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Shenmue II Screenshots

The Final Say!

Shenmue II
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 16 April 2003
Review Score: 8/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:

It's here, the followup to the sensational Shenmue on Dreamcast. So let's get ready to strap on our role playing game goggles and see what Shenmue has under the hood.


Shenmue II Features

  • Players 1
  • Genre: Role Playing Game/Fighter
  • Rating: MA+
  • Dolby Digital


Shenmue II was a hard one to review as it has a number of elements to it, making it the overall package that it is today. Combining the story telling of a Role Playing Game to the basic button mashing of a generic fighting title, this is one game that should appeal to a broad range of gamers.

Now the important thing to remember with this title is the simple fact that it is a continuation of the series and that the game you are now reading about is little more than a Dreamcast port with very not much done to it to take advantage of the new technology that this console provides.

The main thing that this version boasts is the ability to take photographs throughout the game and also a very nice English dub of the soundtrack has been included. Once again you play the role of Ryo Hazuki who has to travel to Hong Kong from Japan on the hunt for Lan Di who murdered Ryo's father. Whilst it seems that the storyline is a very generic one, it's certainly far from that and one of the most compelling I have have played on XBox for some time.

The dream of the development team when the series began was to create a fully interactive world where you could manipulate any object that was capable of being moved or affected by your actions. Every person in the city is a living entity that you can interact with to a certain extent. It's the sheer level of attention to detail that make the game such a pleasurable experience.

Graphically Shenmue II also pleases. This is something that is worth remembering, although the title is a Dreamcast port and has had minor tweaks done to it, the Dreamcast had such quality games and graphics that it was already a nice looking game before the minor overhaul. It's the extra effects that have been added into this title that make it all the sweeter to play. Little things such a photoshop for all the pictures you can take during the game, filters to make your game look different and through different camera angles. There are also more fighting styles incorporated into the game such as Kung Fu and other styles from Virtua Fighter.

As the game made the move from Dreamcast to XBox, Sega could not fulfill their promise of making items collected in Shenmue transferable to Shenmue II. As a result a lot of items and fighting combos have been included to avoid any frustration. As far as controlling these moves goes, it was the one major frustration for me as I didn't find a way that I could use the analogue sticks to facilitate movement, I had to use the D Pad the entire time which ticked me off somewhat. Not that it's a major hurdle but it certainly made for a slower moving game.

That's another thing that players will notice; this title is very very slow and whilst it's an in-depth game, it is bound to frustrate some players at how time intensive it is. The problem (not really) is that there is so much to do that there is no avoiding the lengthy process. Also as any RPG enthusiast will tell you, it's the immersion into the game world that makes it so much fun.


I'd say to anyone with a bit of patience to give this one a try. It's a most rewarding gameplay experience to those with patience.

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com