Here’s the email I wrote to Laura Dale in response to her review of Shenmue 3
I loved the promise of Shenmue, and was OBSESSED with it when it launched on the Dreamcast. I imported the Dreamcast version of Shenmue II, but never played it, and later bought Shenmue II’s Xbox port, too. I never finished that version, either.
You see, even then, at the start of Shenmue II, I only vaguely sensed what you’ve now clarified for me. My mom’s Japanese, and when I showed her Shenmue, she was fascinated, and would excitedly point out “The antique shop is that way!” Yu Suzuki’s slavish re-creation of the world hooked me, but the boring gameplay and lack of respect for my time became liabilities. Sharing a game with my mom was absolutely thrilling, so it overshadowed the game’s pedestrian gameplay and design.
Open world games still draw me in, perhaps because of what Shenmue showed me, but Shenmue III’s opening dialog, repetitive hand-holding, and high-school-level dialog is unacceptable to adult me.
I cancelled my Kickstarter order when the Epic publishing deal was announced, and have been toying with the idea of eventually buying a used PS4 copy, but your review has convinced me that I’d only be disappointed, and probably angry if I played it. I may yet get the copy to add to my shelf, but you’ve saved me from myself.