SuperEyePatchWolf: "Shenmue III is a terrible game and I've wasted my life"

Joined
Jun 11, 2019
I disagree that the story of Shenmue 3 has the potential to cause problems when it comes to developing the story of a fourth game and think that there are plenty of things introduced in three in which they can build. Moreover, I don’t think Yu would have included anything that would later be at odds with the overall story that he wants to tell.
There's lots of speculation about to what extent the story has been changed. The opening of the game is different from the ending of S2. Something has definitely changed and we don't know why, or what it will lead to.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II
There's lots of speculation about to what extent the story has been changed. The opening of the game is different from the ending of S2. Something has definitely changed and we don't know why, or what it will lead to.
Well we do know from Cedric that the ending that we got wasn’t the ending that was originally planned. Whether that’s a case of stuff being cut from the end of the game or the ending itself being changed/reworked is a little unclear.

We also don’t know whether Baisha (the area that was implied to contain the meat of Shenmue 3’s story) has been completely cut from the series (with the key story beats that it contained being repurposed to fashion the old castle ending we got) or whether it will appear in Shenmue 4 in its original state.

Until we see Shenmue 4 or hear about it from Yu, it’s all speculation, but I do think it’s a safe bet to assume that the story has been reworked at several stages over the last five years or so to fit in with the game’s ever-changing budget and the unexpected issues faced by the team during the development period.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
The transitions in and out of the shoe removal scenes are loading screens, which as I recall, is exactly how the original games handled pretty much every transition.

You can clearly see here that that's not the case. There are no awkward fades to black and the animation for taking off the shoes is much faster. (around 1:07:40 if that didn't work)

Whilst it's true that these small, niggling complaints do build to form part of a much larger complaint, I think that in overstating the frequency and severity of them, he in turn presents that larger complaint as being much more serious than it actually is.

If I had to rate the game's cutscenes on a one to ten scale, I'd probably give them a four or a five and I'd say the dialogue is a five or a six. If I hadn't played the game and had to go solely on what I'd been shown in this video (which are suggested to be illustrative of the game's cutscenes and dialogue as a whole), I'd be scoring both of them as a one or a two.

Making the point that all of the progress the player makes in the game is constantly being broken up by these elements (a point that I don't entirely agree with in itself) becomes a much bigger problem when the dialogue is shown to be nonsensical and the cutscenes are portrayed as being utterly broken. Him throwing in additional ridiculous criticisms like the shoe removal scene only serves to exacerbate this.

It might be one line here and one line there, but these lines are instrumental in shaping his portrayal of a problem that covers nearly a third of the video (once the intro, outro and fanfiction sections have been taken out) and, according to him, is present throughout the entirety of the game.
The fades to black certainly permeate the entirety of the game and make those interactions feel a lot slower, it was an annoyance that I noticed though, admittedly, SEPW specifies that they take place during the conversations, which they don't. The translation and nonsensical interactions are a far bigger deal in a game about talking to people and, to be fair, he never claims that it makes the story hard to understand. He describes it as surreal feeling and I totally agree, nearly everyone has made jokes about the stilted dialogue and Ryo's robotic "I see" response to everyone 20 years ago. The fact that S3 is arguably a step backwards in this regard is a totally valid complaint.

This argument could be made of elements of not only the original Shenmue games, but any book, movie, tv show or game that happens to feature a chance encounter.

We're told that the thugs had been chased out of town and we know that their mission is to capture stone-masons, so them returning to go after another one of the stone-masons makes perfect sense to me. It shouldn't need to be implicitly stated. Losing the fight effectively triggers a reset to checkpoint, which is how pretty much every modern game handles stuff like this, so I don't think it's fair to suggest they are just waiting for Ryo to defeat them.
It's not presented as a chance encounter (you're told where they are) and when you lose to the thugs you have to spend a week learning a move and return to them in the exact same place, heavily implying that they've been casually hanging out there for a week or, at the very least, doing nothing to downplay that feeling.

I'm not referring to the characters and pacing here, but instead the story beats and revelations that punctuate the main quest. Some of the things found in Shenmue 2 were fantastic and I don't think that Shenmue 3 came close to matching them (the wude in particular), but I don't see how finding the Wulinshu for example (something that in an earlier post you suggested was one of the beats that made Shenmue 2 so much better than 3) is any more interesting than finding out about the history of the mirrors.

I think that Shenmue 3 had plenty of these little moments and revelations scattered throughout the game (almost as many as in S2) and had they been developed to the extent that the beats in Shenmue 2 were, it would have been a much better game.
Hard disagree. S2 has to introduce us to the main cast of characters, a new setting, and expands the scope of the story/world. S3 fails on all these points and it wouldn't be totally out of line to summarize it thusly: the mirrors were created 70 years ago at the behest of the emperor and they were stored at the Cliff Temple, Ryo gives the Phoenix Mirror to Niao Sun (who is never named) in exchange for Shenhua, Ryo loses a fight to Lan Di, Niao Sun attempts to kill Lan Di. Ryo, Ren and Shenhua head for the Cliff Temple, where the CYM are. So if S3 isn't building on anything or introducing anything new and not a ton actually happens during its 20+ hour play time...

The cutscenes in question are only present in the Bailu section of the game which can very easily be completed in 18 in-game days (and do also bare in mind that the first in game day starts in the cave and so does not contain the cutscene).
I mean, the review makes it very clear that these interruptions continue to occur in Niaowu once we're introduced to the hotel manager.

Good reviews are hard to come by and I'm not about to sift through reviews to find one. This isn't me deflecting, more not wanting to waste the time it would take to find one.

As you point out, it is very difficult to remain completely unbiased (although I don't quite agree that it is impossible), but trying to remain unbiased and not stating things that you know to be false are fairly easy and I'm sure you yourself could find plenty of reviews that do these things with relative ease.
I just mean any overly positive or overly negative review is, by its nature, not going to leave you with an impartial view of the game so that you can judge it yourself. A negative review will say things like "the combat feels floaty and lacks impact, and you can win by simply grinding levels and spamming moves" whereas a positive review will say things like "the combat is simplified but functional and more conducive to Shenmue 3's laid back vibe, it's not as deep as previous games but for a budget title it's still very fun". And those will thus leave the viewer with two completely different impressions.

Referring to them as throwaway content implies that their inclusion has no real impact on the overall takeaway of the video, but I don't think that's the case (as per my earlier response).
Agree to disagree in that case.

The objectives have you going to different areas of the map? What poor game design. Have they learned nothing from modern games like Five Nights at Freddy's?

It takes only a very basic understanding of the food system (we're talking 'I should keep food in my inventory because I need to eat from time to time' here) to avoid it having any meaningful impact on the game in terms of map traversal. There are at least 3 or 4 places the player can buy food in Bailu distributed fairly evenly across the map, meaning that the player will constantly be passing them as they explore. Taking a moment to stock up on food is hardly the inconvenience it is portrayed to be in this video.

You could certainly make the argument that it is and inconvenience, but no more so than having to stock up on healing items in FFVIIR or deposit your money in to your bank account when your wallet is full in ACNH. It is quite far from the 'ping ponging around the map' that you and SEPW seem to suggest that it is.
But you also have to grind for money to be able to afford the food! In FFVIIR (and most games), money is essentially earned passively from beating enemies and doing side quests (S1 is similarly passive); you don't have to constantly stop everything you're doing to run to a different part of the map to play a minigame. Again, in my experience with S3, by the time I was backtracking through Niaowu for the umpteenth time, I was definitely getting annoyed with how pointlessly huge the map was, how much of my time was spent grinding for money, and how devoid of substance what I was doing was. You frequently need to run very far to be told to run very far again with very little of substance happening in between; this is not true of S1 and 2.

Where SEPW and I perhaps differ is that after that, I made a point of stocking up on food every now and again (we're talking 3 or 4 times in a play-through here) when I walked past one of the game's many food vendors and the issue never really bothered me again. I still think that it is a poorly implemented system, but is a minor inconvenience and not something that's going to completely sour my view of the game.
Grinding for money definitely soured my view of the game and, if I'm being honest, is the main thing I remember apart from the ending sequence.

Generally, my biggest disappointments with this game were (and still are) the many moments where I found myself asking 'so what?' (like the Niao-Sun reveal) and the times where I was waiting for Ryo to ask a question that was simply never asked (like 'tell me about my father?') - all of which I think comes back to the game's writing. These things could have really landed if written well, but the depth required for them to pay off simply wasn't there.
Totally agree.

Did this feel like a Shenmue game? Absolutely. The combat system is a little weak, but many of the other elements that make up the gameplay elements that I most associate with the series are better than they have ever been.
If I squint and tilt my head a little, it kind of resembles Shenmue. But far too much of what I consider core to the series was changed for the worse or missing and precious little was improved in the intervening 20 years for me to consider this a proper sequel to my favorite game.

Did the story continue? Yes. It might have lacked depth in a lot of places, but it moved the story forwards, answered some of the questions I'd had for the past eighteen years and introduced some interesting new information that lead to new questions as to how that information might impact the story moving forwards.
It definitely moved the story forward in a very small way and didn't do any damage to what was established. It also failed to meaningfully expand on any of the established threads (no mention of Ziming, nothing about Iwao and Sunming's relationship, etc.) and failed to introduce anything new (no characters that I expect to return except Niao Sun who wasn't properly introduced, and no new world building stuff like the Shenmue tree, magic elements, CYM info etc.).

Did I enjoy my time playing the game? Certainly. There were a few minor annoyances here and there, but on the whole, I had a lot of fun with Shenmue 3.
I enjoyed certain aspects of it, I certainly don't hate it as much as SEPW, but it's far from a good game in my estimation and, when I think about the 20 year gap and everything S3 could have been, it's just depressing.

I think when I looked past the expectations that I had for what Shenmue 3 would be like as a game and what might happen in terms of the game's story, those are the three things that I wanted most from a third Shenmue game and I consider myself lucky to have gotten them after nearly two decades of waiting.
I'm way too close to be able to separate my expectations from the actual product, which I admit is part of the problem and I suspect is the main reason SEPW framed his review as being specifically from a longtime fan's POV. If this was a new IP instead of a sequel to my favorite game, there's no way I could see myself finishing it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II

You can clearly see here that that's not the case. There are no awkward fades to black and the animation for taking off the shoes is much faster.
It’s a black screen that says loading on it. The first two games were full of these. I agree that the animation is a little more drawn out than it needed to be though.
The fades to black certainly permeate the entirety of the game and make those interactions feel a lot slower, it was an annoyance that I noticed though, admittedly, SEPW specifies that they take place during the conversations, which they don't. The translation and nonsensical interactions are a far bigger deal in a game about talking to people and, to be fair, he never claims that it makes the story hard to understand. He describes it as surreal feeling and I totally agree, nearly everyone has made jokes about the stilted dialogue and Ryo's robotic "I see" response to everyone 20 years ago. The fact that S3 is arguably a step backwards in this regard is a totally valid complaint.
Granted, it’s been about six months since I last played Shenmue 3, but other than that opening section, I really don’t recall any other instances in the game where dips to black where used to transition between two different cutscenes - although I guess I’ll take you at your word that there are others scattered around. I certainly noticed the bizarre camera cuts that took place during some of the conversations, but I don’t think these were anywhere near as jarring as the dips to black.

You’re absolutely right about the importance of conversation in the Shenmue series as it serves as the primary mechanic for driving the story forward (and it’s for this reason that I take issue with him, at least imo, misrepresenting it). He doesn’t implicitly say that the dialogue is difficult to understand, but the clips he shows could certainly give that impression.

I don’t think I’d agree that the dialogue is a step backwards. I think that it is just a case of ‘more of the same’ (with the exception of some lows like the delivery in the first few scenes and the instances where the poor translation leads to nonsense exchanges and the one or two highs like Corey’s delivery when he bursts in to confront Lan Di).
It's not presented as a chance encounter (you're told where they are) and when you lose to the thugs you have to spend a week learning a move and return to them in the exact same place, heavily implying that they've been casually hanging out there for a week or, at the very least, doing nothing to downplay that feeling.
I thought we were discussing the opening encounter with the thugs at the rainbow basin. It sounds like you’re talking about the encounter at the hermits nest where you first encounter MM mk.i, in which case I’m 99% certain that it’s possible to explore that area before the thugs arrive.

The decision to have them hang around for a week rather than taking the stone-Mason straight back to whoever it is they are working for is a strange one and one that’s definitely worthy of criticism as I don’t feel they even tried to explain it.

I suppose I could try and point to the Yellow Heads holding Zhu in Kowloon for a week or so before arranging for Lan Di to pick him up - thus giving Ryo the chance to come up with a plan, find the scout, win enough battles to impress the scout, raise the money to enter the first fight, beat the three elite fighters, infiltrate the yellow head building, make his way through 40 odd floors, beat Baihu and then happen to arrive on the roof at more or less the exact moment that Lan Di’s helicopter flew in... but damn. Just typing that out reminded me how great that game is and how much better is than Shenmue 3.

Hard disagree. S2 has to introduce us to the main cast of characters, a new setting, and expands the scope of the story/world. S3 fails on all these points and it wouldn't be totally out of line to summarize it thusly: the mirrors were created 70 years ago at the behest of the emperor and they were stored at the Cliff Temple, Ryo gives the Phoenix Mirror to Niao Sun (who is never named) in exchange for Shenhua, Ryo loses a fight to Lan Di, Niao Sun attempts to kill Lan Di. Ryo, Ren and Shenhua head for the Cliff Temple, where the CYM are. So if S3 isn't building on anything or introducing anything new and not a ton actually happens during its 20+ hour play time...
Hard disagree. Shenmue 3 introduces plenty of new characters (it just does a poor job introducing them). If you’re going to be that reductive with the plot (you fail to mention key elements like Ryo learning that his father had travelled around China, Chai returning, Ryo training under two different masters, Shenhua getting kidnapped, etc) then it wouldn't be totally out of line to summarize Shenmue 1 as “Lan Di kills Ryo’s father to take possession of the Phoenix mirror. Ryo receives a letter from Zhu that leads to him learning that the mirror is one of a pair and he finds the other hidden under the family dojo. Ryo heads to Hong Kong in pursuit of Lan Di.” and Shenmue 2 as “Ryo seeks out Lishao Tao in the hope that she can help him find Zhu. Lishao Tao suggests that Ryo asks a gang leader called Ren for help. Ryo and Ren go to Kowloon and find Zhu, but he’s kidnapped by a gang working for Lan Di. Ryo rescues Zhu who tells him that the mirrors are a treasure map. Ryo heads to the place where the mirrors were made and rescues a young magic woman who leads him through the mountains to a magic cave and they stay in the cave together for nearly twenty years.”. Joking aside - we clearly have very different views on Shenmue 3’s story.
I mean, the review makes it very clear that these interruptions continue to occur in Niaowu once we're introduced to the hotel manager.
But we’re not talking about ‘interruptions’ here. We’re talking about that same cutscene that never changes, remember?
I just mean any overly positive or overly negative review is, by its nature, not going to leave you with an impartial view of the game so that you can judge it yourself. A negative review will say things like "the combat feels floaty and lacks impact, and you can win by simply grinding levels and spamming moves" whereas a positive review will say things like "the combat is simplified but functional and more conducive to Shenmue 3's laid back vibe, it's not as deep as previous games but for a budget title it's still very fun". And those will thus leave the viewer with two completely different impressions.
It’s possible to be critical of something whilst also acknowledging the positives just as it’s possible to praise something whilst accepting that it’s imperfect.

I think that both examples you give are fair in that they are each presented as subjective opinions and as such can coexist without being at odds with one another.

Likewise, I could say the following...
“It feels like a game that’s been designed to slow the player down at every turn, with pointless cutscenes and conversations destroying any sense of rhythm the game’s story might otherwise have had. Even something as simple as waking up and leaving the house felt like a chore; with the game bombarding the player with a short conversation and two different cutscenes before Ryo has even reached the path from Shenhua’s house to Bailu village on most days. Worse still, there’s very little variety to these interactions, meaning that what little they added to the overall experience quickly begins to feel stale. It’s a bit like waking up on Groundhog Day, only the acting is poor and most of the time the script reads like something that’s been pasted straight from google translate.”... and still have it meet those conditions. I think it’s absolutely possible to trash a game or movie without having to resort to misrepresenting it by misleading the audience.
But you also have to grind for money to be able to afford the food! In FFVIIR (and most games), money is essentially earned passively from beating enemies and doing side quests (S1 is similarly passive); you don't have to constantly stop everything you're doing to run to a different part of the map to play a minigame. Again, in my experience with S3, by the time I was backtracking through Niaowu for the umpteenth time, I was definitely getting annoying with how pointlessly huge the map was, how much of my time was spent grinding for money, and how devoid of substance what I was doing was. You frequently need to run very far to be told to run very far again with very little of substance happening in between; this is not true of S1 and 2.
You seem to have had a much bigger issue with money management in Shenmue 3 than I or many of the other people on these forums did. You might not earn money passively in Shenmue 3, but you do come across herbs constantly as you walk around the map and these alone should provide more than enough to keep Ryo fed and watered. Like the food vendors, I also think they did a fairly decent job in spreading the side activities around the map meaning you’re never too far away from a money-making method. It might not be your method of choice, but that might encourage you to spend five minutes fishing rather than save scumming at the golden goose?

I agree that the map was perhaps a little larger than it needed to be (I’m really hoping that future locations in the series will be a bit more compact), but there are plenty of open world games with significantly larger maps (even with a car, I feel like map traversal was a lite more tiresome in something like FFXV).

Grinding for money definitely soured my view of the game and, if I'm being honest, is the main thing I remember apart from the ending sequence.
You should try playing through again and using a money trainer to eliminate the grinding. I know that doesn’t fix the issue, but it might help you to see the game in a slightly different light. I definitely enjoyed my second play through a lot more than my first.
I'm way too close to be able to separate my expectations from the actual product, which I admit is part of the problem and I suspect is the main reason SEPW framed his review as being specifically from a longtime fan's POV. If this was a new IP instead of a sequel to my favorite game, there's no way I could see myself finishing it.
That’s fair. Looking back, once that initial ‘Holy shit, I’m finally playing Shenmue 3!’ feeling had worn off, it wasn’t until I’d let go of my expectations that I was really able to enjoy Shenmue 3 for what it was.

I think I would have probably still enjoyed it if it had been a new IP, but then again, had it been a brand new IP I think there are a lot of things that they would have done differently when it comes to some of the stranger design choices we saw throughout the game. It really does feel like a lot of compromises were made to help maintain that ‘Shenmue’ feeling.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
For the most part it's been a healthy discussion and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Other than giving this youtuber more publicity and views.(Which will encourage him to make more negative videos for the already negative infested Youtube.)
 
OP
OP
Real1

Real1

Sofa King
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
Sweden
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Xenoblade DE (Switch), BioShock Collection (Switch), Telltale's Walking Dead (all seasons) (Switch)
PSN
Real1Awesome
Nintendo Friend Code
2815-1822-2899
700k views. It has passed his positive Shenmue video which has been up for years. Other than myself (with no thumbs up), I can't seem to find a single comment calling it a good game in the comments either, though I only checked the first and second day before I got depressed.
 

James Brown

Administrator
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Location
England
Wow, 27 pages of discussing a youtuber's review ? What's wrong with you people ?

Playing Shenmue 3 is much more fun than this.(Alongside being 1000 times more fun than watching a youtuber video nitpicking the game for more views.)
I think 27 pages shows that there's still passion here in the fanbase. Whether people agreed with the points made in the dude's video or not, the fact that people are fired up by it to debate about the game in this way, and it's positives and negatives is a good thing. The views on his video, compared to his positive original Shenmue video just goes to prove how much a clickbait title like that can and does influence people. I don't take the views on that video to mean anything other than he tricked people into clicking, and now Youtube is pushing his video because he's gaining traction, and I guess that's built into the algorithm or something. It's a shame, but just like the media business, it pays to exaggerate and lie, as long as it brings in the eyes. This then will now unfortunately probably follow a greed pattern for future videos from this guy. No longer expect videos that reflect games in positive lights like his original Shenmue video, expect the revenue gain from this video compared to his others to make him want to do this sort of thing more. That's just how things work :D
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
It’s a black screen that says loading on it. The first two games were full of these. I agree that the animation is a little more drawn out than it needed to be though.
Granted, it’s been about six months since I last played Shenmue 3, but other than that opening section, I really don’t recall any other instances in the game where dips to black where used to transition between two different cutscenes - although I guess I’ll take you at your word that there are others scattered around. I certainly noticed the bizarre camera cuts that took place during some of the conversations, but I don’t think these were anywhere near as jarring as the dips to black.
Not the loading screen, in S3 it fades to black before and after the shoe animation and talking to Shenhua in the morning (among several other interactions) and in S1 and 2 it's a very quick cut. You can see when Ryo enters his house and talks to Ine San, and then takes off his shoes, there are no fades to black. Agreed that they're not as bad as the weird camera cuts but they do slow the game down considerably. Just watch how slowly it fades to black when Ryo takes his shoes off in S3.

He doesn’t implicitly say that the dialogue is difficult to understand, but the clips he shows could certainly give that impression.
That's true, the clips he shows definitely imply a much bigger issue than it is, but I just view that as him running examples of what he's talking about in the background as opposed to being deliberately misleading, like when he shows footage of how amazing the combat can look in S1, he neglects to show how clumsy it can also look.

I don’t think I’d agree that the dialogue is a step backwards. I think that it is just a case of ‘more of the same’ (with the exception of some lows like the delivery in the first few scenes and the instances where the poor translation leads to nonsense exchanges and the one or two highs like Corey’s delivery when he bursts in to confront Lan Di).
I consider it a step backward largely because it's less featured than S2, where you could walk and talk at the same time, NPCs would guide you to locations (and were largely more helpful), and there weren't anywhere near the kinds of translation errors and incorrect dialogue. Agreed that some of the English VO was actually better, but again, I don't play in English.

I thought we were discussing the opening encounter with the thugs at the rainbow basin. It sounds like you’re talking about the encounter at the hermits nest where you first encounter MM mk.i, in which case I’m 99% certain that it’s possible to explore that area before the thugs arrive.

The decision to have them hang around for a week rather than taking the stone-Mason straight back to whoever it is they are working for is a strange one and one that’s definitely worthy of criticism as I don’t feel they even tried to explain it.
I was talking about both, really, because I thought they both suffered from the same issue. If you can indeed go to Rainbow Basin beforehand then I'm misremembering the steps to get there.

I suppose I could try and point to the Yellow Heads holding Zhu in Kowloon for a week or so before arranging for Lan Di to pick him up - thus giving Ryo the chance to come up with a plan, find the scout, win enough battles to impress the scout, raise the money to enter the first fight, beat the three elite fighters, infiltrate the yellow head building, make his way through 40 odd floors, beat Baihu and then happen to arrive on the roof at more or less the exact moment that Lan Di’s helicopter flew in... but damn. Just typing that out reminded me how great that game is and how much better is than Shenmue 3.
First of all thanks for that, it's nice to remember what's so great about Shenmue :) I can easily overlook that kind of "plot hole" because of what they do with the gameplay. Believe me I'd make all the excuses in the world for S3 if it delivered something like the Yellowhead building.

you fail to mention key elements like Ryo learning that his father had travelled around China
We learn this well before S3.

Chai returning
Honestly, I consider this to be fan service of the highest order. He could be literally any random thug and Ryo doesn't even really seem to recognize him one way or the other. And if Chai is going to be a recurring character (I hope not), it's pretty lame that Ryo can beat him so easily at this point. Also, Chai doesn't do anything, he tries and fails to impede Ryo twice--it's the equivalent of any other fight.

Ryo training under two different masters
He learns two bizarrely similar moves from 2 different masters, hardly training in the same way Xiuying or Iwao are shown training him. Might as well say that Kai was a "master who trained Ryo" in S2.

Shenhua getting kidnapped
Fair, Shenhua gets kidnapped and Ryo has to exchange the Phoenix mirror for her freedom.

Lan Di kills Ryo’s father to take possession of the Phoenix mirror. Ryo receives a letter from Zhu that leads to him learning that the mirror is one of a pair and he finds the other hidden under the family dojo. Ryo heads to Hong Kong in pursuit of Lan Di.
Fairly accurate, but missing a few key details like the fact that Ryo learns about his father's travels to China and mysterious past, and it's probably worth mentioning Master Chen, Guizhang, and Chai (especially if you find him worth mentioning in S3).

Ryo seeks out Lishao Tao in the hope that she can help him find Zhu. Lishao Tao suggests that Ryo asks a gang leader called Ren for help. Ryo and Ren go to Kowloon and find Zhu, but he’s kidnapped by a gang working for Lan Di. Ryo rescues Zhu who tells him that the mirrors are a treasure map. Ryo heads to the place where the mirrors were made and rescues a young magic woman who leads him through the mountains to a magic cave
What if Joy and Wong come back? Or Xiuying and Ziming? Or the fact that Zhu tells Ryo that Lan Di is Sunming Zhao's son and killed his father as revenge? I feel like the Shenmue tree might be worth a mention...

and they stay in the cave together for nearly twenty years
lol k that one got me.

But we’re not talking about ‘interruptions’ here. We’re talking about that same cutscene that never changes, remember?
No, we're talking about interruptions that happen every day and their slight variations (that SEPW could have mentioned).

I think that both examples you give are fair in that they are each presented as subjective opinions and as such can coexist without being at odds with one another.
But of course they're at odds, one is saying the fighting is fun and the other isn't. A viewer is not going to be able to form their own opinion based on either one by itself.

Likewise, I could say the following...
“It feels like a game that’s been designed to slow the player down at every turn, with pointless cutscenes and conversations destroying any sense of rhythm the game’s story might otherwise have had. Even something as simple as waking up and leaving the house felt like a chore; with the game bombarding the player with a short conversation and two different cutscenes before Ryo has even reached the path from Shenhua’s house to Bailu village on most days. Worse still, there’s very little variety to these interactions, meaning that what little they added to the overall experience quickly begins to feel stale. It’s a bit like waking up on Groundhog Day, only the acting is poor and most of the time the script reads like something that’s been pasted straight from google translate.”... and still have it meet those conditions. I think it’s absolutely possible to trash a game or movie without having to resort to misrepresenting it by misleading the audience.
Fair.

You seem to have had a much bigger issue with money management in Shenmue 3 than I or many of the other people on these forums did.
Honestly because after I was asked to earn $5000, I earned twice that so as to never have to grind again. At that point I had no idea what other shenanigans the game was going to throw my way.

You might not earn money passively in Shenmue 3, but you do come across herbs constantly as you walk around the map and these alone should provide more than enough to keep Ryo fed and watered. Like the food vendors, I also think they did a fairly decent job in spreading the side activities around the map meaning you’re never too far away from a money-making method. It might not be your method of choice, but that might encourage you to spend five minutes fishing rather than save scumming at the golden goose?
This is the kind of thing that would likely be greatly enhanced by a second playthrough.

I agree that the map was perhaps a little larger than it needed to be (I’m really hoping that future locations in the series will be a bit more compact), but there are plenty of open world games with significantly larger maps (even with a car, I feel like map traversal was a lite more tiresome in something like FFXV).
Agreed, I particularly hate driving to and from missions in GTA. Most open world games (FFXV included) offer some kind of fast travel though.

You should try playing through again and using a money trainer to eliminate the grinding. I know that doesn’t fix the issue, but it might help you to see the game in a slightly different light. I definitely enjoyed my second play through a lot more than my first.
I was considering this. I'll do it for S4.

It really does feel like a lot of compromises were made to help maintain that ‘Shenmue’ feeling.
I feel like the compromises took away from that Shenmue feeling.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Not the loading screen, in S3 it fades to black before and after the shoe animation and talking to Shenhua in the morning (among several other interactions) and in S1 and 2 it's a very quick cut. You can see when Ryo enters his house and talks to Ine San, and then takes off his shoes, there are no fades to black. Agreed that they're not as bad as the weird camera cuts but they do slow the game down considerably. Just watch how slowly it fades to black when Ryo takes his shoes off in S3.
I don't see any issues at all with a fade to black into a black loading screen and could argue that it makes a lot more sense than a hard cut. As I said in my last post, I agree that it perhaps lingers a little too long - but I don't think this is at all comparable to using dips to black to connect two cutscenes together. One is pretty much an industry standard that we see regularly in both movies and videogames whilst the other is completely unnatural.
That's true, the clips he shows definitely imply a much bigger issue than it is, but I just view that as him running examples of what he's talking about in the background as opposed to being deliberately misleading, like when he shows footage of how amazing the combat can look in S1, he neglects to show how clumsy it can also look.
And one could again argue that he's comparing he best of one thing to the worst of another in an attempt to strengthen his argument. It wouldn't be the first example of cherry-picking that we've seen in this video.
I consider it a step backward largely because it's less featured than S2, where you could walk and talk at the same time, NPCs would guide you to locations (and were largely more helpful), and there weren't anywhere near the kinds of translation errors and incorrect dialogue. Agreed that some of the English VO was actually better, but again, I don't play in English.
I feel like one of us is misremembering here, because from what I recall, Ryo always needed to be stationary to engage in conversation outside of the Guilin section of the game (where it is scripted). I never liked the sat-nav NPCs personally as it came across as completely unrealistic, but if you were able to look past that I suppose this is a fair point. The first two games definitely contained their fair share of mistranslations and bizarre dialogue, but I agree that these didn't damage the narrative like the translation error re; the cliff temple in the closing stages of the game.
I was talking about both, really, because I thought they both suffered from the same issue. If you can indeed go to Rainbow Basin beforehand then I'm misremembering the steps to get there.
You can't go to the Raibow Basin before the thugs have arrived there, but you can explore the Hermit's Nest.
We learn this well before S3.
We know that he visited China in the past. We don't know that he spent time training in Bailu Village with Lan Di's father.
Honestly, I consider this to be fan service of the highest order. He could be literally any random thug and Ryo doesn't even really seem to recognize him one way or the other. And if Chai is going to be a recurring character (I hope not), it's pretty lame that Ryo can beat him so easily at this point. Also, Chai doesn't do anything, he tries and fails to impede Ryo twice--it's the equivalent of any other fight.
I think Yu really likes Chai as a character and have a feeling he's going to be coming along for the entire ride like his lookalike Gollum. It was pretty odd that Ryo didn't seem to remember him though - as it was that they opted against using Chai's them when he is first reintroduced. I have no real issue with Ryo being able to beat him in an out and out fight as this doesn't detract from his ability to impact the story and as far as his inclusion is concerned, I could take it or leave it. It doesn't really bother me one way or the other.
He learns two bizarrely similar moves from 2 different masters, hardly training in the same way Xiuying or Iwao are shown training him. Might as well say that Kai was a "master who trained Ryo" in S2.
Whilst I'd probably agree with that assessment in regards to the second master, I think the Bailu master worked pretty well and quite enjoyed this section of the game. It was a little untraditional when compared to the tutelage Ryo received from Xiuying, but I think that's why I liked it. Ryo learning a very similar move later in the game might have cheapened this section a little, but taken in isolation, I don't think there was anything wrong with the first training section and calling it important to Ryo's development as a martial artist doesn't feel like an overstatement.
Fairly accurate, but missing a few key details like the fact that Ryo learns about his father's travels to China and mysterious past, and it's probably worth mentioning Master Chen, Guizhang, and Chai (especially if you find him worth mentioning in S3).
My point here was that if the things that you omitted from your synopsis of Shenmue 3 are unimportant to the overall narrative, the things that I omitted from both of my synopses are equally unimportant. As I deem the things that you omitted in S3 to be important, I think it should go without saying that I feel the same way about the things that I omitted and agree with you entirely on this point.
What if Joy and Wong come back? Or Xiuying and Ziming? Or the fact that Zhu tells Ryo that Lan Di is Sunming Zhao's son and killed his father as revenge? I feel like the Shenmue tree might be worth a mention...
See my last response. What if broom girl or fat man return later in the series? I think there is just as much likelihood (0%) of this happening than the return of Joy and Wong.
No, we're talking about interruptions that happen every day and their slight variations (that SEPW could have mentioned).
I feel like you are moving the goalposts a little on this one. I posted a quote from SEPW in which he says something to the extent of "You have to watch the exact same cutscene every day", you argued that it was pretty much everyday, I demonstrated that it wasn't and now you are shifting the subject of SEPW's statement from 'that cutscene that never changes' (that actually does change) to general 'interruptions'.

On this point, I still don't really classify these cutscenes as 'interruptions'. Perhaps if they occurred randomly in the middle of the day while the player was actively doing something I could see your point, but they come at the beginning of each day before Ryo has even left Shenhua's house (or in Niaowu, the hotel). Progress has already been 'interrupted' by nighttime and the need to sleep and so I don't see how you can really say that progress is being halted by the inclusion of a 3 second cutscene at a time when Ryo and the player are doing nothing.
But of course they're at odds, one is saying the fighting is fun and the other isn't. A viewer is not going to be able to form their own opinion based on either one by itself.
They're at odds in as much that they are differing opinions, but that reviewer A believes [...] does not preclude reviewer B from believing [...]. They're opinions and people have different opinions.

I feel like either review would lead the reader to believe that Shenmue 3's combat system is simplistic in nature and depending on how important combat is to a reader, they would be free to go check out a video of the system in action or ignore this criticism as being something that isn't really too important to their overall enjoyment of a game.

If we compare SEPW's review ("You have to watch the same cutscene every morning and it never changes.") to mine, there is a direct conflict here. One review says that the cutscene changes whilst the other implicitly states that it never changes. One review says that you have to watch it every morning whilst the other says that it happens on most days. Only one of these reviews can be correct on these points because these elements of the game are not a matter of opinion.
Agreed, I particularly hate driving to and from missions in GTA. Most open world games (FFXV included) offer some kind of fast travel though.
I'm glad that the fast travel is kept to a minimum in the Shenmue series as I really don't think that it fits with the style and some of the thematic elements of the games. I do think that making the maps needlessly large creates annoyance where there needn't be any though and segmented off sections of the map (specifically in Niawou) can really exacerbated this problem.
I feel like the compromises took away from that Shenmue feeling.
Without knowing what exactly these compromises were, I think it's difficult to make a call on this.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
What I don't understand, is if Ys Net got additional funding, WHY did they put it into Bailu village to learn a move from Master Sun?

It's the same move you learn from Bei later on so actually adding it Bailu made the redundant and worse!

Should have used that money (and the money used on Forklifts, side jobs, and arcade games) into realizing Baisha
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
But this claim that "Shenmue 3's problems aren't in any way related to budget" is completely wrong.

For example, regarding its story:

1. Better story writing requires hiring a more competent writer which means spending more budget in that part of the game.

2. And in video games, writing a good story isn't enough to turn the story into a masterpiece because developers have to SHOW the story on the screen. Developers are completely limited by the budget for the amount of content. (And every video game will get downgraded during development.)

EA's Harry Potter games required minimal story writing since JKR already wrote the novels herself. But, those games completely failed in showing the stories in the games. (Especially the later games.) which was due to a lack of budget and time.

Shenmue 3's budget was 20 million dollars which is pretty low for an open-world game.
Lair on PS3 had more budget than Shenmue 3 according to this article:
link
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II
But this claim that "Shenmue 3's problems aren't in any way related to budget" is completely wrong.

For example, regarding its story:

1. Better story writing requires hiring a more competent writer which means spending more budget in that part of the game.

2. And in video games, writing a good story isn't enough to turn the story into a masterpiece because developers have to SHOW the story on the screen. Developers are completely limited by the budget for the amount of content. (And every video game will get downgraded during development.)

EA's Harry Potter games required minimal story writing since JKR already wrote the novels herself. But, those games completely failed in showing the stories in the games. (Especially the later games.) which was due to a lack of budget and time.

Shenmue 3's budget was 20 million dollars which is pretty low for an open-world game.
Lair on PS3 had more budget than Shenmue 3 according to this article:
link
I agree with the sentiments expressed here in principal (in that budget has an impact on pretty much every element of a game’s production), but disagree that budget can be used as a blanket excuse for all of the game’s failings.

You talk about how a bigger budget would have allowed them to hire a better writer, but interviews from Yu and other team members have suggested that the bulk of the game’s writing (story and main character dialogue) was handled exclusively by Yu - with the writing team mainly handling the dialogue for secondary characters.

If this is the case, hiring better writers wouldn’t necessarily fix the issues with the game’s dialogue unless it lead to Yu relinquishing some of his control over the writing process and allowing the writing team more creative input.

You could perhaps make the argument that Yu’s decision to take on the lion’s share of the writing stemmed from his lack of confidence in the writing team to accurately bring his vision to life, but if this is true, it begs the question as to why he bothered to hire writers at all or why he didn’t do a better job when selecting them. You could also argue that he is absolutely within his right to keep a tight grip on the reigns of the project’s writing, but this then becomes an issue of creative control rather than a matter of budget.

There are plenty of games that are able to tell a good story on small budgets and whilst I agree that budget often dictates what can and can’t be done through cut-scenes, the vast majority of Shenmue 3’s story is relayed through conversations - which aren’t particularly expensive to produce. I’d suggest that one of the biggest issues with Shenmue 3’s story is that many of these conversations are poorly written (or that their substance is lost in translation during the localization process) whilst the overarching story itself is full of holes - due most probably to it being re-written on several occasions throughout development (to be fair, I do think this is likely directly tied to the game’s budget, but more that it changed at various points than because it was ‘low’).
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
But this claim that "Shenmue 3's problems aren't in any way related to budget" is completely wrong.

For example, regarding its story:

1. Better story writing requires hiring a more competent writer which means spending more budget in that part of the game.

2. And in video games, writing a good story isn't enough to turn the story into a masterpiece because developers have to SHOW the story on the screen. Developers are completely limited by the budget for the amount of content. (And every video game will get downgraded during development.)

EA's Harry Potter games required minimal story writing since JKR already wrote the novels herself. But, those games completely failed in showing the stories in the games. (Especially the later games.) which was due to a lack of budget and time.

Shenmue 3's budget was 20 million dollars which is pretty low for an open-world game.
Lair on PS3 had more budget than Shenmue 3 according to this article:
link

"an open world game" isn't some magic word that define the budget though.
Shenmue III's "open world" is rather small and limited. So while 20 million dollars is low for a AAA open world title... it's in line with what Shenmue III offers.

And yes, there are issues with Shenmue III related to budget. But others aren't.

You need more competent writers but let's be fair: It's not a budget bleed either. And it doesn't excuse the poor writing from the people on board.

Other things like the badly designed battle system isn't solely on budget (which prevented better animations or throws) but because of bad direction, like the input system.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
It's not a matter of budget only, but development conditions too.
If we had $20million secured since the beginning and the team ready the next day Kickstarter ended, probably S3 would've been flawless in what it was trying to do.

But with game changing scope every year due do additional fundings, they had to scrap and add many parts of the game, and that impacted on every element, story included (like Cedric confirmed, that another ending was planned at the beginning).

That said, Shenmue 3 was always conceived as a more peaceful and introspective game and it would've been the same also on Dreamcast back in 2002-2003, so those especting the same fireworks of Shenmue 2, would've been disappointed in any case.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
It's not a matter of budget only, but development conditions too.
If we had $20million secured since the beginning and the team ready the next day Kickstarter ended, probably S3 would've been flawless in what it was trying to do.

But with game changing scope every year due do additional fundings, they had to scrap and add many parts of the game, and that impacted on every element, story included (like Cedric confirmed, that another ending was planned at the beginning).

That said, Shenmue 3 was always conceived as a more peaceful and introspective game and it would've been the same also on Dreamcast back in 2002-2003, so those especting the same fireworks of Shenmue 2, would've been disappointed in any case.

The CD4 of Shenmue II is even more peaceful and introspective. And yet it's a thousand time better than anything in Shenmue III. Even if Shenmue III budget was planned with that budget early on, there's still a lot of creative issues that would remain, because those were conscious decisions
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
It's not a matter of budget only, but development conditions too.
If we had $20million secured since the beginning and the team ready the next day Kickstarter ended, probably S3 would've been flawless in what it was trying to do.

But with game changing scope every year due do additional fundings, they had to scrap and add many parts of the game, and that impacted on every element, story included (like Cedric confirmed, that another ending was planned at the beginning).

That said, Shenmue 3 was always conceived as a more peaceful and introspective game and it would've been the same also on Dreamcast back in 2002-2003, so those especting the same fireworks of Shenmue 2, would've been disappointed in any case.
Yeah, it also didn't help that due to the kickstarter nature the fans had some info on some of the cut content.
Publishers never share any info about their games when they are early in development: because they know that some ideas they have planned will get cut and that will disappoint the fans that were hyped for those features.

For example, Metal Gear Solid 2 was suppoased to have these features when it was early in development:
1.A Liquid Ocelot Vs Snake fight at the end of the game.
2.underwater combat and underwater stealth gameplay with sharks as enemies.
3.Ability for the main character to sweat and enemies smelling the players.
4.A multiplayer mode with Split Screen mode.
5.Codecs that don't pause the game and happen in real time.(And they were supposed to get interrupted when enemies detect you during conversations)
6.More bossfights and characters.(Old Boy, China Man)
7.An infirmary where wounded enemies visit and the players could destroy it to stop enemies from healing themselves.
8.A gameplay section of Snake escaping from the Tanker.
And all of these were cut. If MGS fans knew about these cut features before playing it then they would definitely get disappointed by MGS 2.(Similar to some Shenmue fans that are disappointed in 3 for not having Baisha village)
You talk about how a bigger budget would have allowed them to hire a better writer, but interviews from Yu and other team members have suggested that the bulk of the game’s writing (story and main character dialogue) was handled exclusively by Yu - with the writing team mainly handling the dialogue for secondary characters.
I don't know how Yu handled Shenmue 3's development but maybe he ended up doing majority of the story himself since they didn't have enough money to give to those writers to do work on the main story.(Since hiring a writer to write the main story might be more expensive than hiring that writer for secondary/background characters)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II
I don't know how Yu handled Shenmue 3's development but maybe he ended up doing majority of the story himself since they didn't have enough money to give to those writers to do work on the main story.(Since hiring a writer to write the main story might be more expensive than hiring that writer for secondary/background characters)
I’m fairly certain that the cost would be the same whether they were writing for primary or secondary characters, but it’s certainly possible that Yu took on some of the writing workload to minimize the amount that would need to be spent on writers.

If that were the case though, I think the question then becomes why did Yu (a programmer/engineer) take on the most important elements while hiring a professional writer just to write secondary parts? Furthermore, if the budget wasn’t there to hire a writer for the complete project, could/should less important things like the capsule toys and the stamina system been scrapped or scaled back to free up some additional funds? I don’t think you’ll find many people arguing that these elements are more important than a coherent, compelling story.
 
Top