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Author Topic: My Winter Shenmue playthrough  (Read 17133 times)

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Offline xiuying hong is brill

My Winter Shenmue playthrough
« on: December 20, 2015, 09:22:57 AM »
So as some of yous may or may not know, I've never finished Shenmue 1, so finally after years of procrastinating I've bought it again, along with Shenmue 2. And as I hope to play these games through for the first time in like 15 years I also hope to document my feelings in this thread. If anyone else wants to play with me please do so, but I'm aware it's the holiday season and people are busy. I'll try and document my feelings if and when I can but no guarantees on me seeing this thread through.

Anyway, first day of playing:

Bloody hell the Dreamcast is cute little console! When did consoles stop being cute?
Bloody hell the menu presentation is attractive!
Bloody hell this game is attractive! I hear a lot about 2D or heavily stylized games like Wind Waker being considered timeless, but really Shenmue is right up there with them in my opinion. It's simply gorgeous! A perfect marriage of wonderful art and masterful interpretation into technology. To be honest I can't think of many other fully 3D, non cel shaded games that have aged as well. It's more like the character have been carved out of wood than rendered in computer graphics. A HD re release would probably make this better looking than 90% of current gen games.

Lan Di is an amazing villian. Right up there with Darth Vadar. And the choreography of the opening is brilliant.

After a decade of reading about the game, but not playing it, I'm finally seeing so many of the things I missed when I was 13. Pouring though the  draws of the Hazuki household. Seeing the draws full of white tee shirts and jeans in Ryo's room did make me laugh. It's also my first time to trigger the cut scene of young Ryo learning how to eat carrots and pulling the console out of cupboard, or seeing the fish in the pond. Wonderful. I was forcefully made aware of the routine of the characters when I happened to be standing next to the Buddhist shirine in the house when Ine san happened to go for a prayer session, and I was stuck in a corner until she finished. Fuku san staring in what I presume is a mournful fashion at the bare tree outside also really brought home the tragedy.

The Mise en scene through out the game so far is also wonderful. The Hazuki household feels suitably austere yet homely. In fact, everything in this game feels thoroughly lived in and real, and the location's are wonderful, from the homely neighborhoods near the dojo to bustling Doubita. . But most of all the community. Nobody is a nobody, nearly everyone knows one another here, and have probably grown up together. Ryo knows nearly everyone on a name basis from the shop keepers to the little kids playing in the street. Everyone is someone, everyone has their own life, and it really makes you care about them all. When Ine, who tirelessly tends to the house while Ryo is off on his tunnel vision quest for revenge, tells me for a second time to please not come home later than 11 o'clock because she worries ( more than understandable when your dad was just murdered few days prior) I genuiely felt bad for coming home so late.

The other major revelation to me, is how good Corey Marshall's performance is! People have complained for so long that it's "emotionless" and robotic that I came to accept it as fact, that his performance was not a good one. But NO, he is absolutely stellar!  And I mean genuinely, not just in a so bad it's good way (though Tom is certainly in that category). A mere four days after witnessing the murder of his father, Ryo's mourning period appears to well and truly be over, he's quelled the burning pain of his agony with an icey cold mission of revenge. Even when praying at the shrine in his house he dedicates his prayers to "getting" the guys who killed his dad. As far as I've played, Ryo has no emotionally expressive dialogue or introversion at all, one can only presume he's distracting himself from his sorrow with his quest.  Even in his interaction with other characters he's written to be short, interested almost exclusively in furthering his mission, and more than up for a fight. Of course this could be interpreted to simply be lazy writing, but nonetheless Corey makes the most of it, portraying a polite but icey cold youth who has gone numb inside. Even when some characters ask him rather ridiculously if he's "alright after his rough time" or to "cheer up" Corey's replies seem to almost contain an element of sarcasm in their responses of "yeah yeah I'm fine". 

Anyway I've just got up to discovering the tattoo parlor. Look forward to playing more.

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Offline James

Re: My Winter Shenmue playthrough
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 03:51:15 AM »
'Bout time! Keep the updates coming and finish the damn thing. :P

Offline Giorgio

Re: My Winter Shenmue playthrough
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 04:21:06 AM »
You write wonderfully, XHIB. This my food. I will come again to take some more, fresh and hot, out of the oven, bread-like-scented (Komine bakery branded), Shenmue food.

Offline xiuying hong is brill

Re: My Winter Shenmue playthrough
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 10:16:36 AM »
Why thank you, my poetry books are only £5.

Anyway I couldn't play for a couple days, and my first feeling upon diving back in again after "I love these button sounds" was: Ah this feels like coming home returning to this little community once more. Despite it's mildly dodgy criminal underworld, Shenmue's Yokosuka is just so wholesome. It doesn't feel hyper idealised, there are the aforementioned thugs, every environment in the game is well worn and lived it, a bit dusty, dirty or cheap, and drunks stumble around in the night. But as well as all these things making Yokosuka more real, they are also affable, funny and charming in the way that everything in Shenmue is. I enjoy simply walking about town having simple chit chat with the shopkeepers or getting snubbed a lot and knocking on random doors. And it's a thrill when you spot a character you recognize coming/leaving home, reminding you they all have their own unique and consistent mini virtual lives. There is so much in this game that you'd suspect 99% of developers would never bother including, and which indeed at first seem superfluous, but which all come together to make the atmosphere so special: the cut scene of night commencing and the street lights coming on, or those odd cutscenes of buying that guy a soft drink at the vending macchine (I'm still trying to figure that one out).

I feel the depth o Ryo's obsession for revenge is also becoming clearer. The interaction with Nozomi outside the tattoo parlor reminded me that oh yeah Ryo doesn't go to school (I assumed he was on a holiday) and is abandoning his normal life for Yokosuka's shadow world. The night time cut scene in the park also added to the sense that Ryo has become emotionally closed off, he simply hasn't given himself the time to reflect on any of his emotions, he doesn't know what he feels anymore, much less able to deal with someone else's feelings. The only way Ryo know how deal with his confusion and sorrow is either with revenge or idle distractions, but human relationships are too complicated. And I can't help but feel sorry for the ever caring Ine san who is powerless to stop Ryo heading down the path he's on.
Corey shines throughout. His best moments are the ones of very wry humour though.

On a gameplay note, I am impressed to realise just how deep the combat system is. So far I could happily get through the fights with the most basic of moves, so I didn't realise until going for a training session how many moves there are and how you have to master them. Again, this is another example of something in the game that's not really needed, but just there anyway.

Also, I'd totally forgotten how well this game caters to us discerning people with a fetish for old school rotary dial phones! So Sexy.

Next I'm off to the warehouse to find master Chen!
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 10:44:10 AM by xiuying hong is brill »

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