Shenmue III Review: 10 Ups & 6 Downs

A lucky hit or a forklift accident?

Shenmue III 2
Ys Net

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, with only the slightest inkling of precisely how it was going to play - if indeed, it really could be called a game at all - the latest masterwork from one of the games industry's most esteemed and influential figures finally released this month.

No, we're not talking about Death Stranding - though the plodding pace and dodgy dialogue might easily confuse it with Hideo Kojima's Jeff Bezos sim - but Shenmue III.

In 1999, the original Shenmue gave us a glimpse of the future of video games. Twenty years on, Yu Suzuki's most unlikely of sequels, crowdfunded by fans who simply refused to let the dream die, transports us firmly to the past.

Shenmue III doesn't pave the business' future path in the way the original, at massive expense, did, but nor does it try to. It is, contrarily, a time-capsule - albeit with some decorative bells and whistles.

But crucially, is it any good? Does a slightly modernised Shenmue still hold up, 18 years after Ryo got stuck down a cave? Or is it simply a sobering reminder that, just perhaps, the series was never much actual cop to begin with?

That really depends on who you ask...

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.