20 years later ... nothing has changed. Shenmue 3 is exactly as you'd expect it to be. Is this good or bad? We'll see. Consider this our Shenmue 3 review.
This is a common problem when a cult developer takes over after a long hiatus to try to get things back on track. Some do it, others do not. To stay on top, developers introduce new design or technical solutions. It is even better when there is an element that can surprise us. Do whatever you can to ease your back from the burden of responsibility to your fans.
Shenmue 3, on the one hand, removes this burden, remaining the same game as it was 20 years ago, but on the other, it does not move forward.
The saga of Ryo Hazuki begins with his father being killed by a Chinese cartel, and the guy goes to find a man named Lan Di who is responsible for the assassination attempt. And so, having prepared trained fists, he goes in search, conducting his own investigation. At the end of the second part, Ryo learns what is part of an ancient prophecy. And the part of the mirror that he inherited from his father, if combined with the second, can lead to the end of the world. Also, the hero meets a girl named Lin Shenghua, who is connected with him by fate. And here is a cliffhanger.
Almost two decades later, we are back in the game. And no matter what they say, she is beautiful, despite the complaints about the 2016 schedule and so on, so on. You can feel the atmosphere of a small Chinese village: a bustling market, monks exercising, large fields dotted with flowers, and in the evening Bailu village turns red as the last rays of the setting sun fall on its streets.
But in all other respects, this is the same Shenmue. You walk the streets and harass people with questions, leading your investigation forward. Find yourself a job thanks to which you can earn money and provide for your modest life, as well as spend it on various entertainment, for example, at a party in the arcade machine hall. I also spend a lot of time running around the city or strolling around waiting for a meeting.
And shit, this is cool, although I value my time, I just enjoy doing this kind of thing. Although at times it gets boring. In general, to be completely honest, investigation, this is considered the basis of the gameplay and the mechanism that moves the plot - it resembles a chase for ghosts. If you don't know where to go and who to talk to, then just go and talk to everyone you meet in the hope that he will give you a clue that will somehow help you find the right path to the next plot trigger.
Alas, when you enter a room where you need to find an interactive object, it turns into scouring through dozens of boxes, because the entire environment is interactive. Of course, this is the style of Yu Suzuku, a developer who adheres to the rule of a purely realistic environment in his game design, which can be trusted as real. We wrote about this in detail in our article about hyperrealism in games. And in spite of all this, although I confessed to my frank bias, because I like the approach and the atmosphere - you know what the hell, this is only 40% of the overall storyline. That is, according to plans, the fourth and fifth parts are ahead.
And so over and over again. Even a loyal fan like me will get bored with this over time. Of course, you can release the next game again in 20 years to reignite feelings of nostalgia, but we all perfectly understand that this will not be so.
Fist of Fury
The combat system has become simpler, much simpler, but in general it has remained the same. Although it has acquired the classic mechanics of fast and heavy attack. There are still combos, but if you want to learn new ones, go to work to buy books and read. A similar thing was done by the Poles from CD Project Red for the mechanics of pumping books in the first Witcher.
To be able to fight, you need to drink and eat, so that the hunger meter does not decrease, dragging your HP and stamina to the bottom with it. Sometimes it's not cool, because if you only walk a little hungry, alas, you will not see the perfect health and endurance bar.
But moments like this still bring her back to her original spirit. After all, as I said, this is the same game that is in no way inferior to the original two parts, but it cannot be called a standout mechanic.
If RDR 2 was routine too, it didn't focus so much on showing the lingering moments of everyday life in between actions.
Were you interested in how the character of this or that movie behaves outside of combat scenes, when he lives a normal life? What does he do when he doesn't beat up bad people, make cool feints and not engage in intrigue? You can find the answer in Shenmue 3.
Features and rakes
Alas, one of the main problems of Shenmue 3, as for me, is that although this game is not inferior to its predecessors, it is not revolutionary like them. And this does not play into her hands. Previously, looking for the right item among a whole bunch of useless ones was an innovative solution, and you feel it, even getting acquainted with the first and second parts in 2019, as I did. Things are different now. Other sequels, also released with a wide margin from the original, are trying to bring newness, which, alas, is almost nonexistent in Shenmue 3. It is practically not revolutionary in anything.
We are waiting again
I guess the second major issue is budget. For having collected only 6 million on crowdfunding, when he spent 50 million on the development of the first part, this cardinal difference is felt. And even with such a tiny amount by the standards of a developer, Yu Suzuki has worked hard to release a new game that is not inferior to Shenmue I and Shenmue II.
Alas, it did not end, leaving behind 60% of the story that we have to learn. I sincerely hope the next game comes out, for yes, I fell in love with the Shenmue series and want to know how it ends. However, there is a small fear that the developer will not be able to repeat his fundraising success, and the development will again sink into oblivion. True, Yu Suzuki may not have another 20 years at 61.
If you are ready for routine and hyperrealism, Shenmue 3 will consume you, as well as many fans. Although you are unlikely to play it, if you are not, because this game is not for our time.
The Topic of Article: Shenmue 3 - a game not for our time.