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Shenmue II (Dreamcast) artwork

Shenmue II (Dreamcast) review


"Shenmue II is well worth a purchase if you want an engrossing story, backed up with some stunning set-pieces, strong characterisation, and ducks."



When the Dreamcast was originally announced, Shenmue was touted as being its Killer App. When, after many delays, it was finally released, few were disappointed. Those who were are probably the kind of people who whine at their wives or mothers because their eggs aren't done 'just the way they like them'. At the other end of the spectrum were those who hailed it as the finest game ever. It was, of course, neither of these, but it was an experience like no other.

So, hopes were high for the sequel, then. After us Europeans recovered from our laughing fit (Brought about because the game wasn't intended for a U.S. release, Ha-Ha), the game was released, and bought by many. Others are still not aware that the game is available for the Dreamcast, and are waiting for the XBox release. Well done to Sega's marketing division.

So, on to the actual reviewing of the game. If you didn't like the first one, chances are that Shenmue 2 won't change your opinion. It is a very polished, very stylish game, though. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is probably in need of a good kick. You only have to play the game for 10 minutes to realise that the scale is much, much larger than the original. The people who inhabit it are also more helpful, something that is no doubt a counter-measure to the game's vastness. There are also maps, in case you get lost (Not an uncommon occurrance).

So, the adventuring is more user-friendly, but what of the combat? That's been revised too, obviously. The dodge button is no longer completely superfluous, and the battles are paced better, so you don't feel like it's all over after you've thrown a few punches. Also of note are the street-fights, something that makes up for the lack of proper fights in the first game. This brings us, in a contrived way, to the Mini-Games. All the original's games are here, with the addition of two more arcade classics, OutRun and Afterburner II, and lots of gambling sub-games. There's also a hidden diversion, if you can find it. Chances are you won't though. Because you suck.

There are lots of new additions to the game, but this is review, and I'm here to give an opinion, not to read you the instructions. My opinion is that Shenmue II is well worth a purchase if you want an engrossing story, backed up with some stunning set-pieces, strong characterisation, and ducks. If you found the first game dull, then don't bother with the sequel. However, if this is the case, then the problem is not with the game.

The problem is with you. Sir.

Rating: 8/10

syn's avatar
Community review by syn (Date unavailable)

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