Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gamersky Report on Shenmue III from E3 2019 | Guest Post Translation

Today's post is a translation of a report by Chinese gaming site Gamersky on their recent 15-minute demo play-through at E3 2019. The translation is by Shenmue Dojo member and frequent post contributor yuc02.

(Screenshots added from Shenmue III footage released at E3 by IGN Japan).

E3 2019: We played Shenmue 3, where we chopped some wood and picked up herbs in a Chinese village

In a very-low key manner, the much-anticipated and delayed Shenmue 3 appeared at E3. We had the honor to sample the game during the show.

The demo version contained a Chinese village (Bailu) that we were free to explore.  I was able to investigate details, have conversations, play mini games, or progress the main storyline.  Because the demo was only 15 minutes long, I asked the staff there for their suggestions, in order to see the best and most interesting parts of the game given the time available.
Under the advice of the staff, we first entered a shop.  Inside there we could chat with the owner or buy things, as well as work for money. After chatting with the owner for about a minute, I accidentally hit the chat button again, which restarted the same conversation.  I tried every button on the controller to skip the dialogue, but the staff shook his/her head, and explained that this game doesn’t have a dialogue skip feature.

After waiting for the conversation to finish, I decided to do some work for the owner, to experience the joys of earning money - the owner led me to the front yard, and asked me to split wood… This wood-splitting is actually a QTE mini-game - Ryo would raise the ax, and continuously swing his waist like some sort of radio exercise.  Your task is to time the correct moment to swing down the ax, such that it hits the center of the wood.  If you miss, Ryo will look disappointed; If you get it right, the game will display “太好了!“ and “Very Good” on the screen.

After playing for two minutes, I earned 3 yuan, and the staff then suggested we go to the gambling quarter to get more of an adrenaline rush.

The “gambling quarter” is actually an open area next to the river. There was a farmer lady feeding some chickens, and next to the chickens were some guys holding a wooden board with many nails embedded in it, asking you to drop a ball down from the top of the board, to see if you can get the ball to land in the middle box at the bottom.  In actual fact this game was present in Shenmue II in Hong Kong, but it was a surprise to see that this game was also played in a remote Chinese village.  After three consecutive losses, I lost the 3 yuan I had earned earlier, as well as the 100 yuan Ryo started off with…

Next up, the staff asked me to find and battle a man with a scar on his face.  After triggering the battle, I found that Shenmue 3’s battle system is very similar to the two previous games’ “Virtua Fighter” system. The whole system is very much like a fighting game, where importance is placed on timing and input button combinations.  As well as being difficult, the opponent’s stats were clearly at a level above Ryo’s.

I lost very swiftly - after seeing my dejected face, a staff member consoled me by saying that the fighting system is very hardcore, and I’ll be fine after some practice.*
*[Note from Switch] The battle with the "man with a scar on his face" has been deliberately engineered such that Ryo will be soundly beaten initially, unless he first increases his fighting stats sufficiently through training and sparring.
I immediately asked: “But many casual gamers these days would not be used to such old-style fighting system, did you not take them into consideration?” He looked at me with a hint of surprise, and said: “This game after all mainly caters for the hardcore Shenmue fans; perhaps the habits of the casual gamer were not considered by the developer…”*
*[Note from Switch] In fact, the combat system has been designed with Automatic and Manual modes to cater to various levels of expertise. As Yu Suzuki outlined at MAGIC 2019: "With the AT [Automatic] mode, beginners don't have to worry about what to press. In the game you can obtain various types of moves, and the system automatically registers the top 5 or so of your most effective ones which you can execute simply with a single click. For people who want to fight in the more usual technical way, there's 'MT' ... which is the manual mode."
Because I lost the fight, my health bar was pretty much empty, so the staff advised me to open the item menu and eat some food to replenish this.  I found 10 apples and 5 pears, and I had to eat almost all of them to return the health bar near to full.  I joked: “Next time I lose a fight, Ryo will probably die of hunger!”  To which the staff replied: “No problem, we can get food by other means!”

“Other means” was actually referring to herbs growing by the sides of paths in the village.  The action for picking up herbs was very… lifelike.  Firstly we have to align the camera to the patch where the herbs are, then inspect the area using the first-person view.  We have to move the camera so that the herbs are in the center, and then press the action key for Ryo to pick it up.

Finally, the staff suggested I walk to the other side of the village to advance the main story, but halfway through the 15 minutes was up, and the demo automatically returned to the main menu.

Shenmue 3 is currently scheduled to be released on PC and PS4 on 19th November.  Epic Store will have (timed) exclusivity for the PC platform.

--- End of translation. Many thanks to yuc02 for translating the report! ---

Source: Gamersky article (Chinese)
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