A regular reader of mine will know how thoroughly disgusted I was when Sega decided to let the American release of the game Shemue II skip their own Dreamcast and use the Xbox.
At the time, Shenmue fans were devastated. Would we have to buy a whole new system, one we may not want, just to continue the series? Our prayers were answered when, from a far eastern land, came a bright ray of light: the European release of Shenmue II for the DC. At the time, I had heard that it became the biggest selling European DC game ever, because so many American players were importing it.
I played both games within 2 1/2 months of each other, and throughly enjoyed them. Yu Suzuki and AM-2 have created a world that is fun to be in, even when you’re moving wobbly piles of books. I could wander around and talk with close to 2000 people between both games. I could gamble, play arcade games, fight, work — the possibilities are almost endless. I will admit that Shenmue II doesn’t seem as open and free as Grand Theft Auto III, but what does? Shenmue is a milestone in the evolution of adventure games, and I honestly think that the story and the gameplay are going to be the forerunner for a great many experimental games… the poor voice acting can go away, though…
Thus, I was a very happy to get to play Shenmue II before the Xbox got it a year later. Speed through the year and come to October 30, 2002: Shenmue II is finally released in the US. Liza and I bought it, even though we do not own an Xbox. I want Sega to continue the series, and a company needs us to vote through our pocketbooks. Thus, I voted.
We brought the game home, and the disappointment began.
- The Shenmue movie on DVD covers the events of the first game in 90 minutes. The great thing is that there is a Japanese dub on the DVD. There are no English subtitles…ARGH! Back to cheesy voice actors…
- I borrowed one of my staff members’ Xbox. I brought it home and hooked it up on 11/1 and Liza and I sat down to see how the game looked. Things looked bright and smoother, but not really all that different. Problems with the character models were still their, like Jimenez Garcia’s deformed, dislocated shoulders.
- Damn English voice actors again! And no option for a Japanese dub!
- Oooooo…I can now take pictures and save them to the Xbox hard drive. Yeah. What I always wanted (“Dear Nozomi, here’s a picture of me at an arm-wrestling match.”). That is the only increase in actual features.
- No way to convert my DC save file? Bad form, folks.
- Everything’s on one disc! Yes! But things still load like they’re on multiples.
I miss the DC version.