s hen­mue I & II

Our first chance to play the stuff of Dream­cast dreams on home turf—will it hold up? Phil Iwa­niuk

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS - Pub­lisheR Sega De­vel­oper Sega Am2/Ys Net For­mat Xbox One ETA 2018

First, let’s clear the air and make the not-at-all bit­ter jokes about Shen­mue

III never com­ing out, or it’ll be all we can think about for the whole preview: It’s a strong con­tender for 2027’s game of the year awards, and ru­mor has it that it’ll be beaten to the shelves by its own re­mas­ter. Feel free to roll around hold­ing your sides for a bit, we’ll wait.

Right, onto the rather more im­me­di­ate busi­ness of the first two games be­ing made avail­able on Xbox One later this year. In the first game’s case, it’ll be the first time it’s ever been playable on Xbox hard­ware, and is thus a first chance to dis­cover why the game car­ries such a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion 19 years af­ter re­lease while hold­ing an Xbox pad.

Sega’s calling this re­lease the de­fin­i­tive ver­sion of both games, which are up­dated for mod­ern res­o­lu­tions, fea­ture a new UI, and let you choose be­tween Ja­panese and English au­dio. There’s a choice of con­trol schemes, too, so this shouldn’t feel as cum­ber­some as giv­ing 20-year-old games a whirl of­ten does. It’s easy to for­get how far we’ve come in 20 years when it comes to ba­sic ease of use. Se­ri­ously, how did peo­ple ever get by with Res­i­dent

Evil’s in­fa­mous tank con­trols? Thank good­ness that re­mas­ter of­fered a newer con­trol set too.

The ex­act re­lease date has yet to be spec­i­fied, which leads us to think that Sega’s lin­ing it up to tie in with

Shen­mue III’s ar­rival, also cur­rently slated for an un­spec­i­fied ‘late 2018’. While Sega it­self isn’t con­nected to the third game, ap­petites will be greater for th­ese first two when the next one’s im­mi­nent, so wait and see if the two re­leases don’t buddy up fairly closely.

Shen-who?

“It shouldn’t feel as cum­ber­some as giv­ing old games a whirl of­ten does”

Why should you care about a pair of dusty old Dream­cast games? One of which, ad­mit­tedly, was ported to Xbox in 2002? Well, Shen­mue did the open world gam­ing thing be­fore it was cool. And not only that, it did it in such an es­o­teric fash­ion, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the minu­tiae of ev­ery­day life in a way we just hadn’t seen de­picted in games be­fore. There are high-oc­tane mo­ments in which Ryu’s mar­tial arts skills are called upon, but there are also long and cu­ri­ously en­ter­tain­ing pas­sages when you’re just op­er­at­ing a fork­lift truck. Be­cause that’s your job. Buses run on timeta­bles, char­ac­ters have rou­tines gov­erned by the time of day, and you can lose an hour to a chal­leng­ing arm-wrestling mini-game if you’re not care­ful. That— ahem— other black box (cue pan­tomime boos) is wel­come to the three­quel: We’re get­ting the games that built the se­ries’ rep­u­ta­tion.

Below

Af­ter a hard day op­er­at­ing a fork­lift, Ryu un­winds by… er, rac­ing fork­lifts.

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