Summary: For better and worse, Shenmue III feels just like the Shenmue games that launched nearly 20 years ago.
Fans of Shenmue won't be disappointed.
Many of its systems feel like they were taken out of the early 2000s.
Poor voice acting and a roundabout plot make it feel somewhat irrelevant to the broader storyline.
Top Critic Average
Shenmue 3's real strength is in the way that it suggests a different way of looking at the very storytelling of videogames.
Will you like Shenmue III? I can't say. This is likely the last new game I'll play before the year ends, and it's a sure win for my Game of the Year. Shenmue III spoke to me on a level few games have. I thought about giving it a 10/10, even began gearing myself up to argue that with my editor. But Shenmue isn't perfect. It defies real perfection, because life is imperfect. Shenmue III is knobby and requires tremendous, repetitive effort before it gives up the special, unique warmth.
With this new entry, only 40 percent of the entire Shenmue story has been told according to the game’s creator. While Shenmue III doesn’t move the plot as far as I’d like, I’m hungry for more.
The game fulfills a vision of steadfast humanity within the framework of a martial arts revenge tale.
Shenmue III isn’t for everyone, but anyone who was waiting for it will be amazed at how perfectly it captures the gameplay, atmosphere, and world of Shenmue so many years later.
Shenmue III feels like a remake of the Dreamcast game that never existed, for better and worse. It's got everything fans loved about the Sega classics, along with some of their baggage. Still, the best of the series is the greatest it's ever been. It can feel as bloated as the originals, and some mechanics feel unnecessary or are poorly explained. If you're curious about that fabled Shenmue charm, though? This is the best entry to date.
A throwback to be appreciated.
A seamless continuation of the series that makes up for its limitations with pure heart. It's like Ryo never left us.
A magnificent, authentic, totally uncompromised sequel that crucially ignores virtually every gaming trend of the past 18 years.
Picking up exactly where the Shenmue franchise left off in 2001, Shenmue 3 is a marvel of persistence and vision.