It’s Pants or should I say lack of
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is an enhanced version of the Japanese only PSP game Akibas Trip Plus, now available for the first time outside of Japan. Celebrating its tenth year anniversary in Japan, this remastered RPG makes its way to the PS4 with new visuals and an English voice localisation.
On the surface Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed sounds like a great time but when you go into the other world of Akihabara, everything is not as it seems. Vampire-like beings are wreaking havoc on the streets of Akihabara and survive on drinking the blood of regular humans, as the main protagonist you are tasked with fighting against the vampires who are vulnerable to sunlight, to do this you must partake in a one on one fighting match until you punch the enemy out of their clothes forcing them to run away shamelessly. If these vampires were so extremely vulnerable to sunlight one would assume that they would already be dying in daylight and not running away having been stripped of all clothes, I know it seems like I’m nitpicking, it’s just you then begin to realise how silly the game is. I am all for unusual games, otaku culture and have a strong reference to Japanese culture. Akiba’s Trip is no different and is not absent from frivolity.
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed however is void of any enhancements I would expect for a remastered game on PS4. While there are some updates to certain textures and interfaces most of the game looks untouched. The game does reference Akihabara very well, it has the stations, giant Sega buildings in the background and plenty of shops, however, the texture of these leaves little to be desired. When you go into these shops you are presented with a low polygon background with a generic NPC and even though they do change how they look they all sound the same and you are greeted by the same “welcome” no matter who it is. For a game to be defined as enhanced, I would expect a lot more than some upgrades to the UI and the added in English voice acting because it just feels like an unedited port of a PSP game as the graphics let it down.
The gameplay itself feels bland and not fun at all. In the beginning, there’s a cutscene that gets you into the game but as soon as you are able to walk the cracks start to show. NPC’s are doing their thing and it’s hard to know who is friend and who is foe, some will come up to you pestering you for money or to chat about God, in which case you can refuse and they will become bloodthirsty vampires and put their fists up with you in a fighting match, here is where you can do an upper punch, lower punch with each one doing damage, the more damage you do, the more the piece of clothing the foe is wearing disappears. The fight will continue until they are stripped down to their underwear where they will flee in terror. The combat just does not resonate with me, it feels clunky and there is no element of tactics, it’s just button mash until you win or lose.
As a complete Otaku nerd, the main protagonist would not be without a plethora of weird and wacky weapons and costumes at his arsenal such as Umbrellas, Books, Guitars. Seeing attacks with these is quite humorous but the appeal doesn’t last for long.
There are various game mechanics and if you enjoy the replayability of being able to choose different factions or cults then there is that option, this of course affects everything going forward and will change the outcome of the story.
The most positive compliment I can give on Akiba’s: Trip Hellbound & Debriefed that I noticed quickly is that many of the voice actors I’m familiar with were apparent from the start of the game. The Voice acting is actually great, many of the voice actors I know from Persona can be heard from the first few cutscenes and honestly, they do deliver their lines so well, I am just not sure I am fully invested in the story and the combat enough to warrant a full playthrough which is a shame.
A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by XSeed Games