The story begins in 1980s Yokosuka, Japan…The main character, Ryo Hazuki has his father murdered before him by Lan Di, the boss of the underground organization, Chi You Men. Ryo learns of the existence of a mysterious pair of mirrors, and makes his way to Hong Kong to unravel the mystery and avenge his father. A stranger in a new land, Ryo gains the help of Ren Wuying, and together they make contact with Yuanda Zhu, only to see Lan Di make his escape.
Continuing to pursue his father's Killer, Ryo travels to Bailu Village in Guilin. Along the way, he meets a new companion, Shenhua Ling who will forever change his destiny. The story of Shenmue was originally scripted for a total of eleven chapters.
Shenmue II brought the story up to chapter six, with Shenmue III continuing from there at Bailu Village. What secrets are held within the twin mirrors? Will Ryo face his arch nemesis, Lan Di in a final showdown? What does fate hold in store for Ryo and Shenhua?.
Shenmue III is also available on PC.
Shenmue 3 won't disappoint fans of the first two. But that's almost secondary to the real story here. Shenmue 3's real strength is in the way that it suggests a different way of looking at the very storytelling of videogames. It challenges the idea that a game's value is in it aspiring to be "cinema", and it provides a pretty compelling argument for the alternative, too. On a personal note, as a fan of both theatre and Shenmue, this game is effortlessly my pick of what has been a very good 2019 for the creative side of videogames.
A magnificent, authentic, totally uncompromised sequel that crucially ignores virtually every gaming trend of the past 18 years.
Shenmue III is not the best game of the year and it’s not even my favorite game of the year, but no title in 2019 brought me as much sheer joy and jubilation, and I can’t possibly imagine any fan of the franchise walking away disappointed. For that reason alone, I can only see it as a tremendous success.
This is a rough-around-the-edges nostalgia trip for die-hard fans, but with very little narrative reward.
To put it politely, Shenmue III has the potential to charm existing fans of the Shenmue saga, if only in how much it painstakingly recreates the stilted beauty of its two predecessors. However, if judged on its merits alone and/or by a non-Shenmue fan, this game just feels like a whole bunch of wasted Kickstarter money. If there’s one thing that Shenmue III proves, it’s that bringing new fans into the fold was never Ys Net’s goal.
I’m all for remasters of old games and keeping those same clunky mechanics with those old games, including the punishing difficulty. However, I want my sequels to old games to adapt and grow with the times. If Shenmue III had done that, it not only would have been a better game overall, it would have appealed to a bigger audience outside its cult following.
Shenmue III is a game of half-measures. It ultimately delivers on its promise of the continuation of the Shenmue story for fans that have been waiting on it for years, but that doesn’t mean it delivers on that promise well. Shenmue III could have been so much more, or at least tried to wrap up Ryo’s tale, but instead, we are left with another cliff-hanger. Deep Silver and Ys Net delivered a game that works but is as unambitious and dull as Ryo’s dialogue.