• Please note this is a review of the North American Playstation 4 import. There may be slight differences in the European version.

Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed has an odd premise. You are about to be turned into a synthister (basically a vampire) after going for a job interview and it seems all is lost until you are saved by a mysterious woman and given a chance to live. After finding out that the synthisters are rapidly taking over your geeky haven of Akihabara, you set out to help bring order to the area. Luckily the synthisters have a weakness to the sun, so all you need to do is remove their clothes to expose their skin.

It’s a ludicrous set up that leads to a game that knows exactly what it is. It’s riffling on B-movies and anime, and is all localised well and the amount of content that exists in the game world will make fans of all things crazy and Japanese smile. The premise is perverted but the execution makes it feel tongue in cheek as you derobe the male and female synthisters and hostile civilians. The world is constantly reacting to you, which helps make it feel a bit more alive. If a police officer spots you fighting whilst on their patrol, they shall attempt to arrest you and you will have to pay a fine. Crowds of people will run away from fights, but some will stay to watch and others may even join in. Not only that, but via your in-game phone you can keep in touch with social media reactions on Pitter and get frequent email updates.

The fact that there’s so much diversity in the world makes what you’re doing seem fine, after all you’re saving the world. It’s no more sexual than your average vampire film. The player will have the option in dialogue trees to be misogynistic and insulting, but these remarks will 9 times out of 10 be met with a rebuttal that puts you in your place. The character design of the main characters is great and doesn’t focus on making all the women have massive breasts bursting out of their tops and being overly sexual, which is a nice change from games that play out in a similar way to Akiba’s Trip. This is also built upon by solid character development that makes your team feel like actual humans, even if they are exaggerated.

20150111150257

Mechanically the game runs at a steady framerate on the PlayStation 4, even when a lot is going on. It can be a bit frantic and hard to keep a track of things, which can make the larger fights more frustrating. Every person has two to three items of clothing to remove. Triangle attacks their head item, circle their torso item and X their leg item. It can be a bit awkward at times to change targets, which means you could pointlessly be attacking the head of an enemy you don’t need to. The best way to do combat is to weaken various areas of multiple enemies and then go for a grab move. By doing this you have the potential to chain together your attacks, which can lead to an overwhelming pack becoming just a few.

Most battles are made easier by making sure you have a partner with you. Normally story progression will make this the case, but when it doesn’t you can choose your partner at the headquarters for your team. You may also get lucky if you happen to be streaming your game that one of the audience will steer away from the odder commands, like making panties fly around, and use the join command. This creates an NPC with the name of the user that will assist you in ridding the town of synthisters where they can. This NPC won’t appear in most story missions, but that is not a bad thing. For the most part the story is fairly easy to progress through as long as you are upgrading your items every now and again via the main characters sister Nana. The main game could in theory be completed in around 5 hours if you rushed through it, but by doing that you are spoiling the game for yourself.

The world of Akihabara isn’t overly interesting to wander around despite looking pretty at initial glance. This is a shame as what should be a bustling utopia of geek culture just feels like a generic backdrop for running from point A to point B. Luckily the combat and writing helps to make up for that and it seems the developers pre-empted issues with having to run through the world, allowing a quick warp to other parts of the map just by clicking the touchpad and selecting an area.

AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20150108233741

The game has its moments of controversy. Like all open-world games the optional elements are full of world building and unfortunately the world of geekdom can be full of some truly toxic things. On Pitter, the games equivalents of Reddit and Twitter, there are the trolls you would expect. These trolls are however put in their place for the most part, but things are said that may upset people. Some of the side-missions are questionable, but it is important to remember these are completely optional. The more controversial side-missions tend to offer various moments to opt out and make it quite clear what you are doing is wrong. You are however the Akiba Freedom Fighters and if you agree to do a job for someone, then you probably should… or at the very least just wait until the mission lapses and you can pick a new one.

From reading reviews of the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game, it appears that the PS4 version has done a great job in fixing the framerate issues and loading times. It’s also the best looking of the 3 versions and allows you to tweak the game to look however you want with the visual editor. With all the previous DLC and some new items, the customisation for your character and members of the Akiba Freedom Fighters can be taken to whatever level you like. You can even choose from various main character models once you reach New Game+. All of this combines to really make it the best version of the game to play.

Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed on PlayStation 4 is a far better game than it probably has a right to be. With a unique combat system that works well and a story that has some genuinely laugh out loud moments, it is an enjoyable ride whilst it lasts. It is a more enjoyable experience if you take your time with it and explore some of the side-missions and the Toybox mode where everything is unlocked from the start is great fun. There may be some bits that make you feel a bit uneasy and it is far from a perfectly polished game, but for lovers of the bizarre world of Japan, 3D brawlers and visual novels there is plenty to digest. Even if you like none of those things you should, at the very least, dress up like a bear in Toybox mode and perform wrestling moves on people.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2