Shenme II - The review


Established Member
For those of you who care, here's a little something I prepared earlier...:)

Well, I’ve just finished Shenmue II, and I’ve got to, where to start?

Firstly I’d just like to say that I was a moderate fan of the original game – it had some very impressive moments – but I often became frustrated with the pace (or lack thereof) and the at times horrendously poor voice acting (“Hey Mister! Let’s Play Soccer!” – *shudder*). I am pleased to say that Shenmue II fixes both these problems and some to boot. The slightly controversial inclusion of the original Japanese voice acting (and subsequent subtitles) makes the game immeasurably more playable. It gives the game a more authentic edge that is not clouded by cringe-worthy overdubs. Admittedly, it seemed a little alien at first after being used to the dodgy American voices, but they blended surprisingly quickly.

Pace and plot also gets a kick-start from the outset. As soon as you step off the boat you are given a task to complete – don’t worry though – there is plenty of help to be found in a short period of time. At times I found the level of “help” a little constricting, but not in the same way that was the problem in Shenmue I. I didn’t feel like I was forced into the plot – it was more like the natural pace of events was occuring. Throughout the game things tend to move fairly quickly, not leaving you wandering around without much to do. Also the “Practice” element seems to have been removed, so any martial arts skills you attain are through regular fights, or when you reach the third disc, through the competition matches. Again, I found this to be more satisfying than the original method of doing 100’s of “Pit Blows” one after the other.

Graphically, and in terms of sheer scope, Shenmue II is jaw dropping. The environments are much larger and each area (or quarter) now has it’s own distinct feel. The most breath-taking feature of all, though, is the total size of the game. It is MASSIVE, not to put too finer point on it. I dabble in CG myself and have a vague understanding of the time it takes to create even the most basic objects and frankly, the size and complexity of the Shenmue is truly dazzling. Even more so is the fact that it all looks so good – it really shows off the power of the little white box. True, the framerate does dip from time to time, but you barely notice it.

On the down side, I did feel that disc 4 was a bit of a waste. Yes, it does look pretty and yes, there is a SHITE load of speech, but in terms of interactivity, it’s a major let down. Who really wants to follow some girl through the woods, asking seemingly inane questions about her father? Also, despite many of the flaws being fixed, there are still some very frustrating moments to be had. A couple of examples are the book carrying section on disc two and the “balance on the planks” bit in disc three. Fortunately these a few and far between, and are all there to contribute to the plot.

Overall Shenmue II is a vast improvement over the original, that really showcases the DC’s power. While there are flaws, the positive sides (not least of which is the plot that really draws you in) far outweigh them. This is a seriously good investment for those who appreciate quality gameplay.


For those of you who have got this far, feel free to agree/complain/argue/correct me. #### maybe even write your own! :)
I think of Shenue 1&2 as great games.For me the should be that way since they are the most expensive games ever made....too bad the saga won't end on Dreamcast...
why was the book carrying so annoyning? You got a new move every day. And don't forget about the "bad" ending... ;)

great review.

but i give both shenmue 1 &2 andd 1000000000/10 :wink:

both games were so #### amazing........

anyway i dont see what was so wrong about disc 4. i mean if you didnt like talking to sha hua you could of just selelcted HURRY ON and you got to the next part

i think disc 4 was buietiful and it was pretty good.

of course it wasnt the best disc but it was very good, just like all of the discs

and ya i thought the book carrying was aight cuz you got new moves and you got to practice ur QTEs and, well, it added kinda of a more realitiy check. like ryo wont be able to stay everywhere for free (cough*COME OVER GUEST HOUSE*cough) :lol:
Quote: from Gallstaff on 11:27 am on Mar. 2, 2002

why was the book carrying so annoyning? You got a new move every day. And don't forget about the "bad" ending... ;)

I dunno, just found it was taking the point too far I guess...

Quote: from SEGA DAVID

i think disc 4 was buietiful and it was pretty good

Yeah it was good looking, but in terms of interactivity it totally sucked. Then ending of disc three suited the mood better in my opinion.

(Edited by Curtis at 7:01 am on Mar. 5, 2002)
ya i agree with you there (end of disc 3) ryo finally knows whats going on. and he now knows what he is doing

and i bet you that in the beggining of shenmue 3, they will still be in bailu village, and it will be a lot more interesting cuz maybe lan di will be there or something

they had to leave that out of shenmue 2. thats problaby why people didnt like it

and the book carrying was good in my opion. it was more realistic. like ryo had to work, like in real life. and you got a new move scroll everyday and u got practice for the *shiver* dreadful ghost hall building
The only good thing about that Ghost Hall Building section was the look he gave Ren at the end - classic moment :biggrin: