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Platform

Dreamcast

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

AM2

 

ESRB

N/A

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Great graphics

- Subtitles and no voice overdubbing

- Plenty of mini games

- Great continuation of story

- Original Shenmue videos for Sega Saturn included!

 

 

- NPC pop up

- Events cause story line to drag on

- Challenges to achieve goals are repetitive

 

 

Review: Shenmue (Dreamcast)

Review: Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast)

 

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Shenmue 2 (Import)

Score: 8/10

 

First of all, let me laugh at all of you who own a North American Dreamcast. BWAHAHAHAHAHA. I knew there would be something worth the hassle of buying my DC while I was in France. Let me tell you, the headache in trying to get a foreign console to work on our shores is unbelievable. I had to go out and buy a fifty dollar power converter, a VGA box, I can only play on a VGA monitor, and I have to use a boot disc to play any games I buy in North America.

 

Shenmue 2 Dreamcast Review   Shenmue 2 Dreamcast Review   Shenmue 2 Dreamcast Review

So, is Shenmue 2 worth the hassle I endured? Well no, but no game would be. It is however an absolutely great game worth any PAL DC owner and his/her money. For those of you who are still wondering about Shenmue 2ís domestic release date on DC, I have some bad news for you. The game has now been licensed as an X-Box exclusive in North America. This means that if donít have an X-Box or donít want to wait, you have to be fluent in Japanese, get a boot disc and get the Japanese NTSC import. Another alternative would be to get a VGA box, a boot disc, hook up your DC to a monitor, and play the English subtitled European PAL version. I do not recommend anyone follow my lead and do what I have done.

For those of you who arenít familiar with the storyline, the player will follow the story of Ryo Hazuki, the protagonist introduced in the first installment and his quest to avenge his murdered father. Shenmue 2 begins exactly where the first installment completed; on a Japanese dock with Ryo getting on a boat, going to Hong Kong to pursue his fatherís killer. The basic game mechanics have remained the same in this next installment, with the same horrible pop up. Non-player characters seem to pop up randomly as Ryo runs, or walks around and this can be extremely annoying.

 

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The game has improved greatly on the shortcomings of the first Shenmue with players being able to save at any point. Players are also able to skip ahead to important events in the storyline rather than finding ways for Ryo to kill time until he has to meet someone. For those of you unable to endure the voice acting in the first Shenmue, you will be pleased to know that due to fan request, the developers decided to release the game with only Japanese speech and subtitles. Maps are also a new addition and 

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can be purchased for the different districts. This is certainly a welcome addition especially in the maze of Hong Kong streets. NPCís will also sometimes lead Ryo to his desired location rather than just giving him instructions on where to go.

During the game, there are three primary game modes. First there is a free quest mode where players can go anywhere, talk to anyone, buy items, and play mini games. There are Quick Time Events (QTE) where, during a cut scene, players will have a split second to input the command that corresponds to the one flashing on the screen. If for instance the screen flashes left and left is pressed, Ryo will react to the situation favourably. A new aspect of the QTE is the use of the multi command QTE which is basically a game of Simon says. The last mode of play is the battle mode.

The QTE is used much more extensively in Shenmue 2 and players will have to endure a lot of repetition in some parts of the game. This is especially true in the latter stages of the Kowloon level. Near the end of the third disc, Ryo must get to the 40th floor of a building by using the stairs. Now this wouldnít be so bad except for the fact that the repetition and predictability ruin much of the gameís fun factor. Ryo climbs one floor, runs through that floor to get to the other side while dispatching some enemy guards through QTE, and climbs the next flight of stairs. There is some variation in what Ryo is doing for the QTE (jumping, running, balancing across a thin beam), but the repetition can be a little frustrating especially when you just want to know what happens next in the story. This is perhaps a testament to the strength and involvement of the story but with that said, if you were to take out much of the repetitive aspects of the game, Shenmue 2 would likely fit onto two GD-Roms instead of the four.

Shenmue 2 Dreamcast Review          Shenmue 2 Dreamcast Review

Yu Suzuki, the main man behind the production of Shenmue, is also the main designer behind the Virtua Fighter series. This being said, the battle mode is similar to the game mechanics and feel of the latter series. There is one button for punch, kick, guard, throw, and run. There are special move and combinations that Ryo can use and he can also dodge moves and counter his opponents moves. Overall, the battle aspect of Shenmue 2 has remained virtually the same as the first Yu Suzuki, the main man behind the production of Shenmue, is also the main designer behind the Virtua Fighter series. This being said, the battle mode is similar to the game mechanics and feel of the latter series. There is one button for punch, kick, guard, throw, and run. There are special move and combinations that Ryo can use and he can also dodge moves and counter his opponents moves. Overall, the battle aspect of Shenmue 2 has remained virtually the same as the first installment

Having just arrived from Japan with barely any money in his wallet, Ryo will need to raise some quick cash. To make it easy for players to make money, Ryo can bet on street gambling, participate in arm wrestling, display his skills in street fights, or find menial work. Once again, in this installment Ryo will need to raise a hefty sum of cash and luckily this time he has a choice on how he will do so. By using the handy new save feature I was able to quickly raise a huge sum of cash by betting the maximum amount on 50/50 odds. If I lost I just reloaded quickly and tried again. By letting players choose how they go about raising a required amount of money, the developers have allowed gamers a great freedom in choosing how they want to play the game.

The story in Shenmue 2 is what is likely to keep players coming back for more even though some of the gameplay may become tedious at times. The events and characters met throughout the story are colourful and really come to life through the fabulous graphics. Although by the end of the game we not are much closer to any sort of conclusion, there can be no sense of dissatisfaction with the ending. For those of you hooked on the story, look for the next installment on the X-box.

Upon the completion of the game, players will be treated to the availability to all the mini games that they played during their quest, as well as all their battles and opponents. As a special bonus, there is also a video of the original Shenume which was being developed for the Sega Saturn.

As a final swansong for Segaís last console, this is the perfect game. Not without itís flaws, it manages still to be charming, original, full of character, and fun. Still, it isnít worth the hassle Iíve put up with, but at least I can laugh back at my friends who laugh at me for owning a Region 2 PAL DC.

- Mark Leung: now owns an NTSC and a PAL Dreamcast. Hurray!

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