Shenmue 3 Getting Started Guide
Following the introduction cinematics, you’ll be walking with Shenhua down from the quarry to the village of Bailu. You might want to stop and take in the view or smell the flowers (virtually speaking); the game won’t let you. Get too far behind Shenhua and Ryo will autorun to catch up with her at the Verdant Bridge, which is the gateway into Bailu itself.
Things I Wish I Knew Starting Shenmue 3
Here’s a few things the game won’t tell you: there is an options menu on R1, which will also pause the game (other menus will not, and also hitting the PS button and going back to the PS4 system menus will not either!). There is a map in your notebook; hit Square and push down on the D-Pad to maps. You can also get into the settings menu from R1 and change the voice audio back to Japanese, which was a considerable relief for me.
Once it hits evening, Ryo will indicate he should return to Shenhua’s house. The game does not tell you where this is. You can look on the map in your notebook, or just head out of the village, over Verdant Bridge, and keep walking straight without taking any of the turnings. Shenhua’s house is, naturally, the furthest distance possible from Bailu. Also incredibly important: you can RUN using R2, and this will save you lots of time. Check out the Controls early on as they are rather unorthodox.
Your First Day As Ryo
Back to your first day in-game: once you get to the Village Square, you will be left on your own for a while to ask questions. Nothing really matters till the little girl comes out of the house to the right of the Village Square as you come over from Verdant Bridge. She will tell you to come back at 7pm when her father gets home.
The game will at this point introduce its “Jump” mechanic, which will let you skip ahead to a key event location and time. If you’re like me, you’d probably not want to jump, and instead use the time to explore Bailu and get used to the game. If you do this, it will be very confusing. Instead, take the option to jump ahead to the event, then go back to Shenhua’s house, save and sleep. Why? Because the next day Shenhua will take you on a tour and properly explain things (to the extent the game ever explains anything properly…). If you’d spent the day trying to figure this out yourself you’d have been wasting time.
The Best Routine
From here, the best routine for your days in the early game is to get up, head straight to the Dojo and train, then go to the Tao-Get shop and chop wood to earn money. Do any quest related tasks in the afternoon. It will get dark at 7pm, and you have till 9pm before the game forces you back to Shenhua’s house. This is the best time to go herb hunting, as the red ring icon which denotes you can pick a herb is considerably more visible in the pitch black of a Guilin night. There are 4 herb maps; you can get the first two right away from outside Tao-Get store. Pull the L2 trigger to zoom in, and you will have the option to pick them up. The last two are outside one of the stores in Panda market, which is not an area open to the player at the start of the game, so don’t worry about them for now.
You can go to the gambling area in between Tao-Get store and the river, but this is not a good way to make money at the start. First, and probably most salient, is that the gambling system resembles the way Japan gets round gambling in the real world: you exchange money for tokens, tokens to play games, at which you win more tokens, which you exchange for prizes, and, coincidentally (ahem) there’s a pawn shop next door which just happens to want to buy those prizes off you for real money. The reason this isn’t good at the start is that the shops to get prizes and the pawn shop are also in Panda market, which is not yet open.
It’s also better to wait until the latter stages of Bailu to start gambling because in these games, it’s pure luck (and I’m not convinced the game isn’t rigged!) and no skill on your part can help you. However, later in Bailu, an area called Sunset Hill will open up, where resides a fortune teller who will tell you a “lucky colour” or “lucky number,” which will correspond to the winning turtle (colour in turtle racing) or the winning frog (number in frog racing). It’s best to spend 10 yuan on the fortune teller, get the number or colour, and bet the heck out of those two games.
Chop Wood Like a Pro
But in the early game, to make money, chop wood. Chopping wood is easy. Ryo will pick up a log (there are two sizes), place it on the chopping block, and then (for reasons known purely to Ryo), he will start swaying back and forth. You have to hit Circle and he will chop.
While it looks like there should be 5 different positions he can place the log, there are only four. If we call these P1, P2, P3 and P4, then P2 is in the middle of the screen as you look back at Ryo. P1 and P4 are easy to time; just wait till his swaying hits the maximum, he will “bump” the side and head back. As he bumps, wait a beat then hit Circle. P2 is also fine as you can easily eyeball when he’s in the middle of the screen. It’s only P3 you will need to get a sense for through practice.
Master Your Kung-Fu
At the Dojo, you can train with the Horse Stance or the One Inch Punch dummies outside, which will improve endurance, one of two factors which improve your Kung Fu level.
You start the game with a range of skill books (corresponding to moves you can use in a fight) which the game is assuming you got through the course of the first two games. There’s a number of different icon types, but really, there’s only two types of moves: those which level and those which don’t. You can level those improvable skills through sparring.
At the start, you can spar at the Dojo, or with Su XIziong in the Village Square. Three further sparring partners will open up in Bailu as you progress, but really they all serve the same function. Sparring is to level up improvable skills. You start with three, which are on your “Automatic” skills settings to start. When you start sparring, you can use R1 to move between these three skills. The button prompt required will be listed under the skill name when you change to it.
Do not waste your time with other skills during sparring. Just keep hitting the buttons for the three improvable skills to increase their level. Periodically, a button prompt will appear in the middle of the screen during sparring. While this looks like a QTE, it is not. All you need to do is press the buttons for the skill you’re currently training, same as normal. Doing this promptly will cause that skill to improve faster, and that is all.
Optimize Your Skill Books
As you get new skill books, they will initially add to the “Automatic” settings. Pressing R1 will get you to the options, and you can select the Skill Book Editor. There are three further “Manual” skill settings, each of which will take up to 5 skills. Just add them here, and you can then improve them in sparring same as before.
Walking around, fighting, and just the passage of time through the day will reduce your endurance meter, represented by green circles on the bottom left of the screen. You can replenish these by eating. There is a vegetable stand in the Village Square. The best HP recovery for yuan spent is black garlic, followed by cabbage.
It’s mostly up to you if you want to waste time and money on capsule machines. There is one sub-quest, “Capsule of Love,” which requires a White Lure from the machine in the Village Square and a Diamond-P from the machine in Panda Market. Other than that, if you find the capsule machines infuriating, you can safely ignore them provided you’re not trying for the Platinum, which requires you get all capsule series.
The above should ensure your first few days are an efficient use of your time and money.
If you’re up for some more indie and action titles, keep an eye on upcoming titles.