- Release Date (NA): November 25, 2014
- Release Date (EU): February 6, 2015
- Release Date (JP): July 3, 2014
- Publisher: Acquire (JP); XSEED Games (NA); NIS America (EU)
- Developer: Acquire
- Genres: Beat-em-up, adventure
- Also For: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
Turns out there's a reason the title is stylized like that.
Enter the world of Akiba's Trip - Undead & Undressed, in beautiful Akibahara, Tokyo, Japan. The sun is shining (why do I seem to burn so easily today?), the crowds are bustling (they seem particularly irritable and worn today...), and the clothes, oh the clothes are-a flying... wait... what?!?!!
Akiba's Trip - Undead & Undressed, by developer Acquire and publishers NIS America and XSEED Games, is available now for PS4 and previously released on the PS Vita and PS3. This game is quite an interesting take on a semi-open world beat-em-up adventure game as it pits you against other opponents with the objective of stripping them clean down to their drawers in order to embarrass them or expose their body to the sun. But what could be that harmful about the sun to the otaku population of Akibahara except for the unusual exposure on their pasty, pale skin? Well, you see...
Nanashi, the game's player-character (or whatever you choose to name him otherwise) winds up, through a job proposition gone awry, strapped to a table at the ugly end of a science experiment. He's been turned into a "synthister", an undead type of pseudo-vampire that trades sucking blood for sucking the motivation and spark out of anyone they come by. Usually a synthister would lose much of their free will and in turn be controlled by a more sinister being, but Nanashi was an exception to the rule and would find himself being rescued by one of the main supporting characters, Shizuku Tokikaze. From there, the story takes many turns uncovering how and why Shizuku rescued you, why you retained your free will, meeting your friends of Akibahara and finding out who is really behind this whole synthister mess, and with any luck, perhaps he would even defeat them in battle.
Shizuku Tokikaze... NOW she's prime waifu material.
You fight countless synthisters and other regular humans along the way, taking on each one in hand to hand combat with the ultimate goal of stripping off all of their clothes. Synthisters being similar to vampires are extremely sensitive to light exposure, and a good majority of regular old Joes might find themselves running off in shame as the general populace gets to see their place where the sun don't shine. Each character's outfit consists of up to three parts - headwear (hat, headphones), a top (shirt, dress), and a bottom (pants, skirt), each with its own defense rating which ends up scaling up to its own health bar. Each article can be damaged in combat, though you can step aside for a moment to straighten your clothes and regenerate their health. Combat is very straightforward, with a three button attack system - X attacks the legs, O attacks the torso, and △ being directed towards the head. Damage any article enough and you can hold down the applicable button to attempt to strip it off of the enemy. Too little damage and they will shove you off, a moderate amount and you enter a button-mash struggle to damage it more, fully damaged and you immediately strip it off (which can also be chained between enemies!), and even further damage results in the article of clothing being completely obliterated. Once all clothing has been removed, the character is defeated and removed from combat. After an enemy is defeated they have a chance to drop an item they were using such as a weapon, piece of clothing, or money. You would run over the item and hit X to pick it up but I found it difficult to reliably position myself on top of the item to grab it. Luckily, you can pick things up while running around, so if you're quick and see the pick-up prompt appear you can grab it without stopping. Outside of combat, movement is your typical control scheme that has you move with the left stick and look with the right.
It's not like I WANTED these clothes or anything, b-b-BAKA!!!
Akibahara is a semi-open world city, allowing you to fully explore the area, however there are loading points between every area, usually signified by a street crossing. The problem with this, however, is that there are so many load points while the loaded area is so small. There are times where you enter a level and the game directs you to take the closest level exit to proceed into the next area - you're in an area for less than a second only to be hit with yet another two second load screen. Another small annoyance concerning the loading zones is that when you go up to one, the camera will zoom out before you cross it. Sometimes though the game gets confused and will actually turn your character around the other way, making him briefly run away from the loading zone before turning him around yet again to have him go through it. I couldn't find any reliable way to replicate this issue but it did happen semi-frequently. Yes, the loading is short lived, but it's too frequent to be ignored. In addition, there are multiple shops strewn about the city where you can buy various pieces of clothing, weapons, or usable items, but I found it hard to keep track of what shops are where and how to get back to them when I want to. It became a game of just running around looking at what each shop had when I came across it. Aside from this though, the level design is very nice with a convincing feel of a busy, bustling city with towering buildings and someone trying to hawk their wares at every turn. The soundtrack of the game is a bit lacking in variation but despite that it still manages to provide a nice background for the game through all of your exploration and fighting. I think it could benefit from a bit of a wider track selection, but as it is it manages to get the job done well enough.
Never imagined meeting a hick with a mullet in Japan... nor did I expect he'd be organizing a cosplay festival... huh.
The amount and quality of the dialogue and voice acting was a real pain point for me. There is such a huge level of dialogue that I honestly think there is more of it than actual gameplay, and the voice acting within tends to be extremely dry and unfitting of the character that is currently talking. Non-gameplay sequences tend to play out like a softcore dating simulator, further proved by the fact that there are multiple endings centered around which character you've maintained the best relationship with.
The text... and the "bro" puns... please... stop...
Other small gripes of mine revolve around certain game elements not being explained that well, the advertised integration with twitch.tv chat, and the superfluous elements of the game that server no purpose but to provide fluff. You do seem to get stronger as the game progresses, as I've found from battling police in early game and end game with somewhat similar weapons. You do come across an opportunity in the game where your character becomes stronger, but it feels like even after that he continues to become more powerful without much change in weapon choice. It's never explained how clothes defense stats or weapon damage stats scale up to your item health or damage dealt, and consumable effects such as items that "make you feel lucky" in the area... again, never explained what being "lucky" means without using the items and actually seeing it for yourself. The game boasts integration with twitch.tv chat, where your viewers can enter commands into the chat window and interact with the game in various ways, such as calling the police on you, making characters look at something happening behind you, summoning your little sister to fight along side you, and filling your partner's unison gauge. I did stream the game one night and twitch gave me a few chat commands, but not the entire range and the website doesn't explain if or how you can manually enter commands. There was no difference in this functionality between Story and Toybox mode. Then finally, there's things like email and Pitter (the in-game social media network) that seem to serve no purpose but to just add filler to the game. They are never required to be checked, anything interesting that is going to come up in them will be brought up in dialogue between characters, and as a result feel quite unnecessary and there seems to be no reason to check them.
Akiba's Trip advertises twitch.tv chat being able to interact with the game, but it seems to only work half way.
In all I actually had a lot of fun with this game. It's extremely quirky, it's got enough of a challenge, and it's got enough to it to give it decent replay value. It has optional side missions to partake in, the twitch integration (despite not seeming to work 100%) gives your viewers a way to directly interact with your world if live streaming is your thing, and Toybox mode gives you a way to experience the game at your own pace with all items unlocked, with the downside of not unlocking any trophies. It also has a New Game+ mode so you can start the story over with all of your previous weapons and items unlocked to get you going in your new adventure. Finally, being on the PS4, it has to take advantage of the touch pad somehow, right? Well... at some point in the story, a character modifies your camera app to detect synthisters passing by in the crowd. If you just so happen to point the camera at your companion, though...
Then your companion better get jiggly with it.
If you enjoyed my review of the game or would like a second opinion, please check out Bortz' review of the PS Vita version HERE!
Never did I think that even as a male, dressing as a girl would give me such voluptuous breasts.
- Solid replay value
- Easy to grasp combat system
- Decent amount of game play
- Twitch integration is neat
- The dialogue... oh, the dialogue...
- The voice acting... oh, the voice acting...
- Movement and picking up items could use some work
- Elements like email and Pitter have no bearing on the game and feel like completely unnecessary additions
- Twitch integration doesn't seem to completely work