Shenmue! Are you in there!?
Shenmue is that you?. Wait!… what has happened to you!? I played both classic and remastered Shenmue. I am now ready to divulge all the thoughts and questions that came to mind.
Read on for a ‘spoiler free’ review of Sega’s: Shenmue 1 & 2 remaster.
Hello darkness my old friend
To start off I would like to state that I do have a Dreamcast and have played Shenmue in its original form, so my review swings on the hinges of that experience. After all the game is still the same game as back in the 90’s so what is this remastering all about and should you go out and buy it or spend about 60e extra and grab a Dreamcast to play the original on?
If you check up comparisons online you will see that 90’s Shenmue and the remastered are, well pretty much the same. They added some visual effects enhancers that you can toggles on or off which is strange (but I will explain this dark secret later). Albeit the game is the same!
It would seem to me, whilst wearing my detective monocle, that Sega’s only motive to re-release Shenmue 1 & 2 was to cause a hype primarily for their upcoming Shenmue 3 next year. While they are still in the production of Shenmue 3 it seems they dropped the ball big time on this “remaster”.
I mean the game is still as awesome as ever but that is just it, nothing new there. In my eyes, the original is better. any attempts here to remaster have spoiled it or, well broke it!
So why Shenmue ‘remastered’
In case nobody noticed we are experiencing a time where every genre of media, be it: video game, music or film, is having its history torn up and ripped through to find them old nostalgic money makers to “reinvent” or in the gaming world “remaster”.
Shenmue had a Kickstarter campaign which was very successful.
We have had some nice remastered titles and some more to come such as Spyro and the biggest, most glorious one: Resident Evil 2 (in my opinion).
The wave of retro pre-loaded consoles over the past two years and their success is proof we love nostalgia, but in all the hype are we starting to fall into a trap of low-”fast food”-quality gaming remakes?
Shenmue is my first experience of this “fast food” quality remake.
As far as I’m concerned, this is not a remaster, just an attempted Port. And not a very good one. And just so Happens Shenmue 3 is coming quite soon! what better time to rush a remastering of the previous titles.
Why? you ask.
Too many to count almost.
Firstly, the cutscenes. The camera goes haywire and leaves you staring into a bush or a wall 80% of the time. Which isn’t all too bad as you follow the conversation and subtitles, only for them to disappear randomly a short time later.
The camera gets stuck in 1st person view when you exit cut scenes from a forklift which is crazy because you can’t play the game in 1st person view, it’s not an option unless driving a forklift! Yet I was stuck for 1 hour interacting normally in the environment.
The sound is appalling, you trigger an event or press a button during a sequence and a loud screeching or rumbling echoes continuously even during normal gameplay for ages until another cutscene of game loading phase.
If similar happened in a cinema you would walk out with a refund.
It’s that bad!
The story, characters, and combat are all awesome, just as they always were. Yet the visual and audio bugs ruin even this experience.
Forums online mention that glitches get worse if you leave the visual enhancer on and certain other upscaling settings. Yet surely that is the whole reason its called a “remaster”. As mentioned above, it’s almost like a dark secret as if Sega knew about this issues and so allowed the upscaling settings to be deactivated. Surely you want to have it at its best settings on your PS4 to enjoy it with.
Hopefully, all the moaning toward Sega regarding their glitched programming will have them release a patch soon to fix it.
My solution would be to buy the original, buy a Dreamcast and enjoy the real deal.
Gamers dictate the market and if crap remasters are turned into successful sellers then that is what we will get in future.
I love Shenmue. it’s a great game, full of great quirks and deep story. It definitely defined gaming back in the 90’s. It set foundations for the open world genre we know and love today.
This remaster however is simply a poor attempted Port onto new hardware.
Shenmue is a classic and kudos to Sega for their first 2 games as originally made.
There were also reports of similar screw-ups with their remastering of Sonic last year. Does this mean they do not have the skill or passion to make a truly worthy remake?.
Let’s hope that Shenmue 3 will redeem the lacklustre efforts of the recent remastering attempt. Let’s hope it will be so glorious, we will all understand why so little effort was made here.
One way to find out is to check back here on GamEir for that upcoming review.