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Showing posts with label JRPG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JRPG. Show all posts

Sakura Wars Returns with Flying Colours (PS4 Review)

The Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) series is possibly Sega's worst-kept secret, at least for us in the West. Most Dreamcast fans have probably encountered it at some point, but without the ability to understand the Japanese language, most have not proceeded further. This Japanese steampunk-themed tactical RPG series was a massive hit in its country of origin, spawning sequels and spin-offs, as well as crossing into other forms of media. As I'm writing this, the Sakura Wars multi-media franchise has surpassed over 4 million units shipped in Japan.

Despite the series' massive success, Sakura Wars was probably deemed too culturally-different for Western gamers, probably due to its heavy use of unfamilar (at least, back in the late '90s and early 00's), visual novel/dating simulation-style gameplay. The only Sakura Wars game from the original batch to be localised into English was the fifth game in the franchise, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love (released on the Wii and PS2). Most would probably agree that it wasn't the best entry the series had to offer, but hey, at least it was something. The series would then remain untouched for many years.
This was no small franchise. A big thanks to our very own Mike for the pics.
But Sakura Wars has stepped back onto the stage and into the limelight once again. Sega have blessed us with a worldwide (albeit, staggered) release of a flashy modern-gen reboot of Sakura Wars, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Developed by Sega's CS2 R&D department, Sakura Wars saw involvement from new and returning staff; including veteran Sega producer Tetsu Katano, director Tetsuya Otsubo and music composer Kohei Tanaka. Tite Kubo, the creator of manga ultra-hit Bleach was responsible for the designs of the main cast of characters. There was also guest artists like BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Ken Sugimori (Pokémon) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona), who contributed their talents towards the designs of various supporting characters. It's clear from such star studded pedigree that Sega really pulled out all the stops for this one, and as an owner of a pre-order copy that turned up three days too early, I'm happy to confirm that it resulted in a big success. If you're a fan of Sakura Wars, you'll be happy to know Sega have done the franchise the justice it deserves. If you're new to Sakura Wars, this is the perfect entry point.

RPGs Across the Board; or, Grandia II - The Beginning

One of my favorite genres of video games is the RPG. I'm not overly attached to the turn-based combat (although I have come to like it over the years): I like the stories, and the bigger RPGs have great composers, like Final Fantasy, or the Mario RPGs. I had at least one RPG on most of my major systems, like the PlayStation, Gamecube, Gameboy etc...but something was amiss.

I had no RPGs for the Dreamcast! And because my current system had no affordable games available at the time, I made it a goal to get at least one good game. Fortunately, my brother had received a gift card to a local retrogaming shop. I had gotten Final Fantasy 7-9 there, so I hoped that they would have at least one good Dreamcast RPG. They had two.