Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. Technically, the Xbox conversion of Shenmue 2 is a pot-pourri of highs and lows. Visually, it's two notches above its DC brother (AM2 have attached light sources to EVERYTHING - moreso at night, where neon bathes you in its "afterglow") but two notches below what the system is capable of.
  2. Xbox Nation Magazine
    Rarely has so much sheer brilliance been nestled side-by-side with such absolute tedium and badly conceived gameplay, along with wild shifts in tone guaranteed to make your head spin. [Winter 2002, p.88]
  3. Ultimately, your perseverance with the sluggish pacing can be rewarding, but Shenmue 2 consistently proves itself an ageing game with ageing looks. It should never have happened like this.
  4. Without a doubt one of the greatest games ever, regardless of console.
  5. The series, especially this installment, has become among the most memorable game-playing experiences of my life.
  6. A great, rollicking adventure with some integrated action and worth your time if you’re in the “Adventure Games are Dead and I Miss Them” camp.
  7. With it’s mixing of genres and brilliant story, Shenmue II is an unforgettable experience.
  8. 83
    A good game and a definite pick-up for RPG fans, but more should have been done with this sequel to make it more accessible to those who never played the original.
  9. 83
    While the game may have it’s rough spots, Shenmue 2 is a must have for ANYONE who’s played through the first, and is still worth a look to newbs looking for an epic quest to dig into.
  10. 82
    Isn't just a game, it's an experience you'll never forget, and the inclusion of the Shenmue: The Movie DVD makes it that much easier to get on board.
  11. The Xbox hasn’t been put to the test in the visual department, and unforgivably some of the basic flaws such as loading times, pop-in and slow-down haven’t been eradicated.
  12. If more effort had been expended so as to maximise this versionís potential, weíd have a real stunner here. As it stands, we have merely a decent conversion of a great game.
  13. Game Informer
    The one big advantage Shenmue II has over its predecessor is that it's much larger. [Jan 2003, p.111]
  14. The minus is once you beat it you probably will not want to play it again. The replay value just is not there. However you should hold onto the game to show people down the road what an innovative game is like.
  15. Official Xbox Magazine
    This has never been a game for just anyone. It takes a specific type of gamer to be able to wade through the seemingly mundane tasks and details. [Dec 2002, p.112]
  16. If you are not intrigued by intense storylines and great original gameplay at least go give this baby a rent, you will not be disappointed.
  17. The end result doesn't quite live up to those expectations--for one thing, it's easy to tell that Shenmue II was originally a Dreamcast game, since its technical aspects aren't nearly as impressive now as Shenmue's were in 2000.
  18. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    When I wasn't being mugged by the Bad Voice-Actors Brigade or rendered comatose by the game's tepid pace, I was struggling with the enormous chore of just moving around thanks to the clunky, imprecise, sub-"Resident Evil" controls. [Dec 2002, p.260]
  19. netjak
    While not a very good fighting game, a very minimal puzzle game and a boring RPG – The total package is truly more than the sum of its parts.
  20. Only the most hardcore gamers will be able to look past the occasionally monotonous gameplay and poor audio and visuals to enjoy Shenmue II.
  21. 100
    The game tells a finely crafted and interesting story at its own pace, and those without the patience to appreciate it may not understand what all the fuss is about.
  22. 90
    The mixture of play styles may rub some people the wrong way, but most will find the vast scope of this venture too alluring to resist.
  23. The gameplay is streamlined a bit from the previous edition, and while the changes are minor, they're tweaks that simply smooth the way.
  24. 80
    Although the plot is compelling, many will find the slow pace and sub-games too tedious to sustain their interest. Perhaps it's too lifelike for its own good.
  25. Worth the wait, despite the fact that from a technical standpoint the sequel isn't a major step above the Dreamcast original.
  26. The game may not have much in the way of replay value, but for bang for your buck, I think it packs enough punch the first time through.
  27. GameNow
    A thoughtful, grand-scale adventure that's not afraid to test your patience. [Dec 2002, p.60]
  28. Shenmue II's story is really what makes the game so enjoyable, and the plot is about as epic as they come...It has a few annoying flaws, but overall, it's my pick as the best Xbox adventure game of the year.
  29. If you want an absorbing game that has everything you could want, I would recommend buying Shenmue II. But you really have to be able to devote tons of time to the game.
  30. Great storytelling combined with a variety of gameplay elements keep things interesting, though are certainly a few pebbles this grasshopper fails to snatch.
  31. I really wish Sega-AM2 had utilized the Xbox controller a lot better. No matter how you change the controls in options menu, Ryo still controls stiffly.

Awards & Rankings

#5 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2002
#3 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2002
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 106
  2. Negative: 8 out of 106
  1. AlexR.
    May 28, 2007
    For me, this is the best video game ever made. Simple as that. No game has given me as much meaningfull pleasure as this one. There are not For me, this is the best video game ever made. Simple as that. No game has given me as much meaningfull pleasure as this one. There are not enough kind words to lavish upon this title. If you miss out on the Shenmue experience, then you will be missing out on video game history. Emotional... Full Review »
  2. Jun 28, 2012
    This is essentially the same game as the original, but expanded into more chapters. The original serves as chapter 1. With that said ShenmueThis is essentially the same game as the original, but expanded into more chapters. The original serves as chapter 1. With that said Shenmue II seems more grand and epic than the original. The world is huge. These games were ahead of their time. Full Review »
  3. [Anonymous]
    Mar 19, 2003
    Best game.