Showing posts with label Yu Suzuki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yu Suzuki. Show all posts

Shenmusings of Ryobots, Niaowu, and Shenmue III's Uncertain Legacy

Ryo Hazuki is an android, right? I’ve suspected it for a while but after finishing Shenmue III recently, I'm going all in on the Ryobot theory. It explains too much not to be canon.

Ryo has always been a bizarrely stilted and stoic character, of course. That much isn’t news. Yet after accompanying him for every waking minute across three games – games which depict the painstaking minutiae of everything from longshore crate logistics to the mid-‘80s weather record of the Kanagawa Prefecture – Ryo still has not pooped.

In fairness, few protagonists in fiction are forthcoming about their physiological functions. But, unlike Ryo, they at least behave in ways that can be reasonably interpreted as human-like. Meanwhile, Ryo acts less like a person and more like an emotionally unavailable animatronic, programmed in the languages of kung fu and non sequiturs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock him. The technology behind Ryobot was very impressive for 1987.

Oh, and did I mention the shared consciousness between Ryo and his friend, Shenhua? She is also an android, probably, in addition to being the unwitting mascot of a junk food brand for some reason.

OK. The point of this write up is not to espouse the incontrovertible theory that Ryo is a semi-sentient robot, even if it is also that. Back when it came out in November 2019, I had put about a dozen or so hours into Shenmue III before dropping off of it. After leaving him in stasis at Hotel Niaowu for a full calendar year, I recently (and finally!) caught up on Ryo’s journey to date. I also realized we hadn’t yet discussed the game in-depth on the Junkyard since its release. With all that, I’m really here to work out my thoughts on Shenmue III in hopes of making some sense of its place in the series’ legacy. But first let’s take a step back, and into the shoes it hoped to fill…

As for many fans, the first two Shenmue games were formative for my interest in gaming. For a medium where kinetic action and instant gratification shaped the bedrock of most gaming experiences, it was oddly refreshing – if jarring – to play something with such love for mundanity and contempt for players’ impatience. Ironically, it was my own impatience that led me to buy the Japanese version of the original Shenmue, several months before its western release. I couldn't say why; I didn't even speak Japanese. Hell, I was barely pulling a passing grade in English class.

Yet, even then, my 14-year-old mind was blown by Shenmue’s unabashed indulgence in the ordinary. I was taken aback by its audacity to let me knock on neighbors’ doors, chug orange Fanta*, and stalk an entire community of busy folks for no other reason than because I could. When the events of Shenmue II set Ryo loose to explore Hong Kong, seeing it all scale to a bustling, urban setting was revelatory all on its own. Shenmue I and II’s detailed and lively locales immersed me in their astonishing sense of place and community. They felt like genuinely bustling locations that could believably exist without me. They also challenged any assumptions that video games always had to be, well, game-like. Through its novel approach to worldbuilding and interactivity, Shenmue invited me to inhabit its worlds – not only as a player – but as a resident and visitor.

* Vending machines in the Japanese version of Shenmue were stocked with licensed Coca-Cola products rather than our beloved “Jet Cola” and “Frunda” off-brands (also, was Bell Wood a person, or...?)

Yu Suzuki and AM2’s magnum opuses offered a remarkably ambitious and unorthodox vision for what video games could be and how players could engage with their spaces. In bankrolling their vision, Sega rebuked all conventional wisdom that big budget games ought to be marketable and fiscally viable. Shenmue I and II were neither – or at least not either enough – and Sega paid a steep price. Beyond failing to recoup its massive development and marketing costs; beyond its eventual retreat from the hardware market; Sega presented a perennial Exhibit A for the downsides of risks to an increasingly risk-adverse games industry.

After that, it seemed unfathomable that we would ever return to Shenmue’s amazingly ambitious, immersive, and bustling world. Nearly two decades later, we still haven’t.

Shenmusings of Dobuita, Community, and the Friends We Stalked Along the Way

In better times, my neighborhood reminds me of Dobuita, the vibrant business district setting of Sega and AM2’s pedestrian stalking simulator, Shenmue. It bustles with life as people pack the restaurants, bars, shops, parks, arcades, and the streets in between. I can take a quick jaunt down the road and be surrounded by patrons, workers, shop owners, cooks, bartenders, barbers, and even sailors (well, commercial fishermen, actually). These folks are more than cursory non-player characters. They are my neighbors. They are my friends. They are the very fabric of my community.

But for now, they are gone.
These days, walking through my neighborhood feels like I’m in a typical late '90s video game town. Clusters of buildings line the street but the developers were unable to render more than a handful of NPCs to populate it.

Taking a step back: My heart goes out to everyone struggling through this uncertain and challenging time. If there’s a silver lining, it might be that we’re fortunate to have a hobby like video games to help bide our time as our non-virtual world lies in stasis.

It also helps that gaming is a uniquely personal medium. Through our interaction and immersion, games invite us to co-author a broad range of experiences which we can enjoy on a multitude of levels. Games can bring welcome moments of reprieve and distraction. We can find comfort in their escapism and nostalgia. Whether from across the couch or the internet, we can share experiences with old friends and make new friends of strangers. Beyond that, games can challenge us – and not only in terms of precision, reflexes, or strategy. They can push us to expand our understanding, grow our perspectives, and stretch our imaginations through memorable experiences that we carry with us long after we’ve put down the controller.
In its own way, this situation is a unique opportunity to slow down and consider what is most important to us, whether that's friends, family, community, altruism…and video games, of course. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my time with gaming, what I appreciate most about the hobby, and what I really want out of it going forward. I’ve also thought about the games that significantly shaped how I engage with the medium. In that sense, I can’t help but keep coming back to the Dreamcast’s library.

Nostalgic attachment aside, Sega’s swansong console simultaneously defined and challenged my perceptions of video games. Although the Dreamcast initially drew me in on its promise of more-than-faithful arcade conversions and the triumphant return of a blue childhood icon, it ultimately forged its legacy by striving to redefine gaming’s future more than rehash its past. It showed me how games can be more unique, interesting, and meaningful experiences well beyond their fun factor and replay value. Through its culture of unbounded creativity, the Dreamcast was refreshingly unorthodox and innovative in ways the industry rarely allows.

In some ways, the Dreamcast was as much an art collective as it was a consumer product. Nowhere was this clearer than in the unchecked (and frankly, fiscally reckless) authority Sega gave its development studios and publishing partners to create whatever the hell they wanted for its wacky white box. In that spirit, this essay could've been about any one of the Dreamcast’s unabashedly inventive works: Rez, or Jet Set Radio, or L.O.L.: Lack of Love, or the VMU, or Illbleed, or Maken X, or Chu Chu Rocket, or D2, or Roommania #203, or Seaman, or Samba de Amigo’s maracas, or…you get the idea.

But this is about Shenmue, because of course it is.

Examining Yu Suzuki's 'Tower Of Babel' 1998 Dreamcast Tech Demo

Way back in May 1998, Sega of Japan held a conference announcing the impending arrival of its new console. It was to be named Dreamcast. The Sega New Challenge Conference was the first time that the world was formally introduced to Sega's successor to the Saturn, and the hype was very real. The gaze of the world's press was focused on a small lectern on a darkened stage, as Sega of Japan President  Shoichiro Irimajiri revealed the final form of the new console; while on a huge screen behind him tech demos showed off what the hardware was capable of.
1998 was a magical year.
The first of these demos showed a Irimajiri's head rendered in real time, while various effects were applied to it - lighting, textures and morphing effects showed what the Dreamcast could do. It also featured a glimpse of a fully rendered 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, the first time we got to see the model that would later be used in Sonic Adventure. To this day, the 'Iri-San' tech demo has remained undumped and is most likely locked away in a vault somewhere in Sega's Japanese headquarters.
 Image source: Edge Magazine issue 60
The second tech demo, and the focus of this particular article became known as the 'Tower of Babel' demo, where viewers were taken on whirlwind tour of a fully polygonal settlement built around the base of an enormous tower. The squat buildings set on an idyllic isle, the sun setting in the distance while the huge cylindrical tower rose above the winding streets. It really is a striking and curious scene, and while it may not seem very impressive by modern standards, back in 1998 these types of sequences had never been seen running in real time on console hardware; and as you might expect they were spread across the pages of gaming magazines the world over.
Image source: Edge Magazine issue 60
I personally remember seeing the images of the Irimajiri and Babel (or Babylon, as it's sometimes referred to) tech demos reproduced in glorious fuzz-o-vision in the pages of several magazines at the time of the Dreamcast's announcement; and being amazed and excited in equal measure. But then, after the initial excitement made way for the actual launch of the system (and with other tech demos coming along too - which have similarly never been leaked online); I pretty much forgot about Irimajiri's floating head and the mysterious little village huddled on that lonely rock in the shadow of a tower. That was until I finally got to see the thing for myself in real time, and thanks to the power of the internet, so can you...

Shenmue I & II: The Ultimate Way To Experience Yu Suzuki's Masterpiece

I thought long and hard about how to approach writing an article like this. I've never made any secret of the fact that while I find Shenmue to be a marvellous technical achievement and a glittering jewel in the Dreamcast library, I also found the original experience to be a rather cumbersome affair. The stilted scripting, the awful controls and the constant loading screens juxtaposed with sublime visuals, deep and interesting storyline and a dazzling amount of extras in terms of in-world detail, meant that - for me at least - the whole experience was rather uneven. On the one hand it is incredible; but on the other there are many minor annoyances.
When Sega initially announced that Shenmue and Shenmue II were being repackaged and released for the current crop of consoles and PC, the gaming community went into a bit of a nostalgia-fuelled meltdown. It was as if a long forgotten king was coming back to reclaim his crown from the usurpers. Shenmue was coming back to reclaim it's crown as the greatest videogame that most people had never played.
1986 never looked so good
See, even though the majority of people who come here to read our articles may be considered dedicated Dreamcast fans, and by extension are more likely to have actually played the original Shemmue or its sequel (on either Dreamcast or Xbox); there seemed to be something amiss with the celebratory outpourings of emotion on social media. That being, that while the re-issue of Shenmue and its venerable sequel was indeed a cause for celebration, it seemed that a significant majority of those voices proclaiming a victory in having 'saved Shenmue' had never actually played the thing in its original guise.
In this life or the next!
For this reason alone, doubt crept into my mind. Would the people screaming to the heavens in ecstasy upon hearing about the re-release of Ryo Hazuki's (as yet) unfinished quest for vengeance actually appreciate the foibles of the game once they actually got to experience it? I won't lie - I was a little worried that resurrecting Shenmue and Shenmue II for a new generation of gamers who didn't have to put up with the grinding of the GD drive, the d-pad controls, and relatively small gameplay areas filled with countless painted on shop fronts and houses in which 'no-one's home,' would sour the experience and rob Shenmue of its deity-like reputation.
Please excuse the battered boxes
Shenmue is a game of its time if ever there was one, it is slow and it is plodding. It makes the player work for the next reveal in the plot line. There is no huge tutorial and there are scant onscreen prompts. You literally have to sit and read Ryo's notebook to work out what you're meant to do next, and in this current climate of instant gratification and the apparent unwillingness of a certain demographic to actually read anything, I was apprehensive. However...

New Shenmue III Trailer & Logo Divides Opinion

Yeah, yeah. It's not really related to the Dreamcast anymore but here it is. Shenmue III's latest trailer. Apparently this is showing off some actual in engine footage which is...interesting. I mean, the locations look excellent - lots of lovely lighting effects, shadows and architecture as you'd expect. The music, too is as rousing and spine tingling as it ever has been. However, those character models look a bit basic don't you think? After two years of development time?

Again, these are early renders but the comments on the Shenmue III Kickstarter page show that people are divided not only by Ryo's altered look, but also the new logo. Some of the more negative include this from Phillip Zamora:

"While I can see your going for a somewhat cartoon look, the bad guy's face looks ridiculous & unrealistic for a human being. As well the new Shenmue logo looks less cool or professional than the original handwritten one."

And this from François Mahieu:

"The best decision now would probably be to cancel the project. Please leave us with our memories from the original Shenmue."

Although it's not all bad - far from it in fact - and lots of positive comments echo what Riled Up had to say on the progress thus far:

"The game really looks good. But you need an inteligent mind to see that. You could easily say no facial expression blabla. But that trailer is not intended to show that it is final."

Personally, I couldn't give a flying toss about either as long as it plays well when it lands in my PS4, and going off Yu Suzuki's back catalogue I don't think we have anything to worry about on that front. But what do you think about this new trailer and logo change? Sound off in the comments or in our Facebook group.

Previous Shenmue related posts:

A Quick Look At Yu Suzuki Game Works

Retro compilations on the Dreamcast are a mixed bag. We recently cast a judgemental eye over Namco Museum and came to the conclusion that while the game selection is great, the lack of any kind of extra content made it feel as if the collection was a rush job - especially when compared to the fantastic PlayStation editions. Prior to that, we looked at Atari Anniversary Edition and Sega Smash Pack...but now shit is about to get real. No more messing about - let's take a quick look at Yu Suzuki Game Works Volume 1.
Released exclusively in Japan at the end of 2001, Game Works is a rather excellent collection of classic arcade games created by the eponymous Yu Suzuki. The package comprises a disc containing 5 Sega arcade classics and a commemorative book that explains the history of the games, the development and the cabinets themselves.

A Quick Look At What's Shenmue

What's Shenmue? A good question. What is Shenmue? Is it a game? Is it an interactive movie? Is it a cultural phenomenon that has built up so much of a frenzied mythical status that nobody even remembers how flawed it was in the first place? However you look at Shenmue, the fact is that the legend now precedes that actual game, but it wasn't always like this. Back before Ryo Hazuki's quest had even begun, Sega wanted to announce that Lan Di was on his way to kick ass and take names and so they released What's Shenmue - a sort of playable teaser trailer/demo disc hybrid to give Dreamcast owners a small taste of what to expect. Last week I was lucky enough to find a copy of this game on eBay for the bargainous price of £9, and naturally I snapped it up with no questions asked. In a way, this is totally linked to my recent look at Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt, because What's Shenmue uses the former head of Sega as a pivotal character in the plot of the main demo...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Upon booting What's Shenmue, you are presented with a small but perfectly formed menu. The first menu item leads to a sort of technical demo area where character models from the main game give a brief explanation of who they are, their roles in the quest and also some other features present in the final game. Mark, the only English speaking character explains that he works at the docks driving a forklift truck and that money and convenience stores are a large and integral part of Shenmue's game world. There are also demos featuring other characters, including Ryo himself (naturally) but these are all spoken in Japanese so I have no real idea what they're saying. I can probably hazard a guess that Ryo is saying something like: "Hi, my name is Ryo. That bastard Lan Di is going to pay for shooting up my ride. It's time to kick ass and wear a bandaid on my face..." Or words to that effect.

Shenmue III Kickstarter Update Discusses Voice Acting & Logo Design

I know it's not really Dreamcast-related, but I thought it was worth sharing the news that Ys Net has updated its Shenmue III Kickstarter page. That said, pretty much all of us here at the 'Yard backed the Shenmue III project and we're sure many people who regularly visit this blog did too. Also, Shenmue is synonymous with the Dreamcast so I'm using that tenuous link to validate me sharing this here. The April 2016 update addresses some of the issues Shenmue fans have been vocal about, namely the design of the Shenmue III logo and the ability to switch between English and Japanese voice acting on the fly:

Before getting into the main part of the update, we would like to respond to two issues brought up by the community—the Shenmue III logo and voice audio options.

First for the Shenmue III logo. There have been many comments from Shenmue fans wanting the logo to match the original logos from Shenmue 1& 2. We have heard your calls and will of course put it on the to-do list. This particular issue will take some time, however, as game development is currently taking a front seat to other design issues. Designers and other parties will also need to be consulted with, so before we can give a more definite answer, we would ask you please give us some time.

The second issue receiving a lot of attention concerns the voice audio options. Many people have asked for there to be an option to switch between Japanese and English voicing. We understand how strongly people feel about this feature, and it is something we would like to include as well, but the inclusion of a dual audio option will ultimately come down to budgetary limitations. Whether it will be added or not, will need to be decided as development progresses.
- Shenmue III April 2016 Kickstarter Update

The rest of the update introduces Shenmue III's environment and architecture designer Manabu Takimoto, and shares some images of him at work with Yu Suzuki. 
"Stay inside the lines!"
As mentioned above this isn't strictly Dreamcast news, but as so many people who are fans of Shenmue have a history with/are still Dreamcast fans, we felt this was worth documenting here. Furthermore, we spoke to Shenmue super-fan Adam Koralik and the voice of Ryo Hazuki Corey Marshall on our podcast recently, so there's another tenuous link and a shameless plug for the DreamPod!

Source: Kickstarter

Praying In Yamanose

Thanks to a mischievous little Tweet from Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki yesterday depicting a forklift outside of the E3 Expo the Internet promptly broke.

And it wasn't the first time.
Look what Mr Suzuki found at E3.
Every time the name Shenmue 3 is spoken, even whispered, an upswelling of emotion takes hold of any gamer that once held Nozomi Harasaki’s hand. To every gamer who hunted Lan Di, fought to avenge a loved one’s honour and, yes, spent a hell of a lot of time driving forklifts, the concept of a third Shenmue title is literally mind blowing. It’s enough to make even the most secular gamer get down on their knees and begin praying.

And, it’s obvious why - vision. Yu Suzuki had a single vision, an epic tale to tell and over the course of the first two titles, games that - for all of their mechanical clumsiness - transported the gamer into one of the best and most engaging narratives the medium had ever seen. It’s a world that is beautifully singular in comparison with most of today’s open world experiences.
I always liked Nozomi. Reunited in Shenmue 3?
Regardless however, the history of the Shenmue franchise is now old and, if we are being totally honest, a little stale. Like its great partner in non-release-ity (yeh, that word construction didn't really work did it) Half-Life 3, the burning hunger for its release, the non-stop speculation, theorising and talk have started to sully its non-existent reputation. Because that’s the thing isn't it - the more people talk about the first two games, the more their limitations and problems are brought to the fore. Judgements are dispensed rightly or wrongly according to modern standards and they hurt, driving a wedge into how the franchise is depicted.

While in 1999 Shenmue was seemingly reviewed fairly honestly, with its narrative, characterisation and scope praised, yet its mechanics and open world teething problems criticised, today Shenmue is held up as either an unfinished masterpiece cruelly locked away from the world, or a now old man’s grandest folly that deserves to be left in the past.
This just looked stunning when first released in 2001.
Of course, neither of these statements are true. The thing is though, through their diametrically opposite positioning, they do craft a crucial question that, at least in my eyes, has still been left unanswered - what should Shenmue 3 actually be? You see, because while millions of people would literally sell their soul to Cthulhu for it to be announced - me included! - I think if you asked all of them what you think it should be, then I think you’d receive some markedly different visions.

I've spoken to people who would be quite happy for a third title to be literally kick-started in the old engine. Others want the same formula with HD graphics. I've seen others who fight the corner for a GTA-style experience and yet more who want a Telltale episodic graphic adventure. And this is just their grand vision. Details such as movement, fight mechanics, interactivity, physics and more are left unspecified. Personally, I feel the Shenmue franchise could learn a lot from the recently released The Witcher 3, which was put together with a smallish team on just a US$32 million budget (the first two Shenmue games were developed for US$70 million, which is close to US$100 million today).
Just imagine the freedom that Shenmue 3 could offer the player with today's hardware.
The point is though, regardless of the cost, a clear vision must first be established and, if you were to ask me right now who is capable of achieving that, then I'm afraid I'm going to have to default back to Suzuki. I've always been a fan of games that held an intrinsic purity and Suzuki managed to create one of the most complexly pure game series I've ever played. The problem is, finding people in the modern gaming industry who are happy to take a punt on such a project, a project where there would be no safety net, no Call of Duty profit margin, is an incredibly difficult task.

All we need now is someone to give Mr Suzuki that money because, I've got to say, my knees are really starting to hurt.


“Yes Tama, I know, someone should definitely give Mr. Suzuki another $50 million to make Shenmue 3.”


“Yes, I agree, Mr. Suzuki should definitely not bring back Tom Johnson.”


“What? Oh you just want more dried fish… fine. I’ll just pop down to Tomato.”

The Greatest Story Ever Told...

I'm sure this title was originally reserved for the film version of the birth of Christ, but I'd beg to differ... For me its the story of Ryo Hazuki, and the murder of his father, you know the day the rain turned to snow...

I'm fairly sure there has never been a proper Shenmue 2 post here on the 'Yard, so here goes....Where do I start? Let me tell you about my own Shenmue 2 experience... I knew nothing about this game, nothing! I walked into Gamestation, looking for the usual £2.50 Dreamcast bargain and saw a title that warranted the price tag of £25.00... It was a double disc title as well. OK the price hinted at something big, and the two disc package hinted at something epic...

And epic it was! This game has probably consumed more of my life than any other! As I tentatively placed the first disc into my Dreamcast, I was greeted by a glorious visual feast... Something akin to a movie, with titles, the name Yu Suzuki attached to it, and a boy, on a ship sailing towards Hong Kong...

And so it started, off the boat, there were the most beautifully bedecked characters... Every person was dressed in beautiful silks... The lines on their faces, so fabulously rendered, speaking in unintelligible Japanese... (That sounded so right, with its subtitles...)

And so it continued... Graphically, this game still outstrips Red Steel, the Wii launch title (and why shouldn't it?) This is the most expensive game in developers history! AM2 seriously depleted Sega's budget producing this game! But lets get back to Ryo's journey...

As you wander round Hong Kong, you're gonna have your bag stolen by those pesky Heavens gang... But your bag contains that all important mirror so central in unravelling the mystery of your father's death? So you're gonna have to get it back by executing some VF3 fighting moves... (apart from the wandering round, you'll have to fight enemies and competitors on a regular basis and as you fight your repertoire of killer moves increases!) The story unfolds beautifully, as you pick up clues and explore your environment talking to key characters...

The timescale of Shenmue, is in real time, you're affected by the weather, your finacial responsibilities and so on.... You'll have to find lodgings, employment or gamble to make money and there can be a lot of waiting round! But you can just go and explore every, barber shop, temple, warehouse building, cafe and caged bird shop you want to!

That's the great thing about Shenmue! it rains, its sunny! Wanna kill some time? Go and work at the docks shifting crates! Go and play gambling 'Lucky Hit' games, or just waste some cash down at the arcade playing 'After Burner', 'Super Hang On' or 'Outrun' (all previous AM2 titles) which are secreted within the game...

The people that populate the Shenmue world are all interactive - by that I mean they will all talk to you (some are helpful in your quest, some indifferent and some hostile). The game unfolds at a very gentle pace and will take lierally days to complete. I'd highly reccomend a walkthrough, as the game can be frustrating if you get stuck with unravelling part of the plot... There's one here if you need it... Without a walkthrough you might miss the hidden treasures like the ever beguiling duck race (you can find your own racing duck within the grounds of the Man Mo Temple, but where do you race it????)
The characters you meet are fabulous - Shenhua Ling, Joy, Ren Of Heavens, Lan Di, Xiyung Hong - check them out here...

The game just gets you hooked and there is the first title (the very badly voice acted Shenmue) to play afterwards! And that's the way it was for me! I played them back to front, playing Shenmue 1 second. It's great, but the terrible wooden English voice acting make it a much leser experience... The world you can explore is considerably smaller, and the colours less vibrant. If you're only going to play one title, make sure its Shenmue 2...

The story unfolds, you've got to find out about those creeps that killed your Dad right? You'll find yourself hooked into the drama that connects you with a story that exists within China and Japan, Yakuza, gangs, Buddhism and Taoism...

As you span those two discs, you'll uncover fighting moves, mystery, spirituality and more...

I could spout on forever about the wonder of this game, but the greatest way to experience it is to play it yourself! Oh and the QTE's (or Quick Time Events) see you mash buttons at crucial moments, in response to the game's demands... Allowing cinematic events to unfurl before you if you're quick enough to meet their demands...

And the side/mini games/activities such as collecting bargainable capsule toys... Wonderful! Spend your hard earned dollars on capsule toy collections, and you'll have money to spend when you really need it! Just go to a pawn (not pr0n) shop and you'll be quids in!

The game never reached the US, being released in Europe and Japan only, but it did re-emerge on the XBox, bundled with a DVD of the story of the first Shenmue, allowing those who had never played the first title, so they would be up to speed when Ryo stepped off the boat... Sadly there never has been a conclusion to the story, no Shenmue 3. Reputedly in full development, the theory goes that it would be fincially disastrous to release and promote it, just bad economic sense... Despite the hopes of Shenmue addicts like myself, it's unlikely it will ever see the light of day. One thing is for certain, if it came out on the Xbox 360 or PS3, it would see me getting one on the day of its release!

I'm waffling a bit, so I suggest you check out a proper review here, here, here and here... Oh and for every Shenmue resource you'll ever need look here...