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Written by  :  Sycada (191)
Written on  :  Dec 11, 2001
Platform  :  Dreamcast
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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The most beautiful game I've ever played.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.