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Shenmue II (DC)
Member Name: RabidBunny
Shenmue II (DC)
Date: 25/03/02, updated on 25/03/02 (94 review reads)
Advantages: Graphics, Story, Gameplay
Disadvantages: Slow down, Pop up, 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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