Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Akiba's Trip (Vita) Review

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed follows the story of your protagonist and his friends as they fight to rid their beloved Akibahara from Synthesters, which are effectively man-made vampires.  The hero is turned into one at the outset of the story, and must use his new strength to stop the rest.  How do you stop a vampire?  Get sunlight on its skin.  So, you and a partner will fight enemies and ultimately strip off their clothes to expose them... to the sun.

Before the story starts, you will name and clothe your character.  At first, you don't really have many clothing options, but you will get plenty throughout the game.  Because of this, you will mostly be playing as a silent protagonist.  You do get to make numerous dialogue choices during the game, which affects who partners with you, the affection level of the others toward you, and even the ending you receive at the end of the game.  The ending you get will offer different unlocks, including player models that can be changed when starting a new game +.

Akiba's Trip is mission-based.  The story has you run to various areas of the map, usually fight some bad guys, then return for more dialog.  The areas can be pretty small, and there is loading as you travel between each one.  Thankfully, the map can be used to quick travel, saving you a lot of time.  The only real complaint I have about moving around everywhere is that you have to be careful not to run into others.  If you do, you bump into the person, making them yelp and both of you stumble for a bit.  It doesn't really hinder gameplay, but it is annoying, especially in the more cramped areas.

The fighting in the game is pretty unique, but has some resemblance to Clan of Champions.  There are three attacks, one for low, mid, and high, and each will damage clothing on the corresponding place.  You will only do damage to clothes, so there isn't much reason to keep hitting an exposed body part.  Once the durability of the clothing item is down, you can hold the button to attempt to rip it off.  If multiple articles of clothing are able to be ripped, you can chain strip with correct button presses and timing.  Chain strip enough and you can even activate a super move that will remove their underwear (don't worry, they will be covered in light)!  It's actually pretty fun and amusing to do so, plus it nets you underwear that you can equip.  As a nice touch, there is even a piece of equipment that changes what animations you do when tearing off clothes.

While combat is fun, it can get frustrating when fighting many enemies.  One on one fights are easy.  Two or three enemies is fairly manageable too, especially if you have a partner to even things out.  There are a few fights against four or more, which can get hard.  Enemies like to dodge a lot, and they can easily take advantage of you not targeting them, or when their friends get a hit in.  Targeting an enemy is automatic, which leads to its own frustrations.  Using counter attacks helps some, but it's no real substitute for having some kind of area of effect special attack.  Finding the weapon type that works the best for you will also help, as they each have strengths and weaknesses.  There are four kinds of weapons- fist, sword, heavy and long- and many variants within.  Weapons and clothes can all be maxed out at the damage/defense cap, so you can pick your favorites and not have to worry about it needing to be replaced.

The main quest of the game takes a few hours to complete, but there are a lot of side quests to help pad that out.  Usually, they are an excuse to beat up some more Synthesters, but there are occasional fetch quests or ones that involve the character's cellphone camera.  There are also several endings, at least 2 per girl, and multiple difficulties, so there are good excuses to run through the game a few times.  Plus, getting a girl's ending allows you to use their model for your main character when you start a new run through the story.  On the normal setting, the game isn't too hard, but can get frustrating at a few parts.  Usually it's when you get chain hit by a surrounding group, or when you are doing the sidequest to fight 48 enemies (there are two of these).

The trophies are pretty standard, with making your way through the game, doing side quests and collecting various pieces of equipment making the bulk of the list.  Of course there are some for beating the game on the different difficulties, too.  There's even one for collecting the flyers that some NPCs hand out.  It's neat that they put real stores in the game, and they even have ads for them on the loading screens.  You can turn them off if you want, but I liked seeing them.  For some reason, the ads didn't bother me, but it could be because they aren't ads I would ever see, since I don't live in Japan.  It was actually pretty cool to see them!

Akiba's Trip is a lot of fun.  Fights are silly and rewarding, even with the occasional frustration.  At first, I thought it was going to be more fan-service oriented, and that all the enemies were going to be women.  That isn't the case, as the game is very fair in its treatment of the different sexes.  There's also dual language support, so hopefully everyone can be happy.  If you like quirky games, fun action games, or even just a fresh take on hunting vampires, I would strongly suggest playing Akiba's Trip.

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