Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

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Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#1 Post by gekiganwing » Mon May 11, 2009 6:09 pm

It took a couple years to get several Sakura Taisen OAVs, a manga, and the TV series in English. But it took thirteen years to get an official translation for any of the original games.

NIS America has finally confirmed that the PS2 game Sakura Taisen 5 (from 2004...), and its recent Wii port, will be localized. This should happen sometime in fall 2009.

This is the same translation company which brought out two Ar Tonelico games, so they're no strangers to eccentric games. NISA also includes two language tracks on its PS2 games (which, by comparison is rare with Atlus games). On the other hand, NISA is not perfect. I've heard the company's localization errors made Ar Tonelico 2 crash during a fight with a bonus boss.

So has the era of "console gamers don't care about RPGs with relationship elements" ended? We got Bioware games. We got GTA games. We got Persona 3-4. We got Avalon Code. And now an actual S.T. game in English...

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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#2 Post by GLACIER » Mon May 11, 2009 10:31 pm

On the other hand, NISA is not perfect. I've heard the company's localization errors made Ar Tonelico 2 crash during a fight with a bonus boss.
Negligent testing (and the crash bugs remain unacknowledged....NISA simply ignored any inquiries) was only the tip of the iceberg. AT2 was just a poor job in general, from the mediocre translation to the cut down voiceovers.

AT1, Mana Khemia, and Rhapsody are all indicative of a downward slide, with each year's crop being worse than the last. Waning demand for PS2 games might be a root cause, with NISA merely catering (at as low a cost as possible) to those who will buy the games no matter what.
NIS America has finally confirmed that the PS2 game Sakura Taisen 5 (from 2004...), and its recent Wii port, will be localized. This should happen sometime in fall 2009.
Well, the Wii port will be completely new for North America. Idea Factory is linked with the coming ST5 release, so this is probably a NISA initiative.

Hopefully, they'll throw more money into the ST5 project than they did for their recent PS2-exclusive games.
So has the era of "console gamers don't care about RPGs with relationship elements" ended?
I'm not sure if that was ever an issue. After all, there were relationship elements in older games like Azure Dreams and Harvest Moon.

As for the typical JRPG, both gamers and developers favor a linear, controlled approach to storytelling - basically the template established by Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy - which is why we rarely see something as open-ended as multiple potential relationships. Romance is common to the genre, but open-ended storytelling isn't.

On another note, publishers still shy away from the moe/loli thing, which doesn't mesh with the mainstream market. However, given the reduced output from Japan (as well the popularity of anime), I think some niche publishers are experimenting more.

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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#3 Post by rioka » Thu May 14, 2009 8:36 pm

I really would like to try out the ST game but I've been disappointed in the quality of the NIS releases over time. Not to mention I've gotten picky with the games I play lately... :|

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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#4 Post by Ramidel » Fri May 15, 2009 12:24 pm

First off, BioWare is first and foremost a PC publisher; the XBox is incidental.

That said, there's always been a subset of JRPGs with more open-ended relationship systems. Thousand Arms didn't do overly well, but Fire Emblem and Persona won thunderous praise, so I imagine that we'll see more and more console dating sim/RPGs start jumping the pond.

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Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love (HAY GUYZ ITS OUT)

#5 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:08 pm

I finally have a copy of this game in hand! Got the PS2 version. Later this evening, I'll try it out. Hopefully I'll enjoy finally being able to play a Sakura Taisen game in English. (The fact that I've had so much anticipation for this game may be a hindrance. I first heard about the series around 1998, and from the moment I heard loose talk that ST5 would get translated, I've been eagerly awaiting it.)
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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#6 Post by Blue Lemma » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:21 am

I just happened to come across this at GameStop the other day, so I picked it up. Very visual novel/date sim/niche, so I'm pretty surprised they localized it. I'm on episode 2 so far, though, and enjoying it quite a bit :) The price is quite good, too, considering it's $39.99 for the PS2 version and comes with a nice color booklet, box, and poster.
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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#7 Post by gekiganwing » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:08 pm

Blue Lemma wrote:Very visual novel/date sim/niche, so I'm pretty surprised they localized it. I'm on episode 2 so far...
This might be the last major PS2 game in English. Sure, there'll probably be some annual sports games and licensed games based on movie/TV, but I don't think any companies are currently planning to release original PS2 games.

That said, the end of a system's life cycle is not a bad time to release eccentric and niche games. In the last few years, the PS2 has slowly faded, but some non-mainstream games have been published in English, including but not limited to Arcana Heart and Chulip.

I haven't made too much time to play this game, but I've reached the beginning of episode three. Here are my impressions:
1. ST5 is a lot more humorous than I expected. I knew this wasn't exactly going to be a realistic New York circa 1928... but there's plenty of scenes which are either funny, or so-unusual-they're-funny. And little moments too. I was able to make Shinjiro yell in a library, which was hilarious.

2a. It's a little disappointing that the translation is basically "dubtitled." In other words, the wording seems closer to the dub dialogue than what's being said out loud. But then again, I can't name a professionally released video game which not only had dubbed and subbed dialogue, but which had two separate translations for them. As an anime fanboy, I suppose I'm kinda spoiled...

2b. The dubbed dialogue seems out of sync. Decent characterization though.

3. The boss at the end of chapter one seemed quite tough. My team died about four times, and barely survived on the fifth try. I had more success with the battles at the end of chapter two.

4. Some of the LIPS on PS2 seem a bit gimmicky. I think they can be categorized as "quick time events." I'm not sure how far back in the Sakura Taisen series the player was asked to do things like precise controller movements within a few seconds. And some of these split second decisions seem rather important to progressing the story.

5. That said, I'm still impressed. This is a pretty good capstone to the PS2's legacy. I'm not sure how many other people bought it. And I haven't seen the Wii version ($30, but dub only) at a game store just yet, so I don't know if anyone bought that version.

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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:07 pm

From an interview at Siliconera (worksafe link: http://www.siliconera.com/2010/06/29/ni ... velopment/ ), it looks like the sales of ST5 were disappointing, and worse yet, there's very little chance of a localization of the PSP port of Sakura Wars 1-2. So if you want to see the earlier entries in the series translated, then I'd recommend one of the following:

1. Find a company interesting in translating at least one version of the classic games. The first two Sakura Wars games were released on Saturn, Dreamcast, PSP, and Windows. (If there's not much hope for a translation of the PSP port, then I think it might be wise to ask publishers who are willing to translate the PC versions. Incidentally, the Chinese and Russian translations are on Windows.)

2. Get a fan translation group together.
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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#9 Post by Fluffycrow » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:59 pm

Ah, damn. I really enjoyed the release of Sakura Wars: So Long My Love, but I can see why it wouldn't attract many members of the mainstream market.
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Re: Sakura Taisen: So Long, My Love

#10 Post by Vatina » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:18 am

Sounds like getting a company to do it will be hard, since Sony disagreed on the opinion that "They are not games but text novels". At least on their consoles. (How annoying).

It's a real shame though. I hope something like Disgaea Infinite will do well instead, so that NIS will keep trying with visual novels. (and maybe even convince Sony to be more lenient.)

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