Shenmue 3 – Review

Shenmue 3 feels like a relic of the past – and it seems like that’s what the fanbase wanted, and what the developers set out to create. Shenmue came out almost 18 years ago, and the gameplay systems in Shenmue are for the most part very similar.

First thing that you’ll notice are the visual upgrades – the game manages to looks surprisingly great in spots, and almost like a PS3 game in others. For the most part, Shenmue 3 is a pleasant looking game – early on there are a lot of sweeping landscapes and gorgeous vistas, and later on you move into more denser populated areas. The detail on display is actually pretty decent, though some of it doesn’t stand up to closer inspection.

The character movements and animations are where the game’s ancient roots start to show – moving around in the game does not feel great, it’s stiff and clunky, but somehow, it does not affect the gameplay all that much. So while I did not enjoy the stiff movement, it did not put me off from playing the game itself.

The story is actually really fun, if you can get into it – the previous two games are also recommended to really see what’s going on, but there’s also a handy recap movie in the menus if you want a quick refresher. There’s a lot of talking and exposition, but a lot of it is interesting – anyone coming to Shenmue 3 should already know that they are in for a slow burn.

The combat is alright, and for the most part it’s not the highlight here. There’s a lot to learn, including combos, complex menus, etc. But since talking to people, uncovering clues, and discovering what’s going on is the main focus, the combat does not come in the way. That’s not to say it’s bad – you can compare it to the recent Yakuza games – they are a particular type of combat that not everyone will get into, but then again, the combat is not what you are here for anyways.

Overall, Shenmue 3 is what the fans wanted – a lengthy plot, tons of side stuff, a dense world to get lost in, and some combat thrown in the way.

Pros:

  • Tons of content
  • Dense world
  • Good story
  • Some great visual presentation

Cons:

  • Stiff movement
  • Slow combat
  • Not for everyone

Score – 8/10

About:

The brainchild of award-winning game director, Yu Suzuki, Shenmue is commonly known as one of the most ambitious game projects in history, which captured the imagination of players from around the world. Shenmue established the open-world format for action RPG games. An awe-inspiring world with an immersive story, featuring cinematic sequences, a realistic fighting system, and entertaining mini-games, Shenmue garnered acclaim and adoration all over the world.

Shenmue III sees the eagerly anticipated continuation of the epic story-driven saga. Take control of Ryo Hazuki, a teenage martial artist, determined to unravel the mystery behind his father’s murder and to exact revenge on the killer.

Explore a vibrant, colourful open world, meet intriguing characters and endeavour on a cinematic adventure which will take you further into enemy territory and deeper into the mystery of the Phoenix Mirror.

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