SHEN­MUE 1 & 2

Places where sailors hang out

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Sit­ting at the top of my CV are some en­tries that cause any po­ten­tial em­ployer to raise eye­brows: fork­lift driver, lucky hit sales­man, pro­fes­sional duck racer. It’s true these are only jobs I did vir­tu­ally through Ryo Hazuki – they’re all jobs he takes on while he works to track down his fa­ther’s killer – but in a way I feel like I ac­tu­ally did them.

Trawl­ing the streets of Asian towns in Yokosuka, and then Hong Kong, feels like part of my own story. The lack of sign­post­ing within the games forces you to fol­low leads, re­ally in­ter­act with the peo­ple you meet, and pay at­ten­tion to the metic­u­lous de­tail that was un­heard of when the first two Shen­mue games re­leased.

Un­for­tu­nately, time has pro­gressed since the golden years of 1999 and 2001, and this pack­age of both games for PS4 hasn’t done much to de-age them. Tex­tures have been scaled up to look nicer on a big screen, the UI has been re­worked, and very mi­nor tweaks have been made to the con­trols, but for the most part these games are pre­served just as they were. 1 The best change is a menu tog­gle that al­lows you to switch from English to the orig­i­nal Ja­panese voice act­ing. The English line de­liv­ery is as hammy as it ever was, and sounds like it was recorded in a spare cup­board in Sega HQ, but it’s still the ul­ti­mate nos­tal­gia choice.

Some as­pects, like the tanky con­trols, def­i­nitely feel tired these days. But there’s still an un­de­ni­able charm to this low-key ad­ven­ture that fo­cuses on in­ves­ti­ga­tion rather than too many fights. There’s still noth­ing else quite like it, 2 and this pack­age makes it eas­ier than ever to miss out no longer. Os­car Tay­lor-Kent

FOOTNOTES1 There’s a rea­son it’s ti­tled Shen­mue I & II, with­out any sort of ‘Re­mas­tered’ in there. 2 The Yakuza se­ries is ar­guably the much more fighty nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion to Shen­mue’s schtick.

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