"Just as Shenmue's protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, is destined to journey to the new land of China, so too do we journey to a different world, a stunning recreation of 1980s Japan. A case example of Shenmue's self-indulgence is the new genre Suzuki declared for his game: FREE (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment). Every character you saw could be talked to; almost every building could be entered, every floor of it explored: In Ryo's home, you could open every drawer and closet, see what's in the fridge.
"Time passes and is more than a cosmetic change. Head out in the morning, and you'll see smart-suited salary-men heading to work; walk around in the evening, and the same salary-men are stumbling home merrily from after-work drinking sessions. Play long enough, and you'll start to see the same people walking around, just like in your own neighborhood."
Gearoid Reidy explores "The Streets of Japan" as seen through the lenses of Shenmue and Yakuza.
The Streets of Japan