Just beat the game. So it has 10 chapters.
Chapter 9 was pretty long that it could’ve been split it into 2 chapters. In terms of story, this is the part that Project X Zone has spoiled.
Chapter 10 on the other hand… at first I expected it to be an arduously long battle where every previous bosses would get resurrected. But it turned out that most of the battles are not real battles and instead serve to drive the story. I thought it would continue till the end just like that, which is fine; I don’t mind if chapter 10 turns out to be a long reward for beating chapter 9 ^^
But in the end there is no escaping a final boss battle -_-” This last battle was tricky that I had to restart two times, rather than watch my units get destroyed for sure without a chance of winning. It’s more of a puzzle of how to utilize the whole team’s unique strengths to outlast the final boss without spending too much time on healing and getting distracted by other enemies.
It turns out that Project X Zone hasn’t spoiled everything. There is one more surprise in chapter 10, which I didn’t see coming. It’s pretty cheesy, and god how many inspirations do they intend to stuff into a single work, but oh well ^^;
And it seems that I got the Sakura ending, since the ending movie and the credits mainly focused on her. True enough, in the movie viewer, there are ???? slots for the other girls’ epilogues. I can’t remember any point in the game where my main heroine partner gets decided, though. Most of the times, either whom I talk to seems predetermined, or I have to talk to every one of them. In fact, I remember I even canceled a date with Sakura to go with Iris instead, because that day turns out to be Iris’ birthday (with Sakura’s consent, though).
So what I do think of the game? I like it a lot. This is one of the games that wants to feel like an anime and I think it succeeds the most, unless that Konami game Senritsu No Stratus does better. Likable characters, very little fan service, interesting settings, and good uses of the dating sim and the SRPG gameplay elements to make that anime-feel. The bad points are some parts are really super cheesy, and battles could be faster (even with the fast forward button).
I don’t see myself rushing to play this game again though. Besides some choices which I failed to understand the Japanese because some of the time limits were very short, I picked the choices that I’m personally happy with. I feel good beating this game without referring to any guide and just roll with the choices I made even though some of them have negative effects (instead of hurriedly reload the last save).
If I were to play this again shortly, maybe it’s because I’m curious at which point did the main heroine partner get decided, and how much changes would there be if I were to stick to another heroine. Just the ending? Or the various parts in last chapters? I could imagine some of the changes, but did the developers really go that far?
And there is also Sakura Wars 2 in the Sakura Wars 1&2 collection for PSP.
Sakura Wars 2 would feature largely the same characters, so to be honest I would prefer to try Sakura Wars 3 or V, which introduces Erica and Gemini (also featured in Project X Zone) respectively. Also heard that since Sakura Wars 3, the battle system is closer to Valkyria Chronicles. I need to get a hold of these games, though.