Opinions on Shenmue 2?

Joined
Oct 17, 2022
I played Shenmue 1 for the first time and I'd deem it quite a special game, not just for the technical achievements for its time but the story and slow burn pacing was just such a refreshing gaming experience. There's actually a lot of nuance to the characters, for example: Ryo is portrayed as a well mannered, good person who will not back down from his quest for revenge, which worries his family and friends. His interactions for example with Ine-san and Nozomi are thoroughly subtle, the former not wanting to over step their bounds and restrict Ryo but also worrying for his safety, the latter caring about Ryo in a romantic manner but not being able to express those feelings, as a wall stands between them. It was generally well done (not to mention Ryo's interactions with Fuku-san, the townspeople and even the thugs he beats up.) The player was given a lot of subtle inferences throughout the experience to ask questions such as, how far will Ryo go for his revenge? Is he good or bad? How will his family react to his actions?

So, with all of that in mind, what happened with Shenmue 2?

Nothing developed in the first game is carried over to Ryo's 'adventure' in Hong Kong. Here are some problems in order:

- Joy (the girl on the motorcycle) is such a hamfisted, annoying character who constantly drives Ryo forward to the next destination, but in a manner that isn't natural. As soon as you step off the boat she gives you your next objective, with the player asking the question of 'why does she care about me? Who is the person? Why are they talking to me?' Even if its answered later why she's so interested in you, how the writers shoved her into Ryo's life just didn't mesh with the much more subtle approach of Shenmue 1. She felt like a device to give the player information because the writers couldn't do it another way. To have this early 2000's 'bad ass, motorcycle chick' in the sequel to Shenmue, a game that had thoughtful character interactions (not to mention modest females, ala Nozomi) just feels like a slap in the face to the identity the first game established. Also, she makes Ryo look like a total fool, who is incompetent in finding his own way, which leads to the second problem.

- Xiuying Hong (the female martial arts master) does the same thing to Ryo: make him look like a total fool and, what's worse, makes him incompetent at martial arts. Through the entire first game Ryo has fought hundreds of people, using the renowned Hazuki style (respected by many masters) and yet he is completely out bested by this 'master'? The whole encounter is seeped in the stereotype of the female out besting the male for the sake of subversion. Why is Ryo brought down to level zero in this game from all of the training and experience he gained in Japan? There's nothing wrong with being humbled by a different style of martial arts with a different philosophy but Shenmue 2 has many instances where the 'masters' pretty much make Ryo look like a greenhorn with no experience. Going back to Hong, she leads you to her house and you sleep on her couch? Absolutely bizarre.

- Ryo's character isn't really developed (from what I played) and he instead becomes more of an avatar then a real person. It's strange to think that, in the first game, he fought people to further his quest, out of self defence and protecting the weak, and yet when he's fighting in arenas for money in the back alleys of Hong Kong...it doesn't feel right. From what I played, there weren't any moments where Ryo thought about Japan, has a moment of introspection or reminisces about the past. He becomes nothing more but a blank slate for the player to be absorbed in amusement.

- Japan had its distractions in the first game but the sheer amount of things to do in Hong Kong is honestly overwhelming. There's too many people and too many pointless locations. It was interesting to stake out and know by hand the people and places of Japan but this intimacy is missing from Shenmue 2. It felt like the designers were directionless and not thinking about the game from the perspective of the player (it's somewhat cool to follow people when they ask you to come with them, but will any player actually want to walk slowly behind an NPC, or just dash in whatever direction they're going in to eventually find where they were looking to go?)

I'd like to suggest some changes that I believe would have made Shenmue 2 a much more compelling experience.

Chen directs you to a family of his who board Japanese people on the outskirts of Hong Kong. There, you can grow accustomed to Chinese culture and see the difference between it and Japan's culture. You do menial tasks here such as chores to maintain your boarding and bond with the family you're staying with (they also will speak Japanese but everyone else will speak Chinese, forcing Ryo to manoeuvre through the language barrier.)

Hong Kong would be a place you would gradually work up to visit and the disorientating aspect of its city would be much more earned when given a smaller scale, Chinese town as your base.

Every night (or at certain times when the plot moves forward) you write a letter to Nozomi, Ine-san and Fuku-san. This would make Ryo not only thoughtful of the people he left behind but would keep the continuity of the first game still maintained in the second.

Instead of talking to martial arts masters and learning the wude, Ryo straightaway tries to find out how to join the Chinese mafia so he can find Lan Di. You work your way up and this eventually forces Ryo to contemplate how far he is willing to go for revenge: is joining a criminal organization and partaking of their heinous crimes really worth this quest? This would then also maintain the feeling of loneliness Ryo had in the first game where he couldn't tell anyone what he was up to, his quest being a lonely and melancholic one.

I would love to hear any and all opinions about the second game that I mentioned or in regards to the first game.

Thank you.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
Shenmue 2 generally seems to have the fan consensus as the best game in the series. While I understand why that’s the case and I love it as well I’ve always enjoyed the first game the most. While you definitely bring up some fair points and problems about the game I’ll try to give some counter points. In your message you’ve implied you haven’t played through the whole game, as such I’ll try to keep my explanations spoiler free.

The first point you bring up is Joy and this is one I sort of agree with you on. Joy has never been a particular favorite character of mine and maybe if someone who’s a bigger fan of her than I wants to write a bit about her than I’d love to read it. That being said I do think a lot of what you’re criticizing is mostly due to the first hour of the game. Like you I’ve never been a fan of this part of the game as it to me feels very artificial in how the game brings you along but I do think that pretty much entirely goes away after you get to the come over guest house. I will also say that I think as the story progresses Joy gets more to do and has a bit more depth than the first depictions of they character. Some of the depth is in the main story and some of it is found by the player interacting with her when the game doesn’t tell you do, or seeing what other characters have to say about her very much like the first game.

With Xiuying most of your critiques seem to stem from how the game depicts Ryo and his martial arts rather than Xiuying herself. I’ll focus on that in a second though you do bring up at the end that it’s weird that she lets Ryo stay at her room given the circumstances, and because I don’t know how far you are in the story all I’ll say is there is a very good reason that she has for caring for Ryo’s well being that progressively gets reveled as the story goes on. One of your points is that the characters are not developed in the same way that they are in the first game but I would argue that characters like Xiuying and Fangmei and some later on have as more if not more development than that ones in Shenmue 1, and it’s all done with a lot of subtly.

I don’t have much to say on the criticism on Ryo being portrayed as being “brought down to level zero” as you say as that is just what the story is and where it goes after the first game. In Shenmue 1 there is a lot of foreshadowing that Ryo’s not ready and is out of his depth and Shenmue 2 goes full on with that and shows you why he isn’t ready. You could definitely say that the contrast is too great to be believable and while I might not agree I would be sympathetic to that criticism.

As far as Ryo’s development I honestly can’t say much other than to just play the rest of the game. I wish I could explain more but I really can’t without giving out huge spoilers so all I’ll say is that nearing the end of the game there is a ton of development for the character and also a lot of introspection about Japan and the characters from Shenmue 1.

Your next criticism about the world feeling too big and directionless I believe comes from a different design philosophy. The first game both in story and gameplay is trying to make you feel like you’re in your home town wit the cozy vibe and people you’ve know for years. Shenmue 2 on the other hand is about you traveling to a huge city in a different country and all the overwhelming and isolating feeling that can bring. If you don’t like the style the second game goes for than that’s totally fair and is one of the reasons that the first game is my favorite. However that fact that Hong Kong is so big and overwhelming just shows how good the team was at creating the word and it's great gameplay and story integration.

As for your suggestions for the game I won’t say too much as it doesn’t have too much to do with the game as is. What I will say is that a lot of your suggestions sound really cool and I’m sure you could make a really good game out of that as well. I’ll also say after reading it over again, besides the stuff with the Chinese mafia, what you wrote is strangely similar to the direction Shenmue 3 went which is all I’ll say as to not spoil anything.

Anyways I’ve already written way more than I’ve intended. I hope this didn’t come off as too defensive. You bring up a lot of fair points and I’m not trying to say that you’re completely wrong or anything like that. Hopefully I was able to provide some understanding for these certain elements of the game even if the game hasn’t been for you. And if the game hasn’t clicked with you yet I implore you to still finish it. It’s a fantastic game and do think some of your criticisms will be alleviated by the end.

Cheers.
 
OP
OP
BrightestEffluence
Joined
Oct 17, 2022
Shenmue 2 generally seems to have the fan consensus as the best game in the series. While I understand why that’s the case and I love it as well I’ve always enjoyed the first game the most. While you definitely bring up some fair points and problems about the game I’ll try to give some counter points. In your message you’ve implied you haven’t played through the whole game, as such I’ll try to keep my explanations spoiler free.

The first point you bring up is Joy and this is one I sort of agree with you on. Joy has never been a particular favorite character of mine and maybe if someone who’s a bigger fan of her than I wants to write a bit about her than I’d love to read it. That being said I do think a lot of what you’re criticizing is mostly due to the first hour of the game. Like you I’ve never been a fan of this part of the game as it to me feels very artificial in how the game brings you along but I do think that pretty much entirely goes away after you get to the come over guest house. I will also say that I think as the story progresses Joy gets more to do and has a bit more depth than the first depictions of they character. Some of the depth is in the main story and some of it is found by the player interacting with her when the game doesn’t tell you do, or seeing what other characters have to say about her very much like the first game.

With Xiuying most of your critiques seem to stem from how the game depicts Ryo and his martial arts rather than Xiuying herself. I’ll focus on that in a second though you do bring up at the end that it’s weird that she lets Ryo stay at her room given the circumstances, and because I don’t know how far you are in the story all I’ll say is there is a very good reason that she has for caring for Ryo’s well being that progressively gets reveled as the story goes on. One of your points is that the characters are not developed in the same way that they are in the first game but I would argue that characters like Xiuying and Fangmei and some later on have as more if not more development than that ones in Shenmue 1, and it’s all done with a lot of subtly.

I don’t have much to say on the criticism on Ryo being portrayed as being “brought down to level zero” as you say as that is just what the story is and where it goes after the first game. In Shenmue 1 there is a lot of foreshadowing that Ryo’s not ready and is out of his depth and Shenmue 2 goes full on with that and shows you why he isn’t ready. You could definitely say that the contrast is too great to be believable and while I might not agree I would be sympathetic to that criticism.

As far as Ryo’s development I honestly can’t say much other than to just play the rest of the game. I wish I could explain more but I really can’t without giving out huge spoilers so all I’ll say is that nearing the end of the game there is a ton of development for the character and also a lot of introspection about Japan and the characters from Shenmue 1.

Your next criticism about the world feeling too big and directionless I believe comes from a different design philosophy. The first game both in story and gameplay is trying to make you feel like you’re in your home town wit the cozy vibe and people you’ve know for years. Shenmue 2 on the other hand is about you traveling to a huge city in a different country and all the overwhelming and isolating feeling that can bring. If you don’t like the style the second game goes for than that’s totally fair and is one of the reasons that the first game is my favorite. However that fact that Hong Kong is so big and overwhelming just shows how good the team was at creating the word and it's great gameplay and story integration.

As for your suggestions for the game I won’t say too much as it doesn’t have too much to do with the game as is. What I will say is that a lot of your suggestions sound really cool and I’m sure you could make a really good game out of that as well. I’ll also say after reading it over again, besides the stuff with the Chinese mafia, what you wrote is strangely similar to the direction Shenmue 3 went which is all I’ll say as to not spoil anything.

Anyways I’ve already written way more than I’ve intended. I hope this didn’t come off as too defensive. You bring up a lot of fair points and I’m not trying to say that you’re completely wrong or anything like that. Hopefully I was able to provide some understanding for these certain elements of the game even if the game hasn’t been for you. And if the game hasn’t clicked with you yet I implore you to still finish it. It’s a fantastic game and do think some of your criticisms will be alleviated by the end.

Cheers.
Thank you very much for your insightful response. I respect what you say and perhaps my greatest downfall is that I fell in love with Shenmue 1 and expected more of that in the sequel. I completely understand being disorientated by Hong Kong, that makes sense, I think however that it wasn't done in a compelling way. I know 'compelling' sounds subjective but I think intrinsically there has to be an objective difference between the first and second game that comes down to a difference in quality, ala, how things are presented, what the developers want you to care about and hold on to. For example, how the first game presented Ryo's environment allowed me to really understand it and form a connection with nearly every single NPC. You could say that's due more so to the setting being one of a small town but you can have small towns badly designed and become unengaging to the player. Most Final Fantasy towns are of this nature. Shenmue is different, though not perfect and ultimately leaving the player desiring more, it's definitely still memorable. In Hong Kong, the NPC's are a chore to speak to and were forgettable. I couldn't really form any connection with the city and, again, a huge city setting can be well designed but I think the designers went into a direction that wasn't working with their strengths: slow burn, detective gameplay where Ryo has to question and understand the people around him to solve a greater mystery. You don't really cherish that in the way the designers presented Hong Kong.

What do you think of that?
 

Spaghetti

Site Staff
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
I disagree with basically all of the OP, but these things are subjective so I won't pick on every point besides the ones about Xiuying.

Xiuying's exceptional prowess with martial arts compared to Ryo is to place emphasis on two things. One, that Ryo was a big fish in a small pond in hometown Japan, and that dynamic is now reversed. And two, that Ryo is not ready to face someone like Lan Di.

There are lines from the original Legend of Akira script that make this clear and the concept is fleshed out in the anime (if you've seen it), but a great amount of importance is stressed on martial arts being a series of life-long development and improvement. Traditional kung fu stories feature recurring themes of humility and dedication in its protagonists, who don't succeed until they truly devote themselves to martial arts.

In traditional kung fu stories, masters also provide lodging and board for their students. Whether Ryo staying with Xiuying is a nod to that or simply a game contrivance is up to the imagination.
 

Seaman

#LetsGetShenmueIV
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Im also disagree for the most while I understand some of the seeds that may ignited your legit own opinion (very polite in your exposition). I felt similar the first playthrough:
Shenmue 1 was so cozy with its snowed streets, the bleak buildings... that was intentional, to make you feel what's the feeling of going into a trip, leaving your friends and family behind. Then you're thrown into a unknown, big, wide, vibrant (both in life and color), dangerous place. In the first 10 min. within every few steps, you are:
- emotionally tricked to give money (musicians)
- Asked for a guess
- called for a Fortune reading.
- challenged into a arm wrestling match
- tricked again and bag stolen
- harrased and almost assaulted (Poison Brothers)
- Left without host House... and so on.
Its mental, imho in a good and intentional sense.
While there're many things that make S1 muy favourite, that Im skipping atm, I also love both sequels. I hope it turns to surprise you as the game progress.

What code I name said.
 
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Joined
Aug 19, 2018
As it sounds like you haven't beaten Shenmue 2 yet, I would advise finishing the game as I think many of the 'issues' you highlight are addressed. I am thinking specifically of Disk 4 Guilin where we see the real character progression of Ryo and the connections/memories of his friends in Japan.

Fundamentally the different feeling each game elicits, Shenmue 1 being much cozier, and familar compared to fish out of the water, the epic nature of Shenmue 2 is something the fandom has grappled since the original game's releases. As a child I thought Shenmue 2 was far superior game but as I get older, many aspects of the original also resonate with me.
 
OP
OP
BrightestEffluence
Joined
Oct 17, 2022
I disagree with basically all of the OP, but these things are subjective so I won't pick on every point besides the ones about Xiuying.

Xiuying's exceptional prowess with martial arts compared to Ryo is to place emphasis on two things. One, that Ryo was a big fish in a small pond in hometown Japan, and that dynamic is now reversed. And two, that Ryo is not ready to face someone like Lan Di.

There are lines from the original Legend of Akira script that make this clear and the concept is fleshed out in the anime (if you've seen it), but a great amount of importance is stressed on martial arts being a series of life-long development and improvement. Traditional kung fu stories feature recurring themes of humility and dedication in its protagonists, who don't succeed until they truly devote themselves to martial arts.

In traditional kung fu stories, masters also provide lodging and board for their students. Whether Ryo staying with Xiuying is a nod to that or simply a game contrivance is up to the imagination.
I think the 'powers reversed' motif, though intended to highlight the points you mentioned, aren't done very well in the exchange between Ryo and Xiuying. I find its handling contrived when 1. It doesn't feel earned for Ryo at that point in the story to be knocked down a peg by a master and 2. It's seeped in the cool, reserved female (who is portrayed as a perfect person) overpowering the hero stereotype, which is not only overdone but contrived. I am all for the traditional martial arts story types that you mention, when done well.
 
OP
OP
BrightestEffluence
Joined
Oct 17, 2022
As it sounds like you haven't beaten Shenmue 2 yet, I would advise finishing the game as I think many of the 'issues' you highlight are addressed. I am thinking specifically of Disk 4 Guilin where we see the real character progression of Ryo and the connections/memories of his friends in Japan.

Fundamentally the different feeling each game elicits, Shenmue 1 being much cozier, and familar compared to fish out of the water, the epic nature of Shenmue 2 is something the fandom has grappled since the original game's releases. As a child I thought Shenmue 2 was far superior game but as I get older, many aspects of the original also resonate with me.
I cannot bring myself to continue Shemue 2 as the tedium of its gameplay is not worth agonizing through. I patiently endured and enjoyed even the fork lift section of the first game because the investment to continue was much stronger (better hooks, better foundation, better experience).
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
I think the 'powers reversed' motif, though intended to highlight the points you mentioned, aren't done very well in the exchange between Ryo and Xiuying. I find its handling contrived when 1. It doesn't feel earned for Ryo at that point in the story to be knocked down a peg by a master and 2. It's seeped in the cool, reserved female (who is portrayed as a perfect person) overpowering the hero stereotype, which is not only overdone but contrived. I am all for the traditional martial arts story types that you mention, when done well.

You seem preoccupied with the idea Ryo shouldn't be losing to a female master. Yet the message is repeated ad nauseam in the first game Ryo often exhibits rash behavior and he clearly doesn't have the skill set to defeat Lan Di or take on accomplished martial artists. This is repeated by Master Chen, Gui Zhang, and Yamagishi amongst others. Was it also contrived Ryo got absolutely schooled by harbor bum Shozo Mizuki? Is it any surprise then he was no match for grandmaster?

Also, Xuixing is shown far from a perfect person, given her relationship and the outcome of what happened to Ziming.

I cannot bring myself to continue Shemue 2 as the tedium of its gameplay is not worth agonizing through. I patiently endured and enjoyed even the fork lift section of the first game because the investment to continue was much stronger (better hooks, better foundation, better experience).

Well, that's a first. I couldn't disagree more verhmentantly but you seem preoccupied with certain aspects.
 
Joined
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Late to the party, but thought I'd mention that I basically agree with you, OP.

There's always been a bit of a divide over which game is better, and it's like a band that takes its sophomore album in a new direction. They're clearly both parts of a whole, but they're also clearly different. Shenmue II is, I think, generally preferred because it's a better "game". It plays more like a game, it's paced more like a game, it's a much bigger world, and, storywise, a lot more happens.

Shenmue I is more of a life simulation. It's slow-paced and in a small area, and that allows for a lot of nuance. It's certainly more "realistic", and I mean that in the good way. I prefer Shenmue I and replay it more often than II.

We have one major difference of opinion, though: I still love Shenmue II, and highly recommend at least giving it one play through. I think you'll like it more the deeper into it you'll get. There are also glimmers of that nuanced character depth in Shenmue II, it's just hidden deeper. For example, there are a couple of unique characters with multiple cutscenes that you can miss entirely if you're not paying attention or rush through "game style", and these scenes are reminiscent of some of what you'd see in Shenmue I.

As a side note, the one other area where we may have a difference is with Xiuying. There's a very minor bit of "girl power" with her at the beginning when Ryo confuses the subordinate for the master, but that's more to humble Ryo and open his eyes, and I don't think she's otherwise treated as anything but another martial arts master Ryo can learn from. I think the current era has maybe colored our perceptions a little on these things when they weren't really big ideological issues twenty-plus years ago.
 
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JP_

Joined
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Location
UK
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Shenmue II
Late to the party, but thought I'd mention that I basically agree with you, OP.

There's always been a bit of a divide over which game is better, and it's like a band that takes its sophomore album in a new direction. They're clearly both parts of a whole, but they're also clearly different. Shenmue II is, I think, generally preferred because it's a better "game". It plays more like a game, it's paced more like a game, it's a much bigger world, and, storywise, a lot more happens.

Shenmue I is more of a life simulation. It's slow-paced and in a small area, and that allows for a lot of nuance. It's certainly more "realistic", and I mean that in the good way. I prefer Shenmue I and replay it more often than II.

We have one major difference of opinion, though: I still love Shenmue II, and highly recommend at least giving it one play through. I think you'll like it more the deeper into it you'll get. There are also glimmers of that nuanced character depth in Shenmue II, it's just hidden deeper. For example, there are a couple of unique characters with multiple cutscenes that you can miss entirely if you're not paying attention or rush through "game style", and these scenes are reminiscent of some of what you'd see in Shenmue I.

As a side note, the one other area where we may have a difference is with Xiuying. There's a very minor bit of "girl power" with her at the beginning when Ryo confuses the subordinate for the master, but that's more to humble Ryo and open his eyes, and I don't think she's otherwise treated as anything but another martial arts master Ryo can learn from. I think the current era has maybe colored our perceptions a little on these things when they weren't really big ideological issues twenty-plus years ago.
I prefer Shenmue II because it has the magical Disc 4. Apart from that I think the first game perhaps edges it for me. I adore them both. But I tend to think of the first two games as one, really, because when I first played them I did them back to back as if they were one. That is, of course, how Shenmue had been previously planned for the Saturn.

I think the different styles of I and II complement each other well – I reflects the meticulous detail of an adventure in your home town surrounded by familiar characters, whereas II is more about the bigger picture in a new, larger locale where you are an outsider. It reflects how Ryo and his story are growing into the wider world and overriding themes.

III is a similar situation of visiting new places, so it follows that its style tends to be more like II than I.

I agree with you about the “girl power” aspect of Xiuying and her introduction, which I think was very well done – it made an important and serious point without clubbing you over the head with it, and created a truly memorable character.
 
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RyoHazuki84

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For Shenmue 2, Ryo is in a new country and a new culture. He knows nobody so he's a fish out of water. As for Ryo looking like an amateur, as they say in Brazilian Jiujitsu, "there's black belt, and then there's black belt." And in martial arts, you're always learning new things, no matter what your level. I think it is the same for Xiuying as well. I like how you're immediately thrown into the unknown of a 1980s Hong Kong action flick.
 
Joined
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Shenmue
I prefer Shenmue II because it has the magical Disc 4. Apart from that I think the first game perhaps edges it for me. I adore them both. But I tend to think of the first two games as one, really, because when I first played them I did them back to back as if they were one. That is, of course, how Shenmue had been previously planned for the Saturn.

I think the different styles of I and II complement each other well – I reflects the meticulous detail of an adventure in your home town surrounded by familiar characters, whereas II is more about the bigger picture in a new, larger locale where you are an outsider. It reflects how Ryo and his story are growing into the wider world and overriding themes.

III is a similar situation of visiting new places, so it follows that its style tends to be more like II than I.
I was thinking in particular of Disc 4 when it comes to OP!

I think you nailed it as well regarding how they compliment each other. They're definitely different, and I can see how that might be frustrating for people who take a particular shine to one or the other, but at the same time, Shenmue II is clearly an evolution that builds on not just the gameplay put forth by the original but also the themes.

I'd like to suggest some changes that I believe would have made Shenmue 2 a much more compelling experience.

Chen directs you to a family of his who board Japanese people on the outskirts of Hong Kong...

Every night (or at certain times when the plot moves forward) you write a letter to Nozomi, Ine-san and Fuku-san. This would make Ryo not only thoughtful of the people he left behind but would keep the continuity of the first game still maintained in the second.
mrazizpizza already touched on Shenmue 3 and understandably didn't want to spoil anything, but if you're still here, OP, and since you said you were writing off Shenmue 2, maybe I will to potentially entice you to keep going with the series:

Both of these things are actually present in Shenmue 3! 3 starts you off in a small, quaint village. It does similar to what you wanted from Shenmue 2: ease you into the new culture. You're now on mainland China, and it eases you into the new world that way before throwing you into a bigger city.

Second, you can actually call several characters from the first game! It's a great way to make it all feel a bit more connected, but it's worth noting that part of the adventure (and the era in which is takes place) is that being far away truly means being far away. I rather like your letter idea as well, as that would offer a bit more freedom for deeper discussions and updates than phone calls!


I still quite agree with you that Shenmue I is the superior experience, even if we're in the minority, but I do think it's worth continuing!
 

JP_

Joined
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UK
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Shenmue II
Yeah, I disagree vehemently with all of these points.
Edit: Removed my original reply. Sorry, misunderstood. I thought you were disagreeing with all of the points defending the game, rather than the original post. Forgive me, it was early in the morning.
 
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Jigen

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Edit: Removed my original reply. Sorry, misunderstood. I thought you were disagreeing with all of the points defending the game, rather than the original post. Forgive me, it was early in the morning.
No problem :)
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
I agree with your points, the first is better from a story perspective.

The more I think about it, the more it feels like Shenmue 2's design is older. It's much more of a video game. Chapter 1: Yokosuka feels more like the designers elaborating on the "FREE" concept. Shenmue 2 feels more like the game that was designed in the mid-90s.

Every night (or at certain times when the plot moves forward) you write a letter to Nozomi, Ine-san and Fuku-san. This would make Ryo not only thoughtful of the people he left behind but would keep the continuity of the first game still maintained in the second.
That would have been cool, but Shenmue 2 does sort-of do this. After the first 3 discs of action, disc 4 is sort of like the wind-down. The scenes with Ryo talking about his life in Japan with Shenhua sort of scratch the itch you described.
 
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