|Audio Atrocities™ : Shen Mue II · SEGA · XBOX · 2001|
The crazy part is that this is supposed to be part II of Yu Suzuki's masterpiece. A masterpiece that's rumored to have cost more than $60 million for the first two installments. It's pretty clear they spent $59,998,743 on important things like the game engine, sake, graphics, cigarettes, karaoke, and sports cars while spending a grand total of about $1,257 on voice acting and localization.
EVERYTHING is wrong in English on this game. Ryo is emotionless and the voice acting cast is clearly too small to voice hundreds and hundreds of characters, leading to the 'Guy Kazama effect' (where actors try to disguise their voices with embarrassing results). Conversations make no sense in English, or seem to have the wrong meaning. The list goes on and on. This is not a game like Winback where the problems make the game charming. This game, like Robot Alchemic Drive, is a severe annoyance to experience, like wading through a cesspool thickened with molasses on a hot summer day with shoes made of cement. It's messy, slow, and stinks pretty bad.
Exhibit A: “...I'm not leaving here, even if I die!”
Where to start? This is supposed to be an ancient 80ish Tai Chi master. Um, casting failed here.
Exhibit B: “Can you help me? [I don't know.] I understand.”
An example from very early in the game showing how an astronomical amount of NPC conversations make little sense in English. This is supposed to be something along the lines of 'Can you help me with [whatever]?' and the Chun Li wannabe replying 'I am sorry, I don't know about [whatever].' Then a parting nicety like, 'Okay, thanks.' Buuut, instead, we get complete, unadulterated nonsense like this (and this from the same encounter if you ask her again) many, many times in the game. This kind of psychological torture began to make it seem like Shenmue II was really a clever Asian remake of the PBS show The Prisoner. Unfortunately for us, it's not clever, it's just dumb.
Exhibit C: “Come on in, we buy everything from antiques to junk at a GRRREAT price.”
The examples here are of two pawnshop owners. The audio clip quoted is a fortysomething Asian man! Can you believe it? He sounds like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (reference Spicoli clip), crossed with Tony the Tiger. Here's the same dude when you talk to him again. And then there's his competition down the street, the yee-haw Texas twist Asian pawnbroker. It really is sad how little effort was put into the English dub of this game. It's not as if they didn't have MOUNTAINS of time to do it after canning the Dreamcast release to make it XBOX exclusive.
Haven't had enough? Here's some additional clips for your amusement:
Clip 4, Clip 5, Clip 6, Clip 7 Clip 8
“I'm not leaving here, even if I die!”
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