Why the story in Shenmue 3 is good/Why the story in Shenmue 3 is bad

Joined
Jul 28, 2018
I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying (although there was definitely room to improve the story in Niaowu regardless of budget) but how is the story in S3 good or even well told? A lot of people defend why the story has the problems it has but why does that make it good? (Just to stay on the topic of the thread as these things tend to revolve into people talking about budget etc.)
I'm not saying it's great storytelling. I'm saying storytelling wasn't the focus of the game, merely a vehicle to put Ryo into training, and the rest is left up to the gameplay. Ignoring any pre-launch expectations, I thought it did its job of drawing the player into the world, but I would've like to see a bit more character development. I don't think this was ever meant to be the game to give us "the answers".
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
I think this aspect is good, despite the flawed execution, because we're ultimately starting to see that Ryo's lust and obsession for revenge is gradually subsiding, which Suzuki has always maintained will happen.
Yes, except for the last 10 seconds of the game when he goes "Lan Di! Don't run away from me you fucking coward (who just kicked my ass without breaking a sweat and would have killed me if it wasn't for Ren). I WIIIIIILLLLL avenge my father!" :ROFLMAO::cool:
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Yes, except for the last 10 seconds of the game when he goes "Lan Di! Don't run away from me you fucking coward (who just kicked my ass without breaking a sweat and would have killed me if it wasn't for Ren). I WIIIIIILLLLL avenge my father!" :ROFLMAO::cool:

Haha yeah, I know. Up until then though Ryo had seemingly not even given Lan Di a thought in quite a while.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
the writing lacked a fluidity and it definitely felt like a story that someone has been waiting many years to tell.
I don't get this sense at all, it seemed like something that was given the least consideration which is why it doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny. Usually stories that have been in the oven for too long miss the forest for the trees and focus too much on the minutiae and details of the periphery but Shenmue lacks coherence within the opening cutscene.

the line of reasoning for me is that Suzuki wants you, the player, to slow down also. He did say that he hopes people play the game slowly.
The previous games achieved this while still telling good and coherent stories (issues with S1 aside). Saying it's slow on purpose isn't the same thing as saying it's good.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
I'm not saying it's great storytelling. I'm saying storytelling wasn't the focus of the game, merely a vehicle to put Ryo into training, and the rest is left up to the gameplay.
That was the focus of a good chunk of S2 and it was still able to introduce memorable characters and compelling stories while actually properly framing Ryo's training within the narrative. In S2, Ryo stays with a martial arts master, trains at a temple, and has to meet other martial arts masters. In S3, Ryo has to catch chickens and grind for money.

Ignoring any pre-launch expectations
You can't ignore the fact that this is the third part in a story that's ostensibly half over at this point.
 

spud1897

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That was the focus of a good chunk of S2 and it was still able to introduce memorable characters and compelling stories while actually properly framing Ryo's training within the narrative. In S2, Ryo stays with a martial arts master, trains at a temple, and has to meet other martial arts masters. In S3, Ryo has to catch chickens and grind for money.


You can't ignore the fact that this is the third part in a story that's ostensibly half over at this point.
As much as this lot have shit on the game, Yu did an interview with them saying Shenmue 3 is only up to 40% of the story: https://www.usgamer.net/articles/yu...iii-will-get-us-40-percent-through-ryos-story
 
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Why I think it isn't a good story come from the retcons, the use of the same trope twice, and the underdeveloped characters.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
The Niaowu plot following the same formula as Bailu's was a real buzzkill but even then, as much as I enjoyed Bailu, there were a few things that didn't make sense story-wise. Why did the thugs stay in Bailu for 7+ days after capturing the stonemason? They got their man, surely the next step would be to head for the port and deliver him to the chiyoumen/red snakes? The only thing I can think of here is that Niao Sun specifically gave them orders to stay put and wait for the green light to leave the village. The only reason she would have possibly done this in my eyes is because she was setting up obstacles for Ryo to overcome, already somehow knowing about his goal to take down Lan Di. Because they have a common enemy, it could be beneficial for her to aid Ryo's growth. If you look at her involvement in Niaowu, her pointing Ryo in the direction of the red snakes and guiding him towards Lan Di in the castle, it makes a little more sense. But then how did she gain knowledge of Ryo's goal to take down Lan Di? From Chai? A lot of things are unexplained.

Speaking of Chai, it doesn't make sense how he was acting as this watchdog for the thugs, whose goal was to find the phoenix mirror and all he was concerned about was locating the stonemasons. This is despite him knowing all along that Ryo has the mirror. Why not just cut to the chase and target Ryo, instead? He had a decent shot to snatch the mirror when Elder Yeh had it in her paws, in full view of the village, but he's more concerned with stealing the treasure map?

If I were to attempt to piece this together so that it makes sense I'd probably say that Chai, with his tenuous connections to the chiyoumen (remember his obsession with the chiyou and the fact that he arranged Lan Di's trip to Hong Kong), found some way to get into contact with them. He tells Niao Sun about Ryo and his search for Lan Di, as well as mentioning that he's in possession of the phoenix mirror. Niao Sun agrees to allow him entry into the chiyoumen on the condition that he doesn't tell anyone else about the location of the mirror. Yanglang is given his orders by the chiyoumen to head to Bailu village and Chai is appointed as their watchdog. Niao Sun gives Chai separate orders to not steal the mirror and to wait for her command before he and the thugs leave the village. With Chai now a chiyoumen member (albeit a low-ranking one) he no longer has to do anything drastic to gain entry. Even if this was close to accurate, this would be a hell of a lot of gaps to leave to the player's imagination.

I have the same gripes as everyone else when it comes to Niawou. The recycled formula from Bailu, Li Feng not having enough screentime or connection to Ryo to make her big reveal as Niao Sun have an impact and broom girl and fat guy being shoehorned into our gang at the last minute. The comedic scenes killed the mood and Lan Di's personal bodyguards being weak as hell was disappointing. Most disappointing of all, was Shenhua. Sure, the night time convos with her in Bailu were nice but she didn't get any real development in the game. Her only purpose in Niaowu was to sit in Wu Shen Hall until she became a damsel. No real displays of her mysterious powers when she demonstrated the power to make flowers levitate and was able to push a sword downwards without physically touching it in Shenmue 2. I read interviews with Yu before 3 came out and he was adamant Shenmue 3 would be 'realistic' so it's likely he toned down the mystical elements to her character to appease those fans who didn't like the floating sword ending it 2 but her character suffered as a result. Let's also not forget that the whole purpose of this game was to rescue her father and yet we didn't even get any meaningful dialogue between her and Yuan. Everything seemed rushed.
 
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For me, it was mainly the lack of development and not that the story was bad per se. I was okay chasing after thugs but from the top of my head I know no more about the mirrors, Iwao and pretty much most of the other plots.

Furthermore, a lot of the time it's more down to how the story is told and not the story itself. Shenmue has many plot points but the main one is; Asian man must avenge the death of his father and instead of calling the police or using a weapon, he uses martial arts. A story that has been done a million times before. However, Shenmue did it in a way that left us all hooked for numerous reasons but primarily the characters and the tone.

I enjoyed Shenmue III but can't remember any of the names of the new characters and nor do I care for them. In the original games, I hated Lan Di, despised Chai, found Fuku-San annoying, respected Ine San, felt sorry for Mark, fancied Joy, intimidated by Don Niu, intrigued by Yuanda Zhu and did not look too kindly on Ren but loved him afterwards. I could go on but I think you get my point.

I felt engrossed in the world of Shenmue III but that was primarily driven by nostalgia and the world is where it stopped. Had no love for the characters and felt the tone was so far off from the other games in places.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
That was the focus of a good chunk of S2 and it was still able to introduce memorable characters and compelling stories while actually properly framing Ryo's training within the narrative. In S2, Ryo stays with a martial arts master, trains at a temple, and has to meet other martial arts masters. In S3, Ryo has to catch chickens and grind for money.
By "trains at a temple" you mean mostly shifting books, which is the most boring part of the game. Training is a core part of III in a way that it never was in I & II. I said this over on that other forum, but I might as well reiterate it here:

Losing in Shenmue III taught me patience in a way catching leaves in II never did, because I tried and tried, and lost and lost. I tried to cheese several fights but couldn't do it. I was forced to admit defeat, then go back to square one. Put the time in, practice, hit the training dummy, learn new moves, then try again. As someone who does karate, that experience hit home. It felt true to life, and not just some kung fu fantasy.

Also, are you just conveniently ignoring the fact you have to grind for money in II? It feels even more unnatural in that game because, up until those points, you don't actually need money for anything. And what do most players do because the part-time job absolutely sucks? Save-scum gambling.

Shenmue II has by far the better story, don't get me wrong, but it isn't the flawless masterpiece some people make it out to be. Since III has come out all I see is people putting II on a pedestal, but it has its own share of issues.

You can't ignore the fact that this is the third part in a story that's ostensibly half over at this point.
I'm not ignoring any of that (although it isn't half over). I accept III for what it is: the build-up phase, an extended training montage, preparation for the challenges ahead.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Losing in Shenmue III taught me patience in a way catching leaves in II never did, because I tried and tried, and lost and lost. I tried to cheese several fights but couldn't do it. I was forced to admit defeat, then go back to square one. Put the time in, practice, hit the training dummy, learn new moves, then try again. As someone who does karate, that experience hit home. It felt true to life, and not just some kung fu fantasy.
At one point during training I thought i realized the brilliance of the game.Thinking it was all about getting good enough through practice,repetition and hard work to be able to beat the game.Just to be met with that limp supposed final battle.Very big let down!
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
At one point during training I thought i realized the brilliance of the game.Thinking it was all about getting good enough through practice,repetition and hard work to be able to beat the game.Just to be met with that limp supposed final battle.Very big let down!
Yeah, it was definitely too easy. They should've used some dynamic level scaling for Mr Muscles and made him harder based on your kung fu level or something, because it feels like he was balanced for lower levels.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
I dont think the problem of Shenmue III is how much of a story it tells. I think the problem is the content of said story and its presentation.

I never expected Shenmue III to be story packed. I never expected Shenmue III to give answers.

What I expected from Shenmue III is to be engaging and memorable, which is where it failed imo.

Heck, Shenmue III could've been only about Bailu but fledge character developpement a lot more, it could've been a better story.

In fact, I dont think Shenmue's story as a whole is good or was ever good to begin with. It always was serviceable. It never shined for the premise of story depth. I mean, it's your average shonen story about kung fu and vengeance.

What made Shenmue's story engaging though is its world building, its character cast, its cutscene direction and its set pieces. Basically, Shenmue from I and II has been an engaging, touching, beautiful and memorable journey. Because you remember characters. Because you remember scenes. Because you remember moments. I have far more vivid memories of Shenmue I-II that I replayed in April than Shenmue III that I played last month.

Let's keep Shenmue II out of the equation and let's talk about Shenmue I, which is a smaller game.
Dobuita is small af. The dock is small too.
Shenmue III is a massive game compared to it. And yet I have far more memories of I than III, because I was introducing a shitload of memorable characters that you CARE about. The cutscene direction was superb, most of the cutscene were directed with care. The characters either had depth or were just charming. As the game moved on, characters were developped too. Even side characters had their own story going on. I actually cared about Dobuita. I cared about Ine san, Fuku san, Nozomi, Guizhang, Tom, Goro, Mark. Heck I even cared about side characters such as Akemi, Megumi or the cat.
And the game had such a mysticism going around it, a unique and special mood. Same for the memorable moments. There are a lot of scenes I love to rewatch from Shenmue I.
Even the antagonist. Despite having not a lot of screen time, Terry still manage to have something going on.


But when it comes to Shenmue III ? I played a decent game. What will I remember from this journey ? Well, not so much. The game was packed with content and activities. The game was huge. And yet... It felt so empty. It felt... Artificial.
From the characters, I will remember Rin. Also the broom girl cause I liked her design. And the hotel lady. All the rest... I cant even name them. I didnt care about them. I didnt care about leaving Bailu when leaving Yokosuka or Hong Kong felt really harsh. I didnt care about the world of Shenmue III because it felt completly artificial and underdevelopped.
I remember no specific scene that I'd love to rewatch. Because either they didnt feature interesting characters... Or the cutscene direction was just really bad. It felt amateurish. Bad angles. Bad direction. No memorable set piece. Is there a moment as hype as rescuing Nozomi ? Is there a cutscene as memorable as going back home on the motorbike ? I dont think so.

In the end, I dont think I care about what Shenmue is telling in term of story. I care about the journey. I care about the characters I meet, the scenes I see and how they're displayed. And for me Shenmue III has been a complete letdown on where I expected it.

I would've been more than fine with a linear Shenmue experience like CD4, as long as its cast, its scenes and setpieces were as memorable.

I'm still willing to see IV and I hope it'll focus more on those aspects this time.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
I agree in regards to the characters. I don't agree with the direction of the cutscenes. I thought all the "real" cutscenes (not regular dialogue scenes) were very well constructed, with a great sense of adventure and action.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
I agree in regards to the characters. I don't agree with the direction of the cutscenes. I thought all the "real" cutscenes (not regular dialogue scenes) were very well constructed, with a great sense of adventure and action.


That's where I disagree. A lot of the times, they felt amateurish and lacking. Sometimes the angles didnt even make sense. It had none of the mastery Shenmue I-II had in term of how scenes were constructed and how cinematics were captured. It felt like your average serviceable cutscene. It was enough to show what they wanted to convey, but it had no beauty in term of picture.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Good:
I think that throwaway lines are somewhat better than in the old games or at least on par. The few cutscenes the game has are pretty good.
Bad:
The overall story is lackluster, little revelations, artificial progress and gatekeeping, the main characters aren't compelling, the story beats are recycled, the story is pretty much an exposition dump, and the ending was rushed.
If I had to trim all the narrative fat in SI&II I'd still can come up with a solid 1 hour for the first and 2/3 for the second one while still having an overall sense of introduction conflict and resolution, if I'd do the same with S3, I'm not sure where is the line between the fat and the actual plot, I'm not sure I'd even consider Sun training as actually relevant, since there's no real character development for Ryo more than an artificial gatekeep (as opposed for example to the 4 wude), I'd probably just start with the introduction and "thugs are roaming", cut to the Bailu fight and exposition for going to Niaowu, cut to Niao Sun at the warehouse, meeting Niao Sun at the castle, lan di fight and boat exposition. I'm not sure that will fill 15 minutes (and the only things plotwise left out would be the scroll exposition and the bridge flashback by old lady, Feng "I knew Iwao" and the Akane thing, even including those, I'm not sure it can fill 30 minutes).

But most than all, it's not well written, why not make Mr Muscles appear first in Bailu, defeat Ryo and then let the other guy in charge since Ryo is too weak ? It would give it continuity. Or find Niao Sun "captive" with the other stone mason for you to "rescue" her, that would already create a trust relationship with her (and she's already in a fucking boat coming from Bailu to Niaowu), or have Sun and Fei make a teacher diad (good cop/bad cop, technique vs instinct, finesse vs strenght, etc etc) and use those to elaborate about Iwao, or make Ryo have to get the boat from the red snakes, or make fat guy introduce you to fisherman, or make broom girl actually interact with anyone, or find ren having problems with the thugs instead of just randomly appearing (and I could go on for a while).

There are tons of ways of improving the story even if the main plot is just to find Yuan.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
That's where I disagree. A lot of the times, they felt amateurish and lacking. Sometimes the angles didnt even make sense. It had none of the mastery Shenmue I-II had in term of how scenes were constructed and how cinematics were captured. It felt like your average serviceable cutscene. It was enough to show what they wanted to convey, but it had no beauty in term of picture.
The main cutscenes use the same overly-dramatic camera swings and zooms found in the first two games, inspired by Hong Kong cinema. Wasn't it the exact same animation director from I & II? So why would the quality of the directing be worse? Off the top of my head, the scene entering Niaowu was amazing, the last scene before leaving Bailu was beautiful, the ending cutscene was epic, Chai stealing the scroll and that whole QTE was great, the chase scene with the Red Snakes had some great animation, Lan Di owning Ryo then destroying Ren with that kick was awesome.

I fail to see how any of those scenes felt "amateurish". Put them in Dreamcast graphics and they'd fit perfectly alongside the DC games' cutscenes. You need to seperate the janky parts of III (facial animation, regular dialogue scenes) in order to fairly judge the good parts.

*If that ending cutscene was in I or II, people would've been masturbating themselves to death over it for the past 18 years.
 
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Joined
Dec 28, 2019
I don't see any problem with Ryo Hazuki losing several clashes, quite the opposite, it resembles him even more with Rocky Balboa, which I believe is one of the main inspirations for the character - judging by his tiger jacket.

I agree the chapters of Bailu and Niaowu are exactly the same, though

Also, the game ends when it was at the best part and this is very tragic.
 
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