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.
Is Shenmue III dated? Absolutely, but the game proves that, like most genres, open-world adventures still have a thing or two to learn from the past. Shenmue III isn’t always as player-friendly as it could be, but its lively, uniquely-handcrafted world is truly absorbing. Here’s hoping this isn’t the end of Ryo and Yu Suzuki’s epic journey.
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.
All the ingredients are there to make Shenmue III a great Shenmue game : riveting story, copious side content, beautiful backgrounds and great characters. But it's also a bit dragged down by its dated production values. Gamers who loved the first two Shenmue games and who can overlook technical shortcomings will have a great time. Bring on Shenmue IV!
Shenmue 3 faithfully continues the next chapter of Ryo Hazuki’s journey. After an 18-year wait against seemingly impossible odds and expectations, the end result is mostly successful. Welcoming locations and an absorbing plot are held back by presentation issues, while the combat system just hasn’t come together. Regardless, Shenmue 3 is a nostalgic return to a different time and a priceless reward for anyone invested in Lan Di’s demise.
Shenmue III is the monkey-paw wish of videogames — it is exactly what fans have wanted, to the point where it feels like it belongs in a different era.
Shenmue 3 would have been well received in 2003, but we’re 18 years on from the last entry and Shenmue hasn’t budged an inch. If you weld your nostalgia goggles to your face, you’ll be able to slog through the story, but it really is a chore. Poor game design and a complete lack of innovation are the killers, but even the continuation of the story is a meagre offering thanks to ludicrous levels of padding.