Ok, so I have just finished what I now consider to be the greatest game I have ever played. And the fact I even think that is amazing. Because honestly, I went into this game with huge expectations after hearing all the hype. Normally doing that is like getting hyped about a new movie, it sucks when you finally get to go see it! I have already said once that I have never been a big adventure/RPG gamer at all. But this is one game that has really sucked me into the story. I should also add I may include spoilers, however I am sure most people who will ever play this already have by now. But I will keep it to a minimum for people like me who are new to the series!
Graphics: This is one place I feel I must start. I hate to judge a game by graphics but, the dreamcast manages to paint such a beautiful and intriguing world! The lighting effects of Dobuita at night can be breath taking. And I should add that I don't yet have a VGA box so I was plaing over composite on an old CRT TV I have in my gaming room! And the game even looked breathtaking there. I can imagine using a VGA connection on my nice TV! Even for such an old game the character animations and such are amazingly true to life. Each person has unique features and no two people look the same. There is a small amount of slow down in extremely crowded areas during free roam of while driving the forklift later on. I am glad to see there was no slow down during any of the fight scenes, where it really matters most! The cut scenes are insane! It doesn't matter if it's a dream or a romantic scene with Nazomi. They always feel epic and you always feel like you are more than a person holding a controller.
Music: The music in Shenmue always seems to fit the mood! Walking in town on Christmas you are even over come by the sounds of the holiday season! I think the most memorable moment is the beautiful graphics and music setting the mood when it changes from day to night. For some reason, witnessing this on a daily basis really drew me into the game! The mood of each scene is hugely increased and really draws you to an emotional level as if you were in Ryo's shoes. The cut scenes feature some greatly inspiring music as well! Just watch the trailer on youtube and tell me the music doesn't suck you in!
Gameplay: I will say that like alot of people the gameplay at first can be a tad slow paced. But the game does a great job of quickly picking up and slowly drawing you into it's world! The control is awesome and I rarely had a hard time figuring out where I needed to go or what I needed to do. Sometimes it's bound to happen but just when you start to get confused the game steps in and leads the way! The camera is amazing and very cinematic. I never ever had a problem with a camera angle blocking anything! And when you aren't out hunting for answers and talking to people there are a ton of other things to do! You can even find a Sega Saturn in your house!
At first it may seem like another useless prop. But no! Each time you buy a ceartin item at the convenient store you get to draw a prize....get the number 2 prize and you can pick a Saturn game! Space Harrier or Hang-on. You then go back to the house and can actually see Ryo put the game into the system, close the lid and turn it on! Then you can play whatever game you won! The detail is amazing in this world!
Lasting appeal: Well, after part 2 you are out of Shenmue games for a while. So after completing those you will surely be back to collect every possible item and explore every nook and cranny of the game! Other than that the replay may eventually become dull. But in the mean time I am off to play Shenmue 2!
Over all rating? a 5/5 !