@LurkerJ Do you think fans of the series were in tears at the E3 reveal because they thought they would be shown 'the future of gaming' again? Or was it because they would get to continue on a journey they though may never finish?
I don't think anyone expected this game to be revolutionary. Many of the ideas born from Shenmue have since been explored in other games like Yakuza and GTA. So I don't think it's fair to hold Shenmue 3 to that standard, even if it had been developed by a major publisher. And it wasn't.
I can't speak for the quality of Shenmu 3's individual components, but overall I think it looks like fans got what they expected.
And this game was primarily made for them.
I bought it for like $9 back in early 2001 and loved it but I recall it getting mixed reviews. Then GTA 3 came out later that year and (even though they aren't similar games at all) reviewers were calling it "Shenmue done right".
It really was a technical marvel, though. Even had internet features that I never got a chance to use because we didn't have internet access until like 2007 in my home.
I remember reading reviews of Shenmue back in the day about small things you could do. I don't recall if this was stated to be in the game, but based on what I read and saw, I remember imagining turning a faucet on and off, and a light switch. Details like that were a big deal back then.
But as time progresses more and more ideas are born from older ideas, which eventually leads developers to a point where a lot of the things they would have thought of, have been done in other games. Thee Yakuza series is an obvious example here. It's been ongoing for quite a while with many entries in its series.