Shenmue Retrospective

Eurogamer has a nice retrospective on the underrated cult classic, Shenmue, that released to dismal sales on the ill-fated Dreamcast. Here’s a sample of their article:

“…There’s no real urgency in place, and its grand arc offers a gentle tug rather than rudely shoving you along. Too often in open-ended, open world games there’s a conflict that’s I’ve never been able to resolve: you’ve the burden of saving the galaxy on your shoulders, but the designers expect you to stop in your tracks to resolve a lover’s tiff between two people you’ve never met before.

2Shenmue may live on in infamy as the game that introduced QTEs, but it more than makes up for its sins.

In Shenmue, Yokosuka’s stories are much more enthralling than Ryo’s own; there’s the chef at Funny Bear Burgers, a former banker who quit to pursue his culinary ambitions, or the elderly widower Hattori who stands outside his sports shop, sending a drive down an imaginary golf course each and every day. And so Shenmue becomes a game of eavesdropping in between chores, killing time at the arcade or expanding your capsule collection while silently stalking non-playable characters.

It inspires an intimacy with its surroundings that few other experiences can really attain, and that’s what makes a pilgrimage to Yokosuka so chilling. I’ve etched every pixel of OutRun 2’s tarmac into the wet flesh of my memory, and there are parts of Hyrule I know better than my own living room, but I’ll likely never experience the strange synapse snap of being confronted by them in real-life…”

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