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Game Profile
November 07, 2000
Shenmue II

Shenmue II

 Written by Nathanial Noname  on November 17, 2000

Review: And thus the saga...begins...

That is true of Shenmue: Chapter 1: Yokosuka, the greatest game ever made. Every once in a while a new game comes out that makes people go "ooOooO" or "AaaAaaAA" this game makes people do both. A large development staff headed by Yu Suzuki created this masterpiece. Some people say that this game cannot be fully realized without the sequels out, but these opinions are all wrong, let me break it down to you.

Shenmue has the greatest in-game graphics that have ever been seen for a console. Unlike most RPGs, which have fully rendered backgrounds, (FMV backgrounds aka the Final Fantasy PSX series) Shenmue is fully real-time, with no full motion videos in the game, period. All of the graphics in Shenmue look as though they were FMV shots from a Playstation game, which is really stunning. You will get lost in the visual depth of this game as you wonder through the endless cities, work in the game's beautiful harbor, or even go to sleep! Best graphics ever... end of story.

With that said about the graphics, surely the sound of Shenmue is lacking... Right? Wrong! Shenmue has one of the greatest soundtracks ever made (I say one of the greatest, because JGR has a pretty kick ass soundtrack too) all of the soundtracks in Shenmue are fully orchestrated, and sound BEAUTIFUL! On top of the soundtrack all of the sounds are right on cue. When Ryo walks through the snow you can hear footsteps as if he were actually walking through the snow. When he walks on hard pavement you can hear it as if he were walking on hard pavement.... when he... well, you get the picture. Also when walking through Yokosuka you can actually hear the city bursting with life, and at night you can hear the sound of... well... night. Shenmue again excels in the area of sound.

After hearing me give praise about how Shenmue has the best graphics ever, and some of the best sound, I bet you think that Shenmue has nothing more to offer in terms of extras. But Shenmue does, and it happens to have the greatest extras that I have ever seen in a game. It has an in-game arcade with old Sega classics, it has a mini-darts game, and a mini-test your skills game. And if you don't think that that is enough, it comes with a fourth disc called "Shenmue Passport". This little disc packs a huge wallop. By putting it into your Dreamcast and smashing the power button, you can watch all the coolest scenes from the game (You?ve seen that is), listen to all of the music from the game you have heard so far, get special game details, and even compete against other peoples mini game scores world-wide on the internet. You can never get bored competing with people's scores in darts! It's so damned fun!

Instead of giving you a lecture on how the game plays out like most reviews on other sites do, I am going to give you personal experience. From the moment I popped in Shenmue I was deeply immersed into its complex world. From the intro to the ending, I was hypnotized. After all of the hype... I was expecting this game not to be as great as I thought it was going to be. But to the contrast the game was far more then I had expected. When I left the Hazuki residence for the first time, as soon as I entered the garden, I was totally stunned. When I was leaving the house for the first time, I was expecting to see a linear, half-assed looking thing, instead I was greeted with the sweetest graphics I have ever seen, and its in a fully explore able environment! I finally get passed Yamanose after talking to a girl that told me I should talk to a guy that might know something about Lan Di, and get into the Sub-City. I am totally blown away when I entered Sakuragaoka. Everything looked so real (Please, no Sammy Sosa references)! The city look like it had been pulled straight out of Japan.... I wanted to cry because everything was so beautiful, but I held myself back.

The entire world of Yokosuka is so stunning that I could spend literally days talking about it (And I do mean days). But I think that is enough about the games graphical abilities, because I don't want to accidentally give away the plot of the game...

The only thing that took me a while to get used to the controls. The reason for this was only because Yu opted to use the directional pad instead of the analog stick for moving about. Even though it may seem a little weird at first, I got used to this very fast.

The only reason I gave the replay value a 9.5 is because you don't have the ability to bi-pass all of the extra scenes that you already know everything about. Other then that this game has a very high replay value. The reason for this is because of the multiple endings. You heard me right! Multiple endings! Depending on how you fare through the game you will be treated to one of 3 known endings. Now isn't that nice?

Bottom Line
Yu Suzuki really created a masterpiece with this, the first chapter of Shenmue, and I myself cannot wait for Chapter Two. This is a major stab in the stomach for all those PS2 fan boys out there...

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