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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by pierrot Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:26 am

Michi wrote:Mine, thankfully, was not. Though I fully expected it to be when I realized they hadn't put it around the game and shipped everything in a bubble mailer.

:lol: Mine actually arrived in a Shenmue III branded box. I'm not sure if it was because I requested the Japanese PS4 version, or what, but anyway, our scenarios are the reverse of what I would have expected.

Michi wrote:The bigger issue I have with it though, is that the name isn't printed on the spine. It's just a big, blank, blue rectangle. Will I still know what it is? Sure. But really, how hard would it have been to put the name on the sides?

Yeah, I hadn't really noticed that--, maybe because I got the steelbook case, and they're sitting next to each other. Certainly, the backer slip cover leaves a bit to be desired, but I didn't necessarily expect it to be very elegant packaging. Maybe they'll send out little spine label stickers if people ask.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Blu Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:04 pm

Hey Shenmue fans, any of you guys wear an adult medium? I have this Hazuki Tiger hoodie from Insert Coin Clothing (https://www.insertcoinclothing.com/hood ... tiger.html), and it's no longer fitting on me. If you'd like it, shoot me a PM.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by pierrot Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:19 am

So, I finished the game, and that ending was magical. Seriously, I am over the moon about it. I'm not crazy, though: I still prefer Shenmue II, overall, but III is probably marginally better than the first game, on balance. People complaining about the ending are ridiculous, South-Park-esque, caricatures of people to me now. I am really looking forward to Yu continuing the series. Although, I may have already spoiled a bunch of it for myself by watching the Shenmue Online trailer again the other day. I didn't remember much of it outside of the rooftop stuff, and that was really not a big part of the full trailer runtime--. Did anyone ever ask Yu how much of the stuff was actually canon? Because I would absolutely love to see how the series works up to that, anyway.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Reprise Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:42 am

pierrot wrote:So, I finished the game, and that ending was magical. Seriously, I am over the moon about it. I'm not crazy, though: I still prefer Shenmue II, overall, but III is probably marginally better than the first game, on balance. People complaining about the ending are ridiculous, South-Park-esque, caricatures of people to me now. I am really looking forward to Yu continuing the series. Although, I may have already spoiled a bunch of it for myself by watching the Shenmue Online trailer again the other day. I didn't remember much of it outside of the rooftop stuff, and that was really not a big part of the full trailer runtime--. Did anyone ever ask Yu how much of the stuff was actually canon? Because I would absolutely love to see how the series works up to that, anyway.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoyed the end sequence and ending. I certainly am quite critical of elements of the pacing and plot, but overall really enjoyed the overall game, story and conclusion. I can only imagine the execution and pacing would have been a lot better if they weren't forced to cut Baisha due to time and budget restraints.

BTW, I don't have any specific links to hand, but I seem to remember Yu Suzuki stating a lot of the Shenmue Online stuff isn't canon.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Sload Soap Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:28 pm

I'm still in Naiowu on the hunt for thugs but got sidetracked Chobu hunting and herb picking.

As I play though I do tend to agree that Shenmue 2 is still the better game. Ryo seems to be almost clairvoyant about which bits of town he knows will have the answers he needs but his reticence to explore annoys me as I just want to walk around and get lost.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by pierrot Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:29 am

Reprise wrote:BTW, I don't have any specific links to hand, but I seem to remember Yu Suzuki stating a lot of the Shenmue Online stuff isn't canon.

That would probably be for the best. It could probably just as easily end up jumping the shark if things were headed for that kind of cataclysm. I just had to kind of wonder because there were a few things in the trailer that seemed very similar to some things from this game.

Reprise wrote:I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoyed the end sequence and ending. I certainly am quite critical of elements of the pacing and plot, but overall really enjoyed the overall game, story and conclusion. I can only imagine the execution and pacing would have been a lot better if they weren't forced to cut Baisha due to time and budget restraints.

I'm really curious how much actual content was cut from Baisha that wasn't just replaced by the end of the game as it is, or if Baisha will end up as a part of DLC, or some other game, or something.

My only real complaint with the game is that
once everyone leaves for the castle, and everything starts to happen, it's kind of like, 'Well, where was some of this earlier in the game.' To be fair, the first game follows a really similar pattern, though, with less to do and explore. Really I just feel like Shenmue III's heart-rate monitor goes from about 60 bpm through most of the game, to about an 80 bpm once Kyo, and Shirin show up to the boat with Ren, and then 110bpm as you're on the path up to the castle after handing over the phoenix mirror. I just wish a little more of that excitement had been spread over the earlier parts of the game, particularly a lot of Choubu. By the way, did you see the cutscene after Shenhua is kidnapped where Ryo grabs the railing outside his room at the Choubu inn? That got me in the feels a little bit, and I'm almost positive that's one of those things that Yu was talking about adding in during the delays to release. It was also the first time I realized that there was a huge picross image of choubu-chan drawn into the tiles next to the inn, so that spoiled some of the emotional impact a little bit. :lol:

What do you think, though? Is Niao Sun in possession of the dragon mirror, also? I haven't really looked into what people are saying after finishing the game, but I was kind of noticing that this character doesn't seem to be too popular. I felt like she was set up in this game to act as a really great secondary antagonist. I can see how people would like to have her be a bit more present in the story, but I like the vagueness. It's much more my preference to have a vague, and complicated character, rather than one who just presents a 'master plan' or something as a series of diatribes about all sorts of machinations.




Sload Soap wrote:I'm still in Naiowu on the hunt for thugs but got sidetracked Chobu hunting and herb picking.

This is so relatable, I can't even.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Sload Soap Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:10 pm

Not making as good progress as I would like due to work commitments. I've found the Red Snakes hideout and been "beaten" by their Tommy Wiseau looking leader twice. I say beaten but my kung fu level is so high that in both fights he didn't hit me once and Ryo annihilated him. But this guy is a cut-scene badass so both times the game informed me that actually I lost. Very annoying and really old fashioned. Should have taken a leaf from Yakuza's book here.

Actually of late there has been a lot of time wasting and wheel spinning. Two examples: once the pier opens you find a bunch of photos pinned to a wall. "Aha", I thought, "Perhaps there's a picture of Mr Yuan on here". And sure enough there is but Ryo just stares blankly at it. That is until a woman selling buddha statues says that I can indeed go and look at it and continue the plot.

Then I need to get a VIP card to get into a casino. I am told they are given out to wealthy people and my mind immediately went to the nouveau riche couple in the room opposite. Ryo though has a mind like a dull mirror and it takes three further steps and a few hours of play before yes, the game will now let you speak to the rich couple and continue. Well until cut-scene badass impedes your play again.

Shenmue games always had ways to stifle your momentum whether it be a shop opening at 15.00 or earning your keep putting out dusty books. But in Shenmue 3 between Ryo's reluctance to explore and his general stupidity I do feel somewhat vindicated that really Suzuki doesn't know how to pace a story in a videogame and yes we could have had this wrapped up with better decision making.

I am still enjoying the game overall but the gears are sticking. Obviously you know when you get into a Shenmue game that it'll have it's own quirks and idiosyncrasies but it's also inherited a lot of bad game design from early 3D games that have been abandoned for the best part of a decade.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by pierrot Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:46 pm

Yeah, personally, it didn't bother me at all to have to progress the story at least at Yu's pace. That pace was actually faster than I was willing to go most of the time (as evidenced by my playtime being such an extreme outlier), bu~t

Sload Soap wrote:I do feel somewhat vindicated that really Suzuki doesn't know how to pace a story in a videogame and yes we could have had this wrapped up with better decision making.

I don't believe this to be true, and that's mainly because Shenmue games aren't just a linear progression of story elements, they're inexorably tied to very diverse locations, and characters. Shenmue III would have potentially needed to cover six or seven different areas in order to reach a true conclusion. If there had just been no side activities, or greater world to explore, that's probably an option, but as an open world experience, that's just not feasible on the relatively shoestring budget they had. So I would absolutely agree that the actual story that was meant to take place in Choubu was just too spartan for an area of its size. I don't see a way that anything would have been wrapped up with the same sort of scope, though. I do wish the story bits between leaving Bailu, and the final stanza of the game had been augmented a little more to keep the momentum building, but without spoiling anything, once you get to the final part of the game, you'll see a lot of what they did add in. I don't think you'll be happy at all with the ending, but I do think that you'll come away from it wishing that more of that level of action had been worked into more parts of Choubu.

I'm pretty surprised you were able to pick out En from the wall of photos before the story directed you there. I didn't notice him at all when just looking at all the photos on my own (although I was kind of upset that so many of them were just photos of characters from Bailu). Even later on, when the story directs you to the wall of photos, I just directed Ryo over one that happened to be the right one, and he automatically saw him. In my case, Ryo was way more observant than I was. :lol:
Last edited by pierrot on Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Reprise Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:18 pm

The issue, I believe is primarily down to budget. I know some will roll their eyes, but ultimately without a shoestring budget, I feel they would have been able to tighten things up a bit more.

The issue in terms of pacing and Ryo being dumb, is in the first two games the investigation elements were reasonably non-linear and it was possible to skip steps or take shorter or longer paths. Things are a bit more dynamic, whilst Shenmue 3 is a lot more rigid and linear. There were a few times where I could also guess the direction the game was sending me in, but I had to jump through hoops that probably wouldn't have been there in the first two games.

Ultimately, I feel cutting Baisha out of the game, whilst simultaneously expanding Niaowu, hurt the game. Niaowu is there to act like 'Hong Kong 2' and to be like a playground to the player, but little to no plot occurs there. Maybe sloap sloap has a point in that regard, but I do mostly agree with pierrot that a lot of what makes Shenmue great is the worlds and different places Ryo travels to. It wouldn't work, for me, to cram all the plot into just one or two locations or alternatively have 6 or 7 worlds that feel unfinished and play in a very A-B, fast paced style.
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Re: Shenmue III Release Topic

by Sload Soap Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:09 am

I've beat it now. The ending was fine. I'm not sure who the redhead bimbo is supposed to be and why I should care but I assume she will be important in the follow up we will probably never get. I feel like the end was still a bit abrupt and seemed to hint that Lan Di is now holed up at a single location and Ryo knows where that is so...can't this be done in a DLC? Like, what else is there we need to know?

The castle run was pretty epic except even here there is some pointless guff that gets in the way. Why is there a pawn shop on this island that no one goes to? And why should I give half a shit about the stuff that the Red Snakes have stolen from him? This is the do or die, no going back climax to your game, so why is there a unnecessary side-quest here? Also, top tip: if you don't want your stuff knicked by a crime syndicate, don't open a shop up on an abandoned island in the room below their hideout. I also didn't appreciate the Neckbeard Brigade turning up just before Lan Di to ruin my immersion. Between this and Bloodstained, I'm a touch sick of backers being inserted so blatantly into the action.

I just want to add that when I said before I saw the picture of Yuan on the board I didn't literally mean I spotted it. Rather I knew it was there and would be a big clue but you can't inspect the board until the game lets you. In the same way you can't go to anywhere there is a clue until the game allows you in this supposedly but not actually open world game. You have to jump through the hoops set because if you didn't you could stroll through the game at ten times the speed and you'd realise that not a lot is actually happening.

So, I feel I need to address the story again but as it did end up directly tying into the gameplay it needs talking about. The whole game is a quest to rescue Shenhua's dad, a character we've never met or have any reason to care about and indeed if we go off the end of Shenmue 2 sounded either dead or willingly absent. This new quest overrides anything to do with the mystical elements in the cave, Shenhua's mysterious connection to Ryo and Ryo's entire bloody purpose of being here, namely to defeat Lan Di and avenge his dad's murder. And the story ties into the gameplay as you cannot freely roam at any point in this game until you have met the story requirements which in Shenmue's world mean talking to the correct NPC to get to those requirements. And since the pacing is so glacial what turns out to be a pretty modestly sized world opens up at the rate of an Bethesda RPG. And I wouldn't have a problem with this if I could sequence break a touch or just wander to non-essential areas (is there any reason the fishing pond in Bailu is gated off?) but you can't as instead of being creative with the path blocking, YsNet just take Ryo out of your control and make him turn around.

As to the actual plot, well the entire game is spent spinning the wheels on Ryo's story. He learns little new about the mirror, his father's death or Lan Di. In fact by removing the magical elements of the mirrors the game actually subtracts knowledge. You develop something of a relationship with Shenhua but this is mostly jettisoned when you arrive in Niaowu as she now wonders the town independently of Ryo before a quick evening chat where she recites what she did in her day like a five year old telling you what they did in school before stomping off to bed. Earlier on there was some hint that she has some kind of undefined power herself but that is left so open and is so underutilised it may as well not be in the game. She seems very concerned about her dad up until you do rescue him where she doesn't say a word about it and doesn't even sit next to him on the boat home. So Ryo and Shenhua get done dirty as one is pushed aside while the other is underwritten and given no purpose.

And I think that despite what you guys say, you could beat Lan Di within this game without altering the locations or any of the exploration. Here's how I'd do it.

The start would be very similar except instead of saving the young stonemason in Bailu it would be Yuan and Lan Di would have just arrived to interrogate him about the mirrors. Ryo would fight the gang and, with help from the local martial artists and the guards, manage to take a pop at Lan Di. Crucially he lands a blow this time. Not enough to knock him down but enough to make him wince. He and his gang scarper when the whole town turns up to turf them out (cos they like you and Shenhua cos you've helped them out with stuff) and in the commotion one of the thugs drops a matchbook from the Rose Garden in Niaowu. You have a lead and we know that while Ryo is getting stronger (which ties in with the new Kung Fu meter) he isn't quite there...yet. You speak with Yuan and he explains both the purpose of the mirror (to protect treasure hidden by the Emperor and his wife during their visit) and that Lan Di is the son of Suming the other man in the photo with Iwao. He doesn't believe that Iwao is capable of murder but he is evasive and asks you to speak with Elder Ye before you leave. You do and she tells you that Iwao and Suming fought over what to do with the mirrors and only Iwao returned, leaving shortly after. She asks you to climb the tower in the town which you do and find inside a confession from Iwao that Suming wanted the treasure for himself and his son which lead to a confrontation where Iwao accidentally karated him off a cliff. Ryo's world is a bit shattered but he is still determined to see his quest through. Shenhua disagrees and pleads with Ryo not to go but his mind is made up because that's his character. Shenhua stays in the village with her dad.

Ryo now arrives in Niaowu alone with the joint goals of finding Lan Di and the Chi You Men's hideout (drop the Red Snakes entirely) and learning from the many wise kung fu masters in the town. The woman on the boat is dropped as well, she is pointless anyway. You track the gang down by fighting through the Rose Garden ranks which is mirrored by you rising through the ranks at Wu Shen temple. You are finally adept enough to be taught by the legendary Grandmaster Bei (about level 32 Kung Fu minimum) who himself would like to see the Chi You Men and his former student Lan Di toppled. You track them to the castle and you and your chums invade it, much as you do anyway. Ryo finally has his last stand with Lan Di which ends with him choosing not to kill Lan Di but instead spare him. Lan Di is incensed by Ryo's honour (Ryo could also try to mend the gap caused by their fathers) and flies at him which Ryo dodges in a QTE with Lan Di falling through the collapsing castle floor seemingly into a firey death below. Ryo leaves and returns to shore where Bei has made the wise decision to be the first character in Shenmue to call the goddamn police. The remaining Chi You Men including Tommy Wiseau and Chai are rounded up and taken off to prison. Ryo waves goodbye to his new chums and returns to Bailu and Shenhua. They take the mirrors back to the cave and plug them in. A panel opens up and reveals the treasure hidden there; a true line of succession. Ryo and Shenhua (and Yu Suzuki) then remember that they are in 1980's China and the Emperor has been dead for decades so this is now pointless. They both laugh and then smooch it up a bit. Ryo sets off for home and Shenhua comes with him because she wants to see Japan. There is a Marvel style post credit sequence where Ryo and Shenhua arrive back at Hazuki Dojo and a young Kazuma Kiryu delivers Ine-San a newspaper. The end.

Okay so it's rough but in my defence I haven't had 18 years to work it out. Having an engaging and well paced story while also keeping the exploration elements we love the Shenmue series for don't have to be mutually exclusive concepts. There are now a ton of open world games with compelling narratives. I don't even think this is an issue of budget as with my story tweaks not a lot of the actual content in the game is altered. There is still Bailu and Niaowu and the castle finale. No new characters or areas are needed, in fact some can be dropped altogether. A limited budget should instead ask you to think creatively but Shenmue 3 is a case of putting the cart before the horse.
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