Old reviews of Shenmue

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ZilogJones

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#1  Edited By ZilogJones

I just finished the Shenmue Endurance Run over the weekend, and thought I'd dig up some of my old magazines to see what they thought of it at the time:

The Edge review holds up pretty well (though they also make the mistake of assuming Ine-san is Ryo's mother), but the CVG equivalent doesn't seem very honest - they just try and justify some of its flaws, and fail to mention the more serious issues with the game e.g. the voice acting (which was notorious even at the time).

It's also interesting to see they mentioned two things that Vinny and co. kinda forgot about - helping the old lady find someone and feeding the kitten. Does anyone know what happens if you actually follow through with those?

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chaser324

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#2 chaser324  Moderator

That CVG review. Woof. "Shenmue is never boring and always fair" yet just a few sentences earlier they refer to you needing "patience to endure the initial few hours".

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ArtisanBreads

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"People you meet in Shenmue are convincingly lifelike. As Ryo wanders and mingles with passersby it's hard to tell who is hiding something useful from you... The process of making friends and finding accomplices mimics reality"

hahah that's some positive spin right there CVG.

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Lv4Monk

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#4  Edited By Lv4Monk

Nice stuff, love archival reviews for culturally significant old-ass games. Sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, almost always strange.

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OurSin_360

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#5  Edited By OurSin_360

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/shenmue-review/1900-2540599/

Wow @ the 70 million budget, i want to say it may have been the most expensive game at the time lol.

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kasaioni

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http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/shenmue-review/1900-2540599/

Wow @ the 70 million budget, i want to say it may have been the most expensive game at the time lol.

"When you get right down to it, waiting for appointments, running errands, and circulating back and forth between towns is one of the most tedious things about human life. Ryo's father is dead, and as the person in charge of finding the killer, you also assume the restrictions of his life. Ryo wakes up at 8:30am and must be in bed by 11:30pm. This gives you 15 hours per game day to talk to people, hunt down clues, and make progress. However, some people only appear at certain times of the day, while others require that you make appointments to see them. Since each hour within the game takes roughly five minutes to pass, it's not uncommon to find yourself with 30 minutes to waste. The minigames and martial arts training elements help, but after three discs, these things become boring as well. By the time you're driving forklifts and participating in the game's QTE-filled conclusion, hours upon hours of boredom will have taken their toll. Exacerbating the situation, disc one is mostly exposition and disc two mostly gallivanting about, while disc three contains the brunt of the game's true gameplay elements."

That last sentence summarizes well what I thought the experience of each disc must be like after watching the ER. I was coming around to the game more by disc 3 when Vinny was forced by a schedule to actually do something each day; and by that point it seemed like a least one interesting story beat was happening every in-game day.

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ArtisanBreads

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#7  Edited By ArtisanBreads

@oursin_360 said:

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/shenmue-review/1900-2540599/

Wow @ the 70 million budget, i want to say it may have been the most expensive game at the time lol.

A lot of that review is pretty right on but this part:

The Shakespearean-caliber performances of the elder Hazuki, Fukuhara, Goro, and Nozomi are to be lauded.

Has me thinking about Goro as a young Prince Hamlet, broooooooo.

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OurSin_360

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@kingbonesaw: @artisanbreads:

lmao, i miss the good old days of gamespot. No way shenmue is as bad as that alien game though, I'm with dan in that i still have high regard for it even with its flaws.

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ArtisanBreads

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#10  Edited By ArtisanBreads

@oursin_360: yeah I also think it's a pretty neat game. At the time it was not as rough as it seems now but even still I find it ridiculous and charming. I still think there is something to the formula you could execute way better on today so I am quite interested to see what Shenmue 3 is.

Also 2 is quite a bit better I think. Hoping they do an ER of that.

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ZilogJones

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@oursin_360 said:

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/shenmue-review/1900-2540599/

Wow @ the 70 million budget, i want to say it may have been the most expensive game at the time lol.

Yu Suzuki later said (in 2011) that actual costs were closer to $47 million, and some of that development work would have also covered the sequel. That still makes if the most expensive game at the time, assuming claims of FFVII costing $45 million are accurate.

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