The Backlog: Shenmue Review
Wow! its crazy to think that one of my favorite Dreamcast games Shenmue will be 12 years old at the end of this year( 11/8/12 to be exact) it seems like just yesterday I seen it on TV for the first time.
So in honor of its anniversary and the rumors of a HD version of it being released I thought now would be a great time to write a review for this timeless classic.If you have never been able to play Shenmue I’ll fill you in and I’m also going to do my best not to spoil anything.
Feel free to watch the video first before you read the review, this is one of my favorite intros…
In Shenmue you follow the story of Ryo Huzuki a young man who’s father was recently murdered by a martial artist know as Lan Di.Ryo father Iwao had a certaint item that Lan Di wanted. It’s called the “Dragon Mirror” but in the fight to stop Lan Di from getting the mirror and hurting Ryo and everyone else at there dojo Iwao dies in the battle.Now Ryo story begins its up to him to avenge his fathers death and in the process get back the “Dragon Mirror”. You can see the full intro below.
A world that felt real…
One memory that always sticks out about Shenmue was just how amazing the game looked and how real the world felt.I remember walking out of the Huzuki dojo and just exploring every inch of Dobuita(one of the first towns you explore) I was blown away by the scope and detail of everything around me not only was the world detailed but it was also populated by all sorts of NPC’s that were just going on with there daily activities people would be going to and from work shops would open and close it just felt so life like. For its time Shenmue was a head of the pact there was really nothing out at that time that could come near Shenmues beauty,some other great examples of Shenmues amazing graphics were the weather effects.I remember just stopping and staring in amazement when the snow would start to fall or when a rain storm would start it looked so real and just so awesome at that time weather effect were not new to games but everything just looked so awesome in the world Shenmue.
Shenmue’s pretty much an open ended RPG that combines elements of Virtua Fighter(another series Yu Suzuki worked on) lots of exploring and it even brought QTE’s into the mix.Most the time you’ll be exploring the world around you looking for clues for what to do next.You will also do a lot of talking with the locals they will give you clue’s through out the game so you will always have someone to talk or locations to visit.The other awesome part of Shenmue was the fighting through out the game you’ll have to fight it out with thugs,bikers, and sailors.What makes the combat so awesome is the fact that you will be learning new moves along the way that make Ryo a better fighter.But I think the thing that got Shenmue so recognised over the years was its heavy use of QTE’s or quick time events Shenmue was one of the first big games to really add them into the game,soon afterwards games like God of War and Resident Evil 4 took QTE’s to a whole new level.What made Shenmue such a succes was how Yu Suzuki(Shenmue’s creator) and his team at AM2 brought all these different gameplay elements together and made one of the best games of its time.You could even say Shenmue was one of the first 3D open world games to hit a console.
There’s no way I could write a review for Shenmue and not mention how amazing the soundtrack is SEGA produced one of the best sound tracks for a video game .
Final thoughts and score
I cant stress enough how good Shenmue is, its a timeless classic that I feel any gamer should play.It’s beautiful,epic,groundbreaking and all around just amazing. A lot of fans including myself hold it up there with such classics as Legend of Zelda OOT,GTA3,Metal Gear Solid(PSone),Super Metroid,FF7 and more.Do your self a favor and go buy a Dreamcast along with a copy of this game its well worth every penny
My score 9.5 out of 10
Retro Review Presented by Levi221
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