Teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki is back
Maybe you’ve forgotten just how enormous a deal Shenmue is. In 1999 this open-world adventure, exclusive to Sega’s underperforming-but-still-brilliant Dreamcast, was the most expensive game ever – but the end product more than lived up to its $50million-odd cost. Fans, therefore, didn’t forget. Their overwhelming support raised a record-breaking $6 million on Kickstarter, and means Yu Suzuki – the legendary developer responsible for the first two Shenmues, as well as Virtua Fighter, Out Run, and After Burner – can once again handle director duties.
Set immediately after Shenmue II in 1987, Ryo heads from Japan to China’s Guilin mountains in a quest for his father’s killer, Lan Di. Remember, Facebook was not invented at this time. Here he meets Shenhua Ling, with whom he shares ‘destinies’, if his prophetic dream is to be believed. She’ll accompany him far and wide – to the riverside village of Choubu, for instance, which features temples and souvenir shops, and the ancient siege town of Baisha. In these hubs you’ll play retro arcade machines, slots, and darts, make phone calls back home to catch up with characters from the first games, and – at one point – visit a glade filled with fireflies. Don’t worry, though: you can still beat-up angry locals.