Review by Leifang2000

"A Remake of SEGA/RED most popular franchise that all started on the SEGA Saturn"

1) About the Sakura Taisen Series…

ST first appears as a SEGA Saturn Game in 1996. It is created by RED/SEGA, with famous manga artist, Kousuke Fujishima (Ah my Goddess, You are under arrest, Ex-Driver) as the character design. It became an instant hit. 2 years later in 1998, Sakura Taisen 2 was released as a 3 discs game on SEGA Saturn. Following the success, Sakura Taisen 3 was released on the SEGA Dreamcast in 2001 and Sakura Taisen 4 in 2002 on Dreamcast. ST1 & 2 were also ported to Dreamcast with a few upgrades and VMS support. PC versions of the games are also made. The series has become one of SEGA most profitable franchise with fan disc/game, manga, OVA/TV/Movies series, stage shows, merchandises, and even a Sakura Café in Japan. It is now SEGA most important flagship series in Asia (Chinese translated version of the game also available) This game is a remake of the original Sakura Taisen.

2) BONUS DVD:

The game included a ST Fan disc DVD which has some info on Sakura Taisen 5. No footage but enough to keep us fans very happy. This DVD is either Region 2 or 3 encoded depending on which version you bought (Asian/Japanese). So a word of advice is check your PS2 if it plays Region 2/3 DVD first before you buy the game. (Game is fine, playable on Asian/Japanese PS2)

3) Limited Edition Pocket Clock:

The LE version has an old fashion gold color pocket clock (made in China) and a plastic stand to hold it on your desk. Nice addiction for the many ST Fans out there.

4) Compare to the Original Saturn & Dreamcast version:

This Remake has new Intro movies, cut scenes, and is one DVD disc. So no need to change disc. Major disappointment is that some of the mini-games are now i-mode only. That means it is now content for Japanese cell phones only. (Which is very bad for those who cannot play it) The original mini games on the Saturn are quite fun. For those that played the Saturn version, this version cannot automatically “remember” which chapters you’re on last and play the appropriate “next chapter preview” for you on the demo. That is when you leave the game alone on the title screen, it will always play the preview of the first chapter (Can’t play 2nd or later unless you load from your memory card) The Saturn version is the only one that don’t need to do that. (Because the Saturn system has the games’ saves on its internal memory) The new scenarios added should make fans very happy. ^_^

5) Gameplay: 9/10

The main driving force is the story. Choosing different responses produce unpredictable results. That is the main fun of the game. Another highlight is the special attack of each character, as well as love/friendship combined attack which are always fun/cool to watch.

6) Graphics: 9/10

-CG Movies: This remake made uses of the 3D in 2D CG Graphics. The result is beautiful and excellent. All the mechs are upgraded and redesign yet true to the original. No complaints from fans here.

-Anime Movies: Many of them are the exact same thing as the original with a few that are new because of new story line. Some movies being old and some are new mixed together in a game is a bit strange for some settings.

7) Sound: 10 /10

From the main theme song “Geki! TeikokuKagekidan”, to all the background music are all well done and suit the theme and the situation. The same song is still trendy.

8) Difficulty: 5/10

Following the tradition of the series. The battles are easy, very easy. This is good as you can concentrate on what to say to raise friendly levels.

9) Replayability: 9/10

Same as all other dating sims, there are multiple scenarios and endings to choose from. You cannot unlock everything in the game by playing once. Also the mini games are fun enough to keep you playing. Many bonus to unlock.

10) Conclusion:

Pros:
+Good Story, easy, enjoyable
+new scenarios with characters
+extra upgraded cg movie
+ST3 battle system
+stay true to the original mostly

Cons:
-some mini games are now I-mode only
-minor mini picture not appropriate with situation
-some fans prefer the original opening and title screen

Comment: This game is a good start as an introduction for gamers new to the series, and a good echo for Fans of the original. It is a good way SEGA did to start Sakura Taisen on the PS2. Eagerly awaits ST 5!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/03


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