Review by tomstaind

"Shenmue is not F.R.E.E. but it's the best game on the DC"

Daily Radar says Shenmue is the best game ever made and so do a lot of the reviews here. But I disagree, while Shenmue is a great game it's not the best game ever, it's the best DC game ever.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics in Shenmue are easily the best looking on any console game every made(includes the PS2 ;) ). Character details are just unbelievable. Rarely would you see the same character(meaning faces). The city is awesome, to put it into simple words. It's a massive world, and who knew it could fit on one disc! I'm talking about the 3rd disc which is the best disc on the game, but I'm not telling you about it. ;)

My only complaint is the game does have slowdowns. When more then 4 characters are on screen it does slow down, it doesn't mess up gameplay but it's still present, and hopefully will be fixed for the next adventure.

Gameplay: 7/10

I'm going to put this section into 3 categories, Free Quest, Quick Time Events, and Free Battle.

Free Quest: 7/10

Well this seems to be one of the major complaint for Shenmue, some people complain about it being boring,etc. My complaint really isn't that in fact, I love the idea Yu Suzki has tried to do such a bold new idea that other companies wouldn't try to do. My complaints are as follows, not as ''free'' as we were told and sometimes waiting for a certain shop to open because tedious.

Okay let me talk about ''F.R.E.E.''. When Shenmue was announced it was proclaimed as a F.R.E.E. game. It was the only kind of it's kind. Well after playing Shenmue it should just be called a Adventure game. How come Ryo doesn't eat, go to the bathroom, change cloths, hang out with friends, and etc. Well normally I wouldn't complain about this but when you say something you can't deliver, your going to get complaints about it. *cough*PS2*cough* j/k

As for my other complaint it's not for when I first went through the game, it's my second time through. In fact I didn't even do anything except play games at the arcade and other stuff for just days. But my second time through it got boring just waiting for a certain shop to open. So they should include a option where you can speed up the time in the game.

QTE: 9/10

The QTE are really a part of the game that I thought I wasn't going to like that much. But after I played the game I really wish they included it more. My only complaint is if you mess up a QTE you get a re-do. It would have been a good idea if they would let the story lead to another path if you failed a QTE. Just a small complaint here.

Free Battle: 6/10

Okay, let me start out by saying I suck at fighting games. I never play them so I'm not bragging when I say, the Free Battle is way too easy. If I remember correctly I only had a few moves mastered. And I beat the final boss on 1 try! So either I have a skill in fighting games that I never knew or the game is really easy. I'm leaning more to really easy. ;)

Sound: 8/10

Where to start? Let's start out with the good. The music in Shenmue is beautiful, each musical piece fits into that specific area perfectly. From the Tomato Mart to Tom's Hot Dog Stand. Then the sound effects are even better, the sound from Ryo's refrigerator humming, to Ryo's footsteps, and each cabinet door opening. It's all wonderful.

With good, comes bad, and I'm talking about the voice acting. It's not bad as were it's not playable, but it's still bad from different people.

Ryo at a lot of times seems like he is just reading and not acting. At some points of the game he does in fact sound like he is acting but, most of the game he just seems very stale. Tom (I like that name ;) ), reminds me of Jar-Jar Binks. If you saw the Phantom Menace you know what I'm talking about. I can live with those few things except for one thing the kids in the game are beyond annoying. Talk to one kid you'll either hear.

A)''Hey mister, wanna wrestle?''
B)''Hey mister, wanna play baseball?''
C)''Hey mister, wanna play soccer?''

That's all they say when you approach them.

Story: 7/10

Okay if you don't know the story by now, just go to IGN and look it up. A basic idea is, you are avenging your fathers death. While the story is pretty basic and does flow pretty well it fails for one major reason and that reason is...

It needs Shenmue 2. Shenmue leaves a lot to desire and when Shenmue 2 comes out Shenmue will be complete.

Replay Value: 8/10

Shenmue has a lot of replay value for a adventure game. Using the Passport Disc you can check out High Scores across the world. Want to get #1 on Hang-On? Go to You Arcade and try to beat the record. Missing a couple of movies and music? Try to find them in the game.


Shenmue is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had in a video game, in a long time. It's not the best game ever, but it's the best game on the DC. Period. Do yourself a favor and buy this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/25/00, Updated 11/25/00

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