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Gaming Age (A) (100%)
Overall, Shenmue II was an incredible experience for me, from start to finish. The core gameplay formula isn?t much different from the first game, just packed with more action and improvements. So many improvements, in fact, that I am confident about giving Shenmue II an ?A? score. It isn?t a game for everyone, but in my opinion, it?s one of the best gaming experiences out there. It?s a damn shame that so many will have to wait more than a year to play it.Oct 29th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
SEGA-Portal.de (10 out of 10) (100%)
Shenmue II setzt den grandiosen Vorgänger mehr als würdig fort. Eine riesengroße Welt, eine phänomenale Atmosphäre, Nervenkitzel, hunderte emotionale Momente und noch vieles mehr zeichnet dieses Stück Videospielgeschichte aus und es steht fest - Yu Suzuki muss einen dritten Teil entwickeln. Doch durch die schlechten Verkaufszahlen und die enorm hohen Entwicklungskosten, wird sich niemand als Geldgeber bereiterklären... wohlmöglich werden wir nie erfahren, wie es weitergeht. Doch die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt!Sep 21st, 2009 · Dreamcast · read review
GamesCollection (10 out of 10) (100%)
Chi scrive intende il Videogioco come mezzo per evadere dalla realtà, per vivere emozioni che nella vita reale non si possono provare; Sia che si tratti di essere un agente infiltrato, un cavaliere, un pilota di macchine o un bambino con le corna… Shenmue 2 raccoglie appieno questa filosofia e la direziona al giocatore, lanciando un messaggio forte e comprensibile da chiunque, hardcore gamer o casual che sia. Ti fa vivere una vita che non è tua, ma aiuta a capire la propria, creando una sorta di paradosso comprensibile solo a coloro che sapranno capire questa opera. Semplicemente magico.Dec 20th, 2010 · Dreamcast · read review
Legendra ( ) (100%)
Donc au final (et vous l'aurez compris), Shenmue est pour moi le meilleur jeu de la Dreamcast (et même toutes consoles confondues !) et il serait vraiment dommage de ne pas en profiter. Rien de ce jeu n'a été bâclé et j'attends avec impatience le 3ème chapitre. Pourvu qu'il sorte !Jul 24th, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
SEGA-Mag (Objectif-SEGA) (10 out of 10) (100%)
(Je remets mes dents, pardonnez ce contretemps!) En terme de réalisation, Shenmue 2 va un peu plus loin que le premier volet. Si les environnements sont plus variés et plus grands, il faut savoir que la population est beaucoup plus nombreuse. Ce qui occasionne, à l´instar du premier opus, des ralentissements inopportuns un peu plus fréquents. L´effet d´apparition "fantôme" empêchant le clipping ou plutôt l´atténuant est toujours de la partie, mais ces défauts sont vraiment minimes. Shenmue, que ce soit le premier ou deuxième épisode reste une aventure époustouflante à tous les niveaux ! Les thèmes de cette ambiance chinoise sont fascinants, et découvrir Shenmue II reste, quoiqu´il arrive, un bonheur de tous les instants.2008 · Dreamcast · read review
Shin Force (9.9 out of 10) (99%)
Buy this game. Collectors will surely gobble up the Japanese Limited Edition release. If you want to get somewhere within a reasonable time, however, then get the European version.Jan 5th, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
neXGam (9.8 out of 10) (98%)
Mit Shenmue II hat SEGA's Visionär Yu Suzuki das Spielprinzip des ersten Teils nochmals gehörig aufwerten können. Im Endeffekt ist ein MUST-HAVE für jeden Adventure- und SEGA-Fan heraus gekommen. Darüber hinaus treibt die neue Grafikengine den Dreamcast bis an sein Leistungsmaximum. Kaufempfehlung!!!Dec 27th, 2009 · Dreamcast · read review
Netjak (9.8 out of 10) (98%)
Best DC Game Ever? I would say, although Hundred Swords and the upcoming Ikaruga might qualify too. Despite the ending, I loved Yu Suzuki's 2nd Shenmue, a game that will most likely be seen as his best work until Shen III is released, at least by me. Don't wait for the Xbox version - import this on Dreamcast, if only for the collectors value of it. With the US one we'll likely get the bad ending taken out and another laughable voice translation, possibly sans the text. Of course, this is mere speculation on my part, I could be wrong, but... you know the rest.Jul 28th, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
Retroage (9.7 out of 10) (97%)
Wyżej wymieniłem sporo rzeczy, które mi się w Shenmue 2 nie spodobały, ale nie lękajcie się, to tylko drobne niedogodności. Gra jest ogromna i wypełniona po brzegi świetnymi pomysłami. Daje masę frajdy, a śledzenie historii Ryo nie pozwala oderwać się od telewizora. Niestety największą wadą gry jest to, że nie zobaczymy zakończenia. Przy pierwszej części było wiadomo, że gdzieś tam majaczy kontynuacja. Niestety od premiery Shenmue 2 minęło już dziesięć lat, a o następnych rozdziałach sagi możemy tylko pomarzyć... Panie Suzuki zrób pan w końcu dalszy ciąg. Może być nawet na Ipada, Wii albo inne dziwadło!!!Apr 9th, 2011 · Dreamcast · read review
Gamezone (Germany) (9.5 out of 10) (95%)
Das besonders schöne ist an Shenmue2 ist, wie auch schon beim Vorgänger, der asiatische Flair der beim Spielen rüberkommt. So lernt man durchaus die ein oder andere Verhaltensregel oder auch ein paar chinesische Legenden. Die Atmosphäre des Spiel ist sogar so dicht, das man nach dem Spielen von Shenmue unbedingt auch mal im "Real-Life" nach China oder Japan fliegen möchte. Ebenbürtiger Nachfolger zum wahrscheinlich besten Spiel der Dreamcast!Sep 7th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Meristation (9.5 out of 10) (95%)
Una obra maestra, firme candidato a juego del año por segunda vez consecutiva y sobre todo, y lo que lo hace especial es ese sabor a gran clásico, a juego 10 donde todos debemos dar las gracias al equipo formado por Suzuki que dan vida a un mundo de eterna fantasía digital.Nov 29th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
SegaFan.com (9.5 out of 10) (95%)
Si Shenmue II se juega "a saco", yendo directamente a los objetivos, sin jugar a los minijuegos, explorando sólo lo imprescindible se le puede estimar una duración de unas 20 horas aproximadamente; pero así no es como se debe de jugar Shenmue II, si realmente se quiere apreciar completamente la magnitud del universo creado por Yu Suzuki, hay que jugarlo sin prisas, buscar secretos, escenas ocultas... sólo así se disfrutará completamente del mejor juego de Dreamcast, y de uno de los mejores juegos que Sega haya creado jamás.Jul 1st, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
Play.tm (94 out of 100) (94%)
So then. What Do I think of Shenmue II? Well, a little disappointed to tell you the truth. Don’t get me wrong it is an awesome game, one of the best on the Dreamcast. However I was expecting four sequels at the least. I feel slightly cheated by Yu Suzuki and Co, I wanted Shenmue to span huge boundaries, never crossed before… but alas it was not to be, the series moves ever onwards and upwards, now to be on the X-Box, leaving Dreamcast owners in the darkness thinking, “Why did we buy this, it’s the Saturn all over again!”. Well looks like Mr Gates will be receiving a visit from Ryo. By hell he better be ready...Dec 30th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
4Players.de (94 out of 100) (94%)
Ein bisschen Geduld und Englischkenntnisse sollte man zwar mitbringen, um diese Software-Perle in vollen Zügen genießen zu können, aber ansonsten kommen abenteuerlustige Dreamcast-Besitzer um den Kauf von Shenmue II nicht herum. Kenner des Vorgängers werden zwar nicht allzu viel Neues entdecken, aber viele Kritikpunkte wie das unflexible Speichersystem, eine fehlende Energieanzeige des Gegners bei Kämpfen oder eine nicht jederzeit verfügbare Stadtkarte wurden konsequent behoben. Insgesamt ist einfach alles gewaltiger und komfortabler - nur der Innovationsbonus des ersten Teils ist etwas verflogen. Aber so oder so bietet Shenmue II sowohl für alte Hasen als auch für Neuensteiger ein Spielerlebnis, das nach wie vor einzigartig und wirklich jeden Penny wert ist.Dec 12th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Consoles Plus (92 out of 100) (92%)
Ce Shenmue 2 propose davantage de rebondissements et d'action que le premier volet. Reste que ce jeu est injouable sans parler japonais.Oct 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Gamesmania.de (91 out of 100) (91%)
Shenmue II ist auf jeden Fall ein Muss. Nicht nur für den Spieler des Vorgängers, sondern für alle Dreamcast-Besitzer. Wirklich schade, dass der Nachfolger derzeit nicht geplant ist - aber man kann hoffen, dass die Shenmue-Serie auf einer anderen Konsole fortgesetzt wird.Sep 21st, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
GameSpy (90 out of 100) (90%)
Sadly, this is the last new Dreamcast game you may ever play. But talk about going out with a bang... You couldn't ask for anything more.Dec 19th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Jeuxvideo.com (18 out of 20) (90%)
Une nouvelle page se tourne dans l'histoire de Shenmue. Ce second volet permet à la Dreamcast de terminer sa carrière sur un titre qui marquera à tout jamais les esprits de ceux qui s'y essaieront. L'ambitieux projet de Yu Suzuki est bien en train de se concrétiser avec ce titre qui ne constitue toujours que le commencement de cette saga démesurée.Nov 29th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
GamesAreFun.com (GAF) (9 out of 10) (90%)
If you can't tell, I'm a big fan of this game. Suzuki and team are to be commended for vastly improving on nearly every aspect of game design, and seamlessly pulling it all off. If you didn't import the European version, be sure to pick up the Xbox title when it hits our stores sometime later this year, with even more enhancements thrown in. As for me, bring on Shenmue III.Apr 5th, 2003 · Dreamcast · read review
RPGamer (9 out of 10) (90%)
For those RPGamers who enjoyed the original Shenmue, Shenmue 2 should come as a wonderful treat. For those who found the original too slow paced, it may come as a pleasant surprise. In either case, players will finally learn where that title comes from.Nov 11th, 2004 · Dreamcast · read review
Thunderbolt Games (9 out of 10) (90%)
Overall, Shenmue II is for the fans, it’s not likely to attract new fans nor has it broken new ground in the genre but it’s undoubtedly a memorable and special experience. New to the series? Pick up the first game cheap. Loved that? Track down your own copy of this and get ready to be glued to your TV for days. Thunderbolt score: nAug 23rd, 2008 · Dreamcast · read review
Gaming Target (9 out of 10) (90%)
Shenmue II is… well, everything Shenmue II should be. It takes the original game, improves the portions that had problems, adds enhancements, and continues the story of Ryo Hazuki very effectively. The game is in no way perfect, and will still turn off fans of constant action because of its more slow paced, dialog driven gameplay. However, no one can deny what a wonderfully designed, well playing game it is. Sega, you gotta love ‘em.Jan 22nd, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
Power Unlimited (90 out of 100) (90%)
Niet alleen Metal Gear Solid krijgt deze maand zijn langverwachte opvolger, ook Shenmue's tweede deel ligt in de winkels en ik ben zwaar onder de indruk.Feb 2002 · Dreamcast
Planet Dreamcast (9 out of 10) (90%)
What it all comes down to is this: Is the game fun to play? The answer is "yes." It's a long and involving quest unlike anything before it (except Shenmue) that should appeal to both RPG and Adventure game fans. Though it would have been nice to see this game released in America, at least we now have an Xbox game to really look forward to. Sadly, this is the last new Dreamcast game I will ever play. But talk about going out with a bang... I couldn't have asked for anything more.Oct 31st, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
GameSpot (8.7 out of 10) (87%)
It's a shame Shenmue II will never see the light of day on the Dreamcast in the US. Its level of polish, technical prowess, and creativity make it one of the DC's finest titles. Fans of the series owe it to themselves to track it down and play it via Japanese or European import. It's that good. Hopefully it will shine just as brightly when the Xbox version is released.Dec 4th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Computer Bild Spiele (1.78 out of 6) (84%)
Das letzte große Spiel für die dahingeschiedene Konsole Dreamcast hinterlässt einen bleibenden Eindruck: Die Entwickler haben sich die Kritik vieler Freunde des ersten Teils zu Herzen genommen und diesmal eine unglaublich realistisch wirkende Spielwelt geschaffen. Die Ladezeiten wurden erheblich verkürzt. Nerv tötendes Warten auf das nächste wichtige Ereignis ist damit endlich Geschichte.Feb 2002 · Dreamcast
RPGFan (82 out of 100) (82%)
In the end, I can't help but feel that Shen Mue II goes 3 steps forward and then 2 steps backwards from Shen Mue I. There is no doubt in my mind that it offers more in terms of gameplay and storyline, but the amount of frustration that accompanies it can make it a chore to get to the fun points in the game. But given how I'm now eagerly waiting for Shen Mue III, maybe it doesn't really matter in the end. After all, Shen Mue fans are sure to like the game, and if your only problem with Shen Mue was that there wasn't enough action, Shen Mue II is sure to satisfy you. For those who didn't like the style of the game at all, you're better off sticking with Final Fantasy X and Super Robot Wars Advanced (well, urm...I am, anyway).Nov 11th, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Insert Credit (8.1 out of 10) (81%)
In spite of its flaws, Shenmue II is a great improvement over Shenmue I, and is a quality game with many highlights. It demonstrates that Suzuki's pioneering vision is feasible, but also that he must improve particular aspects of the game. Fortunately, the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts when it comes to Shenmue II. Many discount the story as cliché, and this does have a certain ring of truth. But as Shenmue fleshes out the hackneyed storyline via its visual realism, you become immersed in the world, and the result is anything but cliché. Wait for the XBOX version or import a copy for the Dreamcast UK, because Shenmue II is a stunningly immersive experience, the only of its kind. It is a wonderful testament to the creative power of Yu Suzuki and a fitting last big hurrah to the legacy of the Dreamcast.May 18th, 2002 · Dreamcast · read review
Eurogamer.net (UK) (8 out of 10) (80%)
Sure, it's an extremely technically impressive game, and there's some decent advancements within the game dynamic, but it's essentially just what we were expecting and secretly I wish it wasn't. There's no surprise, no intrigue, and the proceedings are slightly tainted with a 'here we go again' atmosphere. Have no doubt that once you're into Shenmue 2, you're going to be in there for a good while. This game is absolutely enormous, dwarfing the previous chapter beyond all possible comprehension, and once it gets going it's a decent improvement. However, the difficulty of actually getting into the game in the first place is a concern, and newcomers will undoubtedly be completely turned off from the start. Every Dreamcast owner should at least give it a try, but just be prepared to make a commitment.Dec 23rd, 2001 · Dreamcast · read review
Armchair Empire (8 out of 10) (80%)
As a final swansong for Sega’s last console, this is the perfect game. Not without it’s flaws, it manages still to be charming, original, full of character, and fun. Still, it isn’t worth the hassle I’ve put up with, but at least I can laugh back at my friends who laugh at me for owning a Region 2 PAL DC.2001 · Dreamcast · read review
The most beautiful game I've ever played.
At last the final great Dreamcast title is here. As Shenmue fans will recall the first game ended with Ryo leaving Japan for China on a ship, leaving us all hanging desperately for the next chapter to see what happens next. Part 2 picks up as the boat is coming into port in Hong Kong which ties the two games together perfectly. In fact it feels like the two games are just one enormous game they come together so well. The same adventure/fighting/quick timer event style gameplay is back but improved on in every area. The locations are far larger and more diverse than those in the first game with some of the most beautiful visuals ever produced by a Dreamcast. The fighting is much the same but the camera angles have been improved. When adventuring there are more options of conversation than before and impatient players can skip time ahead rather than waiting around for a certain event. One of the highlights of Shenmue 1 was the various ways you could waste time in the game, in part 2 there is even more to do. There are loads of gambling games to play, you can arm wrestle for money or even participate in a street fight. The arcade games are back aswell and this time around you can play faithful versions of Outrun and Afterburner (two of my fav classic games) as well as Space Harrier and Hang on from the original. Toy collecting is done much better too as there are more toys than before but this time you can also sell them to pawn shops to get extra cash and offload those pesky doubles you picked up in the first game. But how can I sell objects I got in the first game I hear you ask? Because if you kept your clear file from Shenmue 1 then you can load the data in when you begin a game of Shenmue 2. This transfers most of your inventory from the original as well as the date that you finished the first one so the timeline is consistent. Story wise a lot more development occurs than before with decent pacing throughout and the game is fairly long with four different huge areas to traverse.
Despite all the praise I give it, Shenmue 2 isn't without fault. There is some trade off with gameplay to achieve the cinematic quality of the title, the most obvious sections being the QTE ones which run on a predetermined path with you pushing buttons at the appropriate times. Also the story kind of takes over on the final disc with not a lot to do but watch and listen. Visually there is some pop up with characters too but all these faults were easily forgiven in light of the brilliance of the title.
The Bottom Line
Shenmue 2 is a masterpiece and goes hand in hand with its predessesor so if you enjoyed the first part you simply MUST get this truly beautiful game. While it is by no means perfect, I find that by my own personal reviewers tilt that the Shenmue games are my favourite games of all time. One word of warning though, the Shenmue story spans many chapters and does not end with part 2 so once again we are left at a turning point in the story, which will leave you waiting desperately for the next chapter to arrive to see what happens next.
by Sycada (177) on Dec 3rd, 2001 · Dreamcast
Shenmue II works extremely well as a sequel. Many of the original title's mistakes are corrected, and everything that made it great has been improved upon. The game's graphics are slightly more detailed and much more colorful. The environments provide a great deal more variety. The voice acting, heard here in the original Japanese, is more convincing and emotional than the dry English dub heard in the first title.
The Quick-Timer Events (QTE) from the first title are here as well; they are more common and better-executed than before, but they are not so common that they become tedious or take away from the game's sense of interactivity. Though not all gamers have spoken fondly of the QTE system, I happen to like it quite a bit, particularly in fight scenes. I am primarily an adventure and RPG gamer, and lack the hand-eye coordination to attain true mastery of 3D fighting games. In fact, I am pretty much a button masher. QTEs give me the opportunity to see Ryo perform exciting martial art feats that I would not be able to accomplish manually. Also, with the QTE system, the game's creators are momentarily freed from having to use camera angles suitable for a game, resulting in set pieces that are truly cinematic in scope and feel.
Speaking of camera angles, I must pay respect to the 3D "camera work" of Shenmue II. To date, it is the only fully-3D adventure game I have ever played in which I never had to fight with, or even think about, the camera. I was always looking at exactly what I wanted to see. Past 3D adventure games, such as Sierra's Gabriel Knight III, have had very clunky cameras by comparison, and constantly needed adjustment in order for the gamer to see what was necessary.
I am not qualified to speak in great detail about Shenmue II's fighting system, but I found it to be an improvement over the first title. It is possible that I was simply getting better as I played, but I found myself to be using a little more strategy and a little less button mashing than before. Also, the game features more one-on-one contests against intelligent and difficult opponents than in the first title. The original Shenmue tended more often to pit Ryo against large groups of anonymous and unskilled fighters.
It is also worth mentioning that Shenmue II features what is hands-down the best boss battle in any computer or console game of any genre that I have ever played. In pretty much any action or RPG game, your last battle differs very little from your first - you just use the "Attack" command (or hit the fire button) a lot more times. A pure one-on-one fighting game might get more complicated than that, but unlike in an RPG, you are typically under a 90 second per round time constraint. Shenmue II gives you the best of both worlds. There is no time limit, the opponent is very difficult, and the final victory is nothing short of spectacular. Near the level of a Rocky or Karate Kid film finale, this is where the Shenmue series comes closest to becoming perhaps the first true "interactive movie".
The characterizations are much improved over the first title in the series. While people often still speak to each other in the curt one- or two-word sentences displayed in the first Shenmue, one gets the impression that there's a bit more going on beneath the surface than before. The all-nice-all-the-time (and let's face it, a bit boring) Fuku and Nozomi are replaced by Joy, a blunt but kind-hearted motorcycle girl, Xiuying, a martial arts master with a past not unlike Ryo's, and Ren, a gang leader who becomes a tenuous ally. These are characters with their own motivations who reveal enough about themselves to be interesting, but hold enough back that they retain a feel of mystery. You will also spend a great deal of time getting to know Shenhua, the enigmatic peasant girl featured prominently in dreamlike sequences in both the first and second Shenmue titles. When she finally makes her appearance, she does not disappoint.
Shenmue II's pacing is much improved over the first title. Where Shenmue had the burden of introducing a 16-chapter story and dragged in some sections, this game is nothing but plot development from start to finish. Although it will take a bit longer to complete than the first title (say about 4-6 more hours), it contains four chapters of Yu Suzuki's original story rather than just one and should hold the gamer's interest all the way through.
Lastly, Shenmue II features perhaps the best and most intensely satisfying ending I have ever experienced in a console game (the field gets a little tougher if you include PC games - I'd have to think about that one). Anti-climactic endings are a common fault in the adventure game genre, but Shenmue II avoids that by treating the gamer to an ending sequence that is roughly 4-6 hours long depending upon your opinion of when the game actually "begins to end". I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that the game isn't shy about giving you a big payoff for all your hard work.
The biggest problem with the Shenmue series was the fact that it came out on the Dreamcast, plain and simple. Sega suffered a series of setbacks in the 1990s after the success of the Genesis console, beginning with the expensive and confusing Sega CD (1992) and 32x (1994) upgrade packages. The Saturn (1995) only worsened the blow. The three packages were expensive, and had poor software support, many of the most popular titles overlapping with the Genesis. Who wanted to pay $400 for a Saturn so they could play a marginally better version of Mortal Kombat II than what they were already playing on their Genesis? Further, the three items were released so close together that the casual gamer simply didn't know what to buy. The Dreamcast was an excellent console that still holds up today, but it was not enough to dig Sega out of the hole they created. By that time Sony had built the Playstation into an empire, and with the amazing graphics and backward-compatibility promised by Sony for the Playstation 2, most casual gamers did not purchase the Dreamcast, choosing instead to hold off on their next-gen console purchase until they had seen what Sony could do. The Dreamcast became a console for early adopters (at the time of its release, no other console game close to the Dreamcast from a technical standpoint) and hardcore Sega believers. The Dreamcast was also plagued by the same poor third-party software support as the Saturn, 32x, and Sega CD - particularly in the RPG genre. Sega had barely anything to offer the RPG fan, as compared to Sony and the mighty behemoth that is Squaresoft. All of these elements conspired to make the Shenmue series little more than a cult favorite in the United States - and a very expensive one, at that. The first Shenmue holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive computer game ever made. Budget estimates range from $20 to $80 Million! Obviously, high budget + low sales = not good.
Why does this matter to you? Well, you need to go into Shenmue II knowing that the story does not have a resolution, and we may never find out how it actually ends. Shenmue was conceived as a 16-chapter saga. The first game in the series covers chapter 1, and Shenmue II covers chapters 3-6 (probably explaining the game's better pacing as compared to the preceding title). Chapter 2, chronicling Ryo's boat ride from Japan to Hong Kong, was skipped. Creator Yu Suzuki's plan was to have the series span approximately five games and one or two computer-animated films. Now with the story having barely even begun, the Dreamcast is dead and Sega no longer has the funds necessary to release big-budget epics. It is entirely possible that we will never see another Shenmue game.
The news isn't all bad, though. Yu Suzuki's name still carries much clout in the industry, and he has expressed a desire to complete this series. As recently as Summer 2003, he stated that were Sega to give the go-ahead, he would proceed with development of Shenmue III, condensing the remainder of the original 16 chapters into one final series installment. In the Summer of 2004, the Shenmue.com website was redesigned, and an announcement was made: The universe of Shenmue will resurface as a MMORPG, Shenmue Online, to be released in China and Korea in Spring 2005. No US release date has been announced. It is a possibility that were the MMORPG to be a success, the profits could be parleyed into a third installment in the story-based series. Time will tell.
Returning the focus to Shenmue II: Some my find fault with the pacing of the game's final disc. It is, more or less, a two-to-three hour conversation between Ryo and Shenhua with brief spurts of interactivity. I love an opportunity to really get to know characters in an RPG or adventure game, but this may not be to everyone's liking. Furthermore, I was slightly disappointed by the supernatural elements in the game's ending. Up to this point, the story of Shenmue could more or less have taken place in the real world, and the fact that Yu Suzuki's Hong Kong is a world that lives, breathes, and goes on with or without you only serves to heighten the sense of realism. The introduction of supernatural elements breaks the gamer's suspension of disbelief, reminding him or her that this is, in fact, just a video game.
Lastly, in creating a world much larger and with much greater breadth than the original Shenmue, some of the first title's depth had to be sacrificed. For instance, the first title had a few markets where numerous (basically useless) items could be purchased. Although the fact that you could buy various snacks or a gallon of milk had virtually no bearing on the game's plot, it did add to the illusion of realism. Shenmue II, in contrast, has dozens of various shops, differing little from one another. In most cases, a shop is only window dressing. You can not actually browse or purchase any items. It is a small complaint, but Hong Kong doesn't necessarily live, breathe, and provide the same level of interactivity that Shenmue's Yokosuka did.
The Bottom Line
The world of console games is significantly different than that of PC games. In an industry that considers Tomb Raider to be an adventure game, it is somewhat logical that Shenmue II would be considered an RPG despite not really resembling a Final Fantasy-type title. Coming mainly from a PC game background, however, I think that Shenmue II is much closer to a traditional PC adventure game than it is to an RPG. This being the case, I believe that Shenmue II represents the most important step forward for the adventure game genre in several years. Okay, so it doesn't exactly have puzzles, but adventure games have always been more about letting the gamer interact with a story than using item A with item B to get item C. Game designers should really take note. This title has all the right pieces of something that could really revitalize the PC adventure game genre, if a publisher actually had the guts to invest in a major adventure project.
Shenmue II is first and foremost a really great story to take part in. And it isn't so much that the story is anything groundbreaking - the basic revenge plot has been done time and again - but never before in a console title has it been presented with such amazing style. From the opening cinematic to the spectacular climax and trailing action that follows, this title is an experience that should not be missed by anyone who really loves great games. Shenmue II is probably the greatest console game that I have ever played.
by Eurythmic (2666) on Sep 14th, 2004 · Dreamcast
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Riemann80, Axi, Alsy, Wizo, Kohler 86, Patrick Bregger, Jeanne, vedder, Unicorn Lynx, CalaisianMindthief.