Monday, January 16, 2017

Sakura Taisen 3 - Is Paris Burning?

 Ever since i get into Sakura Taisen series, the third installment on Dreamcast always caught my attention with such a gorgeous visual which was no small feat in its time.  So 6 months ago i finally gave Sakura Taisen 3 a go which instantly become my favorite installment in this Dating Sim/Mecha strategy series. And now i decided to write an article about this game after clearing 4 out of 5 heroines route. While Sakura Taisen was not really well known in the west, it is no doubt a legendary series in Japan. However you need to play the game to find out why the series is highly regarded in its homeland. I hope that this post will be helpful for those who want to get into Sakura Taisen.

Sakura Taisen 3 Character CG
Sakura Taisen 3 Character Endings

 In Sakura Taisen 3 the game takes place soon after Sakura Taisen 2 where Ogami Ichiro got immediately dispatched to Paris to help creating special task force like the one he lead back in Teikoku. Just like in Teikoku, Ogami leads a double life In Paris where he works in Cabaret bar named Chattes Noir which is the Special Task Force Paris Kagekidan Headquarter in secret and when situation arises he also leads Paris Kagekidan into battle.

 In Sakura Taisen 3 Considering the game takes place in different location, it also comes with 5 new Heroines which form up Paris Kagekidan! Just like their Japanese Counterpart, Paris Kagekidan heroine leads a double life as performers in Chattes Noire. Compared to Teikoku Kagekidan, the Paris Heroine are no slouch and perhaps even better. Throughout the game Ogami will need to guide these maidens to protect Paris and eventually he will get romantically involved with one of them. Personally i like Paris Kagekidan more after playing Sakura Taisen 3 because i find Paris Kagekidan is what Teikoku will look like if the Heroines are fine-tuned even further and also they wear Spats which are obviously better than Tights.

 While Ogami face the threat of Demons in Teikoku, In Paris he will face a new threat. This time Ogami will need to face mysterious Beastmen who terrorize Paris. The Antagonist in Sakura Taisen 3 is more colorful than the previous installment but the way that the story handles them makes them doesn't look that threatening.

 The Core gameplay of Sakura Taisen 3 remains faithful to the previous installment and comes with some improvements complete with the minigames. Visual is one of the department that saw major improvement with beautifully drawn 2D Sprites and Gorgeous FMVs. ST3 is the first of the main series that use 3D Assets which doesn't age too well but still looks decent for its time. One of the main gimmicks playing Sakura Taisen with Dreamcast is the VMU unit that displays things from its screen from the heroine portrait to battle maps which is very cool feature in my opinion. As for the music, Sakura Taisen 3 lives up to the reputation of the series for having top tier music score and perhaps the best character song for the series.

 Another major improvement Sakura Taisen 3 get is the battle system. Forgoing traditional turned base strategy ST3 comes with more dynamic combat system which is the predecessor of the one in Valkyria Chronicle.The trust level of the heroines matters a lot as it determines the amount of action that they can take in a turn. The tactics mechanic from the second game got slightly retouched as well to fit the combat system but "Fire" or "Wind" Tactics are still the most useful one. Continuing the trend of the previous installments, Sakura Taisen 3 also comes with the special team attacks which can be downright silly sometimes. Difficulty-wise Sakura Taisen 3 is not that particularly difficult if you make use all of Ogami's ability with his tanking ability remains broken as always and it is very easy to spam special attacks in this game.

 At some point of the game the Teikoku Kagekidan does make appearance as well considering the Sakura Taisen series begin with them. The story part where Sakura goes Yandere mode due to misunderstanding from Erica is very awesome and one of my favorite in the game.

 This concludes the general overview for Sakura Taisen 3. While the game got PC and PS2 version as well, i think the Dreamcast is the definitive one considering it was designed as the blockbuster title at the time. I still wonder why ST3 havent got portable version even though the ST 1&2 made to PSP and i dont mind the game again on Vita if it ever got released someday. I think i won't be touching Sakura Taisen 4 until i got all of the endings from the first three Sakura Taisen which my progress for the Second Game is still halfway to go.

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