Sakura Wars leads NIS America '09 lineup

Strategy RPG series' North American multiplatform debut backed by Last Rebellion for PS3, Disgaea 2 for PSP, Phantom Brave for Wii, Mana-Khemia 2 for PS2.

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Seven years after Sega first announced that its Sakura Taisen/Sakura Wars series would be released in North America, the publisher's promise is going to be fulfilled...thanks to an entirely different publisher. Nippon Ichi Software America has unveiled a robust 2009 lineup of localized Japanese games, spearheaded by Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love for the PlayStation 2 and Wii.

She's a cowboy. On a steel horse she rides... No, wait. That's just a normal horse.
She's a cowboy. On a steel horse she rides... No, wait. That's just a normal horse.

Sakura Wars has been known for offering turn-based strategy about women teaming up to fight evil in giant robots, and the latest installment should fall in line with that tradition. NIS promises that the game will have a storyline that adapts to player behavior and interactions with other characters to offer branching plot lines and six different endings.

Whichever story a player winds up witnessing, it will unfold across eight chapters comprising an estimated 32-40 hours of gameplay. Sakura Wars is being developed by Idea Factory, the studio behind the Spectral Force and Generations of Chaos series, and is set for release this fall.

That's not the only import coming out of NIS America. The company also confirmed that it is readying Last Rebellion for the PlayStation 3. Jointly developed by Nippon Ichi Software and Hitmaker (Crazy Taxi 3, Virtual-On Marz), Last Rebellion will be a role-playing game with a tactical turn-based combat system that lets players target specific body parts. Players will switch between two main characters, melee fighter Nine and magic user Aisha, as they make their way through "a story of revenge featuring a dark antihero." Last Rebellion is set for a fall launch.

On the handheld front, hardcore strategy fans may be pleased to know that Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days will be arriving on the PSP this fall as well. As with the PSP release of Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, Dark Hero Days will add new story chapters, characters, and battle elements borrowed from the PS3 sequel, Disgaea 3.

Rounding out NIS America's slate of current-generation console offerings is Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Wii. A revamped version of the original PlayStation 2 strategy game, We Meet Again will feature a new scenario, new characters, and more when it launches in June.

For gamers who favor the PlayStation 2, Nippon Ichi also has Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy set to launch this fall. The turn-based RPG embraces its sequel nature as a theme, offering two protagonists, each with two different endings. Players will have an assortment of attacking and support characters to call upon in battle, as well as a crafting system that lets them scrounge the world for ingredients to create more than 100 specialized items.

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