Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed is developed by Acquired and published by XSEED in North America. The game takes place in Akihabara and where you must strip your enemies down to expose them to sunlight. Why? Because Japan.
I'm a Japanese-dub guy and usually dislike English dubs, but XSEED did a fantastic job with the dubbing. Well, what if you still prefer Japanese dub despite a well-done English dubbing? One of the great things about the game is that it's dual audio, so everyone wins.
One of the biggest draws for the game is the amount of references to otaku culture. For those who are part of it, there's no shortage of nice little references throughout the game. As a figure collector, it's hard not to sympathize a little with the main character.
Akiba's Trip is littered with ads for Japanese services. From the loading screens to various monitors throughout the game, you'll see ads for all manner of real-world Japanese services from restaurants to hotels and even rival video games. It's a really cool move to keep these in there.
One of the most charming aspects of the game is the fact that NPCs behave much like real people on the internet. Naturally, a good amount of the NPCs are jerks, even if you're helping them. That's to say, much like the internet.
It's not an emotional tale or anything of that sort but it's a charming and ridiculous story about a group of teenagers who believe they are the defenders of Japan's otaku heaven, Akihabara, or Akiba for short. Upon stumbling on a dark secret about Akiba you become a Synthister, a sort of man-made vampire. You and your friends take it upon themselves to rise up to the challenge against those who threaten your way of life. The whole stripping is a novelty and within a few minutes in the game, you probably won't care much for it and you'll be left to enjoy the story.
New to the PS4 version of Akiba's Trip are some Twitch-exclusive features that will allow your viewers to interact with you in the game. The commands range from helpful, to harmful, to absolutely absurd. Your Twitch audience can summon a ridiculously powerful version of Nana to help out your hero, they can also incite random NPCs to attack you, or they can... well they can make a panty tornado. Don't ask why. It's a great way to get people into watching you stream though, and it's funny. I've included a list of the commands below:
|help||Summons Nana to help you, complete with crazy-awesome sword!|
|attack||Anonymously informs the people in your vicinity that you called them fat and kicked their dog.|
|police||Calls the cops on the player, though they won't arrest you if you aren't misbehaving.|
|look||Makes all NPCs look at the camera. Kinda creepy ain't it?|
|unison||Fills your unison gauge instantly. Pull of insane combo strips with no effort.|
|pantydrop||Makes an npc close to you drop a pair of panties.|
|pantyjump||Makes any panties in the vicinity fly up in the air, then gently flutter to the ground.|
|pantynado||Yep. That's a panty tornado.|
|join XX||This command creates an NPC named after you. Replace XX with anything you want to make the NPC say anything you want!|
The combat is a straightforward brawler gameplay mechanic with the stripping as a finisher. You can punch your enemies with high, middle and low attacks. As clothes take damage, they will flash , once an article of clothing flashes orange/red, it's primetime to rip it right off.
Sometimes, however, no matter how good your timing is, for some reason your attacks just don't connect. If you select easy mode, the game will mercifully allow your attacks to damage any piece of clothing, though the system isn't flawed enough to make this feel like a necessity.
Also, having the recovery (hold L) and combat/normal mode(tap L) on the same button can lead to frustrating results.
If you're playing in hard mode, it came be extremely frustrating and unforgiving since the NPCs love to gang up on you leaving you unable to defend/dodge or even recover. At worst, they can surround and corner you with no way of fighting back or defending.
I find the main cast likable but the story itself doesn't lend towards many opportunities to get to know them better or bond with them. There are dialogue options but the end results are generally the same except you may earn some brownie points with the female cast.
As for NPCs, again, a lot of them are real jerks. Many of the main and side quests and often left me facing a bunch of selfish jerks who believe being a jerk will solve their problems and get them what they want. Just like the internet!
Part of the appeal and selling point for this game is exploring a virtual Akihabara. Yes, it's a good representation of the city, low texture but forgivable since the game has a more JRPG/anime feel to it. But I can't say I wasn't slightly disappointed at the fact that it wasn't as open world as I thought. If you're expecting something more akin to Sleeping Dogs, you'll be disappointed.
Customization - There are a lot of clothing options and items. However, you'll find yourself not caring about how you dress and more so on what is effective, as one would in most JRPGs.
Akiba's Trip is a game in which you get to explore a virtual Akihabara, so it becomes an annoyance when some of the quests constantly have you travel from one area to the next resulting in a 5-10 second load screen every few minutes.
On a related note, sometimes NPCs takes a while to load. So if you just enter an area, the NPC you're looking for may not appear right away. I found myself running through the whole area looking for a NPC for a quest, only to find them right back at my starting point.
It's worth noting that the PS4 port, while it loads just as frequently as the last-gen PS3 version, loads considerably faster. Load times are often less than a second or two at most, and as such the pain of being thrown to the loading screen so often is drastically reduced.
In combat, the graphic glitches become apparent especially when running to the exit point of an area. The camera angle will zoom out and all sorts of weirdness can occur such as the strip animation not appearing and you're just watching the event happen from afar. Other times, NPCs disappear altogether.
Fortunately for next-gen players, this issue doesn't occur in the PS4 version at all. During my play testing, I couldn't reproduce this issue, though I easily could on the last-gen version.
Despite its flaws, Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed is quite enjoyable, especially for those who are into anime and JRPG brawler mechanics and gameplay. If you can look past the stripping element (which is really tame), you'll be left with a lighthearted story mixed with some supernatural elements.
If you have a PS4, I recommend waiting for the PS4 version where some of the flaws will be corrected (or more tolerable). But if you want portable fun, the PS Vita version isn't bad and makes for a good handheld title. Keep in mind, there is no cross-save.