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Domrio Blog

Heavy Shenmue Rain

Rummaging through my original Xbox games trying to find a nostalgic treasure in order to keep my gaming cravings satisfied during my 'new-game drought' (give me money), I came across one of my favourite games ever, Shenmue II. To my delight it decided to work on my Xbox 360 - although it lacks any form of 16:9 mode. As I began the game memories of former play-throughs flooded back. It was brilliant.

A few hours of play time past and I was slowly realising something with every quick-time event. Something familiar but modern. Then it hit me like Ryo Hazuki hitting on sailors: Heavy Rain! The games are pretty similar. The more I play my old favourite, the more I can't help but see the similarities.

The most obvious similarity is the abundance of 'quick time events', or QTE's. In most action sequences both games use this fast paced button pressing mechanic. If you miss a button at any time in the sequence you're punished with a fist to the face (or usually something to that effect), but it's not game over. You can still recover and win the event if you get back on track. If you have the reflexes of a plant and fail, the games continue (minus a small amount of events) with consequences presenting themselves later on in the game.

Control-wise, Shenmue II by default has you use the D-Pad to move but players will quickly find it much more convenient to pull the right trigger in order to move forwards, using the analogue sticks to look around the world for things to interact with. This driving-game-esk movement system was adopted by Heavy Rain in the same way - trigger to move forwards, stick to look around complete with head moving animation. This control system comes into play between the QTE action sequences, usually when the player is doing a little detective work.

Now, of course, the games have their differences. Shenmue is more of a sand-box world - full of mini-games, day/night cycle, side events. It even has a fighting system used from time-to-time instead of the quick time events. Heavy Rain, on the other hand, has the 4-playable character thing going on. Plus your actions effect the outcome of the story much greater than Shenmue's. So I guess I overreacted a little...

But still, the games are kinda similar. Seeing them side-by-side would probably help get my point across. In any case, where the hell's Shenmue III?