April 22, 2010

Review – Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 9:05 pm

Sakura Wars
Within an alternate and slightly steampunk infused depiction of 1920’s New York City, the Little Lips Theater serves as a cover for an elite force of agents known as the STAR Division, who use mech suits to battle evil while also performing in musical dramas to raise the spirits of the city they defend – rounded out with a Samurai and a Cowgirl searching to find their place within the city and that group of heroes.

I’ve really come to savor telling people about this game over the past few weeks, because they can’t help but laugh and scratch their head over how a structured game would even begin to make unifying sense of those ideas with any degree of success. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is a game exploding with ideas, a late to the party visitor from Japan that has curiously shown up on North American shores exactly when titles of this kind are needed most – hard pressed as we’ve been for new releases that don’t wear their glib intention entirely in the straight-to-the-point box title making them 90% marketing, 9% entertainment, and 1% any of the fanciful things we’d like to say about the medium’s artful possibilities, were we not generally sick of kicking that dead horse.

Sakura Wars opts for putting the horse in an apartment, and brings an energy that succeeds in blazing a path free of any genre binding obligations or easy explanations – great for gamers, bad for indexing.

And in a rare twist Sakura Wars isn’t one of those games where I laud the ideas and forgive the actual playing of the game. I don’t need to make any excuses for a game that’s every bit as fun to play as it is to talk about, I just have to try and clear up what the hell is going on when playing it.


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