Sakura Wars 2020 - History, Details, Story, Gameplay, Media, FAQ, Reviews

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Sakura Wars is one of Sega's most popular IPs in Japan.
The gameplay is a hybrid of Visual Novel, dating sim and SRPG/Tactics elements merged together but always giving emphasis on the Visual Novel aspect first and foremost.
Some very talented artists were involved in the project like music composer Kouhei Tanaka(One Piece, Gravity Rush) and character designer Kousuke Fujishima (Oh my Goddess!)
The first two games released for the Sega Saturn back in 1996 and 1998 respectively and they were a huge success that resulted in creating a multimedia franchise with
anime films and series , manga and Kayou shows(musical/revue-like shows that the VA of the original characters themselves play their roles)
After the success of the first 2 games Sega capitalized on that and released Sakura Wars 3 for the Dreamcast in 2001 which was a monumental
upgrade compared to its predecessors in terms of graphics, sound quality and gameplay given the fact that now the game used the A.R.M.S. system for the SRPG battles
which many years later became the core gameplay mechanic of the Valkyria Chronicles franchise.
Needless to say that Sakura Wars 3 was a huge success and became one of the most popular Dreamcast games.
Unfortunately after that it was the start of Dreamcast's and Sega's downfall so development for Sakura Wars 4 has been greatly influenced by that factor.
Sakura Wars 4 released in 2002, was a rather small title (1/3 in size compared to previous games), which can be compared to today's DLC in terms of scope
and tried to give an epilogue to the whole saga.
In the coming years and now that Sega was a third party developer/publisher it announced the Sakura Wars World Project which included many different titles mainly for the PS2 console like Sakura Taisen: Atsuki Chishio Ni which was a remake of the first game and of course Sakura Taisen 5: Saraba Itoshiki Hito Yo.
Unfortunately both titles weren't as successful as Sega had hoped for, Sakura Wars 5 especially is to this day the worst selling Sakura Wars mainline title, resulting to the start of the series downfall as well.
Despite the franchise's success in Japan unfortunaly for multiple reasons the previous games never released in the west (except from Russia!!!), although the anime series and films were released in the US creating a strong fanbase that became interested in the franchise.
It was not until 2009 that the first Sakura Wars title was released in the West for the PS2 and Wii and it was non other than Sakura Wars 5: So long my love.
The catch though was that the publisher was not Sega but NISA which also handled the localization of the game.
Unfortunately the fact that NISA did a poor job at advertising the game and also that the title was a 2005 PS2 title releasing 4-5 years later, way into the PS3/X360 era resulted in the game flopping and putting the final nail in the coffin for the franchise's future.
The franchise was typically dead for the coming years and was only featured as cameos in games (Project X Zone) but fans never forgot about the series.
Kayou shows were still a thing and kept being successful despite the circumstances and fans kept supporting the series by any means possible.
In 2016 Sega was aware of the interest and already made plans for the resurrection of the franchise but in order to green lit the project they organized a poll asking fans what was the IP that wanted to be resurrected the most and Sakura Wars won with 2457 votes, ahead of Jet Set Radio which came second with 1485 votes.
After that it was just a matter of time for Sega to announce Shin Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars (2020) for the West) and here we are.





General Info

Platform(s): PS4
Release Date: April 28th, 2020
Genre: 3D Action Adventure/Visual Novel/Dating Sim
Player(s): 1
Format: Physical,Digital
Developer: Sega CS2
Publisher: Sega
Size: 48.16GB

Summary

Sakura Wars(2020) is a soft reboot, taking place 10 years after the events of the last game, changing the combat from SRPG to Hack&Slash Action
and making the Visual Novel part fully 3D.
Kouhei Tanaka returned as the music composer but now instead of Kousuke Fujishima,the character designer changed to famous mangaka Tite Kubo(Bleach).
Even though Kubo is responsible for the main character designs other famous artists are involved too for the support cast such as
  • Yukiko Horiguchi (Lucky Star, K-On! )
  • BUNBUN (Sword Art Online )
  • Fumikane Shimada (Girls und Panzer)
  • Noizi Ito (Haruhi Suzumiya, Shakugan no Shana)
  • Shigenori Soejima (Persona 3,4,5)

Also Jiro Iishi(428:Shibuya Scramble) is responsible for the story structure and Takaaki Suzuki for the script.








The stage is set in a steampunk version of 1940s Imperial Tokyo. Only a short while ago, a cataclysmic event destroyed the Imperial
Combat Revue of Tokyo, the capital's global defense force stationed at the Imperial Theater.
Now home to the Flower Division, an inept rookie squad who also strives to impart hope on the citizenry with their theatrical
talents, the theater has fallen on hard times and risks closure. It’s up to Seijuro Kamiyama as the captain of the new Tokyo revue to lead
his squad and restore the Imperial Combat Revue and the theater back to their former glory!
With the help of the revue's five colorful performers, he must rise to the challenge of competing in the
Combat Revue World Games, protecting the inhabitants of Tokyo and getting the theater back on track.


Main Characters

Amamiya Sakura





Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division.

Age: 17

A novice stage performer who joined the Flower Division to follow in the footsteps of her idol, onetime mega-star Sakura Shinguji.
She believes strongly in the importance of both sides of the organization: the combat unit that defends Tokyo and its dramatic counterpart,
the Imperial Revue, that lifts the spirits of the populace. Sakura fervently prays that both will eventually be restored to their former glory.

"I will protect the city and this combat revue with my life!"

Shinonome Hatsuho




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division.

Age: 17

A shrine maiden whose beauty draws visitors to her family's historic Shinonome Shrine. Born in the working-class neighborhoods of central Tokyo, she's a true child of the city who loves her people, her festivals, and everyone in the capital. Despite her brash exterior, she's a dependable comrade who serves as mediator for disputes within the Flower Division.

"Don't you give me that crap!"

Mochizuki Azami




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division.

Age: 13

A descendant of the Mochizuki clan of ninja, she displayed a tremendous aptitude for martial arts, battle tactics, and weapon-handling from a very early age. Thanks to the strict training she has undergone her entire life, she believes unquestioningly in the 108 Village Rules passed down by her clan, striving to obey them at all times.

"Village Rule #79: Don't take snacks as a bribe."

Anastasia Palma




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division.

Age: 19

A star of the European stage who hails from Greece. She was recently transferred to the Tokyo revue after spending time in various revues around the globe. A world-class singer and actor, she has the charisma and confidence to play everything from the male lead to the bewitching temptress.

"The fates of men are as delicate and fragile as starlight..."

Clarisa Snowflake




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division.

Age: 16

A sweet, intellectual girl from Luxembourg who always has her nose in a book. Her ferocious curiosity about the world drives her to read every day and learn about all kinds of topics. Her full name is "Clarissa Snowflake", and as a member of the noble Snowflake family of Luxembourg, she has inherited the magical book-based power of libromancy.

"I hope one day the story I write will be a happy one."

Kamiyama Seijuro




Protagonist of Sakura Wars.

Age: 20

Captain of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division. Formerly captain of an auxiliary ship in the navy, he was reassigned to the Imperial Combat Revue to oversee the reformation of the Flower Division.

"Seijuro Kamiyama, ready to engage!"

Kanzaki Sumire




Commander in-chief of the Imperial Combat Revue

Age: 33

The former top star of the Imperial Assault Squad and owner of the Kanzaki Industries that now is in charge of managing the new Imperial Combat Revue and the Imperial Theater.
Although she retired from the front stage and she isn't as forceful as before, the top star's aura has not been lost.
A lady recognized for overwhelming all those who confront her.
She's putting all of her efforts into rebulding the new Flower Division.
Rindo Kaoru




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Wind Division.

Age: 24

She's the secretary of The Imperial Combat Revue's commander in-chief, Kanzami Sumire, and a
member of the Wind Division.
She's a rapid thinker and extremely good with numbers.
Having this unusually long memory capacity she works in key positions by supporting the Kanzaki Industries in every direction.
She has obtained Sumire's full trust.

Komachi Ooba




Member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Wind Division.

Age: 23

A super merchant from Osaka.
Super bright but very noisy and talks a lot.
She usually manages the shop of the Great Imperial Theater,
from selling daily necessities such as newspapers to goods of the Imperial Theater Stars.
She's also in charge of suppying raw material to the Flower Division.

Shiba Reiji




Imperial Combat Revue's Chief Engineer

Age: 19

He's been closely associated with Kamiyama since they were in the militart school.
Kamiyama was in the naval academy and Shiba was in the engineering academy.
They're both rivals and friends at the same time and they get into a fight many times.
Now as a chief engineer of the Flower Division, he is in charge of the development and maintenance of various weapons
He's also responsible for the creation for the Imperial Theater's stage settings.

Villains

Yaksha





A mysterious high-class demon who suddenly appears in the Imperial City.
She's looking for a device called "Imperial Key".
She resembles the appearance of one of the most famous former Flower Division members.
What's her identity?!!

Oboro




A high-rank demon that suddenly appears in the Imperial City,along with Yasha.
Has an arrogant and high-handed personality which scares people
and finds pleasure in distorting people's hearts and dyeing them in despair.
He Specializes in "genjutsu" created from outstanding magical power,he causes people pain by creating various illusions
He must be stopped at all costs.

Support Cast

Shanghai Combat Revue





London Combat Revue




Berlin Combat Revue




The People of Tokyo




Sakura's Sword Teacher









The gameplay is divided into 2 parts the adventure part and the battle part

In the adventure part you roam inside the theater and different parts of Ginza talking and creating bonds with all the members of the cast.
For strengthening the bonds the game uses the so called LIPS system (Live Interaction Picture System) which most of the time lets you choose between 3 different options of dialogue within a time limit.
If the time limit expires then the protagonist remains silent, which is also a different and many times valid option to choose depending on the circumstances.
Also there are times where instead of different dialogue options there's a bar that represents the tone of you voice and you can choose how low or high you want
it to be, resulting in different reactions.
During this part you can also search for Bromides which are the game's collectibles and are scattered across all the different areas or you can play some minigames like
KoiKoi Wars or Battle Bot Simulator.

In the battle part you control up to 2-3 different characters depending on the stage and you kill demons.
It plays like an action/hack&slash game which takes elements from games like Bayonetta, Yakuza or the Warrior series.
You hit enemies with light and strong attacks and when you defeat them they drop some spirit orbs that fill your special attack gauge.
When that gauge is full you can use a special attack that does massive damage to your enemies.
There's also a special team attack with each member of the team that you can only use once per battle and unlocks after you've earned their trust.
Aside from that it also contains some basic platforming elements and a t the end of each stage you fight certain bosses.
During this part the game is still heavy in dialogue, LIPS events and cutscenes which trigger as you advance through the stage.















Q: Is there a spoiler policy for the OT?
A: Yes, just please be very careful of spoilers and don't forget to tag them.
Also if you've played any of the previous Sakura Wars games and want to mention spoilers
from those games please tag this too mentioning it in the description.
This game is very story and character focused so it would be awful to ruin anyone's experience.

Q: Do I need to play the previous Sakura Wars Games in order to understand the story and enjoy this one?
A: No, this is actually a pretty good starting point for a new fan to jump in because the game, albeit taking place 12 years after the events of the last one, it still is a soft reboot with only a few returning characters

Q: The game seems pretty good but is it on Switch/PC/Xbox One?
A: No, it's only on PS4 and at the moment of writing this OT Sega hasn't officially said anything about porting the game to other platforms.They might consider it
if the game sells well in the West.

Q: Is this game an RPG/Action RPG?
A: There are a lot of people who get confused by this but the game does not have any RPG elements.
There's no money, no leveling system, no skill tree, no additional weapons, nothing like that.

Q: I'm a huge fan of action games like DMC and Bayonetta, is this game for me?
A: Unfortunately I don't think so.The combat is really simplistic and not as deep as other action games, the difficulty is very easy and there is no option to
change it and on top of that if you do end up enjoying the Combat, all the action segments combined together don't last more than 2.5-3 hours.

Q: Can you romance male characters in the game?
A: No you can only romance the 5 main heroines and no other secondary character but there are some subtle hints of affection between male characters too.

Q: Why does the game have a 13 year old girl as a romance option?
A: This has been the case in every Sakura Wars game and I admit that it always was...awkward.
Fortunately in this game I think they handled the kid character really well and the relationship between them is not romantic
and there is almost no indication or hint in the game that something like that could happen.
I would even suggest to people who don't want to have a romantic relationship at the end of the game to just choose Azami(the kid character).
You'll have lots of fun with her!




 
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