Sakura Taisen 3

   The hype surrounding Sakura Taisen 3 may seem a bit puzzling to North American audiences: Why is a strategy RPG short on combat but long on dating elements sitting high atop Japanese "Most Wanted" lists just weeks after being announced? For many Japanese gamers, however, the series is a long-time favorite, as its heavy anime influence and mix of dialogue and battle make it a perennial best-seller.
The Paris skyline

   Faced with the mission of improving on the series' already phenomenal success, Red Company is adding a number of Dreamcast-specific features. A much more fluid "adventure" (dating and shopping) portion is planned; the FMV sequences now occupy the full screen instead of just a small window, and smoother transitions between said FMV and the game itself should take place. New adventure episodes can be downloaded onto the VMU from the Internet, enabling Red to continually update the game and keep it fresh months after its original release. Sakura Taisen 3 also supports VMU saves from the Dreamcast rereleases of Sakura Taisen 1 and 2, so that it can keep track of the way you've treated your unit across the whole series. Finally, a new system known as "Analogue Lips" allows to adjust the strength of your dialogue responses with the R and L triggers -- from strong agreement to mild agreement, for example.

Dating 11-year-old girls -- the gaming innovation you've been waiting for!

   In addition, Sakura Taisen 3 abandons the Japanese setting of its predecessors and moves the action to Paris, where Oogami, the hero of the first two games, is placed in command of the country's legion of steam-powered mechs. Of course, Oogami's unit consists entirely of girls (aside from himself, that is). The cast includes Erica Fontaine, a religious French girl; Gurushiine Blue Mary, also from France and a chess enthusiast; Kokuriko, an eleven year-old Vietnamese girl who specializes in acrobatics and talking to animals; Ruvelia Kolurini, a gambler from Transylvania and also an expert in pick-pocketing; and Kitao-ji Hanabi, a Japanese girl born in France who likes reading and archery.

   A U.S. release is a possibility, but not a very likely one -- fellow dating-oriented RPG Thousand Arms has met with only lukewarm success, and Sega of America has never been known for its unflagging devotion to releasing RPGs. In Japan, however, the title is assured of blockbuster status, and just may be the "killer app" the Dreamcast has been lacking.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Sakura Taisen 3
Developer Red Company
Publisher Sega
Genre Strategy RPG
Medium GD-ROM (3)
Platform Dreamcast
Release Date  Spring 2001
Sakura Taisen 3 delayed
27 screenshots
10 collector's cards
2 wallpaper images