It is hard to believe the original Shenmue was released on the Dreamcast in 1999, and that fans have been patiently waiting to see how Ryo’s saga will end. Initially, the third game was planned to release in August, but was pushed back into November. Apparently there was also some backlash after the announcement that the game will initially be an Epic Store exclusive on PC once it is released. Thankfully, E3 revealed that Shenmue 3 is still heading toward that final push with a new trailer and it showed off some familiar gameplay fans will be nostalgic over. The question is, will this type of gameplay appeal to people new to the game?
The classic Shenmue and Shenmue 2 had a one of a kind story and gameplay back in 2000. You play as a young Japanese man named Ryo whose father was killed by the head of the Chinese Cartel. Ryo’s mission is to find his father’s killer and take him down. Sounds pretty cliche, but the way you do this is very different. Ryo is forced to engage with the surroundings in the small town he lives in. He does this by obtaining clues from friends and strangers you choose to interact with. This type of gameplay can be slow, but also very rewarding when you obtain a clue that moves you forward. The characters in the world of Shenmue felt very alive and make this scenario all the more special. They went about their day-to-day lives and responded differently every time depending on the situation and questions you asked them. Shenmue 3 will undoubtedly keep this interaction going. Unique characters all throughout the game will be vital to retain the sense of realism in the world.
Sometimes these interactions lead you into trouble in Shenmue. In Shenmue 3, this looks to be all the same and the famous quick time events (QTE) look like they are making a return. QTEs were very unique back in 1999 and Shenmue was the first to really utilize the finesse they add. An awesome cinematic sequence that also requires you to press certain buttons to overcome an obstacle. If one is to fail too many times you will receive unfortunate circumstances and be forced to try again. These sequences are incorporated into many games now, but Shenmue really nailed them and was one of the first.
Shenmue 3 is looking to be a game fans will be happy to play and close the story too. The fact that it is sticking to its roots is a good thing, but it could also hurt the game as well. We will have to wait and see the final product when this game is released on PS4 and PC November 19th.