Sakura Wars Review – All The World’s A Stage

    Sakura Wars is maybe probably the most anime recreation that I’ve ever performed. There are loads of video games on the market primarily based on common anime, sure, however with regards to feeling such as you’re an lively a part of an ongoing, episodic journey stuffed with quirky characters, dramatic motion, and satisfying melodrama, Sakura Wars has all the pieces else beat. Its construction, charming forged, and whirlwind story assist set it aside from different colourful anime-inspired adventures, and, very similar to the characters whose tales it tells, it manages to beat lots of its flaws to develop into a satisfying expertise ultimately.For the uninitiated, the whole idea of Sakura Wars is fairly offbeat. This explicit recreation is a semi-reboot of a long-running Japanese recreation sequence of the identical title, set in an alternate 1940s Japan the place steam expertise rapidly surpassed electrical energy and historical past took a really completely different path. The world’s nations, fairly than combating one another in World Wars, took arms in opposition to demonic invaders with armies of steam-powered combating robots known as Spiricle Strikers. Oh sure, and these armies additionally function semi-covertly as theatre troupes whose members consisted largely of younger ladies.It’s lots to soak up, and it is compounded by the truth that just one different Sakura Wars recreation has made the voyage Westward, although some associated media (like anime and manga diversifications) have seen launch right here. Still, should you’re coming in completely blind to the Sakura Wars idea and mythos, you would possibly end up fairly confused, notably when references to earlier titles crop up.Sakura Wars does discover a method to attempt to ease you into issues, nonetheless. You take the position of Seijuro, a disgraced navy veteran who has been shuffled off to handle the Combat Revue of the Tokyo Imperial Theatre… a crew consisting of largely inexperienced greenhorns who cannot act or struggle their means out of a moist paper bag. They’re so dangerous that they cannot even correctly defend Tokyo from the demonic forces which have begun to ramp up assaults as soon as once more. On prime of that, there is a huge worldwide event among the many fight revues of different main cities occurring, and all the shedding groups will probably be compelled to disband. And so it’s essential to flip issues round for the Imperial Combat Revue–and destroy the demons and perhaps discover romance within the course of.Sakura Wars presents its story in an episodic format, full with handy “intermissions” at key factors in every episode and “coming-up-next” model previews as soon as one of many mini-sagas wraps up. Each of the sport’s 9 episodes include sequences that blend story and character interplay to associate with motion portions–though, in a lot of the episodes, the previous takes appreciable priority over the latter, as you spend time connecting with the ragtag crew of the Imperial Theatre and the Combat Revue.It’s in these story-heavy parts that the wonder and creativeness of each the sport’s distinctive setting–an anachronistic, steampunk early-20th-century Tokyo–and its inventive imaginative and prescient handle to actually shine. While there aren’t many areas in Sakura Wars, all of them really feel distinct and vigorous, giving the impression of a well-known but unusual place faraway from time. The character designs add to the sport’s distinct temper, too; moreover the younger ladies of the Imperial Combat Revue, you additionally encounter fighters from London, Shanghai, and Germany, every with their very own persona quirks and an interesting visible model that evokes the imagery of their respective nations.You spend most of your time with the ladies of the Imperial Theatre, although, guiding them via the varied challenges and conditions all through the story. The 5 principal Combat Revue fighters are Amamiya Sakura, an optimistic girl-next-door sort and Seijuro’s childhood good friend; Shinonome Hatsuho, a tomboyish shrine maiden with a violent aspect; Clarissa Snowflake, a shy bookworm with loads of secrets and techniques; Mochizuki Azami, a bizarre woman with ninja coaching and a candy tooth; and Anastasia Palma, a chilly, sultry lady whose appearing expertise are identified worldwide. Other theatre crewmembers, like director Sumire, theatre retailer operator Komachi, and obnoxious mechanic Reiji additionally help your crew from behind the scenes, however these core 5 are the place a lot of the focus of the story and your interactions lie.Each of those 5 ladies are distinct in each seems and persona, and their visible designs (offered by Bleach manga creator Tite Kubo) are fantastically rendered and well-animated all through, although typically the movement seize can really feel a little bit overdone. The Japanese voice appearing (there’s, sadly, no English dub) additionally brings out the expressiveness of Sakura Wars’ character dialogue. Seeing and listening to Clarissa getting flustered since you discovered her embarrassing story drafts or Sakura lastly opening up about a few of her painful previous experiences makes for some nice, memorable moments.It’s in these story-heavy parts that the wonder and creativeness of each the sport’s distinctive setting–an anachronistic, steampunk early-20th-century Tokyo–and its inventive imaginative and prescient handle to actually shine. Character-to-character interplay is the meat of most of Sakura Wars’ gameplay. During conversations, you may typically be introduced with a alternative of dialogue choices, however there is a twist–these interactions are timed, and taking too lengthy to search out the correct phrases (or saying one thing dumb with out considering) can have an effect on the belief different characters have in you. Has Seijuro discovered himself in a clumsy state of affairs by stumbling into the dressing room at a nasty time? You’d higher give you clarification, stat! And should you attempt to be a creepy weirdo, you are going to flip off the ladies you struggle beside actually quick, so it’s essential to learn to deal with every particular person character effectively.Once you attain a sure level of belief with the primary 5 ladies fighters, you can begin to pursue a extra intimate relationship. You could also be provided an opportunity to speak and work together one-on-one in a first-person, non-public setting the place she’ll begin to expose extra private emotions and worries, full with sparkly auras, blushing cheeks, and faces typically coming very, very shut collectively. It’s over-the-top in one of the best sort of means.Eventually, nonetheless, you’ll attain factors in every chapter the place fight must happen–either via a portal opening to the demon realm, a random small-scale demonic invasion, or a showcase duel in opposition to one of many different international Combat Revues. The bonds you will have constructed via the story come into play right here, because the morale of the crew straight impacts the combating prowess of all the person members when it comes to harm dealt and acquired.That needs to be a cool little bonus, however sadly, Sakura Wars’ motion fight is not something to put in writing dwelling about. It’s not a depressing expertise, but it surely’s not a very thrilling one, both. Taking management of one of many Spiricle Strikers (often with a CPU-controlled companion at your aspect), you blow via waves of enemies with preset assault combo variations, often dodging with exact timing to enter a slow-motion counterattack mode or initiating a superpowered talent when a particular gauge is full. It’s commonplace stuff should you’ve performed 3D motion video games, and it controls and flows effectively sufficient, however there’s additionally nothing noteworthy about it. It’s additionally very simple should you’re skilled with motion video games; few of the encounters put up an actual risk apart from battles the place you are compelled to struggle solo, and even these aren’t that difficult. The greatest annoyance in fight sequences typically entails random platforming sequences, which might drag the sport down much more in the event that they weren’t pretty uncommon.Ultimately, fight seems like one thing of an afterthought–less of an important recreation element and extra of a means for the characters to get into conditions the place they’ll ship riveting speeches concerning the energy of friendship and believing in your self to beat enemies. Combat (and the story beats it delivers) works effectively as a part of the general over-the-top melodrama the sport’s going for, but it surely’s not notably enjoyable to truly play these parts of the sport.Ultimately, fight seems like one thing of an afterthought–less of an important recreation element and extra of a means for the characters to get into conditions the place they’ll ship riveting speeches concerning the energy of friendship and believing in your self to beat enemies.The story’s twists and turns culminate in a giant climax, and whereas there are plot holes and “surprises” seen coming from a mile away, it would not matter as a result of it is simply so darn entertaining to see this loopy factor unfurl. At about 15 to 20 hours for a primary playthrough, Sakura Wars is temporary, however there is a truthful quantity of replayability available in redoing sure scenes with completely different outcomes, discovering alternatives for interactions you’ll have initially missed, or attempting to bond with completely different characters. I loved replaying the sport to woo a brand new paramour, although there aren’t extra substantial New Game+ choices like superior problem ranges for fight sequences.My time taking part in Sakura Wars mirrored the best way the Combat Revue grew and altered via the sport. Much like Seijuro seeing his crew for the primary time, I used to be skeptical that Sakura Wars might adequately pull off what it got down to do. But as I saved taking part in and the ladies grew into their roles, I started to heat to it. By the time the curtain fell, I used to be cheering for the crew simply as exhausting as everybody in-game was. The flaws of Sakura Wars are apparent, although a robust deal with melodrama and spectacle makes it lots simpler to gloss over the sport’s weak factors. There’s nothing on the market fairly like Sakura Wars, and should you persist with them, there is a good probability this forged of oddballs will worm their means into your coronary heart too.

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