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Shenmue II PAL Review

It looked like it would never happen but it did - Shenmue II hit the Dreamcast, in English, in the UK. Microsoft may have bought the US version but thanks to Big Ben Interactive it still hit the UK a full week before the US version was due to arrive. Here is the full review of all four discs if you're still unsure if it's worth the import.

Disc 1

No doubt the thing that will hit you here is that it's in Japanese with English subtitles. Before you decide to go on a crusade to destroy Sega for this atrocity, let me tell you that it's much better this way. Like the only way to watch anime is in Japanese with English subtitles, you won't want to go back to the crappy robotic English voices. The Japanese voice acting is, like with Shenmue I, of a much higher standard and sounds more authentic even if they really should be speaking Cantonese. The disc itself is much like disc 1 of Shenmue - a lot of information-collecting. There's a lot more action than there was in disc 1 of the original (play the first ten minutes of Shenmue II and try and disagree with me) which breaks it up. You can also get through this disc fairly quickly if you know what you're doing because the information needed to progress is available from about 5-6 key people so that you can explore if you need to then get onto the action-packed later discs quickly.

Rating: 92%

Disc 2

For disc 2 Yu Suzuki really shifted Shenmue II into high gear. Right from the offset there is more action and some of the best QTEs ever are found in this disc. You also finally get to meet Ren of the Heavens in the this disc, a petty thief who can help you reach your destination, but only if there's a financial incentive. There are more characters to interact with in this disc too, but you'll want to keep playing to get onto disc 3 - the best in the game.

Rating: 95%

Disc 3

By far, this is the best disc in the game and probably the best in the series. There is action almost all the way through the disc whether it's stealth sections, chases, QTEs, and general involvement with the Hong Kong mafia. The end of the disc is incredible and should really be the end of Shenmue II as it leaves the game with some closure and a great, action-packed conclusion. Believe me, if you didn't like any part of the game up until this disc it will be made up for when you finish it. Too bad that disc 4 is such a letdown.

Rating: 96%

Disc 4

As above, disc 4 is a letdown after the amazing disc 3, but you can skip most of the boring parts to get to the interesting ending which will leave you in suspense for Shenmue III. Too bad it's not going to be on Dreamcast, but you'll have to play the rest of the series after this - play it and see.

Rating: 90%

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Gameplay: 10/10
Lifespan: 9/10

Overall Rating: 97%

Want to import the PAL version of Shenmue II? Check out our import FAQ and order it from Video Game Centre