A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shenmue I & II is an updated re-release of the original games in Sega's Shenmue action/adventure franchise for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows-based PCs. Players' main goal is personal revenge, but they can take all kinds of side quests along the way with a variety of tasks, including gambling on slot machines, playing arcade games, and even racing ducks. Violence is a regular occurrence, particularly by martial arts-style hand-to-hand combat, but there's no blood or gore. Some characters in the game also use occasional profanity like "a--hole," and are also shown drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, with some characters shown intoxicated.
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As young Ryo Hazuki yo... Continue reading
What's it about?
SHENMUE I & II is an updated re-release of the Dreamcast classics Shenmue and Shenmue II, bringing enhanced graphics and controls, as well as an improved user interface and both English and Japanese voice-over options. The Shenmue saga tells the story of Ryo Hazuki, a young martial artist forced to watch the death of his father and mentor at the hands of a mysterious man known only as Lan Di. Over the course of two epic stories, Ryo's quest for revenge takes him from the docks of Yokosuka to the streets of Hong Kong. Vengeance doesn't come cheap though, and Ryo needs to earn a living while tracking down leads to Lan Di's location. Whether that's working the docks, taking a chance on the slots, racing ducks, or just taking it easy at the arcade with some Sega classics, Ryo's got a life to live. Explore every back alley and business in the sprawling cityscapes to learn the secrets that led to the death of Ryo's father and uncover a deeper conspiracy lurking in the shadows.
Is it any good?
With so many big video games out on the market trying to grab players' interest, it's hard to remember the foundation on which these modern blockbusters were built. But before the big city sandbox of Grand Theft Auto III or the reflex-testing quick time events of God of War, there was Sega's open-world adventure, Shenmue. Now players get to revisit Ryo's tale of revenge with Shenmue I & II, a re-release updated for today's hardware. The game's been enhanced with updated graphics, a few tweaks to the controls and user interface, and Japanese and English voice-overs. But does it still measure up after all these years?
Although the visuals have been updated in Shenmue I & II, the simple truth is that the game's still showing its age. The colors and details may be much sharper and pop more now than they ever did on the Dreamcast, but the models and animations aren't much different than they were back in the day and aren't pushing any technical limits. While the controls have been tweaked, they're still a bit clunky and awkward in spots, particularly in certain side missions. In spite of these issues, somehow Shenmue I & II still manages to hold tight to the quirky charm that's made the franchise a cult favorite all these years. It's still easy to get lost in the daily grind of work and play: You'll want to pull in one more shift at the docks or try to get in one more game of Out Run or After Burner in the arcade. It's like a detailed life simulator, but with a much more exciting life than you probably live now. After all, most of us don't get into martial arts battles against street gangs on a regular basis. With both games packed together, there's no shortage of content to go through. In fact, moving almost seamlessly from the first game to the second feels like turning the page on an epic adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Shenmue I & II affected by the lack of blood and gore shown in the hand-to-hand martial arts fights? Would it have a larger impact if the combat looked more graphic?
How do classic games like the Shenmue series stack up compared to more modern games? What are some of the features that newer games owe to their predecessors in the genre?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: August 21, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Superheroes, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Simulated Gambling, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.