Shenmue II thoughts (no spoilers) Most people probabl donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to know anything about the game, which was the case for me before I played the game so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll refrain from any spoilers here. As soon as the cancellation of the American version was made official I ordered this baby, maybe I was jumping the gun a little instead of waiting for the UK version but I wanted to play it bad and I guess I wanted to test out my Japanese too; as it turns out, I had no problems getting through the game, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say I understood a good 75% of it. As some might know IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m one of the biggest Shenmue fans there is, so what of the sequel? It blows the original out of the water in every which way. The areas are huge, the plot is intriguing, and the music superb. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the closest you can get to adventuring in China without doing it yourself. Almost every criticism leveled at the first game has been addressed. The plot definitely moves at a faster pace, and important events and revelations come more often, unlike the first which was stilted towards the second half of the game. I would be the first to admit however, that game can drag on a bit at times still. QTEs and Free Battles are also placed more liberally throughout the game. DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like waiting? When an event occurs and you have to wait for something, you have the option of skipping ahead until then. Free battles have also been sped up, execution and recovery times in free battle have been lessened and dodges are generally bigger. Which is good since youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll go up against multiple opponents many times as well as some kick ass VF inspired one on one matches. For those who complained about the controls, you can now switch the functions of the digital and analog sticks. No crappy English voices either. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty amazed myself at how Dreamcast can handle such huge environments at one time, though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s being pushed to its limits. The Xbox version should be nothing less than nirvana for the eyes. And what a soundtrack. Continuing in the tradition of classical Chinese music, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll hear old tunes as well as ones that were on the first soundtrack and many more. If you couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell already, I love this game. In fact, for me it transcends a simple video game. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proof that better technology can make for better games. When was the last time a game brought you nearly to tears by its beauty, or made you dream about it every night you played it? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not ashamed to admit Shenmue II did these things for me. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also cemented for me the fact that Dreamcast is my favorite system ever. At this point IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still deciding about getting the European version, since thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not getting the Xbox one. My reasons for not getting it at this point would obviously be forking over another $65 and so the Xbox version is fresher for me. Too bad Shenmue 3 is probably another two years awayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.