Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed Review
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed is a wacky game released by Acquire and XSEED-an action beat ’em up/stripping simulation (yes, you heard that right). I find the game pretty much likened to trashy LN anime, it’s not however that bad though as there are still some good aspects of the game. Besides, trashy LN anime can be amusing in their own way, how does that translate to our Akiba’s Trip though?
The game uses a sort of vampiric setting-Akihabara has been invaded by creatures known as “Synthisters”-the vampires of Akiba’s Trip. In order to defeat them, you guessed it, you have to strip them to expose them to sunlight. Our main character, Nanashi (although you can name him to whatever you want) woke up and found himself strapped on an operating table. He initially signed up for a part-time job which promised him an expensive figure, but was scammed. He was told it was actually to turn him into one of those Synthisters, joining the ranks of the many Synthisters already blending in society, and to hunt the citizens. A young girl who goes by the name Shizuku saved him in the nick of time, although slightly late as Nanashi was starting to show signs of changing into a Synthisters. Before Nanashi lose all his rational thoughts from his bloodlust, Shizuku allowed him to suck her blood, saving him just for the moment. The pair meet up with the Akiba Freedom Fighters, like-minded Akiba locals who joined up together to make Akiba a better place-and decided to seek for the truth together behind the supernatural phenomenon, and to save Akiba once and for all.
Akiba’s Trip’s story, or at least, any semblance of story, is one huge humorous ride. A good thing about this is that the writers are fully aware of the ridiculousness of their own setting, and never take themselves seriously throughout the course of Akiba’s Trip. Expect a trip of humor, fanservices, references, parodies and even fourth-wall breaking. The localized dialogue script also held itself well in keeping up with all the wackiness-it maintains a consistently sharp wit throughout the game, and it was very fun to see the banters between the characters.
Although the characters are all fun, and their conversations are entertaining to listen to; there’s not much I can say about themselves individually however, but remember what I said about likening the game to a trashy LN anime? That means get ready to get yourself in a discussion of “your favorite waifus” and the likes, providing the fact if you even managed to find people who actually like the game in the first place. Akiba’s Trip seem to have garnered an almost identical culture with that of trashy LN anime, so without first appreciating those in some form, it’s also hard to like this game at all, which is basically cut from the same cloth.
Then again, even if I said trashy LN anime, the game’s also structured similar to that of a visual novel. While you will be controlling Nanashi as a third-person, a majority of the actual story progression is carried out in visual novel interfaces, although Nanashi will be completely unvoiced and you will be the one to pick his dialogue choices. What Akiba’s Trip does here is that they are actually giving him a lot of dialogue choices, even compared to other “silent protagonists”. This makes Nanashi, despite being a silent protagonist himself, more dynamic in conversations, but this makes it harder to know which dialogue choices effect how the route branches. The other problem here is that sometimes, the dialogue choices are all pretty much the same. Speaking of branches, there are also different endings for each route which focus on respective heroines-extremely visual novel-like, as you can see. But this still doesn’t change the fact that Akiba’s Trip is really for people who’s more familiarized with the recent anime culture, it bolstered that idea, even.
On top of that, the gameplay is also simple, but surprisingly fun. The combat mechanics uses a simple melee combat-style; Nanashi can attack, dodge and block. When he attacks, he can strike different parts of the body-namely the head, body and legs, each with their respective amount of HP. Depending on which of the three body parts are weakened enough, you can strip an article of your opponent’s clothing on said body part. It doesn’t just stop there though, if you weakened more than one part of your opponent’s clothing, or even including other opponents, you will engage in a “Strip chain” system, where you can keep stripping all the clothing on the body parts you just weakened in one consecutive raw-which gets faster and faster as your chain gets higher, so those still unfamiliar to the gameplay mechanics would need quick responsive hand-eye coordination. You can also perform counter strips if you managed to block with a perfect timing, which you can integrate into your strip chains, making the combat extremely smooth. Even better, midway through the game, your partner from the Akiba’s Freedom Fighters can assist you in a collaborative attack/strip-called Unison Strip, which helps a lot during difficult moments when you’re squandered with countless enemies basically looking for every chance they can to strip you to stardust. In short, it’s basically a contest to see who outstrip the others first.
The game’s also extremely good at mimicking the heavily social network-influenced of modern society. Throughout the game, you can interact with your phone-taking pictures, checking your e-mails, and looking up the latest discussions in Pitter (Akiba’s Trip equivalence to Twitter). The Pitter discussions especially, while don’t add much, are amusing to read. Akiba’s Strip also has a huge character customization feature-you can buy and equip various kinds of costumes-ranging from an anime T-shirt, a suit if you’re feeling classy, or even crossdress in a maid costume (believe me, some quests even require you to crossdress). Hell, you can even change his/her entire character module in new game+, although strangely even if you’re in a female module, everyone will treat you as if you’re still a guy. Additionally, you can also equip various weapons, which consists of everyday items like a rolled-up poster, dakimakura, baseball bat, tennis racket, water guns, laptop to street items like maid ad sign, bus stop signs, to almost legitimate weapons like wooden swords and knuckles. Each weapon types have their own different set of combos and animations, so it’s really up to players to try everything out to see what works for them.
Even better, you can synthesize these weapons/costumes. For a fee, your imouto can strengthen the weapons/costumes you want, by sacrificing other unwanted weapons/costumes. This results in stronger attack stats and higher defense/HP respectively-which is actually pretty nice since with such a system, you can choose whichever costumes or weapons you want and strengthen them, and not limited to certain costumes which may not be to your aesthetic liking, nor limited to certain weapons which may not suit your combo needs.
You can also accept side-quests in between the main missions, which will quite literally have you running around Akiba in it’s entirety. There are wide array of side missions, which involve fetching your imouto a cake, seeking and fighting Synthisters, assisting a police officer in taking down some thugs, taking pictures of posters around the city, recruiting maids for an up-and-coming maid cafe, to fighting a mass group of 48 idols. The wide array of missions are extremely fun to do and never feel repetitive, what’s more, doing quests are also the best way for those who just started the game to earn some money-so that you can buy/synthesize your weapons and costumes, so it’s all a win-win situation.
Overall, the gameplay mechanics for Akiba’s Trip is simple, but effective and oddly addicting, and never feel repetitive. Some bonus stuffs which makes the overall gameplay even more fun and dynamic is how you can even customize your character’s walking and stripping animations. To do the latter, you get certain stripping styles where after you equip them, you get different stripping motions, which at times, actually resemble martial arts-ranging from drunken fist style, wrestling, ninjutsu, Jojo style to even telekinesis (oh wait, there’s some weird ones in there).
What’s even more amazing here is Akiba’s Trip rendition of real life Akihabara Electric Town. I personally had never been to Japan, much less Akihabara before, but from the little I know, I think Akiba’s Trip got it perfectly. Roaming around the bustling streets in the game, you will easily stumble upon some random up-and-coming idol performing on the street, some maid advertising their cafes and passing you flyers, and even some pushy saleswomen who’s looking into every opportunity to scam you. Walking around, you can also see various posters of anime and games around the street, some of them literally straight up references of the real thing; it’s all an incredibly immersive experience. Aforementioned, I haven’t been to Japan myself but looking around, I can see Akiba’s Trip even got the same real world shops in the game-over a 100 of them in fact!
While the world of Akiba’s Trip is amazing, due to how uncannily similar it is to the real world of Akihabara, there are some obvious problems on the other aspects of the graphics. The actual quality of the graphics themselves is rather unpolished, even when compared to other anime-influenced games-making this more akin to a PS2 game than it is a newer gen game. During visual novel-esque moments, some sprites, especially the generic NPCs, are also so horribly drawn you could had sworn it’s drawn by some random amateurish fan artist.
The list of OST I feel fairly fits. Most shops have their own theme music-it all feels immersive as if you’re visiting every shops which plays a different tune to welcome it’s customers. There are also a number of battle themes which are mostly electronic with a J-pop flair, although there are also some classic rock battle tracks too, I believe; but nonetheless, they are all upbeat songs and do a satisfying job as battle songs-hyping up the player’s tension. The entire tracklist isn’t a lot however, and at some point of the game, I can’t help but feel some songs feel a bit repetitive. Furthermore, none of these songs are especially too memorable either.
Technically-wise, the game’s still not without it’s problems however. It suffers from heavy framerate drop issues especially when the graphics get a bit “busier” when rendering the busy streets and it’s many NPCs. The game also has a lot of loading screens, especially when you’re moving from place to place-while not much problem at first, on a long-term basis, the accumulated frustration can really get to you.
Akiba’s Trip is a weird game-it’s a game I probably shouldn’t had enjoyed playing as much as I did. Because, for a game simply about stripping, it sure is expansive in doing so-thousands of customizations ranging from costumes, weapons and even fighting animations. Then again, Akiba’s Trip still isn’t a game for everyone, that much is certain. Because it’s so synonymous with trashy LN anime, how much you enjoy the game really depends on how much you appreciate and enjoy that particular brand of anime. If you don’t enjoy them, stay away from this game, but if you enjoy them, you can give this a try (still no guarantee if you would still like it though). But nonetheless, I think we can at the very least agree that Akiba’s Trip rendition of real-life Akihabara is excellent.