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Author Topic: Remembering China  (Read 7881 times)

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Offline LagunaVII

Remembering China
« on: July 07, 2014, 08:44:16 PM »
November 24, 2001 – I was sat in maths waiting for the clock to strike 15:10, ironic really, as I was expecting that I would be soon waiting for a clock to strike other times for me to progress. Yes, today was the day I could finally get Shenmue II!

I had not eaten dinner, for what I believe, was 4 weeks. There was no doubt that I would be able to get Shenmue II for Christmas, but that was a mere month away. I couldn’t wait that long – no! I saved every penny of my dinner money so I could get it as close to release date as possible! Once that clock hit 15:10, I was out that school like a shot and pretty much ran the whole way to town. Finally, I could see how this epic saga continued.

The first thing I noticed when playing Shenmue II was how I didn’t notice the Japanese voices. Im not gonna lie, when I heard we would not be getting a dubbed version I thought it would take away from the experience for me. It didn’t, in fact, I found it an improvement. As mentioned in Remembering Yoksuka, I was never really a fan of the English voice cast and even though I couldn’t understand a word Japanese Ryo San was saying. I somehow knew it was a better performance.

So, Wan Chai, South Carmain Quarter, Yan Tin Apartments, an address I don’t think I am ever going to forget. Lets get this place found. Upon stepping off that boat I knew this game was going to be bigger, somehow Aberdeen just seemed a lot more open than New Yokosuka Harbour was. The good news? The capsule toys had returned. I unfortunately had collected all the Sega and Harbour Toys from my adventure in the first game. So I didn’t spend to long there.

Now, I had heard that all your money got stolen, and it was advisable to waste it all before going further, but due to an error on my part playing the first game, I ended up doing Day 2 at work several times. As a resulted I landed in Hong Kong with HK$2000. There was no way I was putting all of that in a capsule machine. Besides, I figured it was apart of the game to make your money back – no point in breaking it by pawning everything and taking away from the experience.

Anyway before I knew it I was traversing through Wan Chai. Now, as with most of you I bet, I couldn’t help compare the game to the first – getting from the Hazuki Dojo to New Yokosuka Harbour was a pretty straight forward straight line (so to speak) Playing Shenmue II changed things – when traversing the quarters I must have gotten lost thousands of times. This did not however frustrate me, it was easy enough to ask someone directions and follow them, it did however add to the experience for me. Ryo was in a foreign country, off course he is going to get lost. It just added to that sense of realism for me.

Now the jobs in this game was by far not as fun as the first, crate carrying was tedious, working at a lucky hit stand was not worth it. But again that realism for you! Work is often boring, I tell you I made a lot of my money gambling. Arm wrestling or Roll on Top. I never got no where near the HK$2000 I started with and there was no way I was selling my toys!

Still it was nice to break up the progression of the story with a bit of the optional, yet needed, side quests. In Hindsight I imagine the first disk would be very quick to finish if I had pawned my toys and had HK$1000’s to play with at the start. Still I don’t think it matters anyway, as not once in my play throughs have I paid my bill at the come over guest house.

It seemed clear from the start though, this was very much more linear than the first. I distinctly remember never really having the same play through when playing number 1 there was always different paths to your destination, whether it was getting information of Abe one play through or Tom the next. With 2 it just seemed obvious that there was one path and one alone!

QTE’s and Free Fights also seemed a little light towards the start of the game and as I progressed it seemed we were favouring free fights over the two of them anyway. I wasn’t bothered by this off course, however given this was the way it goes, was disappointed they had taken training from me.

I was pretty much a recluse the days after Shenmue II came out. If I could have, I would have skipped school. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option, still progression was moving along with some pace and before I knew it I had met my favourite character of a Video Game to this date, Ren! I honestly don’t know why I like Ren, but there is just something about him. He’s great! If there ever is a number III I do hope he manages to make his way back into Ryo’s life. Haha off course he will! He smells profit.

Disk 3 of the game is by far the most amazing part of the Saga so far. I was arrived on this disk the first Saturday after buying the game. At first glance I found Kowloon to be a bit, well, it seemed liked nothing compared to Wan Chai. But then you enter buildings, they were a maze upon themselves! Nope the scope had not gotten smaller. Things had stepped up.

Kowloon also brought the street fights – Yes I know there was one in Beverly Hills Warf, but Kowloon was where you made your money. Whether it was catching a acrobatic fighter, or hitting a one eyed man from his blind spot – it certainly put a spin on the fights I had now got used you and was pretty much kicking my way out off every time.

I suspect I spent far too long at Kowloon, far longer than I should have anyway, but there was so much to see and do – I was like a child in a sweetshop! But, anyway, I wasn’t storming the Yellowhead building until Monday night. Which I still maintain is one of the greatest action pieces of any video games! Filled with QTE’s, Free Fights, Hide and Seek, and a spin on Metal Gear Ryo from the first. I was definitely getting to the top that’s night. In all honesty I probably would have, however that albino fighter in the basement got the best of me too many times and it was late. Saving Zhu would have to wait.

I was really excited when I reached the top the next day! Come on Lan Di, lets fight! Off course I knew if Ryo ever did fight Lan Di, it would be the end – there was more of this master piece to come, a whole other disk in fact, but still I was excited about at least taking him on, alas I never did and before I knew it I was in an environment that I was not used to seeing.

Guilin, I admit, was boring for me. It was such a dramatic turn from what we have just experienced. However it did bring about a scene I found to be very emotional and heartfelt, the time Ryo and Shen Hau, sat in the cave and Ryo discussed his friends. It brought the emotion and passion back to the game and helped  bring a bit of humanism and sentimentality to the game, often two features that games of today forget.

Then it was over – before I knew it I was in a cave with a sword and well you know the rest. Needless to say I was fired up I was ready for part III and willing to wait! Ive waited 13 years so far, and am still willing to wait a bit more!

I do think its clear to see by the ending of Shenmue II, the Project Berkley and Shenmue Online videos out there, that the series was venturing away from realism somewhat and was about to enter the genre of fantasy – Shen Hau for example clearly has some magical powers. But it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It just shows Shenmue for what it is. A mix of everything in a game in a formula that works and why cant we have a bit of magic in there? Im sure it wont take away that much from realism!

I recently played both 1 and 2 again recently, it was the first time in years actually. I am so surprised at how well they have aged. Both are still as enjoyable today as they were then. I wont lie though, I would welcome a HD master of the two, in fact Sega should remaster the two of them to allow fans who skipped the Dreamcast an opportunity to enjoy this timeless classic!

Offline jameswalker85

Re: Remembering China
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 06:11:02 PM »
I knew it had magical elements to it by the fact that he was dreaming about a girl he hasn't even met yet. Though it's possible he was just fantasising about the girl on the chocolate bar wrapper...

Offline Guppy

Re: Remembering China
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 06:43:13 PM »
i knew this when i first found the mirror in the basement. as soon as u see it that magical sound comes on, "not on the Shenmue the movie the 90 mins one ) The game.
and also the sword. and the carving the replica mirrors in the stone pit.
i wonder how long it took for the carving to complete?
and i think we will see more magical monents as shenmue goes.
( still have the shenmue experince thow ) as u go futher north china

Offline LagunaVII

Re: Remembering China
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 08:09:38 PM »
Well for a game that is often praised on its realism... i just wonder how many actually are aware the game is about to step into the realms of fantasy. I know its not going to be the high fanatsy of Lord of the Rings, but still...