Sakura Wars review: A flashy, but subpar performance

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After a seemingly triumphant return from dormancy, Sakura Wars falls short in crucial areas.

Title: Sakura Wars
Developer: Sega CS2 R&D
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Release date: April 28, 2020

I’m excited that Sega is starting to revive old IP’s in the form of HD and definitive editions of games or reboots. After the game’s series had no new developments in over a decade, Sakura Wars comes back as a soft reboot. It is technically a continuation of the previous games and the anime. You’ll hear and see references mentioned by the characters or through collectibles and memorabilia. However, you do not need to know the entire story all the way back from the first game in the 90s.

Sakura Wars is a visual novel, dating sim, and action RPG. It’s no longer the tactical RPG it was back in its heyday. It seems like an improvement and adds immersion from past iterations, but even that comes with its own faults.

SEGA

The Story and Setting

Sakura Wars takes place in a visually stunning rendition of a fictional 1940s steampunk Tokyo. You play as the protagonist, Seijuro Kamiyama, a naval captain who is now reassigned to be the captain of one of Tokyo’s Imperial Combat Revue divisions. The Combat Revue is the main line of defense against the imminent demon threats in Tokyo and the rest of the world. However, you soon quickly realize you’re more than just a captain in an important defense force.

You— a young and snazzy male probably in his early 20s— are overseeing the Flower Division. This particular division though, isn’t just a defense squad. They are also stationed at a live theater in Ginza, Tokyo. Here’s another important bit of info: this division is comprised entirely of female members. Your director, her secretary, the storefront merchant, and the members who partake in actual combat are all women.

It seems like a match made in heaven for Kamiyama and his wild raging hormones, that is until his captain duties become more than what he signed up for. The Flower Division is financially crippled because theater attendance is at an all time low. The entire establishment’s infrastructure is wildly dated. He sometimes has to do the grunt work and take on other duties that are below his expectations as a high ranked military personnel just to keep the place afloat.

You’re fighting a war on three fronts here. It’s an exhilarating, dramatic, over-the-top, and exhausting ride in every act from start to finish.

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