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Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed finally arrives on the PlayStation 4 this week, bringing XSEED Games and Acquire’s bizarre mix of RPG and brawler to Sony’s newest home console. But launching on the PlayStation 3 and Vita just a couple of months ago, is this latest trip to the land of all things otaku worth making?
Akiba’s Trip is a tricky game to put into words. It’s set in the legendary Akihabara district of Japan, known for being the hub of all your most nerdy desires including anime, manga, video games, electronics, themed restaurants and more.
The district is under siege by creatures known as Synthisters, vampire-like baddies who feed off of folks’ will to go out and be social. In other words, they’re responsible for turning normal nerds into the slightly more creepy, reclusive types.
You play as a character who has just been turned into a Synthister himself but, thanks to a little intervention from a mysterious girl, you don’t suffer the evil tendencies to suck the life force from random strangers. Instead, you and your group of besties decide it’s time to take out the trash, meaning an all-out war on the Synthister race.
In order to do that, you’re going to have to expose their skin to sunlight which, of course, means pulling off their various garments through over-the-top fisticuffs. You’ll use all manner of weapons (bats, computer monitors, capsule machines…everything.) to get the job done, teaming up with your friends along the way to thin out the evil herd.
In the meantime, you’ll constantly be taking on side missions, exploring the in-game social media for well-written story filler and decking your character out in the best duds possible. There’s a decent amount of fringe content to keep you occupied outside of the storyline, but don’t expect to sink dozens upon dozens of hours into this light RPG romp.
Akiba’s Trip is a game that never takes itself too seriously and does a great job of celebrating all things otaku, as I mentioned in my earlier review of the PS3/Vita version of the game. For a more in-depth look at the game’s story, mechanics and core content, I’d suggest giving that article a gander. There’s no point in me rehashing everything here, since we’re basically talking about the same game on a different console. Instead, I’ll go over the handful of changes that do surface in the PS4 version, which can’t be experienced on the older platforms.
For starters, I took on Akiba’s Trip the first time in its native Japanese language. The PS4 version still has that option available for purists but, for a change of pace, I decided to run the game in English this time around. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I’m not a VO snob who can’t deal with English voices in Japanese games, but I also won’t pretend that said voices don’t often pale in comparison to the original. Most of the English voice cast is great, adding plenty of character to the already great script.
Otherwise, the PS4 version of Undead & Undressed offers up three major changes, the first of which is the Visual Editor. From your in-game phone, you can now change how the game looks on your screen, tweaking colors and effect, thickening lines and more. Honestly, the “enhanced graphics” of the PS4 version aren’t going to turn any heads, but this mode gives you the option to have a little fun with the basic look of the game, turning it full-on manga if you feel so inclined.
The second major addition is viewer interaction while streaming. I spent a couple of nights taking this mode for a spin and had a lot of fun fighting off Synthisters with the help (or hinderance) of those watching. Viewers can trigger random fights, call in the police, send assistance or even trigger the game’s most powerful and flashy moves, Unison attacks. Since Akiba’s Trip is all about ripping clothes off of baddies, there’s even a command to make a random pair of undies fly off of a nearby character, or make a tornado of tighty-whities pop up on the screen. Obviously, the bizarre nature of the game attracted quite a few more viewers than I expected, as I constantly found myself answering the question “What the hell is this?!”
Finally, and perhaps the best reason to upgrade to the PS4 version of the game for returning Freedom Fighters, is the Toybox Mode. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran, this mode is available from the opening moments of the game, giving you access to a version of Akiba’s Trip that starts you off with one of every item. From weapons to clothing, you’ll be able to mix and match to your heart’s content, but at the cost of not being able to unlock Trophies or other rewards. If you just want to go crazy in Akiba, it’s a great new way to dive into the game. It’s also perfectly suited to the streaming interactions, in case you don’t want viewers interfering with your more “serious” run through the campaign.
In short, everything I liked about Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is present and accounted for, along with a couple extra bells and whistles to sweeten the transition to the PlayStation 4. While the game isn’t going to win any beauty pageants among the console heavy-hitters, I’m a fan of the anime-inspired visuals and the ridiculous attention to detail in recreating Akihabara in-game. Unfortunately, the constant load screens between small sections of map are still present and, while the fan service is extremely mild and inoffensive in comparison to other titles, I totally understand players being turned off by the idea of yanking the clothes off of their enemies.
Akiba’s Trip on the PS4 is a solid conversion with a few extra goodies to warrant the upgrade. If you really loved the game on the PS3 or Vita, then you might get some extra mileage out of the streaming features and especially the Toybox mode. For newcomers who haven’t yet taken the plunge, this is the best version of the game on the market.
This review based on a PS4 retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Vita
Publisher: XSEED Games