I obviously couldn’t import the Dreamcast version, but this is close enough. It was cheap, so I shouldn’t be complaining, but it seems like the more I think about the whole Shenmue format, the more it seems like a lackluster idea. Ryo still steers like a dump truck despite the fact that the analog stick, once again, could’ve easily been used. The X Box’s vague digital pad as opposed to the Dreamcast’s defined edges made the minigames and QTEs a tad harder. The real time fighting sequences are still jerky and limiting. What’s even worse is that the sound quality seems to have gotten worse from the original on a much older system. When he strikes a thug, the result is akin to a spoon smacking a piece of paper. And when he runs, it feels like he has a size 3 foot and is wearing tap shoes. Ryo’s dead acting is still there, but this time around it seems like almost everybody is a cliche.
On the plus side, the pacing has improved. In the original if you were lost, you had to ask only specific people and the rest would say “I don’t know.” This time around almost everybody can give you directions are at least give you some advice that might help. You can even start up conversations about how you can earn money. Unfortunately in Hong Kong, having a job is mandatory instead of an option because you have no home and your nanny isn’t there to help out. The QTEs have also improved. In addition to the original’s mandatory QTE is a second type where even if you make too many mistakes, you get dropped back in the game instead of having to start over.
All in all, a good game. Definitely for fans, but even non-fans might find something to like.