The term "Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment" was coined by famed designer Yu Suzuki to describe the ambitious and unusual structure of Shenmue. Suzuki envisioned that FREE would become its own genre, and many games have indeed been influenced by Shenmue's approach to open-world gameplay, most notably the Yakuza series, also published by Sega. The goal was to create a living, breathing, open-world environment.
A FREE game can be defined as a type of open-world adventure game. In contrast to other adventure game subgenres (such as graphic adventures, text adventures, and visual novels), instead of using point-and-click or text-based interfaces, FREE games give the player direct control over the character in a third-person perspective, and are set in open-world urban sandbox 3D environments that have day-night cycles and non-player characters with their own daily routines. The environment is interactive, allowing the player to do many things, ranging from opening drawers and dialing a phone to driving a forklift and playing arcade games on arcade cabinets. These kinds of games also often feature the use of quick-time events, during cut-scenes or implemented into the actual gameplay, as well as minigames or RPG elements.
Due to Shenmue's influence, several of these features have been absorbed into other genres beyond adventure games, including action-adventures, RPGs, third-person shooters, survival horror games, and hack-and-slash games.