Sakura Taisen GB 2: Operation Thunderbolt

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Operation Thunderbolt immediately distances itself from both the main series and the previous GB game by being what could be considered more of a “proper” RPG than any other Sakura Taisen game to date.

The game takes place during an unspecified time before Sakura Taisen 3 and the main character is a faceless new recruit of either gender with no default name (basically, it’s you). The adventure elements are present as always (including the series signature LIPS system) but greatly reduced as the main focus is on battling through the Mikasa (from the first Sakura Taisen game) to rescue anyone trapped inside and eventually the Hana Gumi make their way down to the gates of hell.

Before setting off the player can generally choose one from a selection of characters to accompany them, as the player is free to equip any type of weaponry available on their Koubu it is usually beneficial to take along someone that compliments their current skill set.

Battle occur randomly and use an ATB-style gauge to determine attack frequency. Enemies can be on one of three rows, potentially using front row enemies to block access to weaker back row spellcasters. Battles will occasionally have environmental objects on them  such as explosive barrels that can be detonated to cause damage to all enemies or obstructions that prevent a close range characters’ attacks.

The dungeons contain some light puzzles along the way – block pushing, key/switch finding and similar. While standard progress is simple enough finding all the lost people requires multiple attempts as some can only be saved by the special abilities of aspecific Hana Gumi member. Rescued people are noted in a log book and some of them grant special items that are either needed to progress or improve the main character’s friendship when given to the right character.

Photos below are of the limited edition package – the only difference is the oversized box to house everything and the pouch.