I will admit that I never thought we would see Shenmue III. As someone who loved the first two games, I had given up hope! Well, thanks to a huge Kickstarter, Shenmue III was actually released and I have to say that this feels like a game we should have gotten all the way back in like 2003.
How to Download Shenmue III
The Game Review
Once again, you play as Ryo as you try to find his father’s killer. The story should be the main selling point for Shenmue fans, but I feel they missed the boat here. Shenmue II had an iconic ending that left you wanting more, this game I felt did not give me that. It rushes to an eye-rolling ending in the third act and I was very disappointed with how the story went.
The whole game feels like it has been lost in time for the last 18 years. Do not get me wrong, graphically, Shenmue III is much more detailed than what the previous game offered. The lovely area of Bailu Village where you start is massive and I love the design of this place. So much so that when I did move to the next area, I really missed this place
The character animations are a tad on the stiff side. However, I do like the way the characters look. I find it kind of funny how some of the characters have a very realistic look to them and the others have a kind of “cartoony” kind of appearance to them. I know some people new to the series may find this off, but I did like it.
The gameplay that is on offer here in Shenmue III feels just like I imagine it would have had this game been released back in 2003. The game feels like a game that is a product of a different time. If you played the heck out of the first two Shenmue games as I did, you will be much more forgiving of the way this game plays.
You will be spending most of your time exploring the main areas of the game. You can talk to pretty much everyone and this is a part of the game I liked. I liked how even if it was trivial, most characters would say something relating to your quest. The way you make money is such a chore! You can work with a forklift or gamble and neither is quick, fun or feels satisfying in any way.
Combat is a huge part of Shenmue III and this is another part of the game I feel is disappointing. First of all, the way you learn new moves and level them up is simply not fun at all. Then you have the actual combat which is made very frustrating thanks to the way the AI tends to block at least ¾ of your attacks. You can work around it, but it is not as fun or dynamic as it was in Shenmue II, I feel combat feels like it has taken a step back!
The Bottom Line
Is Shenmue III a bad game? No, it is not and if you liked Shenmue I and II, I would say this is an essential playthrough. However, the game feels very dated in pretty much every regard and as a result, I really do not think anyone who has not experienced Shenmue before will have a good time with this.
- It is the game we thought we would never see
- The character models look great
- It is impressive how many people you can talk to
- The voice acting is bad but in a good way
- It is cool to have in your collection
- The story is a massive disappointment
- The gameplay feels dated and not in a good way