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- Platform: PlayStation 3
- PEGI Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over. Not for sale to persons under age 12. By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 12 years of age or over.
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is a Strategy RPG that features a unique SIM-based story system. An in-depth storyline exists, much like in any other RPG; however, the player's destiny in the game is not predetermined.
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Like a number of NIS titles or mash-up crossover-type games, expect nothing to make any sense. On paper, the story sounds serious (and it does need a serious resolution), but the presentation and direction taken with the characters is entirely absurd ...in a good way. All the better, there are 2 entirely different storylines and you get your pick of protagonists. This is similar to Mana Khemia 2, where despite the different paths, you get goofy cast members either way and eventually everyone will end up working together at the finish. A second play was more enjoyable for me, as I could see all the times I'd bumped into or battled the other party, and could see a few sneaky points where the plots were weaved together.
As is finally the expected for JRPGs, everything is offered in eye-popping and excitable (if not a little stiff) 3D models. Instead of an "open world" format, Trinity Universe is the "hub" type of RPG where you'll be sent out to various dungeons and always come home to the same place. The story actually ties into this and offers a nice sense of progression despite never actually going anywhere.
I cannot speak highly enough about the cast of characters, and feeding on their energy alone is more than enough to slide through the game. All are simply absurd and quirky in his/her own way and are incredibly hard to explain. An alchemist that only eats and battles with carrots, a pop idol convinced she's an assassin, and a ghost that joins the group so she can kill foes to 'make new friends' (as ghosts) are among the offerings. Each of the storylines has several special party members, and several are shared are can be picked up on either route. One might be worried upon seeing a trio of recurring NIS characters from the Disgaea series appearing in an otherwise all-new game reality, but they're even more lovable and silly as ever. Fans of the underdog would-be hero Prinny character will be glad to know that Trinity Universe is yet another step forward in removing them from being nothing more than a gimmick/sidekick character. The 'fallen angel' Flonne absolutely steals the show on personality. Despite being recycled and even if knowing her past, it's impossible not to laugh whenever she speaks, and even after hearing her various battle cries a thousand times they still had me giggling every time. It must be experienced to really understand.
Cutscenes and dialogue sections are SIGNIFICANTLY evolved here versus any other JRPG to date. Instead of a still 2D graphic of a character appearing on the screen when they speak, these are replaced by a multi-layered semi-animated 2D model, where it's possible to see movement (such as, hair moving around, or clothing adjusting shape). Mouths are now also animated as characters speak, and adding these changes makes the game feel a lot more alive and energized. I wouldn't have thought a change from the 'static' graphic style would make this huge of a difference. Over 50-100 hours I suppose it does add up.
In closing, this is more than worth a purchase from fans of the genre and/or NIS titles. It bends and tweaks the standard formula in a whole lot of areas, yet somehow pulls it off from every angle. The cutscenes, 3D modeling, soundtrack, cast, humor, battle system, equipment system, etc.; All of it feels like a completely natural evolution of those familiar from other RPGs. Just sit back, let the silly bits of story play out, enjoy what's handed to you and you'll have a great time. Personally, I was so lost in the fun that by the end I'd completely forgotten that there were 2 stories to play! This game will surely go under-appreciated because of its small demographic, and it is something that a far wider audience could enjoy.