Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

The thought process behind the conception of the Sakura Taisen series is obvious. Combining two Japanese loves (dating sims and big robots), it's little wonder the franchise has spawned multiple spin-offs, a film, a TV show, manga and other merchandise in its homeland. It's equally unsurprising that such a quintessentially Eastern idea has never made it to the west.

Until now, of course. There seems little rhyme or reason behind the localisation of the fifth game in the series bar its setting: a steam-powered alternate-universe New York. But it's about as idiosyncratically Japanese as a game can get, combining turn-based mech combat with doe-eyed anime flirting and more elliptical pauses than your average Cing title... Well, perhaps not that many.

Structurally, it's laid out like a seven-episode season of the anime series, each chapter focusing on an individual character, with an over-arching story about evil forces threatening New York. The city's capitalist opulence is deemed to be the perfect breeding ground for dark auras, or Pneuma, which a demonic enemy is determined to use against it. DS visual novel Lux-Pain explored a similar concept recently, but perhaps the most appropriate comparison is the Persona series, which also offers two discrete play mechanics that influence one another.

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