Caught in a delusion of a lifeless and boring Akihabara
- System: PS Vita, PS4
- Publisher: XSEED, PQube
- Developer: Acquire
- Release Date: May 16th 2017
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: JRPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: http://akibas.jp/
Who it Caters to
Just because Akiba’s Beat is a sequel to Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed, you shouldn’t assume that Akiba’s Beat is similar besides the Akihabara setting. Boasting a lot of definitions and concepts from the world of anime, fans of anime will find some enjoyment from the various characters. While Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed was more about beat em up mechanics, Akiba’s Beat is a straightforward action RPG similar to “Tales” games. If you’re a fan of action RPGs and anime like characters and storytelling you’ll find some enjoyment in Akiba’s Beat. Being available on the PS Vita also ensures you can find playability while traveling about.
What to Expect
Having played Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed, many would assume Akiba’s Beat would be similar since it is technically a sequel to the Akiba’s Trip series. However, unlike the beat em up elements of Akiba’s Trip games, Akiba’s Beat focuses more on traditional action RPG elements, namely similar to games like the Tales series. Akiba’s Beat uses a lot of anime tropes to create characters such as a NEET, like our main character Asahi Tachibana, or the typical idol girl similar to Riyu Momose. Having so many anime like creations makes sense in the setting of Akihabara, seeing as many people think it’s akin to the anime Mecca. The story of Akiba’s Beat won’t impress anyone unfortunately, but at least the banter allows for some laugh out loud moments, especially if you’re one to understand the lingo and ideals an otaku has.
Asahi Tachibana is your typical NEET living in Akihabara. Despite constant harassment from his best friend about his lifestyle choices, Asahi enjoys his NEET ways. However, one day when Asahi is to meet his friend for lunch, he ends up running into a blond haired girl named Saki Hoshino and an odd flying being called Pinkun. Saki faces Asahi and lets him know that he is one of the chosen ones. Before Asahi can even ask question he gets thrown into some odd scenarios.
Learning from Saki, Asahi is told of a threat that could damage Akihabara called Delusions. If a person’s desires grow too large, they begin to influence Akihabara creating odd dungeon like areas named Delusionscapes and causing shifts in Akihabara. Then shortly after learning about Delusions, Asahi and Saki learn that they are stuck in an endless loop where Sunday continues to restart after midnight. Asahi and Saki must now find a way to stop the loop and defeat the Delusions that constantly pop up.
Akiba’s Beat is a typical action RPG. At times you will be wandering around Akihabara either buying items, taking on sub-missions for characters and or progressing through the story by engaging in dialogue or being in a specific spot. When you go through enough motions to proceed with the story, you’ll then enter the dungeons or delusionscapes as they are titled, engaging with enemies and then eventually fighting a boss. Similar to Persona 4 or 5, these Delusionscapes are centered on a specific theme. An example is the very first dungeon which is based on musical themes. Despite the themes though most dungeons just change in color and background effects, while there are occasional puzzles, navigation and such rarely change besides just running around defeating enemies to move on to another area and then eventually going into a boss fight.
Speaking of bosses, let us delve into the combat and fights that take place in Akiba’s Beat. In Delusionscapes, players will fight enemies and eventually bosses upon contact. These battles take players into a separate arena where the player has the ability to move around fully in the small arena to use various skills and attacks on the enemy. We’re happy to say why this gameplay isn’t anything new to the genre it works perfectly fine and feels solid enough. The only interesting ability in combat comes from Imagine Mode, where after filling a circular bar players can empower a character altering their appearance and some of their stats. You’ll come to rely on this when in some of the boss fights as a quicker means to doing heavy damage.
The main issues with combat, though, comes in the form of repetition and difficulty. Akiba’s Beat is extremely repetitive and that’s after only a few hours of battles with lesser enemies. Even bosses boil down to using all of your special abilities just to do mass amounts of damage. If you want a little more difficulty out of Akiba’s Beat, you’ll want to ramp up the difficulty to hard or higher. Though maybe you would rather just breeze through the game to be honest.
Honestly, the weakest concept of Akiba’s Beat is just wandering around the lifeless Akihabara. Despite the amount of references in terms of real life locals of Akihabara, none can be engaged with unless story specific, and unlike Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed, you won’t find any movies or anime shorts playing on giant monitors. Even odder is the fact that all NPCs are either colored silhouettes when not story specific or just forgettable. It’s a shame that we have to keep comparing Akiba’s Beat to Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed, but the latter felt more alive thanks to having characters with design and reason roaming around.
Sound wise, Akiba’s Beat is definitely hit and miss. In game music works for the most part, especially during Imagine Mode, but otherwise is forgettable. Voice acting for both English and Japanese is very strong for Akiba’s Beat, boasting voice actors such as Chris Patton and Erica Mendez or Seiyuu such as Toshiki Masuda and Azusa Tadokoro who voice Asahi and Saki respectably. Both casts do full dialogue for Akiba’s Beat and luckily it’s handled by such great voice actors and actresses. Though hearing any of the cast saying to save or there is treasure nearby gets incredibly old very fast.
Finally let us discuss the visuals of Akiba’s Trip. While the main characters such as Asahi and Saki, or even the later few that join, look impressive, the overall designs of the Delusionscapes, enemies ,and environments in general are bland and feel uninspired. Akihabara in real life is a visual beauty and in comparison, Akiba’s Trip version feels lackluster and lifeless. The animations though during the dialogue is nice and pleasant giving them a real feel. Overall Akiba’s Trip isn’t unpleasant to look at, but it won’t be winning any awards in the graphics department.
Akiba’s Beat feels like a dumbed down version of Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed despite being a sequel. Overly simple mechanics and RPG elements means most can easily pick this up and play which allows for a wide range of players. However, for those who are more versed in the action RPG genre, they will find that Akiba’s Beat is overly simple. While it was fun to listen to the various characters conversing with one another, the story never had us feeling invested. There are some obvious twists and a few moments of clever ideas, but in the end none of them felt very unique in comparison to Akiba’s Trip Undead and Undressed. If you speed through Akiba’s Beat and don’t do any of the sub missions the game can take you anywhere from 40-45 hours, with side quests, which aren’t usually complicated, roughly 60+ hours. However, unlike its predecessor, Akiba’s Beat doesn’t have multiple endings so one playthrough will be enough for most.
Unfortunately, Akiba’s Beat tried too hard to remove itself from its predecessor. While there are some interesting ideas, the story and the characters are as bland and as lifeless as Akiba’s Beat version of Akihabara. The gameplay works at a very simple level and the characters do have some funny personalities, though at times are a little too cliché. If you really love the Tales games, you’ll enjoy the very similar combat and gameplay elements of Akiba’s Beat. Feel free to comment below your thoughts as we at Honey’s Anime would love to hear them and be sure to stick around for more video game reviews.