The return of a cult classic.
It’s been a long wait, but our patience is going to be rewarded soon. Nearly two decades after Shenmue 2’s release, and after multiple delays to Shenmue 3, the sequel is finally almost here, finally continuing the story of this cult classic franchise. As we gear up for Shenmue 3’s hugely anticipated launch, in this feature, we’ll be talking about 14 key talking points from the game that you should know about. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
The biggest draw of Shenmue is always the setting, given the series’ knack for bringing its environments and their inhabitants to life spectacularly, and making players live and breathe in that space. After Yokosuka in Japan in Shenmue and Wan Chai, Hong Kong in Shenmue 2, Shenmue 3 is going to be set in a decidedly less urban setting, as Ryo travels to the mountains of Guilin in China.
What exactly are the locations Ryo will be visiting in Shenmue 3 as he continues on his quest for revenge? The game begins in Bailu Village, a peaceful settlement in the mountains, before taking players to the second area in the game, Choubu, a riverside village full of shops, hotels, and temples. There’s also a third area in the game, called Baisha, which we don’t yet have too many details on.
Shenmue games have always been known for their slow, plodding pace, and though that’s exactly the reason so many people love the series, it’s also something that puts many players off. So how exactly is Shenmue 3 going to be paced? According to series creator and director Yu Suzuki, though Shenmue 3 will be faster-paced than older titles in the series, it’ll still be deliberately paced. Compared to modern titles, you should expect a pretty slow-paced game.
Shenmue games have ever been particularly short – not by a long shot – and you can expect Shenmue 3 to continue down that road. While the developers haven’t given for how long the game is going to be, they have said that it’s going to be twice as long as the first two games. Shenmue was roughly a 20 hour games, while Shenmue 2 could run for about 25-30 hours, so for Shenmue 3, we’re probably looking at a runtime of 40-50 hours.
Of course, a Shenmue game would be nothing without plenty of minigames to keep players busy in Ryo’s daily life. There will, of course, be arcades that you can go into the play a variety of minigames, while there’s also other activities that you can try out, like the first game’s Lucky Hit, or chopping wood, or racing remote controlled cars. And yes, you can also drive a forklift.
Back when Shenmue 1 and 2 first came out, players dove into its capsule toys minigame, obsessively attempting to collect them all, including the rarest of the rare. Fans of the first two titles will be happy to know that those capsule toys will be back in Shenmue 3. What toys we can expect to see or how many in total there will be isn’t something we know yet, but it’s at least good to know that they’re in there.
As we’ve mentioned, in Shenmue 3, Ryo will find himself in remote Chinese villages, where residents will be wary of him, seeing as he’s a stranger and looked at as a “city boy”. NPCs, as such, won’t be receptive (or even responsive) to Ryo in the beginning. Until Ryo gains their trust, he’ll have to rely on being accompanied by Shenhua, who is someone the villagers are more familiar with, and thus more willing to speak to. Each villager will also follow individual day and night cycles and schedules, similar to previous Shenmue games, while there’s also a dialogue system in place.
So how exactly will Ryo be able to converse with NPCs without always having to rely on other characters they’re more familiar with? Well, that’s where Shenmue 3’s affinity system comes into play, through which Ryo will build relationships with NPC. Players will have to build up relationships with them individually and over time to gain their trust, following which they’ll be more willing to speak with him and help with out in situations.
Shenmue games aren’t always the most combat-heavy, but that doesn’t mea combat isn’t an important part of the experience. And Shenmue 3 is going to have some improvements in this area, with their being less of a focus on learning and repeating skills, and more about managing attack power and stamina, as well as techniques- which brings us to our next point.
Techniques were, of course, were central to the combat mechanics in the first two Shenmue games as well, and they will be making a return in Shenmue 3 as well. Players will be unlocking and mastering new skills and techniques over the course of the game, with their being a total of over 100 techniques to master.
We mentioned stamina earlier, but how exactly does it factor into the gameplay? In Shenmue 3, stamina will be an important resource that you’ll have to keep an eye on. Stamina is something that will be required for everything from sprinting to fighting, and players will be required to keep it replenished by eating food. The game will require players to eat food before they do anything physically strenuous.
FIGHT CLUB AND TRAINING DOJO
As Shenmue fans would have guessed, combat in Shenmue 3 won’t just throw you into the deep end, with their being a few places where you can practice and hone your skills. There’s a fight club where players will be able to go up against several characters in combat, while there is, of course, a training dojo as well, where training will be done through mini-games.
Shenmue 3’s PC version has attracted its fair share of controversy in the last few months (more on this in a bit), but exactly what kind of a system will you need to run the game? On minimum requirements, you’ll need at least an Nvidia Geforce 650 Ti 2GB and an Intel Core i5-4460 (3.4GHz) Quad-core. Meanwhile, on recommended requirements, you’ll need at least an Nvidia Geforce 1070, along with an Intel Core i7-7700 (3.6GHz) Quad-core.
EPIC GAMES STORE
If you’ve been following Shenmue 3 news with even a passing interest, there’s no way you don’t already know this, but it bears mentioning either way- when Shenmue 3 launches on PC, it will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store. This was a decision that attracted plenty of criticism, owing to the fact that Kickstarter backers had been told that the game would launch on Steam. That said, if you’re adamant on getting the game through Steam, Shenmue 3 will be available on Valve’s storefront a year after its initial launch.