Shenmue (Dreamcast)

89
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Vance (98)
Written on  :  Jun 18, 2003
Rating  :  2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars

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Summary

The soda-buying simulator

The Good

The level of detail is unsurpassed by any other Dreamcast game I have ever seen, period. This is the closest thing to walking down an actual street in a claustrophobic small Japanese town besides actually getting a plane ticket and just doing it. Also, the playable Sega classics in the arcade will have you yearning for the days of the single quarter game.

The Bad

Um... where's the game? Fight sequences are extremely rare until the later part of the game, which tries to make up for the lull by having you beat the drud out of about 50-60 guys. Until then you're treated to Ryo's burning hunger for vengeance taking the form of him wandering around town looking largely apathetic to the events around him. The plot advancement is pretty tepid, featuring you asking every single person you come across the same question again and again, some of which the player has observed in the intro. It's a pretty boring verbal scavenger hunt. "Have you seen a... car?" "Why yes, it was a... black car." And thus you start asking everybody if they've seen a... black car. Ryo's personality is bad enough, but the budget voice talent will have even the most die-hard dub fan turning on the original voice track with subtitles. Also, considering this is about a sixth of the intended product... not cool.

The Bottom Line

It's a fascinating attempt, and certainly one that took a whole lot of sweat and love from the developers. I just couldn't imagine forking over full price for it.