Shenmue Articles RSS Feed | Shenmue RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network PSA: Check Your Inbox, Shenmue 3 Backers Fri, 25 Oct 2019 11:18:17 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Shenmue 3 is, at last, almost upon us. The long-awaited game launches on November 19 for PlayStation 4 and PC as an Epic Game Store exclusive. If you didn't back the game on KickStarter or SlackerBacker, you'll have to pre-order it or pick it up from your local retailer. 

However, backers will get the game another way. 

According to emerging reports, some who backed the game are currently receiving emails asking for address confirmation. It's not phishing in this case, so you definitely want to open it and confirm your address. Letting it languish unopened could potentially delay delivery, and the Shenmue 3 team did confirm through a Kickstarter update that this is a required action to finalize delivery addresses.

Still, it's a good idea to check your inbox and confirm your address anyway if you haven't already.

Meanwhile, if you can't wait until November 19 to rejoin Ryo after all these years, don't forget to check out the exclusive backer demo for PC players that lets you experience the game's first day.

Shenmue 3 Backers Will Get Refunds After All — If They Act Quickly Thu, 05 Sep 2019 17:22:48 -0400 GS_Staff

Those hoping to receive a refund for Shenmue 3 will finally have the chance starting later this month. The announcement was made via a recent blog post on the project's Kickstarter page where the Shenmue 3 team said Fangamer would send surveys to backers sometime in September.

Though an exact send date was not provided by the team, it was confirmed that each backer would be allowed to change their order. 

During mid-September emails will start going out from Fangamer to all backers notifying you of your currently selected game version. Please check your mail to confirm your version. Backers who wish to make a change may then follow the link to your survey in the mail to take the necessary action.

*It will take a few days for all emails to be sent out to backers.

However, the caveat is that surveys will only be live for two weeks once they are sent. Backers must make refund requests within the allotted time frame.

According to the team, refund requests will not be taken after the two-week window closes. Refunds will be given to PC players who "are not satisfied with the proposed reward options." 

Although the window for claiming a refund is relatively short, the actual operation of processing refunds could take anywhere from 20 days to three months. The Shenmue 3 Team asked for patience during the process, especially considering there is four years of data to work through. 

Refund processing timing may vary depending on payment service and transaction status. It may take up to 20 business days to 3 months from the time the refund request is made until the refund transaction is completed.

We promise to proceed with refund request processing promptly and reliably, however, due to the fact that the campaign is now 4 years on, along with the complexity of the transactions and payment service system arrangements, we ask for your understanding that processing times may vary depending on individual transaction circumstances.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the PC version of Shenmue 3 would be an Epic Games Store exclusive for at least one year. Of course, the shift away from Steam did not sit well with many who had backed the game, especially since the change came well after the game had been successfully funded. 

In July, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic would foot the cost of refunds so that it "won't reduce Y's Net's development funding." 

Shenmue 3 is set to release on PC and PS4 on November 19 after a three-month delay for what Y's Net called "refinement." 

Shenmue III Backers to Get Special One-Hour Trial Demo Soon Tue, 13 Aug 2019 11:33:25 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Ys Net posted a new Kickstarter update recently, announcing a trial demo of Shenmue III made specifically for backers.

The demo reportedly lasts about an hour and features a wide variety of activities. It takes place in Shenmue III's opening area of Bailu Village.

After finishing the demo's main objective, players can still replay the demo and wander about completing other activities up until the trial expires. There's no mention of what these activities might be, but we hope forklifts will be involved.

Ys Net didn't say when the trial would expire. However, save data is not transferable to the main game.

Shenmue III's backer demo is set to release in the second half of September, following a delay caused by the time and effort put into the recent media demo.

In what's probably not surprising to anyone, the PC version of the demo is tied to the Epic Games Store. It must be launched from EGS.

Shenmue III's relationship with the EGS is a brief, but tortured one. There was quite a stir when Ys Net and Deep Silver announced the game would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store. It was enough that many clamored for a refund instead of submitting to the perceived tyranny of Epic Games, and Epic responded by saying it would handle the refund process.

As of now, Shenmue III is set for a November 19, 2019 release date, after suffering some delays earlier in the year.

Shenmue 3 Pre-Order Bonuses Are Full-On Shenmue Thu, 08 Aug 2019 14:44:13 -0400 GS_Staff

Whereas pre-orders for other games might give players early access or unique abilities, Shenmue 3 going a slightly more old-school route with its very on-brand bonuses, even if they are a tad lackluster. 

Of course, several retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop, will add a few goodies to the mix so that they stand out from other retailers. However, only Amazon will give players something they can use in-game. 

All Shenmue 3 pre-orders get the following items as described by the Shenmue team: 

  • Snake Power Bottles (x3): Replenish energy during battle
  • Playing Tokens (x5,000): For use for in gambling areas
  • Toy Capsule Tokens (x24): Exchange for in-game toy capsules
  • Blazing Kick Advanced Training Scroll (x1): Unlocks Blazing Kick ability

The following retailers will add one extra item to that list. 

  • Amazon: Kenpogi Training Wear DLC
  • Best Buy: Limited edition steelbook case with portraits and illustrations
  • GameStop: Physical Dragon/Phoenix Mirrors from the series

Those who backed Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter will not receive the above items unless they purchase a separate copy of the game. 

Earlier this summer, the Shenmue Team revealed that the series' long-awaited third installment will receive post-launch DLC. However, those who backed the game on Kickstarter will not receive the game's season pass as part of their original campaign contribution. 

Indeed, both Kickstarter and Slacker Backer supporters will receive bonuses not available to those who did not contribute to the game's crowd-funding campaign. 

Shenmue 3 is set to (finally) launch for PC and PS4 on November 19 after a three-month delay. The game will be a 1-year, timed Epic Games Store Exclusive on PC. Although it has not been confirmed if Shenmue 3 will eventually find its way onto other PC storefronts such as Steam, it would not do so until fall 2020 at the earliest. 

Of course, many who backed the game on Kickstarter and Slacker Backers are not happy with the news

Shenmue 3 Confirmed as Epic Store Exclusive, Kickstarter Backers Not Happy Tue, 11 Jun 2019 12:08:02 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Update: Sources have told PC Gamer that "the developer is 'looking into it'" The publication was also told that while Deep Silver is publishing Shenmue 3, it "joined the project long after the KickStarter was set up and therefore isn't in a position to comment on the actions as we are not involved in that side of the project." 

Currently, Shenmue 3 will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for one year. 

Original story: Since its launch last year, the Epic Games Store has steadily gobbled up timed exclusives, including Metro Exodus, The Outer Wilds, and The Division 2. Now it's time to add Shenmue 3 to the list. 

Following the PC Gaming Show at E3 2019, where new Shenmue 3 gameplay was revealed, Ys Net, the game's developer, confirmed that the JRPG would be exclusive to the EGS. Both physical and digital PC copies of the game will now come with an Epic Games key instead of a Steam key. 

Some watching the show, including myself and a colleague, noticed the absence of the Steam logo from the end of the trailer above, leading us to speculate that the game might be yet another timed exclusive on PC. 

As short-lived as that speculation was, so too was the understanding of those who had backed the project on Kickstarter. The comments on both the official exclusivity announcement and Twitter have been less than amicable. 

To rub salt into the wound, it appears that the "Shenmue III Team" is refusing to provide disgruntled backers refunds. Some of those unhappy with the move to the EGS have shared screenshots of their correspondence with the game's support team regarding refunds, confirming that refunds are not being issued at this time. 

As pointed out on Twitter by Segalization, it seems the shift from Steam to the Epic Games Store was done relatively recently. Comparing the most recent update blog on the game's Kickstarter page (date June 10) to the update blog before it (dated June 4), changes can be clearly seen.  

In the Additional Info section of the June 4 blog, it says that Shenmue 3 "requires Steam Client to activate." However, the same section in the June 10 blog post says that the game "requires Epic Games Store Client to activate."

While at this point it's impossible to know when negotiations between Deep Silver, the game's publisher, and Epic Games began or what ultimately drove the change outside of the official statement, we do know that it appears the final decision to move storefronts was made sometime over the last six days. 

However, as with many other EGS exclusives, it appears that Shenmue 3 won't stay that way forever. Taking a look at the game's official FAQ, the developers say it will release on Steam "in the future." However, no specific date is provided.

Shenmue 3 was originally slated for release in August on PS4 and PC. However, it was recently delayed to provide what the developers said are "refinement." The game is not set to release on November 19. The standard version will cost $49.99, while the Deluxe version will cost $64.98.

Shenmue 1+2 Guide: How to Skip Cutscenes Tue, 21 Aug 2018 20:45:20 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Most of the fun of playing games like Shenmue and Shenmue 2 is experiencing the story. Much like the Yakuza games, these two classics are very much predicated on their stories. Even though they're open world, everything you do is woven into the narrative. 

However, things can get a little long-winded in Hazuki-land, so you might be wondering how to skip cutscenes in the Shenmue 1+2 remastered collection. You can't rip through the streets on a tricked-out forklift or karate-smash bad guys if you're tied up in cutscenes. 

So here's how to do it. 

Can I Skip Cutscenes in Shenmue

No. Let's move on. 

Can I Skip Cutscenes in Shenmue 2?

Due to advancements in technology and the illuminating power of foresight, Shenmue 2 does in fact allow you to get past its narrative elements with a simple button press. 

To skip cutscenes, simply press B on an Xbox controller, Circle on a PS4 controller, and E on a keyboard (please don't tell me you're using a keyboard to play a game built for controllers...). 

That's all there is to it. Really. It's as simple as that. Now you can get back to what you really want to do: smash a bad guy's face in. 

Check out our other tips and tricks for this remastered collection on our Shenmue 1+2 guides page. 

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Shenmue 3 Continues the Hazuki Saga Next August Tue, 21 Aug 2018 09:55:19 -0400 Jonathan Moore

After 17 years of waiting, Shenmue fans can finally celebrate: Shenmue 3 has an official release date of August 27, 2019. Continuing the tale of Ryo Hazuki and his quest for revenge against the nefarious Lan Di, the latest installment in the series will release on PC and the PlayStation 4 in little less than a year from now. 

You can watch the beautiful new trailer in the header above. 

Originally announced at E3 2015, the long-awaited sequel was originally slated to arrive sometime this year, but was initially delayed in 2017 because series creator Yu Suzuki said the development team discovered that "new technology" had enabled the team to expand the game's original vision and scope. Earlier this year, the game was again delayed because Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver wanted to provide additional polish to the game prior to release. 

Shenmue 3 will directly follow the events of Shenmue 2, further exploring the dynamic between Ryo and Lan Di, as well as Ryo's new companion, Ling Shenhua. Suzuki has said that this is not the final chapter in the Hazuki saga, so we can most likely expect the game to end on yet another cliffhanger. 

The game's Kickstarter launched in 2015 and raised a total of $6 million. As of this writing, there are no plans for either an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch release. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Shenmue 3 as it develops. If you're curious about the recent Shenmue 1+2 remastered release and if you should pick it up, check out our review

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Shenmue 1+2 Guide: How to Find Warehouse #8 Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:07:41 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Editor's note: This guide contains mild story spoilers. 

One of the best things about Shenmue 1+2 can also be one of its more frustrating elements: you don't always know where to go. Most of the time, NPCs will give you pretty good directions and/or intel. Other times, they're completely mum and have no idea how to help you. 

If you want to find Warehouse #8 as quickly as you can, you'll quickly discover that things aren't as straightforward as they seem. This guide will show you where to find the real warehouse, as well as the optimal path to take to find it faster.

Where is Warehouse #8? 

After you've gotten the Chinese letter translated at the China Shop and called the phone number written on it, you'll need to find the mysterious Master Chen at Warehouse #8. However, you don't know where that is, and until you find out, you'll be stuck in Dobuita. 

How to Use the Phone or Phone Book to Find the Warehouse Location


Instead of asking around, simply head straight to the Tobacco Shop, which is located across from the Flower Shop by the busy road near Dobuita's outskirts. Use the phone to call information (104). Once you get the operator, be sure to ask for the area of the number. You only get two chances before Ryo says calling the operator is pointless, so don't choose anything else. 

If you've already done this and gotten locked out of calling information, you can also use the phone book to find the number's area address. At the Tobacco Shop, hold LT, look at the phonebook, and press A. Ryo will automatically look up the address for the phone number. 

After you've found the address, hop on the bus next to the Tobacco Shop and head to the Docks. 

Going Straight to Your Destination

Get off the bus and turn left at the first intersection. You'll come to a QTE encounter at the end of the road. Afterwards, your punching bag will tell you how to get to the Warehouse. 

However, once you get there, a guard will stop you from going inside. Go around back and look up for an open window above several tall crates. Look to the right of the tall crates to find a smaller crate. Make sure the patrolling guard ins't around and push the smaller crate up against the tall crates. Climb up to get inside. 

But wait a minute, this isn't the right Warehouse #8. What gives? 

Where is the Old Warehouse District? 

Go to the front of the Docks area, where you fought the thugs and where the main guardhouse is. Instead of turning left to go past the guardhouse to the bus, turn right and go into the big open area. Go past the Tomato convenience store and the cafeteria

Go straight ahead and toward the water. Once you get to the water, turn left and continue past Tom's Hot Dog cart. Follow the path around until you reach another guard post. Sneak through and you're in the Old Warehouse District. 

How Do I Get Past the Guards? 

You could try to get past the guards legitimately, but it's really a pain in the butt. Instead, it's easier to cheese your way through. Here's how: you're going to need the homeless man.  

If you've already met the old homeless man milling around the docks and bought him a coffee, this part will be a bit tedious, but easy. If you haven't met the old homeless man, then go to Warehouse 12 in the New Warehouse District to find him and buy him a coffee.   

Once you've done that (or if you already have), you'll need to get caught by the guards eight times. After the eighth time, the homeless man will tell you to return at 11 p.m. because there are fewer guards -- meaning one guard. 

All you have to do know is run straight to your destination. Warehouse #8 is in the back, left corner of the area. The homeless will mark its location on a map he gives you. 


That's all you need to know about finding Warehouse #8 in Shenmue. Be sure to check out our other Shenmue 1+2 guides for more tips and tricks. 

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Shenmue 1+2 Guide: How to Get the Phoenix Mirror Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:10:52 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Editor's note: This guide contains mild story spoilers. 

Much of the gameplay in Shenmue 1+2 revolves around searching for people and items in order to unfurl the threads the games' primary mystery. For the most part, this means walking around a bunch and interrogating anyone you meet along the way. If you want to speed that process up, you've come to the right place. 

The Phoenix Mirror is an item you'll need to find in Shenmue to progress in the story. However, it's not exactly a straightforward process if you don't know where to go or what to look for. 

This guide will show you how to get the Phoenix Mirror in as few steps as possible. 

Where is the Phoenix Mirror?  

After meeting Master Chen at the docks, you'll be tasked with finding the mirror. To do this, you'll need to go home and turn over the house. 

Once you get home, the first thing you're going to want to do is get the flashlight from the cabinet underneath the phone by the front door. It's in the left-hand compartment. 

From there, you'll need the mysterious key from your father's room. Starting at the front door of the house (where the telephone is), turn left and go past the kitchen. Continue down the hall until you get to the end. Your father's room is on the left. 

Look along the right-hand side of the room for a desk. Open the top right-hand drawer and open the box inside to find the mysterious key. This will come in handy in the dojo. 

Next, talk to Ine-san and then to Fuku-san. 

Once you've done that, go to the antique shop in Dobuita to acquire a sword guard. You can find the antique shop just after entering Dobuita on the main road. It's just after the Water Dragon 2 jean shop on the right. 

After getting the sword guard, go to the Tomato convenience store. Go inside and buy a light bulb, which you can find on the shelves straight ahead of you when you enter. This will make your next steps much easier. 

Go back home and go to the dojo. As as you enter the dojo, look at the back wall directly in front of you, the one with the Shodo calligraphy prints hanging on it. Look to the right of the wall find a long wooden box on the floor. Use the mysterious key to open it. You'll find a sword inside.  

Now, turn to the wall with the Shodo calligraphy prints. Remove the left print and insert the sword guard. After that, remove the right print and insert the sword you just got from the box. 

A secret door will open, revealing a basement in the dojo. Go through the door and climb down the ladder into the basement. Activate your flashlight when you get there and follow the passage around until you reach an open room. 

In the center of the room, there will be a light fixture hanging from the ceiling. Insert the light bulb and flip the light switch on the wall next to the entrance. 

Examine the room at your leisure, but ultimately focus on the table in the back left corner of the room. Examine the floor to reveal marks in the floor. Move the table to reveal a secret compartment in the wall. Use the axe to break open the compartment (the axe is leaning on a wall near the entrance to the room). 

Inside you'll find the Phoenix Mirror. 


That's all you need to know about finding the Phoenix Mirror. Be sure to check out our other Shenmue 1+2 guides for more tips and strategies for getting through each games more ambiguous sections. 

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Shenmue 1+2 Guide: How to Sleep Mon, 20 Aug 2018 21:01:20 -0400 Jonathan Moore

As you play through the Shenmue 1+2 remastered collection, you'll quickly discover that each game has a knack for not telling you how to do things. For some things, that's ok. For other things, it's little bit frustrating.

If you're looking to rest and move on to the next day, you'll find the game's sleep function isn't entirely intuitive, and that it doesn't work like it does in most modern open-world games. You just can't sleep wherever or whenever you want. 

In Shenmue, you can only sleep in your bed in Yamanose. On top of that, you can only sleep at or after 20:00 -- or for those of us who don't know military time, you have to wait until 8 p.m. to catch some Zs. If you're like me and didn't access the game's submenu while facing your bed in your room, you might think that sleeping is random. 

In Shenmue 2, sleeping is basically the same. You still can only sleep after 8 p.m. However, there are multiple places where you can rest your head around Hong Kong, such as the Free Stay Lodge and the Come Over Guest House. 


Sleeping in Shenmue 1+2 is simple, yet not clearly explained. Now that you know how to do it properly, you can easily strategize your daily tasks to coincide with Ryo's very specific sleep schedule to maximize your investigations and not wait around twiddling your thumbs for hours on end.  

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Shenmue 1+2 guides. 

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Another 10 Badass Video Game Characters You Shouldn't Mess With Thu, 26 Jul 2018 10:25:41 -0400 Edgar Wulf


Ryo Hazuki

Shenmue (1999)

Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki may not be the most skilled fighter, but he gets the job done.


After being forced onto a path of revenge, Ryo must evolve from a regular, impulsive teenager into an imposing martial artist, learning new moves and styles from masters across Japan and Hong Kong. Ultimately, he develops his body and spirit to face the ultimate adversary, Lan Di. After almost two decades, his story is yet to reach its finale.




That is it for this list. If you think a character is missing, they may be on the original list. If they're not, then comment down below on who you would like to see and, as always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more badass compilations.


Kazuma Kiryu

Yakuza (2005)

This man has been through it all; he has felled numerous skilled fighters, dealt with a thief of female underwear, and even taken care of a baby. A chairman of the highly respected Tojo Clan, Kazuma Kiryu is a master in many fields, including martial arts, which he gracefully employs to protect his friends, children, and simply beat up random punks on streets who annoy him. 


Yakuza's Kiryu has a distinctive dragon tattoo covering his back, he enjoys drinking whiskey, fishing, and singing karaoke. Call him.


John Marston

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Perhaps one of the most tragic heroes in gaming, John Marston knows the definition of dire straits all too well. Compelled to reunite with his family, who are being held captive by the government, Marston embarks on a harrowing journey through the chaos-sphere that is the Wild West. 


He is an outlaw -- a criminal, even -- and has no doubt committed numerous questionable deeds. But despite that, it is almost impossible to not relate with his noble intentions.


Red Dead Redemption's John is a deadly sharpshooter -- especially during his signature "Dead Eye" mode -- and takes down many opposing factions on his quest which, ultimately and unfortunately, leads to a bittersweet conclusion



The Last of Us (2013)

Ellie might seem harmless enough; after all, she is just a child in the original The Last of Us. Past experiences and many gruesome events, however, have conditioned her to become a merciless killer -- being able to stand up for herself and those she cares about.


She learns that, in a world where nobody can be trusted, a switchblade and a sniper rifle are your best friends. Them, and that Joel guy who has taught her how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by monsters. That helps, too. 



Doom (1993)

Not the fanciest name for someone who rips demons apart with his bare hands, but, thankfully, actions speak much louder than words. Doomguy is the eternally silent protagonist of the Doom series, one of the most historically significant franchises in the industry.


He is agile, brutally strong, and remorseless; he doesn't have a love interest, though he may or may not have a special relationship with his signature chainsaw or destroying hordes of Hellspawn.



Darksiders II (2012)

Death is the main character in the sequel to Darksiders, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and a brother to the first game's protagonist: War. He uses stylish scythes to slice and dice his opponents while employing stylish, yet devastating combos to come out victorious. He even transforms into a terrifying reaper to finish off his most resilient foes.


The mask -- which Death never removes -- is not only for aesthetics: it adds a depth of mystery to the character, making him even more badass. 



Devil May Cry (2001)

Dante's twin brother -- Vergil -- is already featured on our first list of 10 Most Badass Video Game Characters, but Dante deserves a spot just as much, if not more, than his brother. 


Possessing the enhancing power to transform into a demon -- much like his evil sibling -- Devil May Cry's Dante gives preference to oversized swords. However, he never lets go of his trusty handguns (Ebony and Ivory), which he uses to soften enemies up before cutting them into pieces.


At times, Dante may act somewhat cocky and playful, but he always backs it up with unprecedented skill.


Big Boss

Metal Gear (1987)

Solid Snake may be considered the main protagonist of the Metal Gear Solid series, but let's face it: he wouldn't even exist without Big Boss.


Boss' first appearance was in the original Metal Gear, though he didn't become a playable character until much later when Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released. An unfortunate encounter with his former mentor leaves him with countless bruises, dislocated joints, and broken bones; later on, he even gets his eye shot out.


Despite all that, he manages to complete his mission, earning him the legendary title -- Big Boss. The rest, as they say, is history. 


Aranea Highwind

Final Fantasy XV (2016)

This gorgeous blonde may very well be the most stylish Final Fantasy character in over a decade. She joins Final Fantasy XV's party of heroes as a dominating force -- however briefly -- and adds an amusing flavor to their conversations.


Aranea dons stylish battle armor and employs an impressively-sized lance during combat, which, of course, decimates her opponents. Beautiful, confident, and strong, Aranea Highwind is not hesitant to take on multiple foes at once -- and deals with them in brutal, timely fashion.


Ada Wong

Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Ada first appears in Resident Evil 2 as a supporting character, but she later plays a much more significant role in Resident Evil 4, where she receives her own story scenario: Separate Ways.


Her personality and background are rather mysterious, though she seems to have an affection toward a certain someone (ahem). Ada tends to prefer lightweight, conventional weaponry like handguns and machine guns, but when push comes to shove, she is also a deceptively skilled hand-to-hand combatant.


In a franchise full of badass characters, Ada often gets overlooked by casual fans, which is just too bad. 


As it turns out, our original list of the 10 most badass video game characters needs an update. I mean, there are more than 10 badass characters in the pantheon of gaming. Surprising, right?


That is why we decided to whip up a follow-up list including more of those badasses; 10 more, to be precise. Some of these characters are defined by superhuman strength, some by unique traits, some by the armory of weapons they possess, and some by the events they've endured. Ultimately, they are all bound by the same uncanny traits: individually completing meaningful tasks, defeating their enemies and, basically, getting sh** done.


Much like our original list, this one is based on two simple criteria:

  • Only one character per franchise (per individual list)
  • \n
  • The character is playable at any point in the particular series in question or must represent a playable party of characters
  • \n

Let's get started. 

Shenmue: What's the Big Deal About This Game? Fri, 27 Apr 2018 11:11:47 -0400 Edgar Wulf

You may have heard of Shenmue, or seen Michael Huber drop to his knees at the reveal of the upcoming Shenmue 3; heck, if you owned the now legendary Dreamcast, you may have even played it. But what is it that is so special about a game that is almost 20 years old? At the time of its release, there was nothing like itnot at that scale. The estimated production costs also reflect that; Shenmue cost up to $70 million to develop, allegedly shared among both entries which, in 1999, was still a record-breaking budget for a video game.

Finding the Men in Black Suits

As the story begins, you assume the role of Ryo Hazuki, a young, initially brash martial artist who witnesses the death of his father but fails to stand in the way of the killer. After recovering from this event, Ryo sets out into a faithfully recreated Japanese city of Yokosuka to gather clues on the whereabouts of his father's murderer, Lan Di, who commands a mysterious and intimidating presence during his few appearances. While the plot itself is hardly revolutionary, it is the setting, the pacing of the story, and the characters you meet and interact with which provide a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience.

If you are familiar with the Yakuza series, a game franchise which has been heavily inspired by Shenmue, then you already know what you're potentially getting yourself into. Similarly, at its core, Shenmue is a 3D beat-em-up with an emphasis on exploration and dialogue. You spend most of your time talking to other people, gathering information, and progressing the story. There's more than enough fighting to be done, however, and each battle encounter provides an excellent opportunity to put recently learned moves to the test.

New moves can be acquired by purchasing (or finding) scrolls, or by interacting with other martial arts experts around the city. Much like in fighting games, each move consists of a particular button combination, and it is recommended to practice them, either in the dojo at home or at a small parking lot in the city. These practice sessions offer an unusually serene gameplay experience and demonstrate how, gradually, Ryo becomes a more skilled fighter based on hard work, not mere accumulation of stats. Shenmue is also known for popularizing quick time events and, unlike in so many other games, they were integrated into gameplay quite well. Failing at them during battle would sometimes lead to a "Game Over" screen, but often the story would continue, forcing Ryo to carry the shame of defeat along with him.

I Will Avenge My Father's Death ... But First I'll Play!

It is in-between these moments of fighting and plot progression where the game offers various entertaining distractions. Simply walking around Yokosuka is already fulfilling, but how about visiting the local convenience store to purchase some batteries for your cassette player (the game takes place in 1986) or other necessities? Or maybe grab a refreshing drink from the nearby vending machine after an arduous battle? If you need some time off, you can go to the arcade and play some of the older games made by SEGA. There is a lot to do, and it is this variety which makes the game stand out.

All of this may not seem like much today; every open-world game has a wide range of activities and pastimes. But in 1999, a game that combined such freedom of action and a coherent, well-written story, was a rarity. Sure you can guide Ryo to track down Lan Di and get revenge, but you can also postpone it, stay at home, and just play video games; at a certain point you can even get a job. This mostly refers to the original Shenmue, but Shenmue II does exactly what you might expect -- it serves as a worthy continuation of the storyline, expands it in terms of size and scope by introducing new characters and activities, and successfully builds upon everything the first game sets up. Think of it as an extension rather than a sequel.

Visually, the games have aged surprisingly well and would look great on modern systems with even minor updates. One very important component, which can easily be overlooked, is the musical score. While it may not be to everybody's tastes, it does create the necessary tone and depth for any event -- it's saddening whenever there is loss, full of determination and hope once you embark on a new adventure, creates a sense of urgency and hazard while in battle, and even manages to become heartwarming and cute during the romantic scenes.

A New Journey

Following its release, this franchise has likely influenced the gaming industry in more ways than it gets credit for, and since a compilation of both games is being released later this year, I strongly urge you to give it a try. I hope I have managed to pique your interest enough to do so. If you have already played the game, why not share some pivotal memories in the comments below?

Thanks for reading, and for anything else Shenmue, stay tuned right here to GameSkinny.

Shenmue 1, Shenmue 2 Set for Release on Modern Consoles, PC Sat, 14 Apr 2018 07:29:29 -0400 Edgar Wulf

It's been close to 19 years since the original Shenmue's release in the Land of the Rising Sun. Considered one of the best games of all time and, at its release in 1999, an incredibly ambitious and expensive project, Shenmue hasn't seen an official Western releases outside of the original Dreamcast version. 

But things are about to change. After countless pleas from fans, SEGA has finally announced the release date for the re-releases of Shenmue and Shenmue 2. According to a press release from SEGA, both games will feature  improved visuals and updated controls, as well as English and Japanese voice-acting. And although it was not officially confirmed, it's a safe bet both games will include achievement/trophy support for all of us achievement-junkies.

This is the definitive version of these all-time classics and will be the best Shenmue experience to date. The re-release will stay true to the originals with modernized features including fully scalable screen resolution, choice of modern or classic control schemes, PC graphics options, an updated user interface and the option to enjoy either the original Japanese or English voiceovers.


Both games are scheduled for a simultaneous release on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as the PC, some time in 2018. They will definitely help us get back into forklifting shape void before the release of Shenmue 3 later this year.

Did you play the original Shenmue games on the Dreamcast? Share a story in the comments below and let us know why you're most looking forward to revisiting this beautiful world.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for all things Shenmue!



For Those Not in the Know: Who Is Yu Suzuki? Mon, 12 Jun 2017 18:13:49 -0400 Klinestife

Yu Suzuki is one of the most highly regarded visionaries in the video game industry, being a common name in discussions about top game designers. Throughout his career, he's made many innovations that's pushed video games forward.

The man joined Sega back in 1983, when the video game industry was crashing, and started by simply producing arcade games. After two years of helping direct and program games, he created his first arcade game, Hang-On. At the time, it was one of the most impressive arcade games, with an arcade cabinet that consists of a handlebar and brake levers, simulating a real motorcycle.

Virtua Racing was his first trip into the world of 3D polygons. It had dynamic camera angles and let the player experience the game from four different camera angles. This was considered the first game with dynamic camera angles.

The next innovation he had was Virtua Fighter, which was the very first 3D fighting game. It had what some consider to be the deepest fighting engine ever. Virtua Fighter 2 upped the ante even more, with texture mapped characters and motion capture animation. It spawned a franchise that has stayed popular throughout the years. Virtua Fighter was considered impactful enough to earn a spot in the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology Innovation.

Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing popularized 3d polygons, with their dynamic cameras and physics engines. Yu Suzuki continued to advance 3d graphics and gameplay, developing new arcade platforms as well as creating games for them.

The first major original title he directed for a home console was Shenmue, which contained an unprecedented level of graphical detail, story, environments, and multiple gameplay elements. The Shenmue series is considered by many to be his magnum opus.

However, after developing Shenmue 2 (which was similarly critically acclaimed), SEGA mysteriously didn't continue the franchise. It wasn't until he left Sega in 2009 and formed his own company that he could finally acquire the Shenmue license from SEGA and start gathering funding for it via Kickstarter.

The game has been in development for many years now. Not many know what comes after for Yu Suzuki, but his contributions to the growth of the industry is undeniable and should be respected.

These 5 Platformers Need To Make A Comeback Now! Sat, 31 Dec 2016 08:00:01 -0500 DannyPTP

With Crash Bandicoot making his long-awaited return  and Sonic The Hedgehog getting what looks to be a decent game for the first time in six years, it's about time that mainstream platformers mount a comeback and make an impact on mainstream gaming as the genre did in the 1990s.

Maybe it's time some of these characters made a welcome return...




Originally developed by Crystal Dynamics, Gex saw his debut in 1995, on the 3DO, PlayStation, Microsoft Windows and Sega Saturn. The series revolves around the titular character getting sucked into his TV and exploring channels while finding a way to defeat his rival, Rez. Many pop culture references are seen throughout the series.

The first game was seen as a standard 2D platformer/collectathon, in which players would run and jump through levels. A feature unique to the series is that Gex would be able to stick to walls so he could bypass enemies and hazards. With the release of Gex: Enter The Gecko, the gameplay style shifted into a 3D perspective, borrowing aspects from Super Mario 64, including a hub world.

The final game in the series, Deep Cover Gecko, kept the 3D gameplay of its older brother and also incorporated aspects seen in the first game.

Gex hasn't seen a release since 1999, but in February 2015, Square Enix announced that developers would be able to develop games using old IPs, so perhaps there's hope for the green gecko yet.



Developed by Argonaut Software, Croc began life as a 3D Mario spin-off starring Yoshi, but eventually moulded into its own game, with gameplay revolving around exploring levels, collecting crystals and rescuing Gabbos, who was captured by Baron Dante.

The game was developed for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC, with a Game Boy Colour version being developed by Virtucraft.

A sequel, Croc 2, was released a few years later, along with a couple of mobile games as well.

But alas, Argonaut Software are no longer with us, so while a Croc remaster or sequel is highly unlikely, you never know in the world of Kickstarter and crowdfunding. Maybe some intrepid, nostalgic developer will bring Croc back to life. 


One that I don't hear much about, Klonoa entered our hearts in 1998. Developed by Namco, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was released on PlayStation and was well received by critics, considered by many to be one of the best games available in the Playstation's library.

Exploring a 2.5D environment, players had to guide Klonoa through levels known as "Visions" and utilise a weapon called "The Wind Bullet," which allowed Klonoa to lift enemies above his head and use them to defeat other enemies or to reach higher locations.

The game was re-released on Wii in 2009, but apart from that, no other games in the series have been made. But with an apparent anime film being made, maybe Namco will give Klonoa a second chance.



Ristar was developed from a concept originally intended for Sonic the Hedgehog, where Ristar was a rabbit with extendable ears. Afterwards, the concept was used to create Ristar, whom would use his extendable arms to defeat enemies and reach platforms, something never seen before. 

The original game was released in 1995 on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. There was also a GameGear release, which had different level designs and gameplay mechanics.

Since then, Ristar has been seen only in cameos, such as appearing as a 'Gachapon' in Shenmue and as the flagman in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed. But with a high demand from fans that they want the character to return in a full-fledged game, here's hoping Sega let this star shine bright again.



Anyone remember this? I sure do!

Zool was developed as a rival to Sonic The Hedgehog, boasting high-speed gameplay across colourful environments while collecting items to progress through the game's seven worlds. The game also included mini-games, which included a space shooter and other arcade games.

The game was released by Gremlin Graphics in October 1992 and was made available on a multitude of consoles including, but not limited to, Amiga, Sega Megadrive/Genesis, Atari ST and SNES.

A sequel was also made, which kept the gameplay style the same but also introduced new characters, Zooz, Zool's female companion, and Zoon, his faithful dog.

The sequel's ending contained a hint of another sequel, but nothing came to fruition. However, with Ian Stewart, the founder of Gremlin Graphics, picking up the company's assets with his new company, Urbanscan Ltd, we'll have to wait and see. And we can only hope. 


So, there we are. While the indie platforming scene is bustling with new and innovative titles that are expanding the genre, it would be wonderful to see these old platforming vanguards reappear in the mainstream scene and reinvigorate the platforming genre for new and old fans alike. 

Do you remember these games? Are there any platforming greats that I have missed that you feel should have been included? Sound off in the comments below! 

Retro review: Shenmue (Dreamcast) Sat, 28 Nov 2015 14:09:59 -0500 Clint Pereira

Back in 1996, legendary Sega designer/producer Yu Suzuki proposed the creation a Virtua Fighter RPG, telling the coming-of-age story of Bajiquan master Akira. Similar to Ryu from the Street Fighter series, he is a character who travels the world to test his abilities. But Suzuki had a grand design for this game, and used a concept he called "borderless development" to design the game hiring people from outside of the gaming industry: a director, a playwright, a screenwriter, and even an architect worked on what would become Shenmue.

Before production started in 1998, Sega decided to create a new franchise with a new main character, Ryo Hazuki. There would still be Virtua Fighter combat, of course, but it would all be in the context of an expansive martial arts narrative set in the 1980s.


In Yokosuka, Japan in 1986, Ryo witnesses his father killed by the evil Lan Di. Never forgetting about his revenge, he sets out on a quest to wander around the city and ask people questions about his father’s murder.

For a lot of people, this was the weakest part of the game. This kind of detective work slowed down the plot so that little actually happened in the first game. There was a lot of wandering around, soaking in the city life, but meanwhile the Lan Di is never even seen except in flashbacks. The story was paced out like the hero's journey in a book series rather than a video game.

But this was also the series' unique strength. The slow pacing allowed for complete immersion into the setting, and the city of Yokosuka became a character in itself. The beautiful and detailed environments still hold up today.


Shenmue is like some kind of beautiful union between a sandbox game and an adventure game. You can't just run around and get into a giant chase with the cops like in Grand Theft Auto, but instead Ryo's daily life contains a balance of routine and ritual as opposed to pushing forward and progressing the story. You could spend the entire game just playing arcade games every day or practicing martial arts in an empty lot, but actually finding your father’s killer required you to do some detective work and explore the city.

Here's a bit of a paradox: I’m not a fan of fighting games but I’m an enormous fan of games with fighting elements. When I boot up a fighting game, what’s the impetus for me to open the command list and learn all the moves? Nothing, except to beat the other guy (unless you're better at button mashing than your friend). There’s no other context within the game itself that requires the player to get better. So, you buckle down and do some research and try out different moves. The moves are all there, but you have to memorize button combos. It's not very fun.

For Shenmue, you're constantly practicing to get better than Lan Di. You know a few simple moves at first and build from there. You can practice them on your own, sure, but you learn more techniques from the people you meet. If a homeless person uses quick feet to evade you, you learn from him. Life is Ryo’s teacher, not a command list. So, naturally and gradually, he learns fighting moves in the hope that one or all of them will someday crush the evil Lan Di.

What hasn't aged so well is the quick time events. While they were new and refreshing at the time of Shenmue's release, they always suffered from some of the problems that QTEs suffer from today: repetitive frustration, especially when your reaction times are not fast enough.


A game like Shenmue is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed the daily grind and detective work it took to find track down Ryo's father’s killer. It’s like playing a game as the most powerful samurai wandering among peasants, only you’re an ‘80s kid who wears a bomber jacket and lives in a dojo.

Its legacy lives on as one of the most unique and expensive productions in gaming history. And, of course, its story will continue in the recently-Kickstarted Shenmue 3.

Image sources:;;;

'90s Making of Shenmue documentary gives glimpse into legendary game Mon, 09 Nov 2015 05:20:33 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Yu Suzuki's achievements in the game industry are nearly second to none. Suzuki had his hand in a number of arcade and Sega classics throughout the '80s and '90s that revolutionized arcades with Hang-On, Out Run, After Burner, and Virtua Fighter to name a few.

Today Suzuki isn't known best for his classic titles, but for the cinematic Dreamcast title Shenmue. A game unparalleled in detail at the time of release, Shenmue was toted as being the future of gaming due to its captivating story, detailed visuals, and sheer amount of things to do.

We know what happened to the Shenmue story after the first game. The second part was only released on the Xbox in North America, and the third part just sort of disappeared until this year. Shenmue 3 was Kickstarted and is currently in development for a 2017 release.

We may be two years from the release of Shenmue 3, but we're over 15 years away from when this documentary was made. And if you're a fan, you need to give it a watch.

Fansite Shenmue Dojo has subtitled the Making of Shenmue documentary, previously only available in Japanese and aired on the NHK channel in the late '90s. The documentary crew followed Yu Suzuki and the game's development for six months because of how revolutionary Shenmue was meant to be, and in many ways turned out to be.

If you're a fan, give it a watch. The folks at Shenmue Dojo have done an amazing job giving this hidden gem subtitles and it is more than worth the watch if you love Shenmue, Yu Suzuki, or if you're just one of those weird Sega kids.

"Does something look odd to you?" - Disproportionate characters in gaming Sun, 13 Sep 2015 13:08:19 -0400 katlaborde


But then again, Ryo's got bigger issues than disproportionate limbs.


Are there any other characters that look If so, let me know in the comments!


Image source: Tumblr

Ryo (Shenmue series)

Alright, on first glance, you might think I'm reaching on this one, but hear me out, Ryo is a disproportionate mess that deserves his spot on this list, too. Just look at him, take a long hard look. Do you not see anything a tad out of the ordinary? I don't know, maybe his arms look a little too long or his torso looks a bit too short? That's right, now you're seeing it, aren't you? Maybe Ryo shouldn't have been seeking revenge on Lan Di, but on the blind character designer that decided to give him the limbs of a chimp. 


Image source: Shenmue Dojo

Jim Raynor (Star Craft)

We like em' gruff and we like em' buff. Especially when we take somebody already super massively huge and put them in an even more super massively huge suit or armor! OH, MY GAAAWWWD! Move over Marcus Fenix: Jim Raynor makes the COGs look like a little league team playing softball at a Sunday picnic! MANSPLOSION!


Image source: Comic Vine

Bayonetta (Bayonetta) 

I do enjoy the Bayonetta games, but something about her is well...kinda freakish. With her incredibly tall stature, Bayonetta's head always seemed really small in comparison. Although maybe this was intentional, it's one of those things that once you notice, you can't stop looking at it.


Image source: We Heart It

 Larry (Leisure Suit Larry) 

Oh Larry, the poor little bachelor just can't catch a break! All he wants is to finally score himself a hot babe, but with a head that large and a body that small, accomplishing that will happen about as often as spotting Bigfoot riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster. But hey, you know what they say about having a big head, right...? Yeah, I don't, either. 


Image source: Pixel Perfect Gaming

 Sorceress (Dragon's Crown)

BOOBS! You thought the early Lara Croft was stacked? HA! The Sorceress from Dragon's Crown makes poor Lara and the entire cast of Soul Calibur 4 look like prepubescent boys. How she gets around without having to wear a back brace is a miracle, but then again, her lofty bosom is probably where she stores her magic. So you know, there's practicality to her bustiness. 

Image source: IGN

The COGs (Gears of War series)

On the planet Sera, not only are steroids completely legal, but they are mandatory. Marcus Fenix and company look primed to burst into an explosion of manly bro-ness at any vein-pulsing second. You know, the Locusts might have actually been threatening if their human adversaries weren't already built like the Incredible Hulk on Muscle Milk. 


Image source: GOW Series


Have you ever noticed something off about some of your favorite video games characters? Whether it's a stylistic choice or a slip-up with scale, there is something about these characters that looks a bit off.


I am by no means saying the following characters are poorly designed, they just have certain enlarged or smallish features about them that we can't help but notice.


Image source: Guardian

Shenmue 3 may not see a physical retail release Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:33:51 -0400 Michael Slevin

Ys Net has told VG247 via email that a retail release of Shenmue 3 is "currently unconfirmed."

A physical copy of the Kickstarter-funded game will be provided to those who pledge $60 or more, however, a physical copy may not hit store shelves. For now, we know that Shenmue 3 will release digitally on PlayStation 4 and PC.

Shenmue 3 has been one of the most successful Kickstarter projects in terms of funding, raking in $5,262,192 as of 4:00 ET of today.

A retail release could certainly be possible, however, especially if the game is successful, especially given that another Kickstarter success story, Shovel Knight, was recently announced to have a retail release. 

The cryptic "unconfirmed" language used by Ys Net's reps also suggests that it is, at the very least, within the realm of possibility.

Will you be purchasing the game digitally? Or will you hold out for a physical release of Shenmue 3? Let me know in the comments!

Has Anyone Asked: How Would Shenmue HD Hold Up? Thu, 03 Apr 2014 08:45:52 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Sometimes, you just charge right ahead with the seemingly unerring belief that yes, this is exactly what you want.

Shenmue in brilliant 1080p high-definition? Sure, why not? What could be bad about that?

Well, I'm not saying it'd be a bad idea - of course, there are plenty of HD remakes and remasters out there - and this is a widely loved franchise. To see it return in any capacity would be a blessing for the lifelong fans. On top of which, if it proved popular, it might encourage Sega to produce that sequel we've wanted for over a decade.

So yeah, it sounds like a win-win situation, doesn't it?

... but maybe not.

This isn't like the FFX/X-2 HD Remaster collection

People will immediately point to the recently released Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster as proof that a similar treatment for Shenmue would be well-received. However, that is not a great comparison for a number of reasons.

The most important reason is this: The turn-based gameplay mechanic in those old FFs has been missed by millions. I know most developers these days think the archaic, outdated system just doesn't work anymore, but it does. And because you can't find big-budget games that feature such a gameplay mechanic anymore, FFX and X-2 represent something that's both great and different. That's what you get when you compare it to today's games. Sure, it can't stand up technically to new stuff but the gameplay still appeals to the old-school JRPG faithful.

I'm not convinced the original Shenmue gameplay would appeal equally to fans of that series. With a more action-oriented gameplay style, it might feel really old. We often forget just how clunky, slow, and problematic some of those old mechanics were. I'm not saying Shenmue was bad, but I just played it a few days ago and you know...we've come a long way. You're going to have to come to terms with a lot of technical limitations when you play Shenmue HD.

Maybe Shenmue can't benefit from an HD remaster; maybe it needs a sequel

FFX and X-2 could benefit because again, it represents a style of gameplay we don't really see on the big screen anymore. We see it in Bravely Default and the upcoming Child of Light, but those are not what Final Fantasy has always been: A big-budget, cutting-edge, blockbuster series for main consoles. We go back and revel in the old-fashioned goodness. While on the other hand, we may not be "reveling" in the Shenmue gameplay; we might just be wishing for current advancements.

My point is this: FFX and X-2 won't feel old to the fans when they play them. Shenmue might, simply due to the drastic action-based advancements we've made over the years. That turn-based system in the old FFs was never really improved upon because it basically diedShenmue's mechanic has been dramatically improved upon.

Get what I'm saying? I think we just need a brand new game: Shenmue 3.