Over the last week, I have spent some time with Shenmue I and II thanks to the new HD collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
I said before that I never really played Shenmue, but I experienced the game through a friend of mine who was a super fan of the series. Shenmue was one of those games that I always wanted to play and never got around to playing. I actually own both games for the Sega Dreamcast and have done for years, but I have never given them the time they deserve and in all honesty, I think Shenmue II has been in my Dreamcast once.
So I went into this Shenmue HD collection with a rather interesting history of the game as I have seen most of what it has to offer, but never actually played a lot of it myself. I can say that I have really enjoyed what Sega have done here. This is not a remake so do not expect graphics that look modern. Still, the textures look good and they have done the best job they possibly could without remaking the whole game.
The first thing I noticed was the load times. When my buddy would play this the load times would put him (and me watching) over the edge, especially as the Dreamcast makes that horrible grinding noise when it loads. There is none of that here, there are some technical issues and also the cutscenes only play in 4:3, but I really do think that they have done a great job.
It is the story that has really captivated me. I knew most of the story of the Shenmue saga going in, but actually being the person that controls Ryo, I felt more determination to uncover the story of why his father was murdered. I will say that it does play like a game from the Dreamcast era so take that for what it is worth. For me, this is not an issue, but a modern gamer may be a little put-off, especially if they are going into this expecting something like Yakuza.
I think that Shenmue I & II is a fantastic collection and well worth the money, especially as this is being sold as basically a budget priced title. You are getting a ton of gameplay for your money here and the story really is fantastic.