Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

It's been a while since a game has had so much hype behind it. Yu Suzuki has promised the most realistic video game ever in Shenmue. In this case, he has succeeded, but also proves one other thing: Real life in video games just doesn't add up to fun.

Following the story of a young Ryo who witnessed his father die at the hands of a mysterious attacker, it's up to him to find out who this person was and of course, why it all happened. Unfortunately, finding this out requires talking to hundreds of people and getting a few clues to guide you. A majority of the residents simply don't have a clue and give the same generic answer. The process of finding the right people requires hours of tedious walking through towns at the right time of day and actually finding the correct people.

While a most of the game is extremely boring, there is some action and some shocking realism strewn throughout. Action scenes are played either through a Dragon's Lair like sequence of commands or through a simplified version of the Virtua Fighter engine. The physics are unheard of in these scenarios, but they are too far apart to save the game. Some of the repetitious tasks can be broken up however by stopping in the arcade for a quick game of darts or Space Harrier. Also, don't forget the vending machines that have small collectibles in them. Suzuki has created a very realistic looking world and the only slightly noticeable flaw are the joints of characters which flicker once in a while. Brilliant textures and lighting effects make up the rest of the games believability. Of a special note are the stunning weather effects which affect gameplay in more ways than one.

While the effort (and budget) is very evident, this game proves only one thing; real life doesn't translate well into a video game, no matter how ambitious it may be. While definitely a game that is easy on the eyes, the methodical pace will be enough for most people to turn towards more fast paced, and enjoyable, style of gameplay.


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Last updated: Saturday, June 18, 2005 04:46 AM