#1 Posted by tofer50 (22 posts) -

I've recently bought a copy of Shenmue from a local store, and I've never played it before (I'm going to try the game out soon). However, I've heard a lot about this game. I know that it was Yu Suzuki's most ambitious game, it was the most expensive game ever produce before GTAIV, and it was incredibly innovative for its time. But I know it's often regarded as a "love it or hate" it game. Opinion are all over the place, it's either called a classic masterpiece for some or a dull outdated piece of crap to others.

What's your opinion? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you have a middle ground opinion?

#2 Posted by oraknabo (1471 posts) -

I can say with 100% sincerity that I love everything about this game. It's easy to look back and be cynical about it, especially stuff like the QTEs, but they were an experimental attempt to add elements that hadn't existed in previous games.

There were a lot of incredible PC games coming out in 99 and 2000, but for a console game this was mindblowing. You really got to immerse yourself in the environment in a way that no other game of its time allowed. Even in most games today, you can't browse around in a convenience store and react to almost every item on the shelves. It had a great fighting system (straight out of virtua fighter) a working arcade and lots of quests to get you to explore the city.

It may not be the greatest game ever made, but it was an admirable attempt to push games into new territory and some really good games like Yakuza, Dreamfall and RE4 really feel like they owe a great debt to the game.

If you like it at all, I'd recommend the sequel.

#3 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4974 posts) -

I actually started playing through this game yesterday! Being a fan of the Yakuza series, I was not afraid of there being "slow" moments in the Japanese game design. So far I love it. Voice acting can be horrid at times but it just makes me appreciate of how much better VA is nowadays. The controls can be a bit troublesome with you holding down the right trigger to run and unintentionally not making turns correctly.

The thought of a remake of both Shenmue 1 and 2 using the Yakuza engine is something that I really hope for.

#4 Posted by Dan_CiTi (3341 posts) -

It's good fun if you just try to experiment and not take it too seriously.

#5 Posted by 71Ranchero (2776 posts) -

Shenmue changed the way I look at video games. It is the defining game of my 30+ years or pressing buttons on plastic controllers. Its also TERRIBLE. This is not a good game, but it is my all time favorite game and I cant recommend it more to anyone that has never played it.

Shenmue 2 is easy to find for just a few bucks on the original Xbox and is backwards compatible with 360.

#6 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

In retrospect, I probably liked Shenmue more than I should have. But my admiration for it hasn't changed. The controls are clunky, the pacing is questionable, but I'm damn glad that game was made. It was the first time I remember a developer actually going out of their way to create a town, then populate it with people who had daily lives. And it's the first game I remember that tried to do facial expressions right, especially the eyes. Also, I enjoyed the story. I think it did that sort of "revenge" story right. Now someone just needs to finish it.

So I didn't really enjoy playing it. It's something I'd rather watch than play, and all my attempts to pick it up again never ended with a completely finished game. But I feel it's one of those games that pushed the envelope at the time. I feel that it mostly succeeded in its attempt to create a living, breathing world. But more importantly, it told other developers, "yes, we can pull this off."

#7 Posted by BrickRoad (702 posts) -

Shenmue is a series I love. The original game is flawed beyond belief, but despite that I still really enjoy playing it. The voice acting is poor, it sometimes feels like you're going nowhere on the first play through and it often fails to deliver on promises it tries to set up. And the QTE makes me wanna kill myself. However the story is great and the world is emersive. Once you get into Shenmue, it kinda doesn't let you go. Thankfully Shenmue 2 is much better, and if you've got an European version it has the Japanese (and therefore good) voice acting. It controls better and sounds better, it looks nicer, and a lot of the niggles from the first game are ironed out. Really, people lay into Shenmue 1, but the sequal fixes a lot of those problems and is all the better for it. So to sum up, I really like Shenmue.

#8 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

It's a fantastic game and still plays well enough. It's slow but it's a fun experience on the whole.

I much prefer the Japanese version though, the English voice acting is not so good, Ryo is ok in English but many other characters sound bizarre.

I have even fonder memories of Shenmue 2, some really great moments in there.

Edit: Also, Shenmue hooked up with a VGA box on Dreamcast looks better than most Wii games. I'm not joking.

Damn screw you. I want to play Shenmue now. I'm going to boot up my Dreamcast.

#9 Posted by billyhoush (1192 posts) -

I loved the game at the time when I played it on my Dreamcast but I'm not sure how it would hold up playing it now since every other game these days is a huge sandbox. I'm looking forward to playing Yakuza 3 though.

#10 Posted by Subjugation (4722 posts) -

Shenmue and Shenmue 2 hold very special places in my heart. Sadly I don't own a Dreamcast or the original game. I wonder if anyone has pulled off an emulator?

Anyway, I'll probably be waiting in vain for Shenmue 3 until the day I die. Hardcore fan represent.

#11 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4974 posts) -

@Sooty said:

Edit: Also, Shenmue hooked up with a VGA box on Dreamcast looks better than most Wii games. I'm not joking.

Damn screw you. I want to play Shenmue now. I'm going to boot up my Dreamcast.

I've always been meaning to purchase a VGA box but just never got around to it/never had the cash. Really need to get around on doing that.

#12 Posted by Toms115 (2316 posts) -

been wanting to play it for ages. wish they'd just port it to xbla.

#13 Posted by tofer50 (22 posts) -

@Toms115 said:

been wanting to play it for ages. wish they'd just port it to xbla.

I was just lucky to find a copy from Goodwill.

#14 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2812 posts) -


Like any truly innovative and landmark game, the more you play it the more you can say, "Oh, they should have done this or that..."  That is how I view Shenmue; it is a fun and interesting game.  It is more linear then a similar game made today would be, but for the time it was interesting.  
 
The one thing I thing it did well is the "living world" feel.  Most games say, "Oh our NPCs leave their house, go to work, and come home!!"  However, in Shenmue, NPCs leave their house walk (ride, drive) to work, they leave work for lunch, go back to work, leave work to stop off at shops to do errands, and then go home.  AND, you can go see each NPCs at any point in their day and often talk to them."  The NPCs in Shenmue are also interesting.  I remember from the game thinking, "Wow, this game talks about immigration, about being someone from another country in Japan, and about where the NPCs see themselves in the social strata of that town. 
 
The biggest problem I saw in the game was that the player was really stuck into a very linear storyline. The game shows this whole world of people and possibilities but in the end there is ONE solution for most things or one direction the story goes.  In a modern game, there would be two paths or more, two solutions or more for different quests, etc.
#15 Posted by Toms115 (2316 posts) -

@tofer50 said:

@Toms115 said:

been wanting to play it for ages. wish they'd just port it to xbla.

I was just lucky to find a copy from Goodwill.

there a bunch of copies on ebay/amazon etc., i just don't have a dreamcast.

#16 Posted by Enns (360 posts) -

@OllyOxenFree:

I'm down with the Yakuza series myself. How would you stack Shenmue against the Yakuza games if at all so far? I've always thought about playing it just for the sake of knowing what it was but never get around to it. Now that I think about it Yakuza is pretty much Shenmue.. right?

#17 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4974 posts) -

@Enns said:

@OllyOxenFree:

I'm down with the Yakuza series myself. How would you stack Shenmue against the Yakuza games if at all so far? I've always thought about playing it just for the sake of knowing what it was but never get around to it. Now that I think about it Yakuza is pretty much Shenmue.. right?

Yes, after playing a couple of hours of Shenmue I can totally see the Yakuza series as a spiritual successor. That's why just seeing this remade in the Yakuza engine is very plausible for me. As for which is better... that is hard to say right now.

#18 Posted by tofer50 (22 posts) -

I haven't beaten any of the Shenmue games yet, but I feel sorry for Shenmue fans. Shenmue II ended on a cliff-hanger and the story hasn't been concluded.

#19 Posted by TheKing (835 posts) -

I love both Shenmue 1 and 2 and consider them to be 2 of my favorite games.

#20 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

I found the first one boring, and didn't bother with the second.

#21 Posted by baba2 (275 posts) -

I love them both, can't really fault either game other than Shenmue II's few ridiculous QTE's.

#22 Posted by bkbroiler (1628 posts) -

I played Shenmue 2 without any context and I honestly hated it. Maybe the translation was terrible, and it would have been better with Japanese voices, but I thought the dialog was boring and awful, and the voice acting beyond bad. Similar to Heavy Rain, in a game where the whole point is to see the story through, faults like that are inexcusable. On top of that I didn't like any of the gameplay. The second time I had to stack boxes to make money I almost quit outright. I'm kind of amazed I managed to finish it.

I don't know - I don't mean to be a complete hater, but I find almost nothing to like about it. I guess the ambition is admirable, but that doesn't make it fun to play or watch.

#23 Posted by TheUnsavedHero (1255 posts) -

I loved Shenmue. I don't think I can go back to it however.

#24 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

Does anyone know where I can find some sailors?

#25 Edited by blackbird415 (777 posts) -

I feel a 6.8 is an addiquate description. Theres some interesting systems and was really new at the time. The dialogue and narrative just didnt grab me at all and the gameplay mechanics weren't pulling it along for me either. Some really cool ideas that probably gave alot of inspiration for future games so I have to give it props for doing some new things, but the main substance itself didnt have enough of a hook for me to really enjoy it as many fans have seen in it. Wish I could love it, just cant get into it.

#26 Posted by DrJota (700 posts) -

It's certainly one of those games that even if you love it,there are elements to it that make you cringe.But at the time that came out,there really was little else like it,especially on this side of the waters,and the attempts to make all the small details,well,more detailed,really went a long way into making a connection with the world around you.So for all the terrible/"hilarious for all the wrong reasons" parts (Sailors?),it's still a bit of a time capsule and something I remember fondly.

#27 Posted by tentkaylor (13 posts) -

I think Shenmue was great for its time. I played it in 2000 and it was incredible. You could do things in that game that you could not do in any game prior. It was such an ambitious game. It was also a fork lift simulator.

#28 Posted by huntad (1941 posts) -

Neither. I liked Shenmue. I didn't play enough of it to love it or hate it.

#29 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

I just remember that it blew me away the first time I played through it, thats all that matters to me, I wouldnt dare look back at it now but it was such an experience for me.