Shenmue III is out now after 18 unbearable years, and it’s every inch the continuation of a cult classic franchise. This means, naturally, reviews are all over the place. We’re taking our time with the Yu Suzuki title – this is a release that demands to be savoured – but some verdicts are beginning to appear, so here’s a round-up for those of you still sitting on the Guilin fence.
Push Square - Hands On
The fact that such fanservice is surrounded by a game that’s not only serviceable but a direct continuation of the work that was started almost two decades ago is a testament to the unflinching ambition of Suzuki and the Ys Net team that he’s assembled. For this long-time fan, the mere existence of Shenmue III is a dream come true; that it’s actually a very playable, very enjoyable game is pure fantasy. Welcome to the Fantasy Zone, we guess.
Eurogamer.net - Recommended
And all these years later, it makes for an entry that, as unlikely as it is, is more finessed and fully-featured than the first two entries. A more astute critic might point out that the performances are uneven, the character models sometimes look wayward, you're kind of limited as to what you can do and nothing of note really happens. That's not me, I'm afraid. Yes, Shenmue 3 can look and play like a Dreamcast game. But it looks and plays like a Dreamcast game that's as off-kilter, maddening, magical and majestic as the original Shenmue games, both all-time classics. I think there's good reason to rejoice in that.
VG247 - 3/5
It doesn’t have the conclusion we’ve been waiting two decades for and it barely drives the story forward at all, but the climactic battle is as satisfying as that 70-man tussle in the first game’s harbour. When you finish, you’re given the option to start again and carry all your skills and money over to a new game, allowing Ryo to become even more proficient a fighter. He’s putting in the time and learning to check those legs yet again. The credits have rolled, but the story isn’t over. And neither is the grind.
What's your early verdict on Shenmue III, then? Are you satisfied with the sequel, or do you feel it's been a disappointment thus far? Change your mind in the comments section below.