you have a few moves down then you can really appreciate the engine, as you clear out a room of 5 thugs without getting a finger laid on you, making you feel like god, if only for a few moments. The system is complex enough that it will allow serious gamers to delve deeper into the fighting, thus giving them more style and making fights that little bit easier, and it will allow for the impatient gamers who don't wish to learn any of the moves the chance to just blast through the game by striking one button constantly. This brings me to another type of game play Shenmue offers, Quick Timer Events, or just QTE. These keep you constantly on your guard, as they can happen at any moment, even during a tough battle. The premises is simple enough, a button will flash on the screen for a second or two, in which time you must press that button, if you succeed you will pass the QTE, fail and, well, you fail. This adds to the excitement, and accounts for some truly amazing cut scenes. A new version of the QTE has been for the second game, CQTE, which is short for C omman
          d Quick Timer Event. These involve the action pausing for a second, and a combination of buttons will flash in a certain order, which you must repeat within a couple of seconds to pass the event. One of the most enjoyable things about Shenmue is its mini-games, which return here in their hoards. The most addictive ones are the actual games themselves, which include Outrun, Afterburner II, Hang On and Space Harrier, most of which can be found in arcades or in one of the thousands of rooms the game offers. While in the game, you usually have to spend your hard earned money to have a quick play on them, but be careful, or you'll just waste it on that damn Afterburner like I did. There is also a selection of non-games to play, like Darts, Arm Wrestling or even some gambling, which are all just as popular as the arcade games. The graphics, while not as impressive as they were when it was first released, still provide a solid foundation for the game play. Characters such as Ryo, Ren and Joy are amazingly detailed, while some of the other characters have been toned down, which is a slight disappointment. The best graphics still come from the environments though, with Hong Kong slowly turning from day to night as it immerses you even more. Effects such as the sun glaring off the screen and the water casually spraying forth from a fountain really add to the overall feel of the game, giving the impression of a living and breathing computer version of Hong Kong, the rain effects however, leave a lot to be desired. One of Shenmue's most memorable experiences is its fantastic score, which you'd expect to hear in epics such as the Lord of the Rings films. While exploring the city, the music blends perfectly into the background, just enough to not get overly annoying, and during a battle or scene, more dramatic beats will kick in to help give you that rush. One of the more major complaints towards the sound department of Shenmue comes from
          the voice acting. Some people cannot stand the terrible accents in this so much that they will not play the game, while it doesn't seem to affect over people. While it's true that nearly all of the voices can go right through your skull, killing you in the process, some of the voices are actually listen able, such as Ryo and Ren. In the UK and Japanese version of the game, the voices are just that, in Japanese with English subtitles, but in the Xbox versions of the game the voices are dubbed in English, so it will really depend on which version you get, and whether you care enough about it to let it bother you. Overall, Shenmue II is a masterpiece in my eyes. Note what I said, in my eyes. Shenmue is one of those games that you would either die to get, or kill yourself to get away from it. If what I described sounds interesting to you, then by all means go out and buy a copy of the game right at this moment, but if you are more of an action gamer, maybe you should pass on this one, but I recommend you still try it, as you might just find a new found love for it.

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          • More +
            15.04.2003 04:01

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            Shenmue- not a game it's an experience - Advantages: engrossing, involving - Disadvantages: slow

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            26.09.2002 00:06
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            You dont play a game such as Shenmue 2. You experience it. Firstly, I would like to say that I am extremely grateful that this game exists. I love it, but I am very dissapointed that it came out only on Dreamacst. I wish that everyone could experience this. But you and I should be grateful, at least it was released in Europe. We hear endless stories of cheaper games and games coming out earleir in the US, but they didnt even get Shenmue 2 when it was first released. They had to wait til Bill Gate's and Satan's love child, the Xbox,came out almost a year later. From the moment you turn on this "epic story of revenge, friendship and adventure" you can tell it was produced with the upmost care and attention. There are no invisble barriers or levels. The whole game grants the player with this amazing freedom to do what you want. Of course you have objectives and tasks, but it is one of the most free games ever. You can go and get a job to earn money, you can pawn items you have saved from the first game and you can even gamble. Of course you don't have too though. You play as Ryo Hazuki, a young man with revenge intent on his mind. And eveyone knows you can't get revenge without a bit of gratitiutous violence. Not very much of the game is spent fighting but it is an important part of the stoyline. The action parts are fast and extremely fun. You can even fight for money on the streets. Overall Shenmue 2 is an excellent game which I would reccomend to anyone.

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              29.05.2002 07:13
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              • "Quite difficult to get hold of a copy"

              It was with some trepidation that I returned home on the train with my newly aquired copy of Shenmue 2. Until that point in time, my quests into deepest Glasgow in search of this most elusive of all Dreamcast games had been in vain. So, imagine my surprise (and laughter) when the "fools" at G-Force, Union Street, decided to let me swop, yes swop, my copy of Carrier (£10 - Electronics Boutique) for Shenmue 2 (£24 - Electronics Boutique). Yes, I was a happy man. I still fondly remember the day my copy of the original Shenmue arrived via our wondeful Royal Mail service. The struggle to open the box without having a seizure. The trouble I had trying to insert the GDROM into the Dreamcast with my overly sweaty palms. Then the sheer delight with the way that I *became* Ryo Hazuki, hero of our story. But it was all over too quickly, leaving me feeling like a junkie looking for their next hit. Why did the story have to stop at a climax? Why did Yu Suzuki, the games creator, do this to me? Why!?! So, on my return to my dark, dank bedroom, I again began to have the seizure/sweaty palm syndrome. Would Shenmue 2 meet my (quite) high standards of computer game wizardry. You bet your sweet ass it would! Anyone who has played the original Shenmue will feel immediately at home with the controls and interface of Shenmue 2. Anyone else may feel a tad confused with the d-pad/analogue stick combination - the d-pad moves Ryo and the stick makes hime look around- but like everything in life, after some practice, it becomes second nature to control our hero. The graphics will also look familiar to Shenmue buffs and newcomers may also be pleasantly surpirsed. Considering the Dreamcast is over 3 years old and considered "dead" by many, the quality of the visuals of this game is quite stunning. Day becomes night as you wander around the massive gameworld (supposedly 3 times bigger than the original - and who am I to argue?) and countles
              s numbers of NPCs go about their business without a care. Beautiful. The sound is also of a high standard. Haunting oriental music mingles with the sounds of everyday life in a way that is difficult to describe. Then there is the gameplay. This game will eat your life away. Your wife/husband will leave you, your friends will disown you, you will be mocked by the local children as a "weirdo" and people will generally point and laugh if you ever manage to come back to reality. But enough about my life... The main premise of the story, which continues where the previous game ended, is the ongoing quest for revenge for Ryos fathers death, at the hands of the evil Lan Di. The original game was set in Ryos hometown and this game is set in Hong Kong. Basically as Ryo you can do whatever you want. Obviously there is the main storyline, which sees Ryo acting as a sleuth to find out clues to his fathers murderers wherabouts. This invloves questioning people and moving back and forth between areas. Theres also the fighting. Every so often Ryo will come across bad folks upon whom he opens up a large can of whoop-ass. All of this happens in glorius 3D, ala Virtua Fighter and the ilk. Actually, imagine Renegade in 3D and thats probably a more closer description. Put these gameplay elements together with all of the sub-games which are scattered throughout, including the ability to actually *gulp* work for some cash, gamble or go to the arcade and actually *play* the games their (super hang-on for instance) and this game gets deep. Very deep. Partner-leavingly, friend-losingly, laugh and pointingly deep. Prepare to lose your very existence. Anyway...as you might have guessed from reading this review, I couldnt recommend this more highly. If you havent got this game, go and buy it...now. If you havent got a Dreamcast, go and buy one especially- probably wont even cost that much anyway. The only other way I can think of recommen
              ding this game is by saying this - I am a very fussy gamer. I used to buy games by the bucketload, play them for a few days and get fed up. Then I'd buy more games, etc. I have owned Shenmue 2 for about 3 weeks now and it has not left my Dreamcasts cosy CDROM drive since. I havent had a decent nights sleep for the majority of that 3 weeks, which when you work as a postman and have to get up at 5am every morning, is not good. So, just to summarise, go and get this game because it is a damn fine achevement and a great piece of software to boot. If there is any justice at all in this world, Shenmue will be the founder of a new religion and Yu Suzuki will be regarded as our God. Ok Im done ranting now...back to the trusty old Dreamcast!

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                16.04.2002 05:12
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                • "you're going to have a lot of cold dinners"

                Sorry about the title, but seriously, what CAN'T this game do? Shenmue 2 is the long-awaited sequel to Shenmue (predictably), a game that was released to much critical acclaim a few years ago on the Dreamcast. In those days, Yu Suzuki, creator, had grand plans for the series, 16 episodes, all huge, to be released on the wondrous Dreamcast, a console sure to last a thousand years, or something. Anyway, this never really happened (curse that PS2) and now only Shenmue 2 has graced the ill-fated format. Still, it?s obvious that the 7 YEARS Yu Suzuki spent developing these masterpieces has not gone to waste. You?ll be glad to know that the second game in the series is every bit as good as the original, indeed, it?s all better, from the way that you can interact to the thousands of people that you?ll encounter, to the-everything. When the original was released, it was in concert with a great deal of promotion in all of the relevant publications. With these came screenshots of events and scenarios that eventually were found out not to be in the original. To the relief of thousands, all of these features and more have been incorporated into the sequel. The actual plot is a little like this: Ryo has chased Lan Di (his father?s murderer) across Japan and is now continuing his quest of revenge to circa 1987 Hong Kong after having left everything behind in Yokosuka. Ryo steps off the ferry and that'? where you come in. One of the first things that you?ll notice when you start play is how daunting the game world initially is. Many people found this to be the case with the original, but no where near this scale. When you first take control of Ryo, you are bombarded with people trying to sell you things, dodgy tour guides, street musicians, stalls, they even sell zippos, just like the real thing! Get a bit deeper into the game and you?ll find a bustling harbour community and docks. Travel in further and you?ll soon
                get lost (took me 6 minutes) in the various denominations of a Chinese town. On your travels you?ll also go to ancient Chinese mountaintop cities and temples, nestled in the Chinese forests and jungles-epic stuff. Of course, all of this seems extremely daunting but thanks to the thoughtful construction of the game, you can take things at your own pace, this allows you to explore the environs of the location you are currently at and there is a LOT to explore. If you take time to look around during your quest, you?ll find various attractions that can either make you money (like fight clubs, arm wrestling competitions, darts, gambling of many sorts, even part time jobs) or those that are simply there to amuse (e.g. an arcade fitted with old Sega classics, toys). These all add to the atmosphere of being in a real environment, with real people. However, this real world also brings responsibilities, money makes the world goes round and the Shenmue world is no different. You are going to need lots of the stuff if you are to bribe people for vital information, enjoy the attractions, heck; you?re going to need money just to pay for your hotel room. This is where the gambling, jobs and pawnshops come into play. It?s things like this, having to schedule your day, make some money in the morning, continue the story a little in the afternoon and enjoy the evening in the cafes, arcades and gambling houses. Next I?m going to give a quick rundown of the people that you will encounter on your epic journey. Most of the locals that you will meat are simply there to fill up space, to give the towns a feel of being living, breathing towns. To achieve this, the game?s producers have given each individual, no matter how insignificant, lots of things to say, relevant to what you?re doing at the time. Incredibly, every single person has a life, they all have somewhere to go at night, they ?re also busy during the day, th
                ey all have somewhere they like to hang out, incredible depth I think you?ll agree. The game also has a lot to it that can only be appreciated if one explores a little. Two of these wonderful secrets are the duck races (pure genius) and Ryo?s first serious relationship, something that was woefully lacking from the first, especially with Nozomi around. Speaking of girls, in Shenmue 2, there are scores of them, all interested in Ryo, there?s Joy, the biker babe, Fangmei, the cute cleaner, Izumi, from the Tomato Convenience Store and a few others-brilliant. As for the graphics, they are beautiful in everyway with light-sourcing appearing on people?s faces when you?re talking to them, reflections, solar flare and a beautiful transition from daylight to darkness (the time is also a factor in the game with 1 Shenmue hour taking approximately 5 normal minutes). Graphical detail on people?s faces has also been notably improved but quite a few of the minor characters still look slightly odd, still, this can be forgiven as it doesn?t detract from the experience. Gameplay wise, this game delivers in spades and it is clear that the game creators have taken note of previous criticism of the original, which was criticized by some as being a spruced-up point and click. Absolutely everything can be interacted with in everyway that is useful, so if you pick up a jar, for example, you can choose to look inside, or turn it over and inspect the outside for clues. This level of interaction is maintained throughout the game, meaning that the player never feels like they are simply walking past scenery. To keep things moving, there are frequently QTEs (Quick Timer Events). These involve pushing a certain button, as instructed on the screen, as fast as possible. To begin with, this sounds boring and repetitive, but when you see that whether you getit right or not influences what happens on the screen, and to Ryo, all of this will become more ex
                hilarating as these QTEs take you completely by surprise. Here is an example: You are on the trail of some thugs that have taken your only informant hostage. When you find them, you start to run after them. One of the thugs turns around. If you haven?t pressed ?A? straight away, you?re sprawled on the floor after being beaten down. Try again. Right, you?ve got past that bit, but then some other bloke comes out from the shadows brandishing a baseball bat, have you pressed ?X? then ?right?, ?left?,?down?,?B?? If not, pick yourself up again and have another stab. This is the sort of thing that can regularly happen, this keeps you on your toes. This is where there is the possibility of taking a different route through the story as whether you fail or succeed determines what happens next. However, there are some that you must succeed at or you?ll just be made to do them again. This can sometimes spoil the feel of the game when you are made to repeat a sequence, reminding you that you?re only playing a video game. Another major faculty of the game is the free battle mode. This is self-explanatory. Yu Suzuki has utilized his experience from the Virtua Fighter games and the form of combat in Shenmue is a simplified evolution of the system used in those games with one button for kick, one for punch, one for throw and one for dodge. Combinations of these allow a large number of moves to be pulled off. A great deal of these are already in Ryo?s repertoire but more can be learned through being taught by people in the game. Others can simply be bought in various shops and then mastered. The whole martial arts thing is an integral part of the game with Ryo using his skills to earn money through fighting, or simply to defend himself from the thugs that have decided that he won?t finish his quest. There are also a number of places where Ryo can train, in order to build up the strength of his moves, the most notable of these being Lotus Park wh
                ere you can spar with an old Sensei. If there is one thing that I must recommend, it?s that you play Shenmue 1 before you play the sequel. This isn?t because it?s necessary, the sequel is a stand-alone title, but there is a lot to be gained from playing the original, not only is it a lot cheaper (this is a bonus as it?s a cheap test to see if you like the Shenmue style, if you do, you?ll know you want the original, if you don?t, you have spent a lot), but you will have a starter file for Shenmue 2. This is an innovation in the way that you can use your Shenmue 1 completed file to give yourself a head start in the second game. This means extra moves not available in the sequel, also, other bits and bobs are exclusive. This is pretty useless, but gives you if anything, a greater sense of it all being real, having mementos of the last game, It?s just a little thing, but it all adds to an already incredible atmosphere. This is one of those games that is actually a standalone reason to buy a console, there, nuff said. Top game.

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                  25.03.2002 01:44
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                  • Longevity

                  Shenmue II. Yu Suzuki's continuation of the much anticipated Shenmue series. Developed by those boys over in AM2, this game fully carries on the great ideas in the first game, but develops on them further. The basics The basics of the game for all of you who haven't played the first is this: You're Ryo Hazuki, your father has been killed by the leader of a chinese criminal organisation called the chiyoumen. It is your role to find this man and kill him. But you soon find yourself trapped in the quest for a secret mirror, leading to a treasure rumoured to be somewhere in China. The Story The story is what will really bring you into it. The story is written by Yu Suzuki (Of Virtua Fighter, Outrun and Space Harrier fame) himself, and boy can he write. This story will captivate you as you find yourself in immersive worlds all created by his imagination, you will find yourself loving the characters in the game, the cocky Ren, the loud Joy, the courageous Shenhua and the..... fat Don Nui. This story will take over your life until you complete the game, and unfortunately, once you complete the game, you'll only be looking for more, you'll be wanting the phoenix mirror in your right hand, and the heart of Lan Di in your left. The Graphics The graphics are trully breathtaking. It fully pushes the dreamcast to the limits. With great character models, the face animation is trully superb. The whole landscape just looks so lifelike. They rival most current Playstation 2 graphics with the exception of games like Metal Gear Solid 2. The only problems are the frame rate and the characters on screen. The frame rate during busy times during the day is annoying. It drops well below the 50fps level. But luckily it doesn't affect gameplay. The other problem are the character pop ups. When you walk through a crowded area, the limitations of the dreamcast are shown, with characters popping up out of nowhere. Th
                  is will get annoying, but luckily happens only in a couple of areas. The Sound This is by far the biggest problem in the whole game. Get ready for this. It's all in japanese. That's right. Every single word, except for one line. Now this can either be a blessing or a curse. Some of us hate the dubbing which japanese companies give such things as animes. But others will just loathe reading subtitles throughout all of the game. It is a personal choice though, but unfortunately it is the feature that either makes you love the game, or hate it to pieces. The other sound though is great. You can hear the crowds, you can hear every punch and kick you deliver. you can hear the people bargaining and shouting out for your attention. This is real life. And it certainly does sound like it. The Gameplay The gameplay is split up into three sections. In the first section there is you, just running around the streets looking for clues, talking to people, and running around some more looking for more clues. This could either be boring or great, depending on your opinion. This takes place throughout most of the game, and this can also be a deciding factor on whether or not you like the game, but personally I think that this is great. The second part of the gameplay is the fight part. Good old fight. This is basically just like Virtua Fighter, just a stripped down version. These fights take place quite often, and are located at the end of each disc near enough. These are a great addition to the game, and keep you interested. The fighting engine is almost as deep as Virtua fighter, and does rival some lesser fighting games in terms of depth. The third and final part of the gameplay is the QTE, or quick time events. These are computer controlled actions, where you are taken on what seems like a rollercoaster ride through the game's story. Then the game stops, prompting you to press buttons, which will affect the outcome of the sc
                  enario. These bits seem exactly like the bits between levels of Die Hard Arcade. But whilst they are good in the sense that they bring the player back into the game, making them feel like they're taking part in more than an interactive movie, failing to complete the task can be VERY annoying. Making you start the task from the beginning. Which can be as much as 5 minutes back. Also stuck through the game there are various mini games, such as arcade games! That's right, you can play versions of AM2's classic arcade games, such as Outrun and Space Harrier. Also you can play darts, and even gamble. Although you can't play poker, there are other gambling games out there, and even arm wrestling. These mini games alone make the experience worth it. Altogether though the gameplay does have its flaws, but is generally adequate, and well worth it. Longevity This game will last long. Luckily they have addressed the problems of the first game and made this much longer. But it suffers from the problems of the first game. After you complete it once, maybe twice, you won't want to play it again. You know what is going to happen. Also, there isn't much challenge in the game, although it is more challenging than the average RPG. But luckily, for fans of the series, it serves as a film in terms that if you love the film, there will be times when you just want to play it again. My opinion I personally love this game. The experience was overwhelming. There were great features in the game, such as the arcade games and the gambling. It just is the most realistic interpretation of the real world ever in a video game. And at times, it really makes you feel as if you're part of the experience, it's a great feeling. The gameplay is rewarding, beating Don Nui at the end of Disc 3 produced one of the biggest sighs I've ever made. And there is replay value, but just not a lot of it, but there is always something i
                  n the game that draws me back every now and again. And when it does draw me back, you can't touch me for about 3 days. It trully is great, one of the best games I have ever played. Round up Whilst this game does have its problems, if you like it, you will love it by the end. If you dislike it, you'll probably hate it. But this is a true experience. To ignore this game would be a crime. It might not be perfect, but you won't get anything like this for years to come. It's worth the play just once. So if you're wary about this game, just rent it, give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

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                    14.02.2002 04:46
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                    Most hardcore DC fans own a copy of Shenmue and have completed it one or more times. At the end of Shenmue you are left with a cliff hanger where Ryo is forced to go to Hong Kong in order to continue his quest which is to get revenge on Lan Di, the man who killed his father The game begins in Hong Kong and the first thing that you notice is that everything has kept the same to the original game (this is a good thing) One of the most noticeable changes is the landscape and scenery as this gets about as close as it gets in creating a virtual Hong Kong. I couldn't wait to get into this game and I was very happy to see that all my items and money I had collected before hand had been kept in my collection. One of the biggest changes in the game which is a sad one is that the characters voices are in Japanese instead of English which they were in the original. Personally this does not bother me, but some will be disappointed. Shenmue 2 keeps everything that the original had but improves it in everyway that you could imagine. The attention to the detail has been improved greatly and you are now more free to do what you like not what the computer wants you to do. The story on Shenmue 2 is even more gripping than the original. You meet a complete range of new characters all which get involved with Ryo in order to aid his quest. The story is one that you can't help but love as Ryo always gets so close but never close enough If you don't own the first Shenmue then not all hope is lost. You have the option to watch a small movie which tells you everything that happened in Shenmue, this is very informative so you wont miss out on anything but I still recommend that you go buy and complete the first one as its such a great game. Another noticeable change in Shenmue 2 is the fighting system. This has been changed quite a bit but still retains the old Virtua Fighter style. A new style has been added to the QTE (quic
                    k timer events) basically instead of one button flashing up a series of buttons or directions flash up and you have to enter them correctly to continue. The sound as usual is as good as it gets and fits the theme of the game perfectly. Many different themes and emotions are portrayed in this game and the music sets these up perfectly. The game is based over 4 discs and to be honest it is the greatest game on the Dreamcast and once again Yu Sazuki has out outdone himself again and in most peoples opinion this is the greatest game ever made. It certainly fits into my top 10. If you have the first one then this is a must buy and it is better than the first in every way. Even if you don?t own it buy it because the movie on the fourth disc tells you the story so you don't miss out on a thing. This is the best Dreamcast game made, Buy It.

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                      09.02.2002 21:12
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                      I can't believe how Sega do it... This is one of the deepest games I?ve ever played, for one, its one of the biggest games I?ve ever played, with graphics scarily good, even down to the intricate Facial Details! So what if the Speech in the game is in Japanese! Who cares, if anything it gives more of a feeling of Aboard-ness, than if it were in American English, as the last was, for this reason the chiefs of SEGA USA decided it would be better for all concerned if they were to not release it in the US at all, but lucky Europe we got it! The Game is set in different locations in (the then under British Occupation) Hong Kong. The detailed areas can be traced from pictures, and I can tell you it look like the real thing! There are many little things in Shen-Two (my abbreviation of Shenmue 2), like the many arcade games you can play, and the mini toys which you can collect. This game is one of the best games I've played for a long time, and if I were to play it again, it would take me a lifetime to find everything the game has to offer To me i find this game to be compelling and an amazing graphical journey, i personally love this game and I am looking forward to Shenmue III!

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                        29.11.2001 03:56
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                        Well I just completed it and felt the need to share my opinions. Basically if you haven't already bought it you must. In my opinion Shenmue was an average game but Shenmue II left me saying "thats the greatest game I've ever played". 3 chapters, 3 different locations, each one bigger than that in chapter 1. The right atmosphere with Japanese voice overs, and FAST PACED something the first wasn't. Absoulutley boiling over with plot, forget a cutscene once every few days, think a scene every 2 gaming hours, each one adding something. The characters were far more real this time round and it was positivley addictive. I'd love to say when the last time was I was this addicted to a game but it hasn't been for a long time, closest was probably Goldeneye but atleast I could put that down! I spent 5 days glued to my PC monitor, every time I tried to leave I pulled myself back anxious to see the next turn and I was never disapointed. Thank you Sega. Anyone in the states thinking of not importing, get your heads straightened out! I've played ever major title released this year thus far and this IS THE BEST. I've already got a Gamecube on order, but, now, come 2003 when the Xboxs price has dropped and shenmue 3 has been released I'm afraid I am going to need to buy one.

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                          18.08.2001 00:35
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                          Can I just say that even though i have played Shenmue through many times, I haven't played Shenmue 2 yet. This is just a preview and anyone outside of Sega who says they have played Shenmue 2, at least before Christmas, is telling porkies. ------ "He shall appear from a far off land, where he has yet to realise his true potential..." ------ Just incase you didn't know, Shenmue was a ground braking gaming experience that wowed the gaming industry. The first game to use the Fully Reactive Eyes Entertainment (FREE) genre was, as the genre suggests, a hugely interactive game that was not only detailed but vast, covering 3 game disks. The original game saw Rio Hazuki loosing his father to an evil man called Lan Di, who needed to find the 'Pheonix mirror'. Ryo's father took the Pheonix mirrors wherabouts to his grave, but Ryo, who was now concentrating on revenging his fathers death, finds it. With the help of the 500+ interractive characters in the game, you must do your detective work and fight the bad guys in order to find out about the mirror and get closer to Lan Di, so you can kill him and avenge your fathers death. Shenmue 2 starts, naturally, where the original left off - travelling to Hong Kong to catch up with Lan Di. A number of different locations will apear in the game, beginning with the, crime-ridden seaport of Aberdeen (yes, in Hong Kong). But Things will get better, as the journey reaches Wan Chai, a quiet and traditional town where Ryo will be able to seek out the assistance of a small Japanese community. Finally you will go to Guilin, where exploration of the dense Koue forest will see Ryo meeting dream-girl of the first game - Shenhua - the girl he kept on seeing in his dreams in the original, and the one who apeared talking to herself at the top of the rock in the shenmue trailer, remember? She was also on the Shenmue
                          passport disk, and even had her own theme tune that was on the original game. Still don't remember? Well even if you didn't remember her, she's going to play a big part in Shenmue chapter 2's plot, that's for sure. Talking about chapters, it's now official that the NEXT FIVE CHAPTERS will be finished off in Shenmue 2, to conclude the first half of the plot. So, really shenmue will come as 12ish chapters and 2 split games. Who knows, maybe by the time of shenmue 7 Ryo will be an old man and you'll have to take control of his son.... Ok, maybe i'm speculating too much now, but there are a couple of things to be sure about Shenmue 2: The plot will become much magical and sci-fi than the original, and Ryo will 'realise his full potential'. What it means, i do not know....but expect big things.

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