Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed PS4 Review
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed first made the rounds this year on the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita, respectively. The RPG-styled beat-’em-up/strip-’em-up sequel to the Japanese exclusive Akiba’s Trip was a quirky title that featured a bizarre fictional premise in the occasionally-bizarre factual city of Akihabara, Japan, where the goal was to deal damage to enemies through their clothes rather than their bodies in order to strip them bare and expose them to sunlight. Despite the somewhat lewd premise, the game’s all-inclusive hijinks and parodic (but still accurate) riff on Otaku culture lead to a charming game that embraced its absurd nature rather than pander with perverse imagery. Now, NIS America have rounded out the Playstation exposure by releasing Akiba’s Trip on the PS4, with a few notable enhancements.
The story remains unchanged from previous versions; players assume the role of a male protagonist (named Nanashi by default), who finds himself part of an elaborate plot to kidnap people and turn them into Synthisters, vampire-like slaves who prey on the social energy of Akiba’s citizens. After escaping his brainwashing with the help of the enigmatic Shizuku, Nanashi enlists the help of his friends as well as a few potential allies in patrolling the Anime-aesthetic streets of Akihabara while exposing (figuratively and literally) the Synthisters hiding amongst the crowd.
Anyone who has played the Vita version of Akiba’s Trip will most likely notice the most drastic changes in the PS4 port: the framerate issues that plagued the portable version are entire gone in favor of a much smoother presentation, in addition to much faster load times. The character models and city architecture have also gotten a more vibrant facelift, while the number of NPCs roaming around the streets of Akiba have also increased dramatically. Even the dozens of TV advertisements surrounding the city feature more videos of J-Pop stars, Anime RPGs and, of course, actual Playstation ads. While hardly a showstopper compared to other PS4 games, Akiba’s priority over performance makes for a pleasant visual experience all the same.
There are a few technical additions added as well, such as the “Toybox Mode”, which lets players start a new game with every single weapon and piece of clothing available (including the previously paid DLC items). This can lead to some amusing and/or horrifying cosmetic changes right from the bat, including female tops that give the male character actual breasts. There is also a visual editor that changes the look of the game through various permanent filters, and even a few neat interactive features when streaming the game live, such as summoning a souped-up NPC to assist in battles as well as causing enemies’ panties to float and sparkle (don’t ask).
Gameplay remains entirely unchanged as well, which is a bit unfortunate, as it means the PS4 version suffers from the same issues as previous versions. The simplistic combat mechanics are functional enough, but could have used a bit more adjusting to make things feel a bit less stiff; instead of being able to lock onto chosen targets, players automatically lock on to the nearest enemy, which can prove frustrating when attempting to disrobe a weakened enemy out of a group. The camera can still prove cumbersome as well depending on the area that fights are taking place.
The gameplay’s whole is still better than the sum of its parts. Successfully executing a “chain strip” that can tear off multiple articles of clothing at once while doing martial arts poses is still a satisfying (and amusing) sight to behold, and the dialog is top-notch and shockingly accurate to the types of meme-spouting banter that hardcore Otaku like to engage in, both in person and in forums. The one character that stands out the most is Nanashi’s sister, a deadpan-speaking shut-in who embodies the social awkwardness of 4chan posters while also spouting many of the game’s most memorable lines. Plus she has the invaluable ability of combining players’ weapons and clothing in order to create more durable and damaging upgrades, which is especially handy as the enemies can prove quite punishing with their attacks. Fortunately, the game instantly checkpoints players right before any battle and with no penalties of any kind. Regardless, grinding for money, materials and exp will still become a necessity, and the fact that sidequest objectives are not highlighted within the designated areas will only slow things down further.
Despite the lack of tightening up the original game’s flaws, the PS4 version of Akiba’s Trip is without question the definitive version, thanks to a smoother graphical performance and a few other extras to round out the already robust package. It may not be a must-have remaster such as other PS4 re-releases, but fans of the Vita version and especially newcomers should have no issue double-dipping on this latest port.