#478 Shenmue II

Posted: 23rd November 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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650th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Dreamcast/Xbox
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Sega AM2
Publisher: Sega/Microsoft Game Studios

650 in! It’s a pretty minor milestone, with the two thirds check that’s coming up being more significant, but I’m always excited with a new 50 and the way I get to update my stats and look further ahead.

For my special game of the 50, I decided to pick a sequel to a game I enjoyed a lot – and hence want to see more of. Shenmue has been a game that fascinated me at the time and has been making me more curious down the line. And with a third game on the way, perhaps it’s time I played the sequel now.

Our Thoughts

Somehow refreshing for a sequel, Shenmue II wastes no time to get going. You’re not immediately dropped into everything, but with the way we were playing you had to have a job on your second day as you paid for a place to sleep on the first, and part of that grind started early. I began each day with a morning at the docks, moving pallets, in a minigame that was a bit more difficult than I expected, but that always was profitable to cover teh first day and allow for some extra goodies.

Then you get to actually follow the story. The first day set me off with chases, investigation and plenty of fighting – skills that I didn’t need to use loads early on in the first game – and every afternoon and evening I’d continue my search. This partially required learning the layout of this fictional version of Hong Kong, with many districts, different streets (some looking quite similar) and luckily enough signs to get you in the right direction.

And for the most part it works. I wish I had a fast travel option, even if it cost game time, so I didn’t have to go through a tedious set of areas every time I want to move from my job to the other side of the city to continue the story. It’s an annoyance that feels worse than the grindiness and I hope that any remakes streamline it… it gets really frustrating, especially with some of the loading times.

Final Thoughts

There are some annoyances in the game – quite a bit of grinding and manual travel that takes way too long – the story and mechanics have me really interested and I want to see more. It’s a fun adventure game, with the quick time events common enough that you’re ready, but not difficult enough that they feel like they really get in the way. More important, as before, this feels like a real, living world that you’re walking through, that has more going on than your problems, and that’s what makes the adventure truly fascinating.