Monday, December 12, 2011

Shenmue II

A game which combines fantasy and reality - a truly enhanced game with experience.

Shenmue II is the sequel to the game Shenmue, which was released on Dreamcast in 2000. It tells the story of Ryo Hazuki a high school student who sees his father murdered in front of his eyes. Shenmue II is set in Hong Kong. 

GAMEPLAY: The controls are nearly the same as in the first Shenmue, I say nearly as some of the commands of A in Shenmue are set to X in Shenmue II. Also now you can set whether or not you control Ryo with the Analog control stick or D-Pad I personally prefer the D-Pad, but newcomers might prefer the analog stick. The game is quite fun to play, but if your a newcomer you might find Ryo hard to control at first. Like Shenmue the game is still split into 3 different types of gameplay, FREE Quest, FREE Battle and QTE (Quick Timer Event).

Nothing has changed in the FREE battle, there has been a few control changes in FREE Quest, but there is a new type of QTE which is called command QTE, in which you have to press a set of buttons in a specific order within the time limit. The 'Time Control' is also back in the sequel, everything in this scene in the game follows the clock, although it is not as well implemented in this game as most shops seem to be open all the time. The arcade games have also made a return, Hang-on and Space Harrier are back and Outrun and Afterburner have been added. New mini game also include gambling games like 'Lucky Hit' where Ryo drops a ball into a board and that ball has to drop into the slot marked by a circle.

STORY: The story in Shenmue II is a continuation of the story from Shenmue. The central character, Ryo Hazuki, has just arrived in Hong Kong. He is on the trail of his father's killer. If I were to tell you more then I would spoil the game. If you want to know more then you will have to play the game yourself.

GRAPHICS: The graphics in Shenmue II push the Sega Dreamcast to its limits, you get this feeling of being in this buzzling metropolis. While there is no pop-up in the game, it suffers from terrible slowdown when there is more than 4 people on the screen, also people can just fade into vision out of nowhere. But the graphics are still ace and as time follows on, you can tell its getting dark, take around sunset the environments go orange with the glow of the sun and you can actually see the orange part of the sky slowly get smaller and smaller as time progress, but the after this the environments don't seem dark enough when the sky is clearly dark.

Also gone are the flat 2D skies from Shenmue, these are replaced by 3D moving skies, also AM2 have added in sun-flair. The environments in this game are about the same size as the harbor in Shenmue but there are more of them and it is so easy to get lost in them, you can now enter most shops in the game without the Dreamcast requiring to load them. There is also a distinct differences in buildings depending on what area you are in, For example, if you are in the docks, the warehouses look dirty and old, but say you are in the 'Rich' area of town, the buildings look well kept and there are neon signs above the shops. Also the characters who play no real part of the story all look different, and same amount of detail is spent on them as it is on Ryo and other main characters in the story.

SOUND: The sound effects are amazing, they are different depending on the type of area you are in, for example, if you are in the shopping district you can hear the market owners calling out to customers and the sound of general hustle and bustle, but if you are in the rural areas you can hear the birds singing and the dogs barking. The background music has a distinct Chinese feel to it, and unlike Shenmue were you had a different background music (BGM) depending on what part of the story you were playing, Shenmue II has a different BGM for each area, and the BGM changes at night.

Some of the music from Shenmue is here such as the theme and QTE music. This brings me onto the language of the game, the games dubbing is in Japanese with English subtitles. This works better than the robotic English voice acting from Shenmue as it adds to the realism of the game and it sound more fluent.

OVERALL: Shenmue II is a definite must for people who have played Shenmue. Also it is a good RPG for players who have not played Shenmue as there is a 14-minute Movie going through the events of Shenmue. This is good game to find in places which sell second had games. This is a definite BUY!

SYSTEM: Dreamcast, XBOX



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