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IT'S SHOWTIME! Welcome to the Littlelip Theater where you can find great performances and New York's defenders the New York Combat Revue, Star Division. Join the adventures of Shinjiro Taiga as he makes friends, love interests, and helps defend New York City. After being released in Japan 5 years ago America and Europe finally get their hands on Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. This tactical RPG dating game brings light hearted conversations and an simple and fun interactive system known as Live & Interactive Picture System or LIPS.
The story stars Shinjiro Taiga as he just graduated from military academy over in Japan and is headed off to New York City where he is placed in charge of a defense force known as the New York Combat Revue also known as the Star Division. Once he arrives in New York his welcome is less than friendly and Shin has to stand strong or fall through the cracks even before starting his new job as commander. Set in the 1920s of New York Shin gets to run around New York helping his Star Division partners overcome personal problems and when the city becomes under attack by enemies the Star Division jumps into action in there mech robots to kick villain butt.
Sakura Wars gameplay is simple and fun with a great dose of strategy when battles start. For starters there is no need to level grind. None what so ever! There is also no need for item shopping, weapon or even armor shopping. Sakura Wars focuses on 1 thing and that's the interaction between Shinjiro's and his comrades. The more Shin talks to his all female group and gets them to like and trust him the stronger the group will become in combat.
So how does this work? Shin will spend most of his time conversing with his lovely comrades. During conversations is when the LIPS activity will happen. During the LIPS activity the gamer must pick an answer that sounds like it would best suit the scenario. This would be easy except the gamer gets about 10 seconds to answer before time runs out. Yup, you read that right. Instead of reading the choices and then picking a response, the gamer is forced to answer quickly. If they miss out on responding Shin will respond but it might not be what the gamer wanted. That's not all! Other than picking a topic to carry on the conversation, Shin may have to do something from either helping to fix stuff or to climb objects. Once again the LIPS will activate and the gamer will have to mimic the commands seen on screen before time runs out. When a topic picked or activity finished depending of the outcome a musical tune will play representing either a good, or bad response from the girl. This will either raise or lower their view of Shin, the more a girl likes Shin more conversations and activities will open as the game progresses. Of course when more than one girl apart of the topic and when a comment is picked the other girls may not like Shins response resulting in a decrease of trust from one girl while the other increases. This isn't anything to worry about since Sakura Wars gives the gamer enough time and activities to make sure all the girls are happy.
Other then talking, picking topics, and doing activities Shin is also allowed to travel around New York either alone or with a partner. During this time Shin can travel to areas meet other people do more LIPS activities. When traveling the gamer is also timed here too, but it's a little different. Shin can go anywhere were the map allows him and once there he can pick a place to interact with. Once the activity is finish time has moved forward, so Shin is only allowed to pick certain areas before time runs out and the story contains.
After Shin has travel New York and spent time doing LIPS activities gaining the trust of his comrades and the story has move forward enough combat will finally begin. Combat plays like Valkyria Chronicles where the gamer gets full control of the mech robots and is given an attack gauge. This gauge is used for moving, healing, attacking, defending, using joint attacks, and special moves. The gamer will jump from one character to the next using up there gauge points until it's the enemies turn. Depending on how the LIPS activities ended before the battle the girls will either like or hate Shin this will either increase or decrease their motivation to fight. The higher their motivation the stronger they become and different scenarios will happen. So if Shin is doing a joint attack with one girl and a highly motivated girl is near this joint attack she will jump in automatically to help out. This will also happen if Shin is getting attack the girl will also counter the enemy ending its turn. Since most of the game involves Shin building relationships with the girls during combat is where the girls can become closer friends. When girls do joint attacks with each other this will increase there strength between each other resulting in having the same counter attacks and joining attack that Shin would get
Game Traits applied to Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (PS2) by DarthOdium