General Impressions

spud1897

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Jul 24, 2018
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England
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Shenmue II
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Destiny 2, Shenmue HD ;)
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spud19870
So having finished off Shenmue 3 I wanted to give some thoughts about the game and also moving forward, not just game wise but from a community perspective. Before reading my thoughts on the game I wanted to leave this here so if you don't read the review please read this!

Community and moving forward
Now this is something I hold personal but wanted to share. Overall this community is the best around, I’ve been lucky enough to meet people that I’d consider friends for life. However this experience from Kickstarter to release (yes I know there’s been some quite rightly gripes, communication issues, marketing and the like) has shown me a side of the community I didn’t like. Just to be clear I’m not tarring everyone with the same brush as 90% are amazing it’s the vocal minority I’m talking to.

Since release I’ve seen comments such as Yu Suzuki doesn’t deserve to make another game, Shenmue 3 sucks, it’s not what I was promised, I wanted this, I wanted that. I’m sorry but when did we become so entitled? We shouldn’t even be playing this game, it was a dead pipe dream but we made this happen so to see a vocal minority jeopardise the future of the series on social media is beyond comprehension. The “outrage” culture has wormed its way in and this needs to stop if we want a Shenmue 4. I’m not saying people can’t be critical, I have been below but I’m saying that this game, Yu Suzuki’s vision, is bigger than any one community member who has a gripe about something trivial. One valid criticism I’ve seen is they’ve focussed too much on mini-games/padding out and not enough on the story. Fair enough, but then in the same breath this has then been met with oh but the story sucked anyway so why bother expanding it. This kind of comment/person is the kind that quite frankly needs a reality check. You can’t have things your own way all the time. This game was made in the vision of its creator and if we start dictating how that should look then this is all over. That said I’m more than aware that without the vast majority of us we would not be playing Shenmue 3 and I would not be writing this.

Some need to realise that all they’re doing is harming the future of the series by going off on these “outraged” rants, overreactions to everything and shoving that down everyone’s throats. You do not represent the whole of this community (nor do I either) but get off your high horse and stop acting like you do!

As for Shenmue 4 this is what I feel needs to happen short term:
  • We get out there in our masses on social medial and let the world know how good the game is, focus on the positive aspects.
  • Stop this negative shite on social media. All that is doing is putting off potential new players, of which many have picked up 1 and 2 & are showing an interest in Shenmue 3. This will kill the franchise.
  • Support Yu Suzuki and YSNET in getting a 4th game. Of course discuss and suggest ideas but be respectful of the creator of this wonderful franchise.
  • We need to unite, we don’t know what final sales will be and this battle for Shenmue as a whole is far from over. I promise you that as long as I’m around (and many others here share the sentiment) I will never give up on Shenmue 4 unless Yu throws in the towel, which we know he’s not. He wants to make a 4th game.

Now the review, the game was played on Hard and I've put things in spoiler boxes for ease.

Both settings were completely stunning. Bailu was everything I wanted and Niaowu reminded me of Hong Kong. The colours in Bailu are something that doesn’t often occur in games these days. Yes I found some pop-in of NPC’s, maybe not as many NPC’s in Niaowu as I’d like but overall these were great.

Overall fantastic though I noticed some off placement of tracks and also some sections with none at all. Anyone moaning about not enough new music needs to get a reality check. Recording multiple arrangements costs a fortune. I was in a band for years and to record 5 instruments to a decent standard was easily upwards of £1000 for a 4 track EP. So imagine needing literally hundreds of tracks and multiple instrument arrangements. The cost would spiral very quickly.

This seems to be an issue for some and I do get where people are coming from. I’d have liked to have found out more about Iwao, the mirrors etc. However the ending piece was intense (maybe slightly rushed) but it left so many open questions, Lan Di is being played, the politics in the Chi Yu Men, the mystery of Shenhua, the mirrors etc. Also it looks like they’re going to Baisha (just my thought) in the ending credits. Anyway my point being every story has a lull where it doesn’t move on much. The focus of this game was the beginning of Ryo’s improving ability, his study of Bajiquan, the need to train, the need to focus. Also what happens now the mirrors are in the hands of the Chi Yu Men? It’s also established systems that will allow for Shenmue 4 to match Shenmue 2 in story and content IMO.

Once I got used to the dynamics I really enjoyed the fighting. The multiman battles are very good. I do feel it lacks a little impact sometimes and some of the detection is a little off but this can be refined. I know throws were an issue (see latest IGN video with Yu Suzuki) but if they come back in and they tighten the system then this will be great. QTE’s were tough but overall enjoyable, maybe a little hard in parts

Loved all the jobs, I didn’t do much fishing this time around but will next play. Forklifting was good fun and wood chopping was addictive. I found myself having little routines to ensure I had money, was trained to a high enough level. Training games were fine, one-inch punch the favourite. I do get the criticism around the need for money in the game and it was a repeat of some gameplay loops from Shenmue 2, however I didn’t find this an issue as I always made sure I had funds and enjoyed the games. Arcade games were good fun too.

I touched on this earlier but apart from Ryo and Shenhua there wasn’t as much as maybe I’d have wanted. However I see the logic behind this, Ren comes into the game. We know him and his character so not much is needed yet. I sense more will come. The temple maiden and grandmasters etc seem to be one and done characters and while I’d like to have known more about their motivations I can see why this wasn’t expanded upon. We didn’t get a Xiuing type set-up because they’re not pivotal to the final plot, I know we got more of this in Shenmue 1 and 2 (Joy, Wong etc) but I sense they had to sacrifice this a little. She will come back and her character arc has been frozen but with the background of previous development in Shenmue 2.

Overall I was happy to wonder around and not use the fast travel options. However I do think these should be included throughout the whole game. They’re around in Bailu but not Niaowu which seemed off. Dialogue skip is something that I think we would all appreciate.
Also one personal issue was move scrolls. There needs to be a system that ticks off in shops when you already own a scroll to stop us buying duplicates. It didn’t ruin the experience but is a minor annoyance.

I’d give the game an 8/10 I enjoyed it and the ending has left me with more questions that I want answered in Shenmue 4 if it happens. Now Shenmue 4, well 3 IMO has served a purpose that you can create this sort of game for the limited budget ($12 million if IGN Japan are correct). The core systems are there, the story is set-up, the team have experience with Unreal now. Providing Shenmue 4 gets green-lit and they direct the story into answering these questions (I feel Yu should have some support with this maybe) then I reckon we will get a game on par or better then Shenmue 2. I’d class Shenmue 3 on a par with Shenmue 1 but not as good overall as Shenmue 2. Shenmue 4 could easily define the series if done well and I have confidence that it will be
 

Araviel

Knowledge is power
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Excellent message, Spud. I'm going to read your full review once finished the ending hopefully tonight, thank you for adding in the spoiler tags. Just wanted to give my full agreement for now, this is the time to push and help the game, not kill the franchise in a faux paux hyperbole entitled shitstorm over small matters.
 
OP
OP
spud1897

spud1897

Administrator
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Location
England
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Destiny 2, Shenmue HD ;)
PSN
spud19870
So all the other threads got locked, merged and warned for cluttering up the forum about discussing this exact topic over and over, but your own rules don't apply to yourself it seems?
Actually the main point of the thread was to discuss some thoughts around the community with my bits an pieces added in. Also to declutter you will note the spoiler tags.

You dont have to read it if you dont want to.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Just finished the game and overall, I really liked it. Yes it's not perfect, but did I enjoy my 40 hours with Shenmue III? You bet your sweet ass I did.

But what I loved most was the fight choreography in the cutscenes. The grandmaster sparring on the boat during the sunset looked amazing, and the Lan Di / Henchman fights were by far the best looking parts of the game IMO. Ryo has never looked so slick as he did when he was fighting the first henchman, the changing footwork, the near misses, I missed the QTE twice as I was enjoying the choreography so much.

Wood chopping, forklifting, the arcade machines, the punch/horse/rooster stances...all great fun.

I really liked how you could spar or fight at any time. To me that improved the pacing tenfold. Knowing I could spend entire days levelling up my stats, learning new moves, all outside of the main story, was a big hook for me.

I thought i would hate the herb stuff but I really enjoyed that too and that was my main source of income.

The hairs on my arms stood up when I approached the last set of stairs in the castle knowing I would encounter Lan Di. You just can't manufacture emotions like that. Yes I wish the encounter was longer and the two exchanged more words but the setting / location and lighting were just as I imagined it to be in my head all those years ago.

I could write so much more but the game was more about the journey than the ending and I'm glad I took my time and revelled in it. Rock solid 8/10 for me and eager to go round again doing as much stuff as possible.
 

Truck_1_0_1_

I Don't Know, but I Have You!
Joined
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Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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Shenmue II
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Nothing :(
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Truck_1_0_1_
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Didn't read the review part but I agree 100%; nothing much else to add.

I beat Bailu last night and JUST left the boat, saved when you literally take control and then I turned it off for the night.

For what I experienced thus far, between an 8-9/10 and worth every number of that score.

Things are progressing nicely and I don't see any glaring story issues yet, in comparison to what others have said; this a good plot, people!
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Location
UK
PSN
sppeac1987
Hey all...

So, I completed the game a couple of days ago. After initially feeling a little disappointed at how rushed the ending felt (and how the game just kind of lost steam towards the end of Niaowu, in all honesty). I've been able to take some time and reflect, and also watch the ending scenario again to fully absorb everything we learned plot and lore wise (admittedly not much, but enough of a hook for Shenmue IV)

(I will say that the battle through the castle, and the long climb up the stairs to Lan Di was extremely well done on the whole, even if there was clearly build-up and more development for Niao Sun that had to be cut following the sacrifice of Baisha...and quite a shock that she now has the Phoenix Mirror!!)

Specifically, I wanted to break down exactly what we learn from Mr. Yuan:
  • Yuan knew Zhao Sunming
  • The mirrors were created by his ancestors (technically learned this in Bailu, but its important)
  • The Dragon mirror and Phoenix mirror were once locked away in the 'cliff temple', the Chi You Men had their eyes on them.
  • Zhao wanted to retrieve the mirrors before they fell into the wrong hands, and the mirrors were entrusted to him (I guess we're meant to assume the Yuan family were the ones who entrusted them to him?)
  • Zhao died years later, under mysterious circumstances (as we knew)
  • His only son, Longsun (Lan Di) was then raised by the Chi You Men (this is interesting, as if Ziming is anything to go by it seems members are recruited and trained from a very young age)
  • The 'cliff temple' is the one depicted on the scroll that Ryo and Shenhua found in the Bailu village belltower. The Chi You Men have now taken it over.
So we basically get more information about Zhao Sunming drip-fed to us again. No problem there, and the journey to the cliff temple makes a nice hook and starting point for Shenmue IV.

However, what I take a bit of issue with (as others have, I'm sure) is the feeling of disconnection between what Yuan wrote in his letter to Shenhua, and his attitude/knowledge of things when you finally rescue him.

As a reminder - the text of the letter (from Shenmue II - points of interest in bold)

Dear Shenhua,
My work is done. The Phoenix entrusted to our people is now complete.
The time of destiny has come. Shenhua...go with the one who holds the Phoenix, and find the proof.
Yield yourself to the one...and go, together.
I shall give you the family treasure, the Sword of Seven Stars. Think of the sword as part of me and keep it with you.
I shall always watch over you
.

I also checked back to the Shenmue III intro to see if the text recounted in the letter there matches - and aside from it stating 'Yield yourself to the light' instead of ;one' its essentially the same.

Now...this letter reads as if Yuan somehow knew Ryo would be coming, doesn't it? Why is now the time that Shenhua has to find the proof? And that Yuan most likely thought he was about to die, or never see Shenhua again ('I shall always watch over you'). And there are several questions raised that just aren't answered. Why did he need to carve the relief of the giant mirrors? By the proof, does he mean the scroll with the cliff temple on it? He also says that the phoenix entrusted to 'our people' is now complete - but from what we learn in Bailu Village, the creation of the actual mirrors was entrusted to his family - so why the need to build the giant ones? Its very frustrating that Ryo does not think to ask Yuan this (even if he does mention the 'relief in the quarry').

Is there some retconning going on here? As it really seems like there is a narrative disconnect between Yuan''s cryptic words on the letter and then what he shares with Ryo when finally meeting him. Perhaps I just need to shut up and wait until Shenmue IV - who knows??

I would love to know people's thoughts on this!
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
First and foremost, just want to say it’s an honor to see your post. I remember the wonderful contributions you made back in 2003 when I was a junior in high school... so 16 years later, definitely happy to see you still posting amazing stuff.

Next, I find myself thinking in my mind how the ending and Shenmue III story could of played out from my own fan fiction ideas I’ve been thinking about for 16+ years now and keep trying to tell myself STOP IT lol. It’s just gonna make the feels of disappointment worse if you tell yourself you could of done a better job than Yu Suzuki himself.
Yeah, I don’t think it was intentional retcon... I think it was more due him forgetting alot of small details and the story getting so messy that it no longer makes sense.
 
Joined
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Location
UK
PSN
sppeac1987
First and foremost, just want to say it’s an honor to see your post. I remember the wonderful contributions you made back in 2003 when I was a junior in high school... so 16 years later, definitely happy to see you still posting amazing
Well thanks...I’m not sure that me recounting the information shared in the ending and comparing it to the letter can qualify as ‘amazing’, but I appreciate that :) God 2003 feels like a lifetime ago...
And yes, I get where you’re coming from, it’s entirely possible that certain points of the story will have been changed/lost. It’s just very jarring when the letter is read again in the opening of this game...it sets up a lot and by the ending and the writer of the letter’s rescue, it just feels like they weren’t his words...
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
Yu Suzuki believed at the time that Shenmue 2 would be the final game in the series so he wanted to go out with a bang; there's an interview of his about this somewhere on the forum. That's why there are those fantastical elements at the end of Shenmue 2. If he had known he would produce Shenmue 3 one day then I think the ending of Shenmue 2 would have been different. The problem he has now is giving the fantastical elements context within the Shenmue story. I just don't see how they can. When the relief was revealed at the end of Shenmue 2, I was obviously amazed but how does he give the relief meaning? Yuan says 'my work is done', which surely alludes to his carving the giant mirrors but unless they're giant gates which open to a secret room which contains the white tiger and snake tortoise mirrors, then the whole thing was a waste of time. Maybe we'll find out the answer in Shenmue 4.
 
Joined
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Shenmue III
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Niaxi
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In terms of the letter, Yuan may well have thought he was going to die (much like Iwao did when he wrote his letter). He possibly knew the Chi You Men were coming, again like Iwao and giving their reputation, thought death was inevitable.

In terms of the large mirror carvings, your guess is as good as mine at this moment in time. Giving their size, I suspect they were carved over a very long period of time, possibly started by Yuan's grandfather. Perhaps there is going to be a twist whereby the relief in the cave is what the Emperor actually commissioned. I'm beginning to wonder if Shenhua (if she really is much older than she appears) is actually the treasure of the Emperor and Emperess and the mirrors have something to do with her.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
In terms of the letter, Yuan may well have thought he was going to die (much like Iwao did when he wrote his letter). He possibly knew the Chi You Men were coming, again like Iwao and giving their reputation, thought death was inevitable.

In terms of the large mirror carvings, your guess is as good as mine at this moment in time. Giving their size, I suspect they were carved over a very long period of time, possibly started by Yuan's grandfather. Perhaps there is going to be a twist whereby the relief in the cave is what the Emperor actually commissioned. I'm beginning to wonder if Shenhua (if she really is much older than she appears) is actually the treasure of the Emperor and Emperess and the mirrors have something to do with her.
Yea, concept art and thinking through the evidence of her royal clothing and powers suggests she is part of the Qing royalty perhaps
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Yea, concept art and thinking through the evidence of her royal clothing and powers suggests she is part of the Qing royalty perhaps
In Shenmue III in Bailu during conversations with Shanhua, she also talks about a recurring dream she has about her birth. I can't remember exactly what she said, but it sounded a lot like she is kinda remembering beeing born to the royal family.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
I just finished the game about 10 minutes ago. I am rather frustrated as I'm sure anyone can imagine. Glad that the first post I saw in the spoiler forum was one of yours, Miles.

I'll try to use this post not to vent but to add to the discussion, although really I only have more questions rather than any answers.

In regards to the disconnect between Yuan's letter and what we actually learned from him, I think it just comes down to a combination of ret-conning/the story not being as deep as we thought. Disc 4 of Shenmue 2 lobbed up what I thought was going to pure insanity plot-wise from here on out. Even though Shenhua's dad was mysterious and something clearly happened to him, I almost thought we'd never meet him/find out what happened to him (obviously, we learned the plot of the game was centered around his rescue after Shenmue 3 was announced, but I still figured we'd actually get a healthy dose of Shenmue plot in this game - which we didn't). You are right that he obviously knew someone was after him but when we meet him we learn next to nothing from him - which was reminiscent of what we learn from Yuanda Zhu. I also find it frustrating that it was inferred at the end of Shenmue 2 that Lan Di and the Chi You Men were going to Bailu themselves instead of contracting with some "thugs".

And yes- the lack of explanation to the giant mirrors was one of many frustrating elements of the story. I think this game really suffered because Suzuki chose to only work with a tiny bit of the story and stretch it out to the point where the narrative didn't make any sense. Suzuki recently claimed in an interview that we find out about Iwao and the events in Bailu Village, but we literally don't find out anything about what happened between the two of them. We also learn nothing about the Chi You Men or its leadership structure - it wasn't even conveyed in the game itself that Niao Sun was one of the 4 leaders. The castle bit was kinda neat but what happened to this "Warring Kingdoms" scenario Suzuki was planning on? It makes you wonder what all was sacrificed by cutting out Baisha.

Definitely an exciting final shot, but they should have cut the fluff and made that the halfway point of the game's story.

I don't want to hijack the thread, so I may break this out into a separate post if you'd rather keep this discussion focused on Yuan's letter. But these are some of the questions/thoughts swimming around my mind about the ending, having just seen it a few moments ago.

-Is there a convincing reason as to why the stonemasons were captured in the first place? And what exactly was the Chi You Men's purpose with them? I suppose I asked the same question in regards to their intentions with Yuanda Zhu.
-Is the fact Yuan was considered Shenhua's stepdad and not her actual father in Shenmue 2 retconned? It was never stated, and in Bailu Ryo asked Shenhua about her mother, with no mention of her biological father being made. And if it's the Yuan Family that have this connection to Phantom River Stone and the creation of the mirrors, I would think Shenhua is biologically related - yet they have different surnames. Anyone else confused by this?
-When did the Chi You Men learn Ryo had the Phoenix Mirror? It seemed pretty obvious that Lan Di was only after the Dragon Mirror when he killed Iwao and that they didn't consider Ryo having the mirror when Lan Di saw him on the rooftop. Once again, there's still no plausible explanation as to why Iwao was only believed to have the one. Niao Sun was on the boat to Niaowu with them, watching them, when exactly did she learn they had the Mirror? Sadly, three games in, I just think this boils down to simplistic storytelling without really caring about having convincing explanations as to what is happening.
-Chai - ughhh. They should not have included him in this game at all if they don't want to give him an origin story (Chai DID know Ryo had the Mirror - I thought this would be a plot point.)
-No Ziming- and while I loved what we saw of Niao Sun, we saw so little - what a disappointment. I did realize on my last game day in Niaowu that the chick from the boat was probably her, but that seemed like such an underutilized plot thread. When Ryo saw this woman in the Red Snakes hideout, he barely bats an eye or acknowledges that she was bad news.
-What was the significance to the castle? If it was merely a Chi You Men base, then what was the significance of Niaowu and why did that map in Bailu point to it? Did I miss something from the ending? I thought Niaowu had the key to the treasure - what took place at the castle/Niaowu between Ryo and the Chi You Men could have happened anywhere.
-Side note: I thought the Phoenix and Dragon mirrors were ANCIENT - ("been my destiny since ANCIENT times", the allusions that Shenhua has a deep connection with her ancestors, etc) - but we learn in Bailu the mirrors were apparently created for the emperor in 1910. That just doesn't sit right with me, for some reason.
 

TwiceFriedRice

Dojo member since 2001
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I thought Bailu Village was the best part of the game story-wise, and mostly acceptable aside from some pacing issues. It was even downright intriguing at times, akin to the original games. But, honestly, considering the two most important symbols and plot points of the series are the mirrors and the Shenmue tree, the story there was EXTREMELY under cooked.

The entire game should’ve taken place in Bailu Village so everything related to it could have been properly explored. Maybe keep Baisha in to serve as a Yellowhead building type finale.
 

B-Man

Joined: July 2003
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Back in the day, I think we were all so intrigued by the implications of the giant mirror carvings, the floating sword, and Yuan's cryptic message that many of us tended to ignore or gloss over the fact that Shenhua's dad was missing. @Lan Di-sama alluded to this as well.

I'm glad that the plot focused around finding Yuan because it wouldn't have made much sense for Shenhua to just read his letter and say "Oh well, I guess he's dead." But now it's beginning to feel like the ending to Shenmue II was somewhat of a bait and switch. Something to get you to want to see what happens in Shenmue III, but then get largely ignored over the course of that game.

It feels like having the player focus on rescuing Yuan for an entire game served as a distraction, and we were expected to just forget about many of the details of Shenmue II's ending and instead start looking forward to what was shown at the end of Shenmue III. Maybe I'm wrong and everything will still be explained, but the cave just seems so irrelevant at this point. And there's no longer a need for Ryo and Shenhua to try and decipher Yuan's cryptic letter since they can just ask him directly. And yet, they don't (as far as we know).

There are honestly more questions about that whole scene and Yuan's letter now than there were before. What is the proof? Did Ryo and Shenhua find it? Where were they supposed to go together? Did it already happen in Shenmue III? Because wherever they're headed now, Ryo's not even "the one who holds the phoenix" anymore. It sounded like Yuan was instructing them to do something very specific with his final words, but in reality all they did was follow the clues that led them to rescuing him.

I'm also still very curious what the significance of the Sword of Seven Stars is. Even if they retconned, or at least ignored, the fact that it mysteriously levitated, we know that it hasn't been forgotten about. It was also used at the bell tower in Bailu Village for a similar purpose.

It was always a mystery how Shenmue III would be handled after all the weird stuff that happened at the end of Shenmue II. But for the longest time, it felt like Shenmue III would only ever be something that existed in our own imaginations so it didn't really matter. Maybe Yu Suzuki just made the ending too complex to follow up on properly. Or perhaps he felt that too much mysticism was introduced at the very end of the game and that fully incorporating it into all future installments would change the essence of Shenmue too much.

It would be nice if all of our questions were answered someday, but I'm not holding my breath. It feels like the mysteries of Shenmue II's ending have been moved on from. If the series continues, I doubt that the specifics of what occurred in that cave will be delved into any deeper. But I guess all we can really do is wait and see.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Another question that was never answered is why the focus on the Phoenix mirror only when it comes to the letter from Shenhua's father as well as the Phoenix mirror pedestal (which in my opinion, was the "proof" that confirms Ryo is the one from the poem) - why no focus on the Dragon Mirror? If this poem is so important, why didn't Yuan (or anyone really) reference its importance more than the mere recitation of it from time to time? I'm okay with the giant mirrors being a symbolic key to confirming Ryo was the one destined to meet Shenhua, but a reference to that symbolism or mysticism would have gone a long way. And if the mirrors are less than a century old, this "ancient" poem seems even less relevant.

Gah. I'm so frustrated and a bit sad that my biggest fear leading up to Shenmue 3 - that the story itself wasn't as deep or interesting as I thought and that the third game would not advance the story as much as it needed to - came to be astoundingly true.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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Another question that was never answered is why the focus on the Phoenix mirror only when it comes to the letter from Shenhua's father as well as the Phoenix mirror pedestal (which in my opinion, was the "proof" that confirms Ryo is the one from the poem) - why no focus on the Dragon Mirror? If this poem is so important, why didn't Yuan (or anyone really) reference its importance more than the mere recitation of it from time to time? I'm okay with the giant mirrors being a symbolic key to confirming Ryo was the one destined to meet Shenhua, but a reference to that symbolism or mysticism would have gone a long way. And if the mirrors are less than a century old, this "ancient" poem seems even less relevant.

Gah. I'm so frustrated and a bit sad that my biggest fear leading up to Shenmue 3 - that the story itself wasn't as deep or interesting as I thought and that the third game would not advance the story as much as it needed to - came to be astoundingly true.

I’m not sure that’s really the problem. I’m sure the story intrigue has remained intact. I think the problem is lack of execution, which clearly came from lack of budget, lack of proper management, and the absence of the series’ lead writer to ensure consistency.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Another question that was never answered is why the focus on the Phoenix mirror only when it comes to the letter from Shenhua's father as well as the Phoenix mirror pedestal (which in my opinion, was the "proof" that confirms Ryo is the one from the poem) - why no focus on the Dragon Mirror? If this poem is so important, why didn't Yuan (or anyone really) reference its importance more than the mere recitation of it from time to time? I'm okay with the giant mirrors being a symbolic key to confirming Ryo was the one destined to meet Shenhua, but a reference to that symbolism or mysticism would have gone a long way. And if the mirrors are less than a century old, this "ancient" poem seems even less relevant.

Gah. I'm so frustrated and a bit sad that my biggest fear leading up to Shenmue 3 - that the story itself wasn't as deep or interesting as I thought and that the third game would not advance the story as much as it needed to - came to be astoundingly true.
It’s almost when fans delve into a musician’s lyrics in their favorite song. Let’s say for example about birds flying in the sky. We craft hours upon hours of research on these birds and their celestial symbolism, the beautiful metaphoric representation they have of human nature and the yearning for freedom.... then the artist is just like “Sorry guys, I just like birds flying in the sky. Nothing really deeper than that”. I hope to god that is not Shenmue. Like you, I was a young gamer in 2003 and spent so much time on the original forum discussing theory... and now that we see 99.99% of our ideas were nowhere near the mark, it feels like a bit of a gut punch.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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Skillgore31
It’s almost when fans delve into a musician’s lyrics in their favorite song. Let’s say for example about birds flying in the sky. We craft hours upon hours of research on these birds and their celestial symbolism, the beautiful metaphoric representation they have of human nature and the yearning for freedom.... then the artist is just like “Sorry guys, I just like birds flying in the sky. Nothing really deeper than that”. I hope to god that is not Shenmue. Like you, I was a young gamer in 2003 and spent so much time on the original forum discussing theory... and now that we see 99.99% of our ideas were nowhere near the mark, it feels like a bit of a gut punch.

We don’t really know that none of them are near the mark. Remember, this game didn’t even answer basic questions that should’ve been answered at that point in the plot. There is plenty of wiggle room. I’d say it’s a little too early to be panicking about that.

Now, the actual quality of the writing going forward? Well, that’s certainly a concern. I’d like to believe that Yu isn’t an idiot though, and will listen to the fans’ complaints therefore ensuring better writing and story progression for Shenmue IV, if that does happen.
 
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