by C. M0use (cool da na)
for exclusive display at Plato's Cavern (heeeeeeeh?)

This FAQ was started in the first week of Shenmue III being available to the public (in late November 2019) and is meant to be the "frequently asked questions" variety rather than the "full walkthrough with every secret" variety.

At this point, the game's secrets are far from fully divulged. So this will serve as a continually updated repository of verified information. Give it a bookmark and check back in the coming weeks and months for more updates!

We will try to avoid story spoilers as much as possible, unless it is necessary to explain how something works. That said, place and character names are revealed from this point forward.




Can you slow down / stop stamina depletion?

No - at least not without hacking or modding, anyway. Stamina will deplete at a rate of a couple of points per second of real-time, and will drop much faster when you run. It's fully replenished upon waking up in the morning, and the only other option is to eat food as you're out and about (commonly sold throughout the game world and also found in a number of places).

It will drop until the health bar goes into the yellow (below 400 points), at which point the constant depletion will stop but you will only be able to run in very short bursts. Keep in mind that you can still spar or train when your stamina is in the yellow without it depleting further - the only negative effect is that your levels go up more slowly in this state.

What's the best way to get money in Shenmue 3?

The same way as the previous two games - cheese the system.

Part-time jobs are available (beginning with wood-cutting, and more being added as the story progresses) but these usually pay little more than what you need to cover your food (and later rent) expenses. They are also mostly quite tedious.

As in previous Shenmue games, you can "save scum" any gambling game by manually saving prior to playing then loading if you take some losses. Some gambling games, at least in the early unpatched version of the game, are exploitable. Meaning that they have a statistically high win rate if you play them a certain way.

If you don't care for gambling, there are two other tasks that earn money that are less tedious than the employment mini-games. Fishing resembles Sega Bass Fishing and is fairly entertaining, and can net a few hundred yuan per session if you do well. This does have a small daily investment cost, though (you have to rent a pole each day and buy bait). Scouring for herbs is quite lucrative and can earn you several thousand yuan per area if you find nearly all of them, and sell them for the more expensive "sets" at the stores that buy them (if you do this, though, keep in mind that some sets can be exchanged for moves in Niaowu before you blow out your full inventory).

Also, once you get to Niaowu, you can street fight for money. You'll find a place called the Rose Garden not far from your hotel. There are a chain of 15 fights that progressively increase in difficulty, and after winning most of them you'll unlock an additional set of "handicap match" fights. All fights have an entry fee that is doubled if you win. You'll need to have nearly maxed-out stats to win the last couple of fights, but you're able to restart the tournament from the beginning at any time with no penalty.

As of the early versions of the game, there is an oversight in Niaowu that you can exploit for unlimited money. You can exchange a set of four history books at any pawn shop there for a certain move scroll. There is no limit on how many of these books you can buy or scrolls you can obtain. The total cost of the book set is about 15 yuan, but the extra scrolls can be sold for 120 each. Get the picture? You can exchange the books and sell the scrolls endlessly at the same pawn shop, but don't be surprised if this gets patched out of the game at some point as it totally breaks the economy.

How do I chop wood well in Shenmue 3?

Watch Ryo's face and try to line it up with the log (heh). Get that nose right down the middle. It'll be harder with the smaller logs placed off to the side, but you'll get a feel for it pretty quickly.

What's the best way to gamble in Shenmue 3?

In Bailu Village, in the very first bank of Lucky Hit games you encounter (Joy Park), there is a board with a white tiger on it that has a very frequent win rate when you drop the ball all the way to the left. Note that there is another white tiger board near the beginning of Niaowu, but it does not have the same pin configuration as the original one and cannot be exploited in the same way.

Also, if you pay a fortune teller 20 yuan to get a lucky color and number and then match those to a frog or turtle race, you'll get a massive boost to the animal that causes you to win most races for a short time.

What's the best way to exchange gambling tokens for cash in Shenmue 3?

Probably to allow the game to be sold in China, one cannot directly gamble for money anywhere in Shenmue 3. You have to purchase gambling tokens (at a rate of 10x what you pay for them, so 100 yuan for 1000 tokens for example), take the tokens to a Prize Exchange, then sell the prizes you get there to a pawn shop to get actual cash. The sale prices of prize items seem to fluctuate a little over time, but the various gemstones seem to be the best option. Once in Niaowu there is a diamond called cor-something that tends to usually have the best resale value.

What are the highest stakes for gambling in Shenmue 3?

The Golden Goose Casino in Niaowu, unlocked after a few story events there, offers some tables with 2000 yuan max bets and win multipliers ranging from 4x to 30x depending on the game.

Do herbs respawn?

Most of them don't seem to - even in New Game+! Some of the more inexpensive/common ones do appear to, however, or at least appear very close to where they previously were.

Update: They may reappear as they are sold, at least to some degree. When I started New Game+ in Bailu, almost nothing was around. After I offloaded a bunch of sets that were hoarded in the previous go-round, a whole lot of herbs re-appeared around the environment.

Is there any way to import a save file or items from the previous Shenmue games?

Unfortunately, no. There's no official support for this, modding is maybe a possibility but a lot of the capsule toys and items from previous games simply aren't in this game.

Do items and money transfer between chapters? Do you ever get all your funds jacked like you did in Shenmue 2?

Nope, no robberies here thankfully. All of your stuff from Bailu, including money and gambling tokens, goes with you to Niaowu.

What's the best way to win fights in Shenmue 3?

Combat in this game is much more statistics-based than it is in the previous games. You can raise attack power by training up new moves while sparring (just do them over and over), and raise your health and defense by raising Endurance doing the various non-combat training activities (Horse Stance, One-Inch Punch, and later Rooster Steps).

In general, fights go best if you try to bait the enemy into attacking while blocking and side-stepping (you can do both simultaneously and can block for longer as your Endurance goes up) then launch into a combo into their exposed side or back. The Tornado Kick you start out with remains quite powerful through the whole game and is a good candidate for the R-trigger automated move for most of it.

Is there an overall time limit in Shenmue 3?

Yes. You need to complete the game by the end of in-game September. It is mooooooore than enough time to do all the optional stuff. As with previous games, about a month out from the deadline you'll get a clear warning in the form of a dream that time is running out.

Update: You might have to be out of Bailu by the end of July and out of Niaowu by the end of September.

What are the "points of no return" in Shenmue 3?

As with the previous game, once you leave one "story chapter" area you can't return to it. For Bailu, this is when you climb the watch tower as prompted by the story (and you'll be warned before doing so). However, if you don't want Shenhua following you around watching you be a gambling and fishing degenerate as you finish up side stuff, the point is when you learn Body Check (third day of training) from the drunken master.

In Niaowu, you'll still be free to roam and do quests but lose access to a certain character after you learn Reverse Body Check (bringing the book you paid 5000 yuan for to the Grandmaster). You'll leave Niaowu for good after talking to everyone on the fishing pier while looking for a boat, being told to find Bei then running down the dock to him (you'll get a warning first).

Help! The QTEs are brutal! Can you slow the QTEs down?

Yeah, they're tougher than in any previous game. They do slow down with the difficulty level, but even on "Easy" they're pretty bad and the game sometimes rejects correct inputs for no apparent reason (at least on PC). The good news is, you can't perma-fail any of them. At worst you'll just go back three or four inputs in the sequence. They suck, but you can always muscle through them eventually.

A side quest on this list isn't popping up for me.

Yeah, some don't become available until after certain events and some eventually become unavailable. The timing of each is still in question.

Is there a "New Game+" when you beat the game?

Yep. You keep basically everything but the items that move the story forward, and you can choose to start in either Bailu or Niaowu.

Is Shenmue 3 selling well? Will a Shenmue 4 be made?

We probably won't have very good information about the game's total sales until the end of 2019, maybe a month or two into 2020.

Physical media sales are the only metric that's reported to the public in a relatively complete way, but it isn't done in real time and could take a couple months to get hard figures. Shenmue 3 didn't exactly come hot out of the gate in this category from what we know, with something like 15k to 30k copies sold in each of the big territories (US, UK, Japan). However, that's complicated by the fact that around 70k early adopters backed the game through Kickstarter.

Digital download sales are typically not reported to the public and very difficult to track, but publisher Deep Silver is a voluntary participant in the monthly NPD sales reporting program so we will likely start knowing something concrete about this after their December 2019 report.

There are also some wild card revenue possibilities here. For example, we don't know what Epic Games paid to get first-year exclusivity for the PC version. And there's always the possiblity of getting some "tie-ups" in place for product placement, which was done in the first two games but strangely didn't seem to be present in 3.

What will it take to get Shenmue 4 made? No one has set any terms or made any definitive statements. But just doing some basic math (knowing that the game cost about $10 million to develop but $6+ million of that was covered by Kickstarter backing), I would guess about 300k non-Kickstarter sales would be the magic number to make it so profitable that it's a no-brainer for a publisher to greenlight a sequel (at those numbers Sega might even be tempted to get back in the ring). Shenmue's revenue comes mostly from its devoted fanbase (rather than trying to attract new players), which can be counted on to do things like double-dip and buy DLC. Breaking triple digits (100k) in new sales is likely the lowest threshold to get publishers seriously considering it, which the game is very likely to top by the end of 2019.


Where are all the side quests in Bailu?

- Capsule toy kid: In central square. First available on the second game day, after you and Shenhua split up to find the bookie with the scar. Wants White Lure, then Diamond P (both rare toys). You get an item needed for a skill book exchange for completing it (given to you later when you walk by Joy Park).

- Heartbreak Kung Fu: After you meet Wei Zhen (Chun Li hair girl you can spar with), some loser will appear in Joy Park with this quest. Spar with her again and win, then return to the loser. Then return to Wei and apologize. She gives you an item needed for a skill book exchange.

- Return forklift: When searching the wrecked stonemason's cottage, you'll find a toy forklift. Give this back to the final kid you found in hide-n-seek for either a fishing spot or a skill exchange item.

- Old shop mama: Eventually asks you to retrieve a mushroom found by the fishing lake. Reward is a fishing spot location or a skill book exchange item.

- Mr. Su: Eventually his quest will appear when talking to him. Talk to him once per day from then. After three days, you get a Caterpillar Fungus from him.

- Soccer ball kid: Appears near Panda Market eventually. Wants a soccer ball, win one at Pail Toss. Reward is either a capsule toy (not a particularly rare one) or a fishing spot.

- Ghost kids: After you first visit the drunken master at the abandoned temple, walk around the kids who hang out by the sunflower grove and one will offer this quest.

- Pawn shop owner: Eventually offers a quest to get some fabric for him.

- Catfish Rally: Just talk to the fishing shop guy, he'll instruct you to catch a certain fish type at four different spots. Reward is a sweet jacket.

- Blind lady: Collect a set of herbs for her (triggers late in your Bailu stay)


Can you do anything with that guy walking on the poles?

If you can, no one knows about it yet. You see him later in Niaowu as part of an optional street fighting tournament.

Where are the hide-and-seek kids?

The game shows you where three of them go - look up for the one you see near the ladder. The last one is in an abandoned shack behind the houses across from the cow pen and sunflower grove.

Do I really have to pay 2000 yuan for this wine to move the story forward?

Yeah, it appears so. If you haven't already, lawnmowing all of Bailu for herbs should net a little over 3,000 in sales if you don't want to gamble. Check particularly right around Shenhua's house for the more valuable ones.

Do the choices in the nighttime chats with Shenhua have any effect on the game?

They don't appear to, it's just for color (and the rare opportunity to see Ryo emote). All they seem to do is make Shenhua more intimate when waking you up in the morning and seeing you off. Yu Suzuki floated this exact scenario in an interview years ago and suggested your responses would influence how other NPCs interact with you, but it looks like that was another grand idea that got cut in the budget crunch of this game.


Where are all the side quests in Niaowu?

- Available from the shrine maiden sometime after you meet her. She reports a scroll was stolen. Find the character Ryo mentions first (he's usually in the area of the Golden Goose somewhere or wandering down near the hotel) to get the fairly obvious advice to ask at pawn shops and antique stores. Then go to Cash First (the pawn shop near the sushi restaurant and clothing stall). Might have to complete this one the same day you get it, so don't initiate it late. Reward is a unique phone card that's part of a trade for one of the expensive jackets.

- Barbershop not far from the hotel. Start time is unclear, but you may need to see several scenes in the morning by going upstairs in the arcade next to the hotel and looking in the hotel backyard. Reward is a unique phone card that's part of a trade for one of the expensive jackets.

- Mask seller kid: wants a rare "wagon loader" capsule toy, fortunately it's from a 2 yuan machine near the hotel. Reveals a fishing spot as a reward.

- Dine and dash hotel guest: You'll get this from hotel mama at some point as you're walking by in the morning or at night. The guy she wants is almost directly across from the hotel having a smoke by the forklifts. Win an easy fight against him and the reward is a special t-shirt.

- Pharmacy: Possibly need to sell at least one set of herbs to the grim-looking guy in the first pharmacy you encounter. He then asks for some special herbs and gives you the general locations. Reward is a unique phone card that's part of a trade for one of the expensive jackets.

- Music store guy: Have to find out what the girl at the cafe next door likes ... haven't figured out how to do this one yet

- Shenmue 2 Character: The character from Shenmue 2 who wanders around the Golden Goose area and the initial pier area primarily will eventually have a quest for an "almond mushroom." Go to Tough Guy Herbs (just before you first get to the Save Shenmue building, its right across from a pharmacy in that area where you have to weave around a bunch of tables) to find it.

- Flag Trawl: Get this from the "tour guide" guy at the ferry building (right across from the hotel) eventually. You just need to find (walk up to) six flags that spawn around Niaowu after you accept this. 1: Down the pier where you first got off the boat 2. Near the entrance to Vendor Ave. 3: Between the Golden Goose and the nextdoor prize exchange 4: Near the steps leading up to Liu Jiao shrine (left from the Save Shenmue building) 5: Near the back of Liu Jiao shrine 6: Along the road to Hua Xiao Temple. This has to be completed within a time limit (still not sure how long) or it will end on you. The reward is a unique t-shirt.

What do you do when asked to describe the strange martial arts style to weapons shop owners? I have no idea what these poses are supposed to be.

Me neither, but the answers are Snake - Monkey - Dragon - Bear.

Do I really have to pay 5000 yuan for this rare book to move the story along?


The game says I need to find a boat. No one seems to have one. What do?

 For some reason, the game wants you to talk to literally everyone on the fishing wharf (where Grandmaster Bei was) and get rebuffed by all of them. Then you will get a scene telling you to go speak to Bei, who is now magically there.