Sakura Taisen 4
St4logo.jpg
Developer(s): Red Company
Overworks
Publisher(s):
Sega
Release Date:

Dreamcast version:

JP: 03/21/02

PC version

JP: 03/03/05
Genre: Tactical role-playing,Dating sim,Visual novel
Platform(s): Dreamcast, Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP/Vista
Mode(s): {{{modes}}}
Series: {{{series}}}

Sakura Wars 4: Fall in Love, Maidens (サクラ大戦4 〜恋せよ乙女〜 Sakura Taisen 4 ~Koi Seyo, Otome~) is the fourth main entry in the Sakura Taisen series of video games. Released in 2002 for the Sega Dreamcast, in 2005 for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers.

Gameplay

Main article: Gameplay in the Sakura Taisen series

Sakura Wars 4: Fall in Love, Maidens is set in Tokyo during a fictionalized version of the Taishō period (1912–1926). Players taking the role of Ichiro Ogami and two all-female combat groups; the "Flower Division" of the Imperial Assault Force and the "Paris Division" of the France-based Paris Assault Force. Dubbed a "dramatic adventure" game and taking place across several "acts", the gameplay segments incorporate tactical role-playing, dating sim and visual novel elements. Gameplay is divided between periods where Ogami navigates the Imperial Theater and interacts with various characters and combat sequences governed by a turn-based battle system across a three-dimensional (3D) area allowing full range of movement.

During the adventure sections, Ogami navigates the Imperial Theatre. During these sequences, when talking with both the main heroines and supporting characters from the Imperial Assault Force, conversations rely on the series' LIPS (Live & Interactive Picture System) system; when faced with critical choices in the course of a conversation, dialogue options are displayed with a time limit for the player to select a response. Depending on the type of response, the character may respond positively or negatively, impacting their relationship and future interactions with Ogami. The game also incorporates "Double LIPS", where interactions cross between multiple characters; and "Analog LIPS", where a single response's intensity is judged by the player. If save data from the Dreamcast versions of the last three Sakura Wars titles is imported, Ogami's romance choices from those games are incorporated into the narrative.

During combat segments, the Flower Division fights monsters in the streets of Tokyo using machines called Koubu. Battles take place within 3D arenas, where each unit has a full range of movement, with their distance limited by an Action Point meter: the battle system is dubbed "ARMS" (Active & Real-time Machine System). Each unit can perform two actions during their turn, which cover a variety of actions including attacking, healing, boosting a unit's statistics, and defending. Actions taken during LIPS sequences with members of the Flower Division directly impact battles; skillful performances during LIPS segments raise a character's Motivation, granting status increases and improving combat ability. LIPS interactions can also unlock Combination and Coalesce attacks, where two characters perform a joint attack to deal high damage to a single enemy.

Plot

Story

Sakura Wars 4 begins in Tokyo in 1927, six months after the events of Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning?. Imperial Army Lieutenant Ichiro Ogami has returned from Paris and reunited with the Flower Division of the Imperial Assault Force. All is quiet until a powerful spirit breaks free of its imprisonment in Ginza and begins terrorizing the city using a powerful golden Koubu. Immobilized by a golden mist produced by the Koubu, the Flower Division are easily beaten back and their theater base damaged. The ghost belongs to Okubo Nagayasu, a corrupt samurai daimyo enraged at his vilification by the people following his death. When Nagayasu is about to kill the Flower Division in another attack, the Paris Division from Sakura Wars 3 arrives and rescues them, answering the Imperial Assault Force's call for aid. Working together, the two groups weaken Nagayasu, then Ogami and his chosen companion use a powerful Koubu to exorcise the ghost, restoring peace to Tokyo.

In their role as a theatre troupe, the Flower Division are preparing a stage adaptation of Les Misérables, which Ogami is tasked with directing. The need to properly portray the marriage scene leads to widespread misunderstandings as both Ogami and Flower Division members think each is proposing to the other. This is further complicated if Ogami had previously romanced any member of both the Flower and Paris Divisions. When the Paris Division arrives, if Ogami romanced any of them during the events of Sakura Wars 3, a love triangle situation is created. Ogami must choose which character he wishes to commit to. The production of Les Misérables is a resounding success, and Ogami is left as the sole figure of authority after the Imperial Assault Force's original manager Ikki Yoneda retires, satisfied that Ogami can succeed him. The final scenes vary depending on whether Ogami romanced any member of the Flower or Paris Divisions, and which character Ogami chooses to commit to.

Release

Sakura Wars 4 was first announced in June 2001; when announced, Hiroi was quick to point out that while it was the last series entry for the Dreamcast, it was not the final entry in the Sakura Wars series. A preview disc was released with Sakura Wars Online, featuring promotional images and trailers released up to that point. Running up to the game's release, Sakura Wars 3 and the Dreamcast ports of the first two Sakura Wars games were reissued at reduced prices by Sega. The game was released on March 21, 2002. It was later ported to Microsoft Windows personal computers (PC). It was released for Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP on March 3, 2005. This version required multiple CD-ROMs due to the game's size. A DVD-ROM version for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista on January 25, 2007. As with most of the Sakura Wars series, the game never saw a release outside Japan. Localization efforts were prevented due to Sega's uncertainty as to whether the game's blend of genres would find a profitable audience outside Japan.

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 36/40[1]
RPGFan 90%[2]

During its first week on sale, Sakura Wars 4 sold over 207,000 copies, selling through over 80% of its initial shipments. As of 2004, the game has sold over 257,000 copies, making the game the tenth best-selling Dreamcast title in Japan.[3] As of 2007, the game is the fourth best-selling Sakura Wars title behind its predecessor.[4] The game's soundtrack album was awarded at the 2003 Japan Gold Disc Awards in the "Animation – Album of the Year" category.[5]

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave Sakura Wars 4 a score of 36/40, with the critics giving it scores of 10, 9, 8 and 9 out of 10; this was the highest score given to a mainline Sakura Wars game up to that point.[1] RPGFan noted the game's focus on the theater, which the reviewer generally enjoyed despite missing the previous games' episodic format and noting a continued amount of unresolved plot threads. The graphics were praised for their increased quality and its solid gameplay elements, but criticized its short length.[2]

Japanese site Game Watch Impress was very positive about the storyline, graphics and the gameplay system. The main issue raised was that the game was not designed for series newcomers due to its callbacks and short length.[6] 4Gamer.net's Tetsuya Asakura, reviewing the PC version, praised the story options opened with the entire cast being present, and its solid gameplay. His main points of criticism were the limited graphical options and its short length.[7]

Legacy

Main article: Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love

In honor of Tomizawa's retirement from the role of Sumire following Sakura Wars 4, an original video animation (OVA) titled Sakura Wars: Sumire Kanzaki Retirement Memorial—Su・Me・Re was developed by Radix Ace Entertainment and Overworks; Tanaka created the music, while Kawasaki wrote the script. Depicting Sumire's retirement from the Flower Division and her career as an actress, it features Tomizawa's last performance in the role. The OVA was released for VHS and DVD on December 18, 2002.

The original plans for Sakura Wars 4 were carried over into the next Sakura Wars game, which was being developed for the PlayStation 2.[8] Titled Sakura Wars V: Farewell, My Love in Japan, it was released in Japan in 2005 and overseas in 2010 for both the PlayStation 2 and Wii under the title Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love. Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love formed part of the Sakura Wars World Project, a group of seven games being developed for the PlayStation 2 to expand the series' audience and eventually release internationally. Four games in the group were released, but only Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love was released overseas, while the remaining three projects were officially cancelled in September 2008.

Packaging Artwork

 
Sakura Wars 4 cover art.jpg
 
Sakura Wars 4 DC back.jpg
 
SakuraTaisen4 DC LE.jpg

References

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External Links

Official website Dreamcast

Official website PC

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