Shenmue 2 - Xbox

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Also for: Dreamcast
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: AM2 Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: Microsoft Game Studios (GB)
Released: 21 Mar 2003 (GB)
1 Nov 2002 (US)
Ratings: 11+, ESRB Teen 13+ (T)
Accessories: Memory Unit


The reasons to give the Xbox a second look increase by the day, and with the arrival of Yu Suzuki’s gaming masterpiece Shenmue 2, it’s now hard to ignore Microsoft’s console. The power of the X joins forces with the originality and playability of Sega games. It’s hard to categorise Shenmue because it covers so much new ground. In case you’ve not experienced Shenmue, it is like being a 1980-something kung fu detective, travelling across Asia on a mission of vengeance.

Ryo, our hero, witnessed his father murder by Lun Di, a member of the Chinese mafia. Ryo’s father apparently killed a man in China some time ago. Fuelled by anger, Ryo decides to track down Lan Di and exact revenge. In the first game, the trail led to Hong Kong where the first installment ended. And so the saga continues.

Shenmue 2 is a combination of a virtual world, a fighting game, quick time events, and puzzles. It’s full of exploration and character interaction. The whole system has been revamped since the original Shenmue and makes a lot more sense. Nearly every character in the game will try to help you if you ask them, they will tell you where you need to go, who will be able to help you, and even take you there. The days of "did you see a black car?" are long gone.

There’s so much to do that’s not essential to the main quest of the game. One of the main new features is gambling. You can play Pachinko, and there's a game based on the elements where you bet on where you think the ball will end up, and a dice game where you try to roll the highest total. Shenmue dragged on a bit because you had to work to earn money as well as uncover relevant plot information. In Shenmue 2, a good way to win money is to participate in the street fights and practice your fighting techniques at the same time.

Sega, bless 'em, pulled a underhanded trick on the American market with Shenmue 2. They sold the exclusive rights to Microsoft, preventing the release of the Dreamcast version in the USA, an annoyance for loyal fans that have continued to support Sega.

The Dreamcast version is technically and visually impressive, but to such an extent that it placed a massive strain on the graphics processor causing slowdown on numerous occasions. This is where the pure grunt of Xbox comes into play. Say goodbye to slowdown and hello to new levels of smoothness. You can load the game onto the hard drive, practically eliminating any load times. The Xbox version is worth the wait.

Shenmue 2 is the closest thing to an interactive novel. It sucks you in and occupies your thoughts while you’re not even playing, and that's some gaming experience.


Shenmue 2 - Xbox Artwork

Shenmue 2 - Xbox Artwork