Over on ihobo today, my reflections on the narrative design of Shenmue III. Here's an extract:
Gladly will I concede that, as a commercial proposition, Shenmue III has serious problems... but those problems are the ones it inherits from Shenmue itself, and as a game that was funded by a Kickstarter pledging to provide a true sequel to 2001's Shenmue II, objecting that it is too much like the games that preceded it might rather miss the point. Frankly, if the flaws in an artwork are that some people do not like it, this really isn't as knock-down an argument as it may seem. Rather, to appreciate Shenmue III we have to understand why it is the way it is, how it fulfils the promises made by its creators, and why its beautiful closed world has more to teach about game narrative than most of its critics are prepared to allow.
I don't write as many games pieces these days (I work all day making games... it's hard to want to blog about it as well), so it always feels like something of a special event when a game moves me to write. Check out the entirety of The Beautiful Closed World of Shenmue III over at ihobo.com.