Shenmue 3 is the continuation of both Shenmue games which follows Ryu’s journey to find Lin Di the karate expert who killed his father (Find out how by playing the first Shenmue) This game not only teaches you the meaning of Kung Fu but each game gives you life lessons that you can incorporate in your life such as Patience, the art of Practice, humility, the dangers of vengeance, and many other things.
What We Expected
Shenmue 3 gets so much right, I have to say off the bat that it deserves a ton of credit where it’s due. The graphics of the environments live up to the standards expected of a Shenmue game. The characters, while not showing graphics with the polish of the likes of Final Fantasy 7 remake or Death Stranding, easily make up for it with the fact that almost all of them are quite memorable, funny, and so much fun to talk to and get to know. How developed they become to you depends entirely on your own playthrough.
Unfortunately, where Shenmue 3 falls below the bar isn’t always from lack of trying. Suzuki did an amazing job considering the budget but the budget, nevertheless, plays a role in this game feeling shorter than it should have been, and several characters coming off as undeveloped and underrepresented. No Sun is a female villain whose fans have literally been waiting for 19 years to know more about and see in action. She literally only shows up for a few seconds here and there, and the only time we start to know who she is at all, or what her role in the story is, the game was already ending.
The ending of the game is where the only true disappointment lies, sadly. It felt fairly short, uninspired, and was very underwhelming, which is completely out of character for a Shenmue game. Both of the first games ended absolutely epically had amazing cinematic artistry to wrap up their endings and left you feeling like you finished watching something truly big budget. Coupled with the fact that there’s cinematic artistry throughout this game cutscenes that are somewhat lacking in quality when compared to the first two games. Again, I don’t think this is due to a lack of trying. Suzuki just didn’t have a large budget.
Comparison With Shenmue 1 & 2
I’m shocked that in spite of the budget, the fighting system is surprisingly solid and playable. Even if it’s a bit simplified compared to the first two games, there is a trove of moves to discover throughout the game and add to your abilities and level them up in all the sparring you do throughout was very satisfying. Training all plays a huge role in your moves becoming stronger and being able to take more damage from opponents. I actually really love the combat in 3 much more than I thought I would.
Suzuki has all but promised a sequel and personally, I think history could repeat itself and perhaps Suzuki can manage to pull off a Shenmue 2 again. The second was an amazing follow up to the first, which received its fair share of criticism. Maybe 4 will outdo the 3rd. But considering that 3 was supposed to be an epic return to form, the fact that it came up short in a few key areas was a letdown.
One Of It’s Kind Gameplay
Shenmue games have always presented you with experiences, worlds that you could feel with all your senses like no other games have come close to. This isn’t like an RPG where you have to run to side quests all the time. This is like living in a faraway land in the 80s.
You are experiencing life and things happening around you at all times, and it’s really beyond other gaming experiences you might have with typical open-world games where the worlds don’t feel authentic and make you feel lonely instead. Shenmue makes you feel like it’s a deep, complex world that you belong in and really live in.
You aren’t pretending to be on an adventure, you actually believe that you are and your senses experience it as if it were true. And making them appeal to gamers who would like to teleport to their destination and push to complete the game as soon as possible, as opposed to truly enjoying it, would kill the main thing that makes Shenmue so special and unlike just regular games.
It is misunderstood because people don’t understand the experience it can deliver if you realize that some games give you much more if you don’t just rush to complete them. If there aren’t many other games like that, that’s Shenmue.
The visuals in Shenmue 3 are up to date and the storyline is always great. You have to be really patient with this game if you truly want to understand the greatness in it. If you’re an individual who does not possess patience you will not enjoy this game. But if you can bear through and have patience this installment will not only be fulfilling but also educate and retrain you on some of life’s important traits and decisions.