Shenmue Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Shenmue RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 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.

Top 15 most frustrating doors in video games Mon, 24 Aug 2015 03:35:24 -0400 Clint Pereira


1. Security room doors in Five Nights at Freddy's


Why would these doors use an entire generator's power to stay closed? Why would any door use power to stay closed? This doesn't make any sense! Who rigged these doors? Was it you, Bonnie?


...why are you looking at me like that?


2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's claw puzzle doors


The golden claw door is part of the main quest and these dragon claws are the only time you'll ever have to rotate items to solve a puzzle. The only time.


And there are no tutorials, no hints from NPCs. None of the loading screen tips tell you that you can rotate items, either, and there are literally hundreds of different loading screens!


3. The doors to the next level in Little Nemo


Missed a key? Time to go back and scour the whole level for it.


4. Locked Doors in Super Mario Bros. 2

  1. Steal a key from a very angry spirit called Phanto.
  2. \n
  3. Escape from the tomblike vase in which he lives.
  4. \n
  5. Run as fast as you can to the locked door.
  6. \n
  7. Try not to get murdered by Phanto.
  8. \n

5. Demon Doors from the Fable series


These guys were all jerks. I'm not getting married just because you say so! If the bouncer at a club gave me cryptic clues to go on a fetch quest, I don't think I'd want to dance there.


6. Resident Evil load screen doors


My eyes glaze over just thinking about it.


7. Exits in Zombies Ate My Neighbors


I know these might look like wide targets, but you have to approach them from a certain angle. And then there's the times you're being chased by a maniac with a chainsaw when your player 2 decides to take the same exit you were going for.


8. Trapdoors in Luigi's Mansion


If you're ever in a rush, these doors will be sure to punish you. There is a way to spot them by opening up the Game Boy Horror screen. The things I wouldn't do for a fire vacuum right now.


9. Shop doors in Shenmue


Lots of doors and tank-like controls. With ten minutes for every in-game hour, waiting for the bar to open can be a nightmare.


10. The Binding of Isaac's curse room doors


In any roguelike as brutal as this, health is a luxury you can't afford to spend. When the doors start taking it away, it's time to start praying for good item drops.


11. Room 302's chained front door in Silent Hill 4


Buddy, you ain't going nowhere.


12. Grand Theft Auto 3's fake doors


I don't know about you, but playing a sandbox game like GTA 3 always makes me want to explore the city inside and out. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.


13. Portal 2's "cake dispensary" door


Let's get this straight—cake is not a joke. I used to get excited about the prospect of cake, but now I just feel empty inside (from lack of cake).


14. Every locked door in Oblivion and Skyrim


While I personally find lockpicking therapeutic, I know a lot of people pull their hair out with these minigames. They take forever and disrupt the flow of an already slow-paced game.


15. Plants Vs. Zombies screen door zombie


At the top of the list is a door that's not where it's supposed to be. Who uses a door as a shield? Zombies, that's who.


Doors. Why do they have to get in our way all the time?


Some require solving puzzles to open. Some, death-defying stunts. Others just need a heaping amount of patience.


Here's my list of the most frustrating doors in video games.

10 Game Series That Need a Comeback Mon, 15 Jun 2015 08:06:28 -0400 Anne-Marie Coyle




If ever there was a game that deserved a comeback based on hype alone it's Shenmue. Highly praised by fans and critics alike, its high-production budget meant Shenmue featured what was perhaps the most realistic interactive world of its time. It's highly detailed graphics and open world exploration blew gamers away.


The problem with Shenmue was that it was released on the Dreamcast. Given the huge lofty sum it cost to make, the platform that didn't have an install base large enough for the franchise to turn a profit. Shenmue did get a sequel which was released on the Dreamcast as well as the original Xbox. Shenmue II provided a more refined experience with a bigger emphasis on combat than its rather slow paced predecessor. It ended on a cliffhanger with a third installment planned, however, that has yet to become a reality.


A masterpiece is the eyes of those that did play it, could the series really live up to the hype and distance itself enough in today's more competitive and technologically-advanced market? There's only one way to find out.




Another Capcom franchise that has been tossed to the wind, Onimusha was Resident Evil minus the zombies and with a lot more Samurais and who doesn't love Samurais right? Well, apparently Capcom, as they've seen fit to leave the series in limbo since 2006. Well, unless you count the browser-based card game Onimusha Soul released in Japan in 2012... but it was awful, so we'll forget that happened.


Depicting legendary figures from Japanese history and retelling their stories with a supernatural twist, the Onimusha series always adapted and evolved, providing a new and exciting experience deviating from anything the franchise had produced previously. Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny wowed with its intricate player choice and new lead character. The third entry pushed the series even further, into modern day France in fact, and featured French actor Jeno Reno kicking some Genma demon butt.


Originally conceived as a trilogy, the popularity of the series spawned a follow-up Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams on 2006, modernising the series with its fully 3D environments rather than the pre-rendered backdrops used in the earlier entries. Almost 10 years later and there is still not even a rumor of a revival. Come back, Nobunaga, all is forgiven!


Crash Bandicoot


You would struggle to find someone who played games in the late nineties that didn't play Crash Bandicoot. Long before Naughty Dog developed the blockbusters it's known for today, it was home to the humble bandicoot. Platforming was king in the early days of PlayStation and Crash was a prominent mascot for Sony's original console.


But as platforming fell out of fashion, so too did this series. After four installments, development of Crash games was split between Traveller's Tales, responsible for Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex and Crash Twinsanity, and Vicarious Visions, who created a number of handheld games for the series. However, neither of these studios quite managed to capture what made the originals so enjoyable and addictive. More recently, the development of Crash has been the responsibility of Radical Entertainment, who rather drastically altered the character for Crash of the Titans.


Poor Crash hasn't been seen since 2008's Crash: Mind over Mutant, despite rumors that both Sony Computer Entertainment and Naughty Dog may bring the series back. Let's hope so as there now exists a generation of gamers who know one of gaming's most iconic mascots as nothing more than a washed up has-been.


Dino Crisis


Dear Shinji Mikami,


Can you please explain just what incarnation is going on in your latest horror game The Evil Within? Why is it so disjointed and why the heck does everyone keep ending up in baths?! On second thought, could you just get back to making the phenomenal Dino Crisis.


Yours sincerely, Every Gamer Ever.


Last seen in 2003, with its last decent entry going back as far as 1999's, this is a series that's almost as extinct as the ferocious reptiles it features, well give or take several million years. The point is that technology has advanced so much since the early Resident Evil-style survival horror featuring the fixed camera angles and tank controls of the series heyday.


Were the series to be revived now with same atmosphere that made the first two so intense, HD graphics and the kind of radical overhaul in gameplay seen in Resident Evil 4, we could have something very special indeed.


Shadow Hearts


Perhaps… no, *definitely* one of the most underrated RPGs in existence is Shadow Hearts. The original was a skillful blend of horror, inherited from its prequel Koudelka, and turn-based role-play. Both Shadow Hearts and its sequel Shadow Hearts: Covenant showcased genuinely fascinating plots and a host of memorable characters. It’s a series that had a commendable uniqueness in its atmosphere; one minute it had you bewildered by its goofiness and the next reaching for the Kleenex as it delved into themes of love, loss and sacrifice that cut right to the bone.


Another aspect that set Shadow Hearts apart from the flock was its battle system. Dubbed The Judgement Ring, in order for a character to attack they had to hit specific areas of the ring, miss and the character didn’t get to take their turn. This engaging method tested player’s reflexes and made battles in Shadow Hearts harsh yet satisfying.


2006’s Shadow Hearts: From the New World was more of a spin-off than a sequel, keeping the combat mechanics established in previous games, but foregoing the dark atmosphere of its predecessors. The game was met with a less favorable reception and poor sales of the series lead to developer Nautilus closing its doors in 2007. This is a series that deserves a revival or in the very least an HD collection, if only to garner it some degree of the recognition and success it so justly deserves.




Strong female leads are a dime dozen these days, but who remembers the form switching, no nonsense Jennifer Tate from PS2 action game Primal? Having the ability to transform into not one, but four demon forms, take on all manner of otherworldly beasts with an enviable rock-chick coolness, save her boyfriend as well as various realms, there’s little this lady can’t do… well, except produce a sequel.


Shortly after the games release, preliminary work did begin on a follow-up that would star Jen’s boyfriend Lewis. However, this would never see the light of day as developer SCE Studio Cambridge obtained a licence to produce a video game based on hit TV show 24. Development on Primal 2 ceased, the imaginatively titled 24: The Game was released in 2006 and sadly the studio has never looked back. In a time when console exclusives are more important than ever, Sony should look to revisiting this stellar single player co-op action adventure.


Jade Empire


Before there was Dragon Age, before there was Mass Effect… there was Jade Empire. The game drew heavily from features established in BioWare's previous game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Players could choose their gender, romantic interest, and moral affiliation. There was also a choice between six different characters, granting the player different attributes, such as a focus on strength or magic. Battles were a refreshing blend of spells and martial-arts-infused action RPG combat.


The game was set in a fantastical kingdom that drew its inspiration from ancient China to breathtaking effect. A host of NPCs, a wealth of decision making that had a direct influence on events and a beautiful world to explore all make Jade Empire essential even seven years after its initial launch. It remains a prime candidate for a world that's definitely worth expanding on with a sequel.




BloodRayne is another vampire game that deserves to rise from the ashes. Set during WW2, the original saw half-vampire Rayne going up against mutated Nazis and other unseemly beasts. Revelling in the extremity of its scenario, gore, and feisty main character, Bloodrayne was an over the top thrill ride. Its sequel, Bloodrayne 2, ended with the revelation that the Brimstone society, the shady organisation whose business Rayne’s been carrying out for the last 2 years now want her pretty red head on a pike. The game ended with Rayne proclaiming that “the next few years are going to be very interesting.”


Unfortunately, they weren’t.


A hard as nails side-scrolling platformer, that had absolutely nothing to do with its source material, a comic series and some of the worst video game to film movies known to man, made the years since Bloodrayne 2 distinctly uninteresting if not downright appalling. Its intriguing premise and captivating femme fatale make Bloodrayne a worthy candidate for a revival, not least to help distance its association with franchise-butcher Uwe Boll.


Prince of Persia


Back in 2003, there was a Prince who was the golden IP in the land of Ubisoft. However, the Persian Royal was usurped by the powerful Assassin’s Creed. In the years that followed Ubisoft established the open-world stealth series into a yearly franchise. Perhaps this has left the developer giant with limited resources to focus on bringing PoP back to its former glory, or perhaps they’ve simply run out of ideas as to what to do with the series.


After a successful trilogy, a strange artsy addition and a lacklustre prequel that exists solely to cash in on Hollywood’s take on the series, the Prince has seemingly taken up residence in Ubisoft’s deepest darkest dungeon never to be heard from again. It's a series that may have lost its way slightly, but the time travelling acrobatics, stellar platforming and engrossing Arabian night’s feel of the earlier entries is definitely something that shouldn't be forever lost in the midst of time.


Legacy of Kain


The last time we saw Kain & co was in 2003's Legacy of Kain Defiance. The game was a blend of both the Blood Omen and Soul Rever series' with play switching between the ghostly Raziel and his arch nemesis the vampire Kain. Following disappointing sales of Defiance publisher Eidos put the series on hold.


Recently, we've heard that a very different take on the series had been in development by Climax, the British studio responsible for Assassin's Creed Chronicles, but this was cancelled by Square Enix due to concerns over how the game would perform financially.


However, the multiplayer element does live on in multiplayer game Nosgoth. Although set in the same world as LoK, it bears little semblance to the legendary series outside of that. The world of Nosgoth is so rife with lore and atmosphere and in a time that release schedules are overcrowded with zombie titles isn't it about time vampires were given the spotlight?


While some series are milked to the teeth with yearly entries, some of the best series have been missing for far too long. Here’s a list of ten franchises we hope to see making a comeback in the near future. 

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.

It Ain't Much, but Sony's "Very Nice" Makes Shenmue Fans Smile Mon, 13 Jan 2014 08:41:59 -0500 Fathoms_4209

Shenmue is one of those franchises that simply must be resurrected, or so says the faithful, never-say-die fanbase.

Unfortunately, after Shenmue 2 released all the way back in 2002, the series has gone dormant. Every generation, the fans beg for a sequel but each time, they've been disappointed. That's why, at this point, they're happy with any response.

So, even though a "very nice" doesn't sound like much, to the fans in question, it's a pretty big deal. It started with the following Tweet: As you can see, some of those dedicated followers came together to spell out, "Thank you Sony for listening to us. Please #Save Shenmue."

In response, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida tweeted:

 Well, okay. So it's not a confirmation of Shenmue 3. It doesn't even imply that such a project could exist. If we want to be cynical about it, it doesn't mean anything at all. Remember, part of Yoshida's job is to respond to the PlayStation community, especially when that community addresses Sony. Therefore, it's hard to get excited over a simple and possibly obligatory "very nice."

Still, there might be hope...

On the flip side, Sony does have a reputation for listening and reacting to gamer requests. If Shenmue 3 could exist, nobody would be surprised to see it on the PlayStation 4. At least, I wouldn't. Another big reason for this possibility is that unlike Microsoft, Sony is more willing to take risks. They're more willing to either bring back dormant IPs, or create entirely new IPs that may or may not resonate with a mainstream audience. Remember the Twisted Metal reboot?

The bottom line is that if enough Shenmue fans come forward, I'm willing to bet that Sony will at least consider the possibility of a sequel on the PS4. That's nothing to sneeze at, ya know.

Quick Time Events: The Immersion Breaker Mon, 13 May 2013 04:02:25 -0400 Reilly C.

Since God of War popularized Quick Time Events, they have become fairly common in modern gaming and sort of been accepted as a "thing." It seems to work its way into almost every game coming out.  Why is this?  Most likely because programming something to happen because of one button press is easier than programming all these different animations to trigger because of using this combination of movements and button presses that will then make it so enemies will react in a certain way and... Let's just say it is less complicated.

While Quick Time Events are not really cancer, it is like finding a zit on your first day back to school. 

It is kind of annoying seeing a new game's first game play and it is riddled with Quick Time Events.  Specifically the new Tomb Raider was a huge offender of this.  It left me feeling pretty unimpressed seeing the developers rapid tapping buttons to get through a tense scene.

The idea of trying to make an interactive cinematic moment is fine but there is no need to make it so obvious.  Uncharted 2 did such an amazing job of making you feel like you were barely in control of a tense and crazy moment.  Instead of just making a cutscene and throwing in button prompts, they would have you guide the character and maybe make you jump over something.  While simple in concept, this made me tense up and worry about the character as he runs along a bridge that is collapsing under him. This is because just like in real life, you now need to watch what you are doing as the next movement could be your last!  Also, they did not need to complicate the situation for animators, programmers and modelers.  This is opposed to a QTE where all you need to do is watch for the prompt and slap that button.  Hardly any effort needed.

I will admit that some games pull it off in a rather spectacular fashion like Asura’s Wrath.  Not only did it have QTEs, the entire gameplay was BASED around QTEs.  Honestly, it was an anime that was made to be controlled by QTEs and and only about 20% ever let you actually do something on your own.  It was very much a welcomed experiment and honestly, I have no idea how Namco-Bandai was convinced on making this game. I am glad it did though because the story was something to behold and had moments that honestly took my breath away but had it simply been an action game... I most likely would have put down the controller much earlier.

So just like I mentioned above, there are ways to do them right and many ways to do them wrong.

A quick brainstorm:

If I am threatening another character with a gun in game and I start to slowly pull the controllers right trigger, zoom in on the gun a little and show his finger applying some pressure to the trigger too.  Have the other character notice and start to panic as he knows you are getting serious.  These subtle cues make for powerful moments without making them overly obvious.

Making a moment monumental is vital at times so please do not throw a giant "X" button on screen to break that moment.  Make it a cut scene or give me control.  Even small things can make a world of difference.

Honorable mentions to Shenmue for really pioneering them, and Quantum Theory for pretty much making games around them as well.