Important Importables Review: Sakura Taisen 3 for Dreamcast

March 14, 2010 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Sakura Taisen 3 for Dreamcast

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Consoles-Other, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, 3D, Adventure, Role-Playing, Sim, Strategy

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Sakura Taisen 3 サクラ大戦 3

Title: Sakura Taisen 3: Pari wa Moeteiru ka (Sakura Wars: Is Paris Burning?)
Price: $48.90
System(s): Dreamcast (also for PS2 and Windows PCs)
Release Date: March 22, 2001
Publisher (Developer): Sega (RED Entertainment)
ESRB Rating: N/A. I’d say it’s probably appropriate for ages 13 and up.
Pros: Graphics look great, especially in mech battles, characters are easy to relate to and have very distinct personalities, quite a few mini-games, silly yet fun premise, music is very catchy, multiple endings and, if you can find the limited edition like I did, you get a special VMU memory card.
Cons: Need to know Japanese or have access to the Gamefaqs guides to play,
Overall Score: 10/10

A while back, Hot Japanese Imports looked at the Sakura Wars series to commemorate the fact that the very first Sakura Wars game was going to be localized. Well, Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love comes out this month, so it only seems right to honor the series yet again. Okay, it may also have something to do with my managing to get a limited edition version of Sakura Wars 3 cheap as well.

Sakura Taisen 3 サクラ大戦 3

Let’s defend Paris with mecha!

Paris is threated by attacking demons in Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning?, just like Japan is under attack in the original Sakura Wars and New York is under attack in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. Fortunately, Paris also has an assault squad of young women who are members of a theater group by day, as a front, and control mechas and protect the city as the Paris Floral Assault Squad when demons rear their nasty heads.

You follow Ichiro Ogami, who was transfered to Paris from Tokyo to help work with and command the Paris Floral Assault Squad. He must get to know and work with his teammates Erica Fontaine, Glycine Bleumer, Coquelicot, Lobelia Carlini and Hanabi Kitaoji to save the day. And, along the way he may even find love with one of the five girls.

Sakura Taisen 3 サクラ大戦 3

A great blend of strategy game, visual novel and dating simulation.

Sakura Wars 3 has a feature that Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love will be familiar with, the LIPS system. That is, the Live & Interactive Picture system, which is basically the visual novel and dating sim portion of the game. There are many different LIPS situations. For example, the normal LIPS is where you’ll have to answer a character’s question, and can be either timed or untimed. Timed usually happens when you’re talking to someone, and untimed happens when you’re just on your own deciding what to do next. There’s also a LIPS situation where you can click around an area to investigate or instigate conversations, and a LIPS situation where you adjust how much, or energetically, you want to do something. These interactions provide a foundation for the whole game, as the LIPS situations determine relationships between characters and which ending you’ll get.

It’s also interesting how character interaction can have an effect on battles. If you’re being kind to the girls, they’ll actually fight better. It makes sense, when you think about it, but it’s the kind of thing you don’t often expect to see implemented in a game. Surprisingly, it even comes into play to determine how Ichiro will fight! If people like you, you’ll do well. If they don’t, well, you’ll need to work a lot harder to win the strategic battles.

When a battle starts and you choose a battle plan, everything switches to 3D. And, despite the age of Sakura Wars 3, the 3D mechas look really good! It’s a fairly typical strategic RPG once battle starts. Each unit has action points, which you use up moving, attacking, using items and defending. So, you really have to think about what you’re going to do, since each character has his or her limitations. Thankfully, characters have super moves in case things get too difficult. Just make sure they have enough action points to use them!

Sakura Taisen 3 サクラ大戦 3

A great game, and import-friendly thanks to fans.

There’s a reason why the Sakura Wars series has such a strong following, and it’s a shame that fourth entry, So Long, My Love is the first time it appears outside of Japan. Sakura Wars 3:  Is Paris Burning? is a wonderful entry in the series, and if you have a Dreamcast it’s one you should definitely consider picking up. Yes, it’s very text heavy, but there are plenty of fan-created guides and translations out there. The characters, story and strategic battles make it a worthwhile addition to your import library.

Gamefaqs is an invaluable resource, if you’re going to play Sakura Wars 3. People have put together multiple faqs, including an episode-by-episode translation guide and ending translations. So even if you don’t speak or read Japanese, you can probably still find your way through, with guides available.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about the developer Vanillaware and some of its most notable games.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports looked at great fan translations

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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