Most helpful positive review
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I could stand more ports like this for my good ol' PS2...
on April 6, 2010
Sakura Wars is part of a long running series that, from what I have recently learned, was pretty prominent on the dreamcast and on into the PS2 era due to hybridizing dating sim elements (relationship building, player choosing responses to text prompts similar to KOTOR, and rewards/detriments for not building some kind of relationship with the other players) with solid srpg gameplay. That was a long sentence. Anyway, this is the latest installment of this game. I am not a fan of the series by any means-the previous games are all in Japanese, and I don't plan to learn that any time soon. So why did I pick this one up, and rate it so highly?
Two reasons-PS2 releases are getting more and more scarce monthly (and I love my black box), and the sheer novelty of the game. I have been at this game for a number of hours and so far, I don't regret the purchase in the slightest.
The graphics are solid (with still shots that change to reflect facial expressions and changes in situation), the voice acting is entertaining (and, if you get the premium pack, you get the full Japanese voice as well as the American on two separate game disks-that's right-YOU GET TWO COPIES OF THE GAME), the amount of engagement during conversations varies from button mashing, keeping meters up trying to be convincing, and other controller-based mini games (so you really can't get too bored with it), the transitions between fmv, conversation screens, and in game activity are really well handled, and the combat is awesome. The first fight took me nearly an hour, starting as a ground-based assault and moving to a space battle above the statue of liberty. This is where the relationship part of the game pays off, as my strong relationship with one of the other characters let us pull of a wicked group attack. Pretty ambitious stuff here.
One last note on the combat-I have to be honest here. One thing I hate about SRPGs in general is the grid-based movement and attack system. People don't move in plus signs. SW lets you move free-form, spending points for movement in any organic shape you want, in any direction you want. In the ground battle I was talking about, I had one of my party slip around the enemy up some stairs and attack from the side while the rest of the group used long range attacks. Very satisfying feature and added a lot to my sense of engagement with the game. Your space battles are done very similarly as well, though limited somewhat by dimensional space.
My only real gripe with the game is how long it takes at times to get to the action. But the setup work you are doing beforehand with party interaction makes sense, so this complaint is minimal at best.
Like I said earlier, the field is getting pretty empty in terms of PS2 games, with original releases being even more scarce. I figure if enough people buy this one Sony will get the idea of continuing this sort of thing for its loyal fan base. BUY IT-I am loving seeing this one at the top of so many best seller lists right now (even if I know the reason behind it).