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General Gaming Shenmue III: November 19, 2019

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One thing that’s changed, Suzuki says, is that shops will now be more plentiful in Shenmue 3 and stock a far wider range of items. He explained that in past games there were fewer stores but you could have longer, in-depth conversations with their owners. In this game, owners aren’t as fleshed out but the shops themselves are.



I really like this aspect of Shenmue 3’s design. It does appear that Suzuki is well aware that reaching the heady, revolutionary heights of the original Shenmue is an impossible task on the budget he now has. As such this is a strange little game. In some ways it feels as though it fell out of the early 2000s in a time capsule: its design is a clear iteration and continuation of what came before in the series, not a reinvention as some might have expected after so long.



The video game industry is reaching that sort of age where nostalgic revivals are becoming ever-more common. Usually this takes the form of slick, modestly-budgeted titles in the style of classic games, like a Sonic Mania or Mega Man 11. Other times it takes the form of a big-budget remake, modern in every sense while evoking the fondly-remembered classic – Resident Evil 2 or Final Fantasy 7 (if it ever comes out). Shenmue 3 appears to occupy an as-yet mostly untouched space: a halfway house between the two. It’s far more ambitious than other retro revival projects of this type, devoted to accuracy to the original era – and that excitingly means it really does feel like a late nineties/early noughties Sega title – warts and all. That won’t be for everyone, but in terms of accomplishing its stated mission, Shenmue 3 looks to be on track.


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