Sunday, October 6, 2019

Shenmue 3 Trial First Impressions from Yuc02 [Part 2/2]

This is the second part of an article by Shenmue Dojo member and frequent guest poster yuc02 describing his experience and thoughts on the Shenmue 3 Trial.

Part One can be found here.

  • Aurally the demo was also excellent, with new BGM tracks introduced along with old/unreleased ones from Shenmue Online. 
  • Transitioning between areas causes different music tracks to fade in/out, giving the same impression as Shenmue I and II without the loading screens.  There were however some moments of silence if Ryo stops in the middle of the transition area.
  • Sound effects also help to accurately depict the rural environment, which varies depending on time of day (cicadas sounds at night for example) and greatly enhances the atmosphere.

  • For people who have played the second game, it should be immediately obvious that the team have created a similar user interface, including face buttons on the bottom right, clock on top right, and a mini map on the bottom left corner. 
  • The team has modernized the controls to take advantage of the current-gen controller’s extra analogue stick and shoulder buttons, as compared to the Dreamcast ones.  Right analogue stick now controls the camera, which actually makes moving Ryo a much more fluid experience. The “Y” button is now the help menu, showing useful tips at a given scenario. 
  • Items that Ryo can interact with are now highlighted by a red marker, such as pickable herbs, drawers (yay, drawer-opening action is back!) and others Ryo will simply comment on.  The marker slightly jars with the rest of the game’s aesthetic, perhaps just needs to be slightly less bright
  • Indoor first-person mode has returned, although the reticle and crosshair seems to be a slightly unnecessary addition (for this trial at least).  Photo mode perhaps?
  • There are more menus available, including information on combining herbs into medicine, changing outfits, and skill book editor.  This plethora of new options will I’m sure add a lot of depth to the finished game.

  • Several well-known mini games from the second game return.  Lucky hit is as fun/frustrating as ever, while Roll it on Top and Flower Bird Wind and Moon are there for those who want to get a quick buck. 
  • My favorite of the lot however is the new tortoise racing, where you rapidly tap the on-screen prompt to boost your chosen tortoise to win a race against 3 others.
  • Tantalizingly the fishing spot is revealed to be just outside the Joy Park arcade.  Can’t wait to try it out!

  • The training system seems to be deeper than before, with an RPG-like element to leveling up via sparring or training mini games, which probably will be needed for most to progress against tough opponents.  The amount of stats are slightly overwhelming to me, but it does add depth to the system.

  • The battle system has moved from a VF-style one to something more akin to Tekken, with two face buttons controlling hand moves, and 2 for leg moves. 
  • The lack of throws is a shame, but there seem to be more than enough variety of moves from various martial arts styles to make up for it.  南拳 (Nanquan) and 五路 (Five Paths Huaquan) seem to be 2 of those, according to move scrolls in the store.
  • Battle motions feel faster than Shenmue I, but slightly slower than Shenmue II.  So far it I found it slightly more challenging to adapt to, but given time I expect it will become more and more satisfying.

  • Sparring in the martial hall allows Ryo to increase his ranking among other monks, adding further replayability
  • Eating to replenish energy is new, and not as much of a chore as I thought it would be.  Again it’s an interesting element that could provide more depth and strategy to the gameplay.
All in all, the trial has far exceeded my expectations, and it seems like the sort of game where people should play slowly in order to savor every element.  It’s quite unbelievable how YS Net have managed to achieve so much detail and depth from nothing in 4 years, and I have no doubt that it’ll be a greatly received by the fans.

Can’t wait for November 19th!

Many thanks to yuc02 for sharing this detailed impressions write-up with everyone. It is incredible to think that the full experience will be upon us in just over a month!

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