PREVIEW: Sakura Wars

Friday, April 17th, 2020

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By


Sakura Wars Mugen

I knew a little bit about the Sakura Wars franchise before deciding to take a look at the upcoming soft reboot of the series. I watched most of the anime series, and dabbled with the Wii release of Sakura Wars: So Long my Love many years ago, and I enjoyed the mix of a very interactive Visual Novel with a robust Strategy RPG. This release keeps the wonderful storytelling of a Visual Novel but adds a more action based combat system. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to care for it as much as the old system, but I was very willing to give it a shot.

Sakura Wars | Combat

Before digging into the combat, let’s discuss the story a little. The once noble Imperial Combat Revue’s Flower Division has fallen on hard times. It’s up to the newly appointed captain Seijuro Kamiyama to help the team recover its former glory. This will not be an easy task however, since the team is in danger of being disbanded. The best way to gain some of their notoriety back is to win the upcoming World Games. This is a contest among all the Imperial Combat Revue divisions to see which is the best. Can Seijuro pull his team together and achieve this goal? Time will tell!

Sakura Wars | Sakura

While the story here is deep rooted in the lore of the Sakura Wars franchise, you can come into this completely blind and have no issues understanding everything the game has to offer. The game gives you a basic explanation of anything you would need to know that went down prior to these events. Series fans will notice plenty of throwback fan service here as well. There are tons of bromides to collect throughout the game that will fill you with nostalgia, and some other Easter Eggs you will notice along the way as well.

Sakura Wars | Iris

The gameplay here very much revolves around your relationship with the members of your crew. All of these gals are amazing in their own ways and I had a blast getting to know their backstories. Seeing them react to some of the more crazy dialogue choices you’re given in the game is very entertaining as well. The characters being fully modeled in 3D with their detailed facial expressions really helped this along. It’s just as adorable to see Sakura blush the tenth time as it was the first!

Sakura Wars | Sakura Blush

The amount of graphical detail found in Sakura Wars is very impressive. All of the environments found in the game are highly detailed, down to the mirrors actually casting reflections. The demonic combat areas look fantastic. Darkened skies will hellish scenery straight of your worst nightmares filled with evil mechs that want to tear you to shreds! The mechs and enemy models are nicely detailed as well. The mech designs in this series are some of my favorites of all time, and I was very happy to see them brought to life this way.

Sakura Wars | Flower Division

The combat has moved from the traditional SRPG style combat the series is known for to a new action based 3rd person combat system. At first glance players may think it looks like Dynasty Warriors, and while it may have similarities, it’s very different. If you think you’re going to run in there and press O to win, you are very wrong. Players will have to utilize the full range of combos given to each mech, and work together with their teammate in order to come out victorious. This is due to the morale system found here that gives attack and defense bonuses as the gauge fills. It will also enable some awesome anime style team-up moves as well.

Sakura Wars | Victory

Sakura Wars is shaping up to be one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. I’m loving the story and all the characters are great. The graphics are simply outstanding and the expressions the girls give off during interactive events really make this one shine. If you are a longtime series fan and haven’t pre-ordered this one, I think you would be very safe in doing so. If you are new to franchise and this looks interesting, this is a great entry point as well. Newcomers should also check out this wonderful video from the Chronicles YouTube channel. It’s packed with tons of great information about this wonderful franchise’s history. And please stay tuned for my upcoming full review of Sakura Wars!

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.