Sakura Wars Review – Great Concept, Disappointing Execution
Last updated there is April 27, 2020
On paper, Sakura Wars has the potential to be an exciting Soft JRPG restart for contemporary fans of the genre. However, this kind combining a game that offers action RPGs, meeting simulations and visual novel elements does not run as hopeful. While Sakura Wars is a franchise whose roots go back in the mid-1990s, Sakura Wars for PS4 is a smooth restart that does not require any prior knowledge of the franchise, although some aspects are appreciated by previous fans.
10 years before the start of the game, the Great Demon War makes massive victims and damage in the world. The game takes place in a restored Tokyo during a fictitious version of the Taisho period in 1940. Players play the role of the captain of Marine Seijuro Kamiyama who, during a transfer to Tokyo, should be the captain of the flower division From Imperial Combat review. In parallel with the tasks of the team to combat demons (in Mechs, nothing less), their day tasks at Imperial Theater take most of their time. Unfortunately, the times are hard for the team because it faces a dismantling. It is in Kamiyama to help restore the team and theater in their old glory. Although the configuration of the story is interesting to start, the trows and the predictable scenarios slightly break down the game to the level of narration of the “anime game”.
The gameplay is separated into two main loops: exploration and combat. The exploration part is heavy narrative, and focuses on both walking in the theater and the city, and on the conversation with the other main characters. This portion is definitely slower than I would have desired, and conversation options are relatively superficial. The interactions between the characters are quite predictable and many animated tricks can be seen throughout. Despite this, the game uses some interesting features for interactions to keep them cool rather than always have two or three options. A mini-game Hanafuda also exists, and even if it was definitely confusing at first, it seems that you acquire it as you earn in experience. Although the exploration / narrative part of the game works well, it slides the opening part of the game.
On the other hand, the fighting parts of the game were perhaps my most expected aspect, especially knowing that I would be dealing with Mechs! Unfortunately, the fight in Sakura Wars was simplistic to the point that it could be compared to a “dynasty warriors” style game, but even a little more simplified. There are only a few buttons to use, like the light attack, the strong attack, the jump, the dash / dodge and the special attacks. The combat portions were not particularly difficult and the movements between the areas were slow enough. You can also switch between the main character and a secondary character, but there is not much difference. Overall, the fight seemed to have left a lot of untapped potential on the table.
The characters of the game had the impression of being in most animals, the main design of the characters being carried out by the artist Bleach Tite Kubo. Although familiar, the characters were always well designed and very busy. The graphics of the game were artistically strong, but were not technically fluid. The game framework creates interesting concepts, especially with traditional Japanese elements and futuristic technology. Although the game may not have been so fluid that it could have been, the art behind the game is strong, although the combat designs could have used work.
While the main name behind the character’s design was Tite Kubo, Kohei Tanaka is the name behind the game’s music because he composed the opening theme. Tanaka has already worked on Dragon Ball, One Piece and other titles of Sakura Wars. The music of the game works as a whole, but its opening theme is what is the most out of it. The game also offers a good amount of Japanese voice, which is quite well d1. Although it is not exactly the audio, there were parts that seemed to have had to be played by the voice, and some who did not need it. Overall, the voice acting itself has improved the presentation and narration of the game.
The smooth restart of Sakura Wars leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s an adequate experience that accomplishes what he finally decided to do. It is a decent mix of several genres but does not exceed in any of them. The frame and the bottom frame are interesting, but unfortunately, Sakura Wars has not fully used them to their advantage. With Sega who recently did good things with his franchises, it would not surprise me to see them improve at a next iteration full of hope. For old fans or those who are interested in the overall combination of functionalities that Sakura Wars has to offer, the game can worth it. __