Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  May 24, 2006
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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Hello, My Name Is Ryo Hazuki, You Killed My Father Prepare To Die

The Good

Shenmue is a difficult game to label. It is part RPG, part fighting game, part adventure, while the story is a mystery, an action/adventure, and foreign. This game also showcased the true power of the Sega Dreamcast, and is further proof that it was an excellent system that died too soon.

Ryo Hazuki’s life is torn apart when after returning home from school one day, he finds that there are men in suits led by a man in Chinese silk, questioning his father. The man wants to know where a mirror is. When he gets it he asks about a man Ryo’s father killed. Then using a style of martial arts that has not been seen in centuries, he swiftly kills him. Thus begins Ryo’s quest for vengeance, a much bigger fate awaits him, will he succeed? Well that is really up to you. Needless to say the plot in Shenmue is one of the finest ever written for a videogame. Better than most of the stuff Hollywood turns out. It is very enveloping as well. Every time you un earth a clue new questions emerge. Shenmue is one of those few games that had me addicted, even and injured hand could not stop me from playing.

The Graphics are amazing, to think that a Dreamcast game that only came out a year after the systems launch could look this good. It makes we wonder what Dreamcast games could have looked like if the system has not died so early on. Everything in Shenmue looks good, and almost all the items in the game can be manipulated. The buildings in Yokosuka as well as the characters are incredibly realistic looking. The faces of the characters are particularly well detailed.

The Sound and Music is strong as well. The score contains lots of tracks, all varying, from pop, to rock, to R&B, to orchestral. Even classic videogame music! The voices are good, the main characters are very good. But the occasional NPC sounds dumb, but in a way that is more realistic. In real life not every one sound like a voice actor. This was one of the first games to be fully voiced.

The Gameplay, is a amalgam of game types. The meat of the gameplay is exploration and talking to NPCS, as well as fighting and QTE’S. Which has not been seen since Dragon’s Lair. But are much better in Shenmue as they never get Ryo killed, unlike Dirk The Daring. Other game types abound, like sneaking into a warehouse, Sam Fisher style. Pet care, playing classic arcade games like Hang-On, and Space Harrier, buying sodas and toys,(for all those collectors.) and racing a motorcycle. Shenmue was also one of the first games to successfully merge different gameplay types. The only other game that comes to mind before Shenmue, was Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Shenmue does a better job then Omikron however.

The Bad

On the bad side, we may never see a Shenmue III, although there are hints of a movie, which is not the same as playing a game.

The Bottom Line

Overall Shenmue is not a game for everybody. Few games are. Interestingly enough it has enough different gameplay types to satisfy most. If you are a like me and still play your Dreamcast, give Shenmue a try.