Akiba’s Trip Hellbound and Debriefed (PS4)
I’ve never touched any of the newer Akiba’s Trip games (although I do own them….stupid backlog!) So I’m writing this as someone who never touched the original PSP game but was interested in the series.
Akiba’s trip is quite a longstanding series, the original Akiba’s Trip came out way back in 2011 with the most recent entry (before this one I guess) Akiba’s Beat coming out in 2016.
Each entry takes place in Akihabara, that famous haven for all things related to otaku culture.
You take control of the main character Nanashi who after an unintentional meeting with the games antagonists (who may or may not be legally distinct vampires) gains abilities and is drafted by a governmental organisation to fight them.
As the story goes, Shadow Souls are drinking the blood of the Akihabara residents and turning them into shut ins with the eventual aim of replacing these humans with Shadow Souls in the workforce..yeah… What is it with games of this era tying in real issues in such a weird way. Your goal is to put a stop to that with a few different ways to achieve it.
Progressing the main story is pretty quick, though you’ll occasionally be thrown into doing a few side missions along the way. This does help to unlock additional knowledge to strip clothing so you keep it to use and help progress, or you can simply sell it so you can make money to buy things (or give an allowance to your sister)
These side missions are plentiful, and you can also spend time and relax at the maid café competing against the maids in Rock Paper Scissors and quizzes. You can also take part in a battle arena to make a bit of fast cash.
Some of the main missions and side missions are certainly a bit off-kilter but fit the theme of the game perfectly and you’ll be chuckling at the situations you end up getting yourself into.
Things can be a bit repetitive though, and you’ll be entering and exiting a lot of different stages doing fetch-based quests that become a bit painful.
Just make sure to remember to save! Which you have to do manually from the main map otherwise you might find yourself repeating a bit.
Fighting Shadow Souls and battling in general takes the form weakening your opponent’s clothing and stripping them in battle to expose them to sunlight, which causes Shadow Souls to dissolve into dust and humans to disappear in humiliation. Like I said, “legally distinct vampires”
The fighting is generally okay when one on one and as long as you are levelled up and wearing good quality clothing since you know, you’re also weak to being stripped. You’ll be okay.
Things are not as much fun when fighting larger groups and although you can unlock moves that attack a group or acquire weapons (of which there are loads) which also have wide swings and can attack groups more easily you can just as easily be stun locked and quickly defeated.
Lining up with enemies is pretty tough, although you can use the block button to sort of get a semblance of a lock on in some situations, you’ll often find yourself whiffing moves and being punished quite quickly.
At some points in my playthrough I was actually knocked out of the area and back to the main map which was a frustrating experience as you have to start the battles from scratch.
Also heaven forbid you accidentally attack a bystander as well, since they will chase you to the ends of the earth to take vengeance.
Akiba’s Trip Hellbound and Debriefed brings the original game into 2021 with a bit of a visual polish to the original PSP graphics. The game looks alright, though it does suffer from the fact that you can only do so much to PSP graphics without simply redoing everything.
The 2D work in the game is beautiful though and the character portraits used are lovely to look at when each character is speaking since they show a bit more emotion than the 3D characters as well.
Voice work in the game is very hit and miss. The script is funny and the VA’s all hit the characters perfectly, but the audio quality of some characters is noticeably worse than others.
It really does sound like they’ve been recorded through a thick wall, or from the other end of a phone call. It’s a bit weird all in all and it detracts from the situations you begin to notice it.
Also the main characters grunts in battle just sound a bit weird…
Overall despite the combat, polished but dated graphics and odd voice quality. I still enjoyed Akiba’s Trip Hellbound and Debriefed.
Despite the occasional point where I was locked in repeating a battle after I’d not purchased any additional attacks and had some weak clothes.
I still found it fun to fire up the game and put a few hours into it each time.
The story has a nice bit of branching and I won’t spoil here in the review the ending I took but you have some replayability to get the other endings and achievements.
- Interesting concept and story
- Fun characters
- Lots of Weapons and Clothes to keep you satisfied
- Combat can be frustrating
- No autosave ☹
- Voice work can mar the enjoyment of cutscenes
You can pick Akiba’s Trip Hellbound and Debriefed up on the PS4 (as reviewed here) at Amazon using the referral link below.
Thanks to the publishers team for letting me take a look <3