If you’re familiar with the franchise of Shenmue there’s plenty of the stuff you know and love returning here. Your cheesy stitled dialogue and voice acting returns for not only the random extra characters you’ll meet on your journey, but Ryo himself. You could argue this is a fault for Shenmue but so much of the appeal for myself is this alone. I love cheese in my video game stories, what can I say? Meanwhile, the vast amount of minigames such as gatcha balls and lucky hit have also returned. Janky but fun QTEs and combat are present too in all their glory.
I really have to commend Shenmue III for its ability to immerse yourself in its world. As you’re wondering around Bailu village, the games’ first area, you’re enriched the more you explore. Water beautifully trickles downstream towards the village as you near it at the demo’s beginning. A gorgeous, ambient number also plays as you’re exploring this lush Chinese village. In these paths branching off and around Bailu there’s tufts of dandelions and other plant life bursting with colour. It’s a nice change to the suburban and street like setting from the installments prior. The character models of the more minor characters still are quite flawed but it’s still a relatively pretty game in its design.