Shenmue III doesn’t really have much of a battle tutorial system. Or a system at all, to be honest.
To be fair to Shenmue III, the game is about 20 years late to the party and has a lot of catching up to do. Battle systems have evolved to a razor’s edge. Just take something like God Of War or Horizon Zero Dawn. Heck, you can even take the latest Yakuza game to see what a modern combat system should look like in a third-person action game.
But Shenmue III is not a regular third-person action game. It’s Shenmue III. You really can’t categorize this game in with the rest because it’s so appallingly unique.
Which becomes readily apparent just as soon as you get to the first combat tutorial, which you can see in its totality thanks to a Twitter post from Giant Bomb’s Daniel Ryckert.
Shenmue III's fighting tutorial is "just hit the face buttons" and "you can hit R2 if you want, I guess?" pic.twitter.com/S1IGmWt6Jp— Dan Ryckert (@DanRyckert) November 19, 2019
Yup. That's it. Just mash the face buttons and throw in the occasional R2. You'll do just fine.
To be fair to Shenmue III again, mashing the face buttons is a pretty common tactic in fighting games. However, Shenmue III is not a common fighting game. Ryu's movements are clunky and stilted, making combat a cumbersome affair. This becomes more of a problem later on as Ryu eventually fights off multiple opponents at once. At that point, mashing the face buttons just won't cut it.
To survive, a little nuance is in order. First is to remember to use your special move liberally. It's your Swiss army knife: your special move should fit whatever situation you find yourself in. Tornado Kick, for example, is a good early move to beat back multiple opponents. However, proper timing should be exercised to ensure Ryu isn't open to counterattacks.
You’ll also want to unlock additional special moves as the game progresses and never forget to train regularly to keep enhancing Ryu’s stats.
But then again, as the top reply to the Tweet makes a point of, if you’re playing Shenmue III, you’ve likely played Shenmue I and II. You probably still remember the moves from 20 years ago.