#420 Shenmue

Posted: 16th January 2016 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , , ,

481st played so far

Shenmue PAL DC-front

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Dreamcast
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Sega AM2
Publisher: Sega

Shenmue has created its own hype. A little while ago there was a Kickstarter for the third part of the game series (originally, I believe, set up to have at least four games). It’s praised for the depth of its world and worldbuilding, with the story being engaging.

All of this has made me really curious about seeing what the game will be like and whether it would be that good and it feels like we’ve put off this game for quite long enough already.

Our Thoughts

That was a really good game. Shenmue might not be quite as good as many people claim, but it felt impressive. The basics are simple – a lot of it is walking from place to place, talking to people and figuring out the reasons behind your father’s murder.

That may sound boring and straightforward – so far there weren’t really many puzzles, just walking around finding places – but the world is interesting enough that this doesn’t matter. There are plenty of people walking around, living their lives and having something to say about your plight. The town doesn’t just have mandatory buildings, it has different shops and buildings and places where people hang out, just to create that feeling of living in a Japanese town like this in the eighties.

It fills more of the space with distractions – mini games, collectibles, optional bits as well as ones that are useful down the line. The roaming of an open world game isn’t there, but the options of an open world is. The game nudges you a bit more towards plot, but there’s no rush.

While the game runs on a timer, and certain events have to happen at a certain time of day, it doesn’t constrict the game. You may need to wait for a few hours before you can handle certain areas of the plot and you need to be home before your curfew each day (missing it once gets you told off, I didn’t have it happen again later). It creates realism without feeling limiting.

Final Thoughts

There’s parts of the game that feel a bit slow, when you need to talk to someone who’s only available after 6PM for example and it’s still early morning.Ā  That matters little, though, as it seems like there are always other things to do as well. Mostly the game is just incredibly engaging, drawing you into the story and offering the chance to explore more of this world.

  1. […] the 50, I decided to pick a sequel to a game I enjoyed a lot – and hence want to see more of. Shenmue has been a game that fascinated me at the time and has been making me more curious down the line. […]