View Full Version : Sakura Wars: So Long My Love

June 7th, 2010, 12:11 PM
Well, it's about that time of the year again, when I start getting a bunch of new games all at once. Just recently, I picked up four games. Three of them are games that were already out for awhile, such as Wind Waker, Robotrek and a Capcom Classics game. But I also decided to pick up Sakura Wars: So Long My Love, and since I just finished the first Episode (Chapter) of the game, I figured I'd tell you what I think of it so far.

Being a big fan of the Persona series and JRPGs in general, I was actually afraid that I might give a biased review of this one. Fortunately, it's different enough from most JRPGs that biased reviews would be hard to write for this one. But that's also a double edged sword, because games that are different can also generate alot of negative reaction to them, as opposed to games that use tried and true mechanics that everyone likes. Now, I do like this game. But I wanted you to at least know that this is one of those games that's not going to be easy for me to review, and I'll explain why in the review.

Now before I start on the specifics, I will say this. If you don't like games like Persona and Thousand Arms, where you have dating mechanics and relationship mechanics that determine a majority of factors, all done on an in-game timer, then you will probably hate this game. Because your characters in this game rely entirely on their trust in one another, and if you don't consistently interact with them and give them responses that they like, you won't get anywhere when it comes to the actual battles.

So, what do I mean by that? Well, you'll have conversations and outings with the characters where you'll have to respond a certain way. If you respond the right way, their trust goes up. The wrong response brings it down, and there's usually one response that doesn't do anything. Sounds simple, right? Well it is... at first. But you also have a timer for each response, so you have to be really good at reading fast, and you have to be able to read the characters, and you have to be quick to respond. Otherwise, you'll just screw up the trust and suffer for it in the long term, or you'll run out of time to answer the person and they'll think you're blowing them off, which reduces their trust. It's almost better to know ahead of time what the right answer is. And if you save hounds think you can simply reset the game and try again... well, you can... kind of. See, Save Points show up five times in each Episode. So roughly once per half hour or so of the LIPS sequences (that's what they call the parts where you're building trust). And then once before battle and once after battle. So if you reset the game, you'll have to redo up to a half hour of gameplay, more if it's one that happens mid-battle (yes, they can happen in battle too). So trial and error takes a long time without a guide that tells you what to say and when to say it.

There are also parts of the game where you have to do QTEs in order to build trust. For instance, one of the most basic ones that you do early on is run from one room to another, so you have to move the analog sticks up and down really fast to simulate the running. Or there might be ones where you have to rotate them really fast. How fast you finish determins whether you gain trust or not.

And it gets even more complex. Because there's times where you might actually be forced to lose trust in order to end up with a higher amount of trust in the long run. The scenes and responses change depending on your answers, so you could give the wrong answer one time and end up with two opportunities to gain trust right after that.

So what does this all do? Well, it directly (and I mean DIRECTLY) influences all of your combat abilities. Since you don't gain experience or levels, maintaining a high trust between your characters is the only way to power up your STARs (the mechs of the game). If you don't do this, you're gonna get killed over and over again.

Battles are kind of like Xenosaga meets Final Fantasy Tactics. Each mech has a certain amount of points per turn. Attacking takes a point, moving takes points, defending takes two points, etc. There are team attacks, where two of your people can join up and expend SP to attack an enemy, dealing more damage. In addition, each mech has a Healing ability and a Super Move (which uses the lion's share of your SP).

Shinjiro also comes with a Help and Guard option, which will either ask someone to back him up, or guard someone against an incoming attack. Guarding someone will increase that person's trust whenever they're attacked during the guard phase. Shinjiro can also switch between three different Strategems, which all have their own abilities and weaknesses. So in a nutshell, there's quite alot to the battle system, but the instructions do make it sound more complex than it actually is. Battles usually involve killing a few mobs of enemies and end with a boss fight against a big mech, either on land or in the air. Basic stuff.

Overall, I haven't seen anything I don't like about the game yet. It's a bit complex for newcomers to RPGs of this genre, especially in the trust system, but I still liked it.

So I guess I'll leave this open for discussion now.

June 7th, 2010, 2:58 PM
I was actually gonna start playing this game on Saturday, but I couldn't decide whether I wanted to play with the English dub or with the Japanese voices. It's nice to see that you like the game. It took this long for a Sakura Wars game to released outside of Japan, and I hope this means they'll continue bringing them over here.

June 10th, 2010, 10:48 AM
I was actually gonna start playing this game on Saturday, but I couldn't decide whether I wanted to play with the English dub or with the Japanese voices. It's nice to see that you like the game. It took this long for a Sakura Wars game to released outside of Japan, and I hope this means they'll continue bringing them over here.

Oh yeah. That's what I forgot to mention. This game was localized by NIS America (Nippon Ichi Software of America). You might remember Nippon Ichi as the company that developed the Disgaea series.

Now, here's the thing about them. The US branch isn't a big company. So if you want to see more games from the series in US stores, then you've got to go out and buy this game. Because they base their localizations on how well currently released games sell. If it sells well enough, then I can guarantee you that they'll keep localizing the series. It's the same way we started getting all of the Atelier games in the US.

But if it doesn't sell well enough, then we probably won't get any more games from this series localized by them. And they love to do big special editions with lots of extra stuff (such as the Japanese voice over disc for the PS2 version). So if you like Sakura Wars and want to see any other games from the series on our shores, go out and buy this game immediately.

Shanghai Alice
June 11th, 2010, 5:29 PM
Ahh, Sakura Taisen

I actually really enjoyed the game. The rapid-fire cliches, the shamelessly cheesy characters, and the outlandish idea (A group of demon-fighting loli mech pilots that go undercover as actors in the 1920s... WHAT?) was just... perfect.

Sakura Taisen is by no means a groundbreaking game. Not by a long shot. However, Americans have gotten little to no games like this for this demographic, so I hope Sakura Taisen will be a sign of things to come.

Also, I have the anime. Sakura is awesome.