Playing Shenmue again after it’s 1999 release

Although I purchased the Shenmue Special Edition back in 1999, I never really gave it an honest shot, until now. Read on!

I actually bought Shenmue on the release date, December 29, 1999. I even went as far as buying the Special Edition version and being mad because it was still a regular compact disk audio cover. I remember playing it for a little while, finding people, and the Rasta Hot Dog Store owner.

In all honesty, I didn’t give it a fair chance, I was a full-time worker and most of my money was going to me, so I was buying games with each check every week. Dumb? and Stupid? a resounding YES!

Flash forward twenty years and here we are, the Yuji Naka experience, Part 1 and 2 in a single HD package with improved visuals that make the game sharp and clean. The voice work, both available in English and Japanese are presented, although you can hear the quality reduction. You get used to it anyways, just a minor gripe. Even the cut scenes are high quality, you can tell they are cutscenes because they aren’t in the widescreen format and amazingly, they look just like you are playing in-game.

I purchased the Shenmue 1 and 2 HD package at launch (August 2018) and was prepared to give it a try. BUT, as always things came up, I wasn’t able to play it so I sold it, only to NOW finally have it back, finally playing at least three hours, AND finally enjoying it immensely. My save slots are also marked very close to a year that I last played.

“I am Ryo Hazuki, and I’m the protagonist of this game. Come, with me, as I chase down Rasta hot dog vendors and knock on doors looking for people!”

The first thing you need to do is drop everything that modern games have trained you to do. Shenmue isn’t a hold your hand type of game. You have to do the legwork and talk to everyone to find out information about your particular objective.

That means walking/running, person to person and asking them if they saw or know particular information. This forces you to learn the current city and it brings about a peaceful experience. Thankfully there are maps around the city that are a fair distance apart from each other. Also, you carry a journal with you that fills up with clues when something story-related, triggers.

From what I know, every NPC character in the game has a whole schedule. I actually followed a guy in a business suit and case around for a while, he walked towards a ramen restaurant and had dinner. I stood right there waiting on him to do his thing. After a too long of a wait he gets up and leaves, I follow him some more and just let him off. It was pretty cool, this game has a sense of community that I’ve only really dealt with in MMOs.

Shenmue is really in a class of its own, a real gem ahead of its time. I probably have put in about three hours of game time and haven’t had a single real* fight. The fight’s I have played were quick-time events and were fun in their own right, and really that doesn’t really matter, it’s still fun. I will say though, it can get boring when you have to wait for a store or person to open/appear at a specific time. Playing classic Sega Arcade games like Hang-On, darts, and some quick-time event games. This is only the tip of what Shenmue has to offer.

I will try to keep updating my play-status. Thank You for reading!

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