This is a masterpiece of gaming history for many including myself!
The second instalment is without a doubt an improvement in everyway on the first game; Shenmue. It is highly recommended you play the first and have your completed "ready to use" save as it carries over (doesn't impact narrative).
It has the same improvements as the HD port to Xbox One I've listed below however this version is a mix taken from the original Dreamcast version and the Xbox Original version (all the glare and frame rate now fixed).
The only differences I found from the original Shenmue II;
- HD 16:9 1080p ratio in game (not in cutscenes)
- Updated graphic effects on bloom and detail
- Controls recalibrated for the modern controlpad
- Faster loading times
The story is about 4 times as long as the first and includes twice as many characters albeit you cannot actually impact the narrative with player choice. You can also carry over your inventory and moves from the first game when you have a completed save which is helpful. There's a fair amount of typical Japanese humour although very cheesy (Ren's a classic example). The classic arcade games from the first are still there but hidden very well and there are a couple more to look forward too.
The base game improvements on the first game make all the difference such as a working map you can score. Pop in graphics are still present but it's a port at the end of the day and they've done their best within the bounds they had.
It's an easy 1000GS for about 16-20 hours work depending on if you've played the game before.
Roll on Shenmue 3!