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November 07, 2000
Shenmue II

Shenmue II

Skies of Arcadia
Soul Calibur
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on July 13, 2001

Special: This feature lacks originality and thought. Hmm?I think I like it!

Welcome everyone, to this the first addition of Sega Target's new weekly column entitled the ?Friday Discussion.? Each week the Sega Target staff will be bringing you our views and opinions on a multitude of Sega related topics. Since it's our first week attempting this, we've decided to start out with something simple, yet easy and fun. Now, I'll admit it's not the most original topic in the world, but it's a good place to start I think. However, we are certainly looking forward to bringing more diverse and interesting topics to you in the future. In the mean time, enjoy our first addition and be sure to check back every Friday for more. And don't be afraid to voice your opinions in our forums.

Ryan's Pick: Soul Calibur
You know, picking a favorite Dreamcast game seemed as if it'd be easy at first, but surprisingly it actually turned out to be quite difficult. There are just too many amazing Dreamcast games out there, and to just pick one out of the crop is almost an injustice, but a mans got to do what a mans got to do I guess. So I zeroed it down to a list of my top five games, which includes the following: Soul Calibur, Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Skies of Arcadia, and Crazy Taxi. As remarkable as the other four titles are, my gut feeling was to go with Soul Calibur. I believe Namco just simply couldn't have done a better job converting this title. Soul Calibur has it all, and then some.

To be honest, I feel a little guilty by picking a non-Sega title as my favorite Dreamcast game, especially with me being the Sega freak that I am. Plus, I'm not really that big a fan of fighters, which goes to show what a huge impact this game has had on me. It still contains some of the most gorgeous DC graphics to date? scratch that, make that some of the best graphics EVER to date, despite being almost two years old. Add to that some awesome characters, a flawless fighting system, and tons of extra features, and you've got yourself the perfect fighter. As well as my pick for the best DC game ever. If you own a Dreamcast and have yet to purchase Soul Calibur, your missing out, big time. And just incase you're curious, Shenmue was a close second.

Daniel's Pick: Shenmue/Skies of Arcadia (he cheated)
OK ? So we are supposed to write about our favorite Dreamcast game. We only get to pick one game (that in itself exposes the cruelty of Ryan, Sega Target's EIC) over the multitude of different genres. I have decided to buck the trend and mention two games that occupy the top spot, not as numbers one and two, but both as number one, and for different reasons. Shenmue & Skies of Arcadia, the reason that these two games are my favorite Dreamcast games is simple. Story. [Ed. Note: I am not cruel]

Both Skies of Arcadia and Shenmue have what is arguably one of the greatest qualities that seems to elude most developers these days ? a quality story to build their game upon. While gameplay is an important feature in many games, if the RPG doesn't have a good story, sit quickly becomes lame, and getting through to the end is a chore. Not so with Skies of Arcadia. I don't have the luxury that most gamers have, by which I mean being able to stay up all night and play games. I don't have a lot of free time. I have been playing Skies of Arcadia now for over 5 months, and I think I'm about 2/3 of the way through. I only get to play about 3 hours of games a week or so (maybe a little more if I'm lucky), so a game really needs to hold my attention if it has more that 20 hours of gameplay. Skies of Arcadia has done that like no other. The side quests are thankfully short; the plot twists and changes often enough without becoming a clich? of itself. True gaming bliss.

And of course, there is Shenmue. Epic can only begin to describe what this ?game? is. I sat down and was finished in less than a week. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment. To bring what could be a standard movie plot device and successfully translate that into the videogame world is nothing short of amazing. Go anywhere, do anything, man, this game rocked! There are elements of the ?game? that need fixing, but overall, I would put the story of Shenmue up against any other. My game will come out winning. I love a good story. That's why I pick these two as my favorite Dreamcast game.

Arthur's Pick: NFL2K1
WHAT? You say a football game on a favorite game list. That's right! Don't get me wrong though, Shenmue, Soul Calibur, Skies of Arcadia, and Jet Grind Radio are all great games, but I have always had a special place in my heart when it comes to sports games.

The main reason I choose NFL 2K1, besides the fact that I love football, is the replay you get with it. You will never ever have 2 games that are alike, and just because you win the Super Bowl doesn't mean your going to quit playing it. There's also nothing better than pulling off a last second touchdown or field goal to win a game. Think about it, where else do you get play as your sports icons as if they were you? Don't forget about the online play either; you will always have a real life friend or foe to play against or with online. Or, you can do one of my favorite things and build a custom team with you and your friend's names as the players (you know you've done it). NFL 2K1 is a chance for all football enthusiasts out there like me to help make a few dreams true. I can't wait for NFL2K2.

Ben's Pick: Skies of Arcadia
Most people have Shenmue or Soul Calibur come to their mind when they think about their favorite Dreamcast game. While both of those games are great, I'd like to turn the spotlight over to a little known RPG called Skies of Arcadia. Odds are that you've heard of it, just never played it, seeing how the game sold terribly. With games like Grandia 2 and Phantasy Star Online being released just after it, Skies of Arcadia was overshadowed and overlooked, and if you think about it, can be compared to how the Dreamcast itself was overlooked for more promising things such as the PS2.

Unlike certain Square games, the main character, Vyse, had no internal conflicts. He was just a nice guy trying to make the world a better place. His world is much different than the norm; the world in Skies is comprised of floating islands where people get around by flying air ships. The characters in Skies fit in their places quite well, making the story come together perfectly. In addition to an excellent story, Skies has an interesting battle system that'll draw in both the seasoned RPG gamer and newbie gamer. From the opening moment all the way to the ending scene, I was sucked into the world of Arcadia.

Skies was an ambitious title that attempted to bring new aspects to the RPG genre. Unfortunately, it's been overlooked, just like the Dreamcast. It's a shame that the mainstream overlooked the Dreamcast and all of its unique titles in favor of a more generic system such as the PS2.

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