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Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

Posts 361 to 380 of 434

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

This is kinda why I have given, every now and again, and think I'll return to permanently using two scores to my reviews.

My score, that allows me to be as emotionally charged as I darn well please but also have a second more professional score with me being a bit more objective about it as I know it'll not be to everyone's taste and I can/have a habit of overlooking things that I know will annoy the hell out of others

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy That's actually an idea I've toyed with somewhat, and, if I return to scoring games, might employ. Especially when it comes to well-designed games that I just don't like for whatever reason (a common enough occurrence for me).

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

For me it's more I probably wouldn't want overhype/oversell something for the most part @Ralizah (A certain game I'm playing at the moment for example is on it's way to achieve high praise by the time i'm finished with it should it carry on as is...)

I'd hate for someone to go out their way and get a title I've praised only to be disappointed or worse (Though I honestly doubt it would happen, I'd still be a bit paranoid about it)

I think at 2000-3000 words though my reviews are fairly thorough so I could probably get by without putting a number at all... It does admittedly make it easier to quantify though... A nice baseline for future reviews too

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy I'm not too worried about that possibility, personally. People will always have their own reactions to stuff, so I just kind of expect them to realize they may not adore something as much as I do. If I didn't enjoy D:OSII very much, for example, after reading the inevitable glowing review you're likely alluding to, I wouldn't think: "She lied to me! This isn't nearly as engaging as she made it out to be. I'm never trusting her opinion again." I'd think, instead: "I guess she enjoyed facets x, y, and z of this game more than I did, although I can probably see why someone would really like them the way they currently are."

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

JohnnyShoulder

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy I agree with @Ralizah, when I'm reading a review if l buy a game based on that recommendation, I'm not gonna hold anything against them if I don't like the game. I think you would have to be quite a spiteful person to do so. It is only one person's opinion after all.

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

There is no longer a good time to release a game. There are only less s**t times to release a game

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

RogerRoger

Shenmue
Dreamcast, PC, PS4 (version played) and XboxONE / December 1999

"I see."

That monotone response may have become something of a meme, thanks to protagonist Ryo Hazuki robotically repeating it over and over during the course of Shenmue, but it also helpfully illustrates my deadpan reaction to having finally played and completed this historic game. Yu Suzuki's labour of love might be responsible for many modern gaming mechanics, but retrospectively returning to such a groundbreaking release is a big ask, and certainly needed a bit more effort put into its "remaster" (word used generously) to make it worthwhile.

But seriously, those mechanics. Shenmue has everything we take for granted, everything we like (and sometimes dislike) in 21st Century games. It gave birth to QTEs and solidified the sandbox side quest. Its neat little touches, like its day-night cycle and realistic weather patterns, are background effects we barely even notice nowadays but, back then, they were major selling points. Even when it doesn't implement something, you can see the seeds of inspiration it planted in others. Whenever I was told to "come back tomorrow" and faced thirty-plus minutes of waiting, I half-expected a PS Store pop-up to coax a couple quid from my wallet in order to speed things up.

Alas, no such luck. Spending downtime with Ryo (an 80s jacket-and-jeans combo on a quest to avenge his murdered father) can be pretty cool at first, and as the game's then-original USP the appeal is evident. Today, however, a handful of wonky minigames and repetitive NPCs aren't enough to keep us reaching for our smartphones and checking headlines. I'm somebody who likes to shut out all distractions whilst gaming and yet, twice, I left Ryo standing on a street corner and called friends for a chat, just to kill the time.

Untitled
Road to Nowhere: I don't know why he's running like that, as there's nowhere he really needs to be for the next twenty-four hours of game time.

Some of the NPCs I was supposed to be talking to in those spare hours simply didn't appeal. Many had charm, and not all were as wooden as YouTube "Voice Acting Fails" compilation videos would have you believe. I warmed to the well-meaning Fuku-san, a student of martial arts who acts as a younger brother figure to Ryo, and housekeeper Ine-san, who worries like all maternal figures do. There's also a great frenemy relationship with a chap called Guizhang, and a handful of shopkeepers and neighbours frequently made me smile, either by being goofy or charming (or both). But there's also a painful romance sub-plot featuring Nozomi, a stereotypical wide-eyed schoolgirl with whom Ryo has zero chemistry. Whenever this narrative element would forcefully rear its lifeless head, I would chuckle at how Ryo seemed to be awkwardly terrified of her. I've seen arachnophobes react better to a tarantula.

Untitled
Dojo Mojo: Give me a brotherly sparring session with Fuku-san over listening to Nozomi's breathless whining any day of the week.

Mild curiosity in the outcome aside, it's the trophies which pulled me through, pointing me in the direction of several easily-overlooked side quests and character touches out of necessity more than anything. There's a lot you can miss in Shenmue, with entire pages of Ryo's chronological diary left blank in my playthrough as I just figured stuff out quicker than some of the clues and hints. That isn't a boast, but more of an indictment of how stupid the game assumes everybody to be. Ryo will gormlessly repeat everything everybody says, often appearing to forget key events or ask redundant rhetorical questions in order to give us the opportunity to piece it all together, long after we actually have. This would be okay if there was a degree of complexity to proceedings, but the straightforward soap opera plotting would've been a cliché back in 1999, let alone now. We're merely here to push the right buttons, in the right order, and watch it unfold.

This realisation hit me about halfway through. To begin with, roaming around Dobuita and playing detective was a novelty, and there was enough promise that things would eventually go someplace. There's even a move to introduce more wacky, supernatural elements (albeit in very small doses) and, for a couple hours in the middle there, I was hooked.

And then Ryo got a job as a forklift truck driver. Almost instantly, Shenmue becomes a boring slog to stick with. This might be an accurate reflection of real life, with fun grinding to a halt once you have to earn a living, but I can't help picture several gamers working in the cargo management business, getting home from a long shift and relishing their evening's entertainment, only to find themselves repeating a truncated, virtual version of their day. I don't know about you, but I'd start crawling the walls.

Untitled
Forking Hell: Doing this for one day was charming. Doing it for a second was pushing it. Doing it for five days felt as though somebody was trolling me.

Yu Suzuki must've known these forklift sequences were dull, too, because they're regularly interspersed with more action-based QTEs and punch-ups. I lost count of the amount of times my shift would be interrupted by a couple of thugs, who I'd effortlessly beat down and warn to stay away, only to see them return later and try again (clearly, they're about as bright as Ryo). This gameplay loop repeated itself a couple times too many and, as the game's major climax, felt like cheap padding. What's worse is that, for the first time, Ryo is suddenly earning quite a lot of yen, and yet you're barely given any time to spend it. By the time you're walking back through Dobuita every evening, all the shops are shut, and there's only so much retro arcade you can squeeze in before Ryo starts reminding you to head home. Everything just feels off-balance, like it wasn't properly thought through, with features haphazardly stacked atop features like so many cargo crates.

And then it goes and ends on a freakin' cliffhanger!

But that's okay. I'd have been gobsmacked back in 1999 but on current consoles, Shenmue arrives on a single Blu-Ray disc alongside its sequel. This may seem like a bargain but, given how its PS4 re-release is more of a straight port than a remaster, anything upwards of a crisp twenty is asking a lot. There's been a bare minimum of work behind upgrading anything, a constant reminder of which is the forced 4:3 aspect ratio of all cutscenes, however brief. I grew accustomed to the clunky old controls (although my right index finger could've done without "sprint" being mapped to R2) and came to appreciate the game's art style (which can be quite beautiful at times, in a minimalist sort of way) but when every single corner has been cut, leaving frayed edges untrimmed and tatty, you can't avoid sensing the rush to make a quick buck. At least, after @Kidfried had kindly warned me, I didn't encounter any bugs. The bus failed to turn up once, but that felt more like a realism feature than broken code.

Untitled
Boxed In: Those who hate ever-changing aspect ratios should resign themselves to seeing a square screen throughout, as cutscenes come sandwiched between bars of darkness.

Despite all of the above, I liked it quite a lot. Not because of its notoriety, or even because it was somewhat compelling in parts. No, I liked it because I wanted to. I liked it because, back in the day, it was trying so hard to be different. I was nostalgic for a certain time in gaming history and, as an example of bravery in the face of technological limitations, Shenmue shines.

As a game to be played today, with all of its advancements refined by others ever since?

There's nothing that fits better than those two little words.

"I see."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Kidfried

@RogerRoger Nice impressions. I agree with you on pretty much all points. That being said, however, I really enjoyed the experience. Maybe not for what it was, but moreso for what it was trying to achieve. I think that's what you're getting at too in your conclusion. Whatever type of fun it was, I had fun.

Kidfried

KratosMD

@RogerRoger Great review mate and I feel the same regarding your thoughts of the game. Even though a lot of things bogged the experience down, it was a memorable experience overall. Shenmue has a charm that quite frankly not a lot of games elicit and I think that's due to how simple the game is. It's on a more personal level, Ryo is not really a superhero or a badass action hero, he's just a regular guy just like you and me. That aspect made the story really compelling to me as it wasn't trying to do something over-the-top, it was simply trying to tell an emotional tale about a young man on his journey to avenge his father.

So while the gameplay was a strong deterrent for me, the story is what kept me going and why I'm still interested in playing the sequels.

Edited on by KratosMD

KratosMD

nessisonett

@RogerRoger I’ve been playing through Shenmue too and I agree with most of your points. I sorta love the boredom though, it really is true to life. Except I can spend a whole day opening Kinder Surprises in Shenmue, which I probably couldn’t do in real life.

Socks before or after trousers, but never socks before pants, that's the rule. Makes a man look scary, like a chicken.

RogerRoger

@Kidfried Yes, that's it exactly, thank you! It may not have been comparable fun, or even measurable fun, and it sure as heck didn't hold up to scrutiny, but it was enough to see me through. I was asked if I'd bother with the sequel earlier and surprised myself with an enthusiastic "Of course!"

@KratosMD I do feel like I've just watched a period movie. The whole "slice of life" thing is carried through, no matter how damaging Yu Suzuki's determination to stick with such an approach may be to more traditional gaming satisfaction in the second half. You're right, it made it a unique experience. Even when Ryo did something badass, like kick a football in a goon's face, it did have that everyman charm about it. Glad to hear that, likewise, you're gonna continue the story someday!

@nessisonett Send the Kinder Surprise chocolate my way. I'm one of those annoying people with the metabolism necessary to eat rubbish all day and suffer no ill effects. You can keep all the toys!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger Great post! Still never played this game, but the focus on realism and the mundane is interesting. I really like the line about "bravery in the face of technological limitations," because often what's so charming about games like this is that dissonance between the vision of the developers and the tools at their disposal.

Will you be playing the sequels?

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Th3solution

@RogerRoger
I really enjoyed reading your Shenmue review. Chalk another one up to ‘the end experience is greater than the sum of its granular parts.’

Despite the recurrently thinly veiled adoration for the series, I haven’t plans to play it. Maybe that will change some day.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Thanks and yeah, it's a wonderful time capsule of a game (which, weirdly enough, might have lost something if the remaster had been a little better). I'm not sure I can freely recommend it but, if you're hankering for a reminder of days gone by, you can do far worse.

Absolutely will be playing Shenmue II at some point, yes, because it comes on the disc; I'll wait and see how that ends before buying the latest installment.

@Th3solution Yeah, as I said above, not sure I can strongly recommend it to anybody. I'm kinda sure you'd hate it if you played it at the wrong moment, but would find some value if you're looking to take a deliberate break from your standard gaming fare. At the very least, should it ever arrive on PS Plus, I'd suggest adding it to your Library, just in case!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

I didn't even see you'd posted a review for Shenmue til ten minutes ago @RogerRoger!

Interesting stuff, especially as I'd heard quite a bit about the Shenmue series thanks to Gremio, Sammy and others... But only in the recent months.

Beyond joining Push Square in fact I'd never heard of it, especially as I never knew anyone with a dreamcast or even knew it was remastered... til I joined Push Square 😂

The review really reminds me of my Soul Reaver one... which is apt seeing as they're both first time playthroughs of a twenty year old game... Just you seem a smidge more positive about Shenmue

I don't think I could say the same as you did though to my Soul Reaver review and say you've convinced me to try it... Shenmue doesn't seem to even have an interesting protagonist or voicework to carry me through it like Soul Reaver did through it's dated gameplay... But... It is still on my radar and something very different so... who knows?

Enjoyable read once again! 😊

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

mookysam

Great review @RogerRoger. Poor gormless Ryo. 😂 Did his romance with Nozomi work out, or did she run off with a a charismatic tarantula? Maybe these are these questions for the sequel.

I've recently been nostalgic for the '90's - I guess because it was when I was growing up - so I can certainly see the appeal of something like Shenmue. Not just as the piece of gaming history it is, but for the era it represents. It was no doubt an influential title and so seeing the genesis of that is kinda cool. I'm not sure the monotony of many elements you describe are for me necessarily, but the game as a whole seems something that every thirty-something gamer should perhaps experience.

Thank you NHS

PSN: mookysam

RogerRoger

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy Oh, it's certainly an acquired taste, so I wouldn't rush to add it to your shopping list anytime soon, no! Thanks for the review praise all the same.

@mookysam I can't even bring myself to care enough about Nozomi to make a similarly-decent joke regarding her fate. That's how bad her character was. If she turns up in the sequel, even briefly in a flashback, I'll scream. Literally scream.

Anyway, thanks! There's a fine line between "watching a half-hour Shenmue retrospective on YouTube" and "playing the entire game for yourself" if and when you wanna scratch that nostalgic curiosity itch, so tread carefully. If you have that desire, it'll see you through the first third, at least, but by then you'll have earned several trophies and so won't be able to walk away from it without a constant reminder of its incomplete status!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Gremio108

@RogerRoger I've only just noticed your Shenmue review, excellent stuff. Ryo and Nozomi must surely be one of the worst 'couples' in gaming history (if you can call them that)

When defending Shenmue, a lot of people tend to talk about how it was "good for the time", which isn't actually true. I played it in 2000, right on the back of Metal Gear Solid, and boy did it not wear that comparison well. It's hard to say what the appeal is, to be honest. But somehow it just hooks you in.

I'm looking forward to your Shenmue II write up, which I guarantee will include a word or two about wooden planks (and not as a description of Ryo, although it would be accurate)

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 Thanks; glad it's not just me who reacted so badly towards Nozomi.

Its attention to detail, and some of its other mechanical elements, were incredibly "good for the time" but you're right, when it all comes together to create something so uniquely slow-paced, wooden and clunky, it can't exactly be called an amazing game under any circumstances. Not having played it back in the day, I think its appeal today is largely thanks to its notoriety (both positive and negative) and, like I said, I only really ended up liking it because I really, really wanted to.

It'll be a while yet, but thanks! These are games I'll use for a change of pace. I've got Life is Strange 2 queued up, but since it's another "standing and talking" game I'll likely reach for something a little more action-based afterwards. I'll get there eventually, I'm sure!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Gremio108

@RogerRoger I couldn't play the Shenmue "remasters" back to back, even as a longtime fan. I bookended 2019 with them, that was enough for me. I'm enjoying Shenmue III for the most part. I was about to go on a rant about it, but I'll take my moaning over to the 'currently playing' thread

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 I have been eagerly anticipating your thoughts on the third game, yes!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

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