Parents' Guide to

Shenmue III

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Decent installment to franchise held back by outdated play.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2019
Shenmue III Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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It's been a long time to wait, and is very similar to the first two games in the series. but this adventure is starting to show its age. One one hand, hardcore fans may not be disappointed with Shenmue III. The story, open world, mini-games, and melee combat will all be familiar to those who played its predecessors, though there have been improvements in executing combos and chained attacks. For instance, you now have the ability to map a learned move to a particular button. Even the look of the game is similar, even though modernized with HD graphics, and the QTEs are back, too. But the game series is showing it's age. The pacing is slow, choosing dialog options with many dozens of characters can be tedious, and the graphics look outdated -- including stiff animation and some inconsistencies in the character models (some look good, while others seem rushed and generic).

Fighting, though, is rewarding, if you give it some time and earn enough money to upgrade your moves and try them out on the next hoodlums you encounter. It's a long game at more than 40 hours of play, with a few different plot twists to keep you interested in where it's going. This is a good thing, since many of the dialog sequences can't be skipped -- so those who love a game's strong narrative should keep a close eye on the information given by various characters. But this slower pace isn't too popular today. Those with a sentimental leaning towards the original games will find value in this long-overdue sequel, which continues on its story directly from Shenmue II. But it's certainly not the best JRPG you can play today -- not by a long shot.

Game Details

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