Shenmue 3 review and test

Almost 20 years that I was waiting for that game, it may sounds crazy but it is true.  Shenmue 2 was released in 2001 with a massive cliffhanger and then .. nothing. Sega went down and its licenses with it. But that did not stop fans to ask for a new opus for years, even decades. If you play now Shenmue 1 and 2, you may find the story interesting and understand a bit about the fanbase but never grasps the real impact of Shenmue.

The first Shenmue went out in 1999, that is a couple of year before GTA3. It had incredible graphics, it was mixing action, adventure, fighting and a bit of detective work. You could drive vehicles, find a job to make money, go around the city, talk to people, buy food and toys, play video games in the video game. There was literally nothing comparable at that time to Shenmue. And everything brutally stopped, until a Kickstarter in 2015

Kickstart it

As a very early backer on the Kickstarter, I have to give a little word about it. And what I want to say is that I do not believe that most of the backers have been respected as they should. For the money that I have put 4 years ago, I could have got a  better collector edition. Part of the deal was to help the conception of the game through test and demo, and that did not happen. I just received a Demo a few weeks before the release of the game and it was a bit ridiculous as you can see in a previous article. My name was also supposed to be somewhere, but I have honestly no idea where most likely not in the game. And I am not even mentioning the people that thought to receive a key on Steam but finally getting it on Epic Game Store.

Basically, the team was happy to take everyone’s money but has shown respect only to some of them which I personally find highly disrespectful. So to the question would I back a Shenmue 4, my answer is clearly No, and that is not related to the game itself, only with my experience. So let’s talk about the game


The gameplay is somehow similar and different from the previous opus. One thing that I do not like is that your life will go down when you will run. Which means that you will spend a big part of the game having to eat to get your life back up. For a long time, I also found that the fight was slower and not as nice as before, but that is because you need to buy new technic, then master them, and then probably put them as a shortcut (which is not very well explained).

Apart from that,  the game is nice and basically relaxing. Talking to people and investigating on thugs and finding the man who killed your father. You still have the possibility to work to earn money, do some games, some secondary quests, etc If you liked the previous opus you will most likely get used to the new feature and enjoy it very well.


Shenmue 3 jump directly after Shenmue 2, with a very short reminder of what happened before, which is in my opinion, not enough for a new player to understand what is going on. The whole game will probably take you 25 to 30 hours. But that is also because a couple of times in the game, you will have to buy incredibly expensive things, to be able to follow the main story. So you will spend a ridiculous amount of time to just get the money and that is adding time to the game.

The first city, Bailu Village, is very relaxing but not very interesting in my opinion. This really looks like what the team started to create a long time ago just to show that Shenmue 3 could be made. You will spend most of your time just talking to people, trying to find places, investigating those places and then going to the next one.

The second part in the city of Niaowu looks more like a Shenmue. It is bigger, there are way more things to do. Fortclifs and street battles are back, everything is made to bring some nostalgia for gamers. I enjoyed that part a lot, until the end of the game, which is also debatable.

At the end

In a very strange way, Shenmue 3 was made to push all the buttons of nostalgia for the fans, but as I mentioned, without really respecting them in the first place. This gives a strange and bittersweet feeling about that experience.

And for the none fans, it is in my opinion complicated to jump directly into that third opus. Which means that they would need to take the time to play the two previous ones before. There is also nothing new or incredible in comparison to other games, which was a strength of Shenmue a long time ago.

So in the end, if you liked Shenmue 1 and 2, I would still recommend it, because it is a good Shenmue game. But if you are new to it or did not like the previous one more than that, you may just pass on that.

The Ys Net team did a mistake in my opinion by just focusing on a few fans and believing that others will follow and non-fans will also come to increase the numbers. I do not believe that this will happen. What will happens are fans thinking that like a love story that ended a long time ago, it may be better to just keep Shenmue in the past.

Positive points:
– A good Shenmue game
– Relaxing and Nostalgic
Negative points:
– Nothing new or exceptional
– Not for people who have not played 1 and 2

– Not enough for backers

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