Every year new games come out, but due to many different reasons barely anyone buys them. Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is a game we can definitely add to that list. Hilarious fights, a beautiful view of Akihabara and the life as Otaku, awesome voice-overs in both original Japanese and English… Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed has it all!
The PS3 and PS Vita versions of Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed already came out digitally last year. Sadly, the game didn’t always got the appreciation it deserved in the West, but what the PS3 and PS Vita games were missing, was added in the new PS4 game. We couldn’t miss the chance to teste the recently brought out PS4-version.
Otaku energyvampire in Akihabara
Akiba’s Trip opens with an attractive view of Akihabara (also known as Akiba) and some information about rumours that go around in Akiba daily. It’s said that Otaku’s attack people in the streets for unknown reasons or even get kidnapped, while other people show sudden depression or complete loss of their passion without a clear reason. But rumours are just rumours. Right?
After struggling with the early morning, because admit it – getting out of bed is killing, you wake up as the protagonist in a true nightmare. While being tied on a torture table, some unknown character’s bend over you. It becomes clear to you that three days before, you were lured into a trap by an obscure organisation and all that time you’ve been part of dark experiments. With great pride they announce that you are no longer human, but a Synthister, a synthetically created energy vampire. You have a hunger for everything materialistic and the organisations will help you collect vitality. Suddenly, all the rumours became true and even worse, you, once a normal Otaku with a love for anime and games, are part of it! But when you don’t want to be involved with the organisation and they are on the verge of killing you, a beautiful woman saves you from your distressed situation. Pretty soon you both seek help at your Akiba Freedom Fighter gamer-friends. It becomes a race against the clock to save Akihabara from the dangerous Synthisters with your new powers and the multi-disciplinary support of your friends.
A trip through Akiba
In Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed you take on the role of an Otaku who, by an idiotic miscalculation (‘A job that pays in anime-figurines!’ Yay!!), turns into a Synthister and not much later into a Nighteater Familiar through blood contact. The creator of the game clearly got a lot of inspiration from the typical geek-cultures causing puns, dry humour, cliché’s, fan-service and absurd situations throughout the whole game. Even Twitter has a role in the game as ‘Pitter’. The game develops Akiba as a living city with streets and stores that could have been copied from the real Akihabara, with a ton of visitors and de always present flyer-ladies.
With your smartphone at hand, you get to know the daily life in Akihabara while enjoying beautiful bright art style, a very pleasant group of friends and a very good dub leading you from one mission to another. The missions are very broad. While the main quests push the story, you can do side quests which vary from very normal teenage things (such as pick up a book for your sister) to helping any arm of the law.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed doesn’t have a particularly strong story, but it does make up for this with a good setting and fun, good written side characters. Your little sister Nana is the best example of this, with her brother-puns, honest directness and fearless introversion. Besides Nana, most of the other Freedom Fighters also have a fresh, anime-cliché free impersonation. As if that wasn’t enough, the game gives you the possibility to ask out the girls, which can strongly influence the ending of the game.
A wardrobe full of armor
All Synthisters, including the protagonist, are very flexible, but can’t stand the sunlight. When a Synthister stands in full sunlight wearing only his underwear or whilst being naked, he literally vanishes as snow (purple) laying in the sun. The easiest way (and only way) to beat these living undead, is to literally undo them of their clothing in the open air. In order to do this, you have to decrease the durability of the clothing by tapping it with your weapon, then they will be easy to rip off. However, let no one touch your clothing, once your naked you vaporise to the Game Over – Retry screen. Holding L1 every now and then to heal your clothing’s durability will become a real must further in the game.
The stripping-system during fights is simply hilarious and gets better once you learn new combo-structures. The Otaku-culture is also not far to find, because a fully executed strip-chain gives you the chance to collect underpants. Isn’t that great?
Akiba’s Trip has closets full of customisable material, ranging from clothing to various different ‘weapons’ that mainly consist of things you have lying around the house, like umbrella’s or a laptop. While each ‘weapon’ is divided in its own category with its own specific gameplay, each weapon had their own special moves. For example, a red traffic pointer will, if you press the attack button too long, conduct a traffic signal that shocks the enemies who walk towards you while a baseball bat gives you’re the ability to do a homerun. Because these special moves are so easy to do, they can disrupt the flow of the fights. Nothing is more frustrating then you anting to kick someone’s ass, and your hero only throws a laptop against its own head.
If you want to test a few outfits before you throw yourself in the game, that is possible! The PS4 game has a Toybox that allows you to get out on the streets with the whole armoury (But it doesn’t allow you to collect trophies and cool nicknames).
Akiba’s Trip does have some moments, where you wonder what the creators were thinking. The wallpapers you can collect throughout the game are a clear example of this, every chapter you complete unlocks a still for your in-game Smartphone, but the girls who are on these stills, despite their in-game character, are shown in a semi-erotic way. This makes the blood contact between you and Nighteater Shizuku a very awkward scene. Also the multiple references to you ‘lusts’ by some NPC’s, even though it’s just your hunger for figurines, can ban your mind to the gutter way to easily (MINDBLEACH! MINDBLEACH!!). Luckily, you won’t have to deal with this constantly and besides this the content of the game is rather pleasant.
Besides the suggested erotic content which is being pushed in your face, we have some other point of critique. Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed does everything to make Akihabara available to the player, but sadly inside the stores you can only see the cash desk. We get that the game would have been a whole lot bigger with interior for every store, but for a game that can be played in a minimum of 10 hours and is very proud of its references to real shops from Akiba, this should have been done in our opinion. Then there are also the many loading screens you get when you leave a map. The use of these loading screens is a mystery to us, because on PS4 they only take a fraction of a second. A quick swipe to a black screen and back, would have given the game a much smoother transition.
Despite a few points of irritation and the rather short duration, Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is recommended to everyone who loves Japanese culture, dry humour and doesn’t mind putting some bad guys in their underwear. They introduced Akihabara in a fun way, the storyline is as absurd and de fighting sequence and if you want to go all the way you can trade the English dubs for the original Japanese voices. What else could someone want? Maybe you should prepare yourself for a parent or partner who wonders why you just ripped of a dress from a lady, while a cop tries to undo you from your pants, just in case.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed was released on the 6th of Februari this year..
Title: Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed
Publisher: NIS America (Europa)