Is Niaowu Now Complete?

ShenSun

Site Staff
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Jul 24, 2018
Many thought Niaowu was slightly lacking upon Shenmue 3's release. However, now that the two Dlcs are out, is it now complete?

Keep in mind, Niaowu now has
  • Tons of side quests
  • Side story (Zhang)
  • Merry Cruise
  • Arcades
  • Shops
  • Forklifts
  • Fighting Arenas
  • Dojo
  • Fishing
  • SaveShenmue Building
  • Capsule toys
  • Wood chopping
  • Telephone calls to old characters
  • Chobu Chan hunt
  • etc etc
Id even go as far and say it might be the most activity jam packed area in any Shenmue game. Really curious to hear your thoughts, especially those who did a fresh playthrough for the entire game with both dlcs activated.

After writing that list, id say it certainly is. Thoughts?

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There's still nothing really relevant to the plot about Niaowu. So no, it still feels incomplete, to me at least.

I mean Bailu already had little plot development but at least the treasure map was in Bailu and you get the confirmation that it is indeed Sunming in the photograph from Bailu. We were 99% sure about that since 1999 but we got confirmation in S3 so that counts for something. So I guess, since Bailu was mentioned way back in S1, it does have some relevance.

Niaowu? That felt like a huge, empty waste of space. A beautiful environment but padding, basically. A bunch of recycled minigames on a boat, and a pointless sidequest which teases the player with new information about the CYM and Yuanda Zhu only to deliver on absolutely none of it does not make Niaowu feel less empty.
 
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The second part of the story of Shenmue III could have been set anywhere. Niaowu wasn't really that special.
 

Sonoshee

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Activity wise, Niaowu was brilliant (and as someone already mentioned, the deep red of the area is reminiscent of Niao Sun, both sharing the same first part of the name, too, so I feel Niaowu is still important.)

Story wise, I feel like it's a slower period while we transition to bigger things in Shenmue 4. This is nothing new. Shenmue 1 had less story than Shenmue 2, for instants.
I'm still adamant Shenmue 3 will gel better in the series after we get Shenmue 4.
 
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Something I've been thinking about on my own end is that I was probably psychologically comparing Niaowu to what felt to be the biggest area (perhaps not content), Kowloon. The lack of tall buildings and multiple fighting arenas makes the area feel anemic to me size wise.
As to content, I think you're right that it packs the most in relation to space. The more I view Niaowu like Aberdeen/Wan Chai, the more it feels action packed.

That said, I now wonder if the DLC-- battle rally aside-- was mostly an effort to finish what they wanted in Niaowu but couldn't complete on time. Because of that, the complete package feels a little less organic, but there's stuff to do, even if one wants to avoid it (something S2 did right).
 

gamesbloke

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It's the way of the delivery and the content realised in the DLC's that has really made the base game (aka no DLC) an unappealing proposition now.

I need to go off on a tangent for a moment here. Please indulge me: Imagine if the base game had the story quest DLC already included. Imagine the three DLC's where something like: Battle Rally/Save Shenmue building(or some variation)/Gambling and Fighting Arena Boat Thing.

That would make it less like a butchering of the main game.

To explain where I am coming from: I am all about physical media. And the knowledge that if I had no access to DLC or servers went down forever that the base game would be missing some fundamental story elements just frustrates me deeply.

S1/2 remasters as a base physical game on a disc are pre patches so in other words are basically broken to bits.

Just annoys me when DLC basically fixes something that should've never been broken in the first place.

The whole S3 sandbox with ALL the story driven content is amazing. But I can't 'unsee' what I've experienced to this point to be able to play the whole thing again and appreciate it 'fresh'.
 
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As an area, I love Niaowu. I still find the environments stunning and I've gotten lost in the activities for hours. Something I never did in Shenmue 1/2.

Story wise, I feel Niaowu could have benefited from some extra scenarios to flesh out some of the relationships. A few more encounters with the Red Snakes, one with big boss in the town (as shown in pre-release) and some for the side characters and it would have been incredible.

I replayed Niaowu to experience the Zhang DLC as part of the story and it flows much better. Much more natural to chawan sign as you come across areas rather than seeking them out.

Big Merry Cruise is a little bit of an eye sore as I liked walking to the end of the pier and looking out but I suppose I'll get used to it eventually.
 

gamesbloke

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Challenge missions for Boat DLC are Remote Play fodder depending on your opinions. Something to enjoy whilst I'm at work etc.

So had it had a better story, it would have been much more valuable of an area compared to others?

Gameplay intertwined with story is a personal driving factor in how I approach gaming in general. Everything has to hang coherently together. The bits they DLC'd messed with the pacing so took away from the experience.

Certain areas that weren't as 'feature rich' but picturesque and/or enjoyable to traverse through in the base game are now either eye sores like the big boat. Or just odd in others... (Four cups on tables EVERYWHERE lol....).

Totally appreciate that we now have a complete experience. Much respect for bringing the content to the forefront of the discussion however 'the cat is out of the bag now' so to speak.

Wondering if they'll do a Complete Edition box set?? I'm still finding the character outfit collecting for both charas really addictive. Wanting to earn/but more outfits for Ryo/Shen Hua

Niaowu is a gorgeous place I must admit.
 
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For me the lack of people in Niaowu is still very unsettling. I also miss a nightlife. Why no billiards at the bar? Why no darts?

As for big merry cruise. The fat kid mission was classic Shenmue. Great humor. I wish there was more of that in Shenmue.

Overall though I wish I had experienced all of this as a single play through. I think then, yes, it would feel much more cohesive.

Dont get me wrong. I’m tickled pink that we have Shenmue 3. And i love it! I’m very optimistic we get 4.
 

spud1897

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I think I'd agree with the others here. Had they been a part of Niawou from the beginning it would have felt a lot more fleshed out, minus the story of course.

It actually feels like there's as much to do here as there is in Hong Kong/Kowloon now.
 
Joined
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Agreed. If you combine the story DLC and boat DLC, Niaowu feels more substantial now. It would've been a better experience with them in there from the beginning, but then again, if it wasn't for the publisher's support we wouldn't have gotten these things in the first place, so I find it hard to complain.

I'd say a "Definitive Edition" from Limited Run or someone is fairly likely at some point.

Of course, the DLCs don't fix my main issues with Niaowu, but they were never going to. They're still worthwhile editions.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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Condescending Drive-by posting
Story wise, I feel like it's a slower period while we transition to bigger things in Shenmue 4. This is nothing new. Shenmue 1 had less story than Shenmue 2, for instants.
I'm still adamant Shenmue 3 will gel better in the series after we get Shenmue 4.

Lol

Edit: Warning issued for drive-by posting, clearly in a condescending manner and looking for an argument.
 
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Benwahwah

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Story wise, I feel like it's a slower period while we transition to bigger things in Shenmue 4. This is nothing new. Shenmue 1 had less story than Shenmue 2, for instants.
I'm still adamant Shenmue 3 will gel better in the series after we get Shenmue 4.
I agree. I think that Shenmue 3 will be ’the calm before the storm’.

It’s unfortunate that there was such a big gap between the 2nd and 3rd games, it has meant that all of the fans (myself included) were clamouring for more of the story. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be with the 3rd instalment.

My main concern is that the ‘lack of story’ has left a lot of fans soured, and even if we do get a fourth Shenmue, it won’t sell enough to warrant a fifth. Only time will tell I guess.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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Bailu Village is the epicenter of the Shenmue universe. I guess it was silly to expect meaningful story progression to take place there. What were we thinking?
 
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You didn't spend 18 years fantasizing about interacting with traveling carnival barkers and playing Lucky Hit in Bailu?
 
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I see a lot of people believing that Shenmue 4 is somehow going to be action packed or story dense compared to 3 but I'm not so convinced. The comparison between Shenmue 1 and 2 isn't apt because 1 is only the first chapter and supposed to act as an introduction.

If anything Shenmue 3 should have been very story dense because we got to go to Bailu, the lack of plot progression, not to mention in Niaowu, was a bit of a red flag for me.

Actually all things considered this may have partly a budget issue and S4 isn't likely to have a bigger budget than 3. So unless something fundamental about the design changes I'm expecting more of the same, but we'll see.
 
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I think for me the biggest transgression with Shenmue 3 story wasn’t so much the lack of plot progression, although that was an issue. It was the story we got lacked clear stakes, characterization for characters like Master Feng, Shilin, Ge was paper thin and the ending sequence was clearly cobbled together.

Judging the initial KS pitch and Cedric’s recent comments this was obviously a product of extremely tight budget but even if the story is smaller in scope I hope they can create a much more cohesive narrative and actually make characters decisions have consequences.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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I think for me the biggest transgression with Shenmue 3 story wasn’t so much the lack of plot progression, although that was an issue. It was the story we got lacked clear stakes, characterization for characters like Master Feng, Shilin, Ge was paper thin and the ending sequence was clearly cobbled together.

Judging the initial KS pitch and Cedric’s recent comments this was obviously a product of extremely tight budget but even if the story is smaller in scope I hope they can create a much more cohesive narrative and actually make characters decisions have consequences.

There isn’t just one thing wrong with the narrative. It’s the whole package.
 
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