Shenmue II

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Shenmue II
Shenmue II.jpg
European Dreamcast cover art
Developer(s) Sega AM2
Publisher(s) Sega (DC)
Microsoft Game Studios (Xbox)
Director(s) Yu Suzuki
Shinichi Yoshino
Yoshihiro Okabayashi
Producer(s) Yu Suzuki
Artist(s) Takehiko Mikami
Writer(s) Yu Suzuki
Masahiro Yoshimoto
Composer(s) Takenobu Mitsuyoshi
Yuzo Koshiro
Ryuji Iuchi
Takeshi Yanagawa
Satoshi Miyashita
Koji Sakurai
Masataka Nitta
Shinji Otsuka
Fumio Ito
Megumi Takano
Osamu Murata
Shinichi Goto
Platform(s) Dreamcast, Xbox
Release date(s) Dreamcast
  • JP September 6, 2001
  • EU November 23, 2001
  • NA October 28, 2002
  • EU March 21, 2003
Genre(s) Open world (Sandbox)
Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player

Shenmue II (シェンムー II Shenmū Tsū?) is a 2001 action-adventure game for the Dreamcast and Xbox. It is the sequel to Shenmue (1999), and was produced and directed by Yu Suzuki of Sega AM2. Shenmue II covers three chapters of the Shenmue series, which Suzuki plans to span eleven chapters.

Like the original Shenmue, Shenmue II consists of open-world 3D environments interspersed with brawler battles and quick time events. It includes elements of role-playing and life simulation games, such as a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with their own daily schedules, and interactive elements such as vending machines, arcades, and minigames. The story follows the teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he arrives in Hong Kong in 1987 in pursuit of his father's killer.

Some of Shenmue II was developed alongside the original Shenmue, which was the most expensive video game ever developed at the time, with an estimated production and marketing cost of $47 to $70 million USD; Shenmue II was completed for "a much more reasonable sum". Microsoft secured exclusive North American rights for the game for its Xbox console, and the Dreamcast version was only released in Japan and Europe. The enhanced Xbox port was released in North America in 2002 and other territories in 2003.

Despite positive reviews, Shenmue II sold poorly and Sega cancelled development of further games in the series. In June 2015, Suzuki announced a crowdfunding campaign to develop Shenmue III for PlayStation 4 and PC.


In 1987, teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki arrives in Hong Kong from Japan on the trail of his father's killer, Lan Di, of the criminal Chi You Men organization. He is searching for Master Lishao Tao, the only link to the whereabouts of Yuanda Zhu, a martial arts expert who sent Ryo's father a letter warning him of Lan Di's intentions. When Ryo tracks down Lishao Tao, whose real name is Xiuying Hong, she refuses to help, considering his quest for vengeance reckless. The two part ways, but Xiuying continues to monitor Ryo's progress.

Ryo encounters the wily Wuying Ren, the leader of a street gang named the Heavens. Ren decides to help Ryo after deciding there may be money to be found in relation to Ryo's mysterious phoenix mirror; Lan Di took the second mirror, the dragon mirror, when he killed Ryo's father. Wong, a street boy who admires Ren, and Joy, a free-spirited motorcyclist, assist Ryo in his journey.

Ren informs Ryo that Zhu is hiding from the Chi You Men in Kowloon Walled City. They locate Zhu but are ambushed by the criminal Yellow Head organization and Zhu is kidnapped. Ryo and his allies infiltrate the Yellow Head headquarters, but Wong and Joy are captured. Ryo rescues Joy by defeating a powerful martial artist. On the rooftop of the Yellow Head building, Ryo rescues Wong and Zhu from the Yellow Head leader, Dou Niu, as Lan Di departs by helicopter.

At Ren's hideout, Zhu reveals that Lan Di killed Ryo's father because he believes Iwao killed his own father. He also reveals that the mirrors will lead to the resurrection of the Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. Zhu advises Ryo to continue his search in Bailu Village in Guilin and that Lan Di is headed there as well.

Ren (left), Ryo (center) and Joy (right)

In the mountains of Guilin, Ryo meets a young woman named Shenhua Ling, whom Ryo previously saw in dreams. Shenhua's family is connected to the legacy of the dragon and phoenix mirrors, and she seems to have magical abilities. She leads Ryo to a stone quarry on the village outskirts to meet her father, but discovers he is missing. The pair discover a cryptic note and sword; Ryo combines the sword with the phoenix mirror, triggering a device that reveals a large mural of the dragon and phoenix mirrors.


Like the original Shenmue, the player controls teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki in his journey for revenge. Most of the game is spent exploring the game's open world, searching for clues, examining objects and talking to non-player characters for information. The game features a 3D fighting system similar to Sega's Virtua Fighter series; Ryo can fight multiple opponents at once, and can practice moves to increase their power. In quick time events, the player must press the right combination of buttons at the right moment to succeed.

Shenmue II features a new conversation system whereby the player can choose which question to ask characters. Unlike Shenmue, in which Ryo received a daily allowance, the player must find a part-time job or gamble to earn money. Like Shenmue, Ryo can play arcade games; Shenmue II includes the 1987 game After Burner. The Dreamcast version of Shenmue II allows the player to import their save data from Shenmue, carrying over money, inventory items and martial arts moves.


Like the original Shenmue, Shenmue II was directed by Yu Suzuki, who had created Sega arcade games including Hang-On, Out Run and Virtua Fighter.[1] Some of Shenmue II was developed in tandem with the first Shenmue, which was most expensive video game ever developed at the time, reported to have cost Sega $70 million. In 2011, Suzuki said the figure was closer to $47 million including marketing;[2] Shenmue II was "completed for a much more reasonable sum".[3]


The Dreamcast version of Shenmue II was released on four GD-ROMs. The Japanese version includes a "Virtua Fighter 4 Passport", promoting Sega's upcoming Virtua Fighter 4.[4] Microsoft secured exclusive North American rights for Shenmue II for its Xbox console, and the Dreamcast version was only released in Japan and Europe.

The Xbox version of Shenmue II was released on a single DVD and includes a full English dub (with Corey Marshall reprising his role as Ryo) and additional features including a camera mode, a digital manga, anti-aliasing, improved lighting, and improved frame rate, level of detail and loading times. It also contains Shenmue: The Movie on a standard DVD, comprising cut scenes from the original game edited into a film. The film was previously released in Japanese theaters.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (DC) 89.63%[5]
(XB) 82.26%[6]
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 32 / 40[7]
G4 5/5 stars [8]
Game Informer 8 / 10 [9]
GamePro 4.5/5 stars [10]
GameSpot 8.7 / 10 [11]
GameSpy 9 / 10 [12]
IGN 8.3 / 10 (Xbox)[13]
PALGN 9 / 10 [14]
Cheat Code Central 5/5 stars [15]
Gaming Age A [16]
Gaming Target 9 / 10 [17]
Kikizo 9 / 10 [18]
Official Dreamcast Magazine (UK) 94%[19]
RPGamer 9 / 10 [20]
Xbox World 10 / 10 [21]
Thunderbolt 9 / 10 [22]

The Dreamcast version received positive reviews,[23] and was commended for improving on criticisms of the first game, such as pacing issues which were resolved with the time skip feature, as well as the faster pace of the plot and larger proportion of action sequences. The Xbox version, though still garnering solid marks,[24] received complaints from some critics about the English voice conversion and only minute visual upgrades.

By 2003, the Dreamcast version had sold 100,000 copies.[25] In 2008, Shenmue II was voted the tenth best game of all time in the IGN Readers' Choice "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll.[26] In August 2014, Shenmue II was ranked #51 in Empire's 100 greatest video games of all time.[27]


Main article: Shenmue III

Shenmue III has been announced for development and cancelled at least twice.[citation needed]

A Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue III was announced during Sony's E3 2015 press conference on June 15, 2015, reaching its funding target of $2 million USD in under nine hours. On July 17, 2015 Shenmue III was officially funded on Kickstarter with 6.3 million USD raised for the project. The game became the fastest funded and highest funded video game project in Kickstarter history, beating out previous record holder Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.[28] The game is currently being developed for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 using Unreal Engine 4, with Suzuki obtaining the rights for the game from Sega.[29][30]


  1. ^ "Creator Yu Suzuki shares the story of Shenmue's development". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  2. ^ Diver, Mike. "Shenmue – discovering the Sega classic 14 years too late". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  3. ^ Fahs, Travis (September 9, 2010). "IGN Presents the History of Dreamcast". IGN. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  4. ^ Chojin. "Shenmue II (シェンムーII) ~ Dreamcastgaga". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Shenmue II for Dreamcast". GameRankings. 2001-09-06. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  6. ^ "Shenmue II for Xbox". GameRankings. 2001-09-06. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  7. ^ ドリームキャスト - シェンムーII. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.47. 30 June 2006.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Shenmue II". Game Informer: 111. January 2003. 
  10. ^ "Review: Shenmue II for Xbox on". 2002-11-21. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ [3][dead link]
  13. ^ "Shenmue II Review - IGN". 2002-10-29. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  14. ^ [4][dead link]
  15. ^ [5][dead link]
  16. ^ [6][dead link]
  17. ^ "Shenmue II Dreamcast Review @ Gaming Target". 2002-01-22. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  18. ^ "Video Games Daily | Xbox Review: Shenmue II". 2003-04-02. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  19. ^ "Out-of-Print Archive • Dreamcast reviews archive". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  20. ^ "Shenmue 2 - Import Review". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  21. ^ [7][dead link]
  22. ^ Ben Philpott (2008-08-23). "Shenmue II - Dreamcast review at Thunderbolt". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  23. ^ "Search Reviews, Articles, People, Trailers and more at". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  24. ^ "Search Reviews, Articles, People, Trailers and more at". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  25. ^ "All Time Top 20 Best Selling Games". 21 May 2003. Archived from the original on 21 February 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2006. 
  26. ^ "IGN Top 100 Games 2008 | 10 Shenmue II". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  27. ^ "51. Shenmue II - The 100 Greatest Video Games Of All Time - Empire Online". 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Yu Suzuki Kickstarting Shenmue III for PS4, PC - Gematsu". Gematsu. 
  30. ^ "Shenmue 3". Kickstarter. 

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