By Steve Baltimore / July 20th, 2021
|Title||Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed|
|Release Date||July 20th, 2021|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, PC, Switch|
Back in 2014, XSEED Games brought us a treat from Japan called Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed. This was one crazy time in Akihabara defeating vampires in the best way possible, stripping them! This was actually the second game in the franchise. The series is back for another round of clothes ripping mayhem with Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed. This is a remaster of the PSP classic that got the series off the ground in Japan. I’ve spent quite a few hours with this one, so let’s see if it’s as much fun as the previous release.
Our story begins as the protagonist is worried about a friend that has been missing for a while. They decide to head down to Akihabara to see if they can find out what happened to them, when they are suddenly attacked. This creature seems human but has unnatural strength. Our hero is saved by a young woman that gives them some of her blood. You then wake up in a room almost naked, being interrogated by a couple of very official looking folks. They tell you that it was a vampire that attacked you, and ask you to join their group to fight back against these horrible creatures of the night. You agree to help them out, but you may soon find that things are not exactly as they seem.
I always love a good story where the player’s choice has a big outcome on the ending. Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed very much delivers in this area. Based on the choices you make throughout the story, there are three different story paths you can end up on. Each one plays a bit differently, and you carry over some of your gear and such from previous playthroughs to help get all of the crazy items and costumes the game has to offer. Needless to say, that gives the game a ton of replay value.
Overall, I think Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed looks pretty good graphically. The characters are nicely detailed, there are a ton of different outfits and equipment to find, each with unique looks, and the CG and animated cut scenes are all nicely done. The environments are OK for the most part, but the lower resolution textures on some of the signs really stand out like a sore thumb. This breaks the player’s immersion a bit, but this isn’t a deal breaker for sure.
The music here is good for the most part, but there isn’t much in the way of music while you are just walking around the streets. The tunes will start as soon as combat begins, and all the combat themes here are excellent. These are heart pumping metal tunes perfect to kick ass with! There are plenty of tunes here to help the story have more emotional impact, and even an in-game concert. The game comes with an English dub or you can stick with the standard Japanese audio with subtitles. Both do a great job with the characters, so you can’t go wrong with either.
Gamers that have played Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed will feel right at home with the gameplay here. Just like in the previous titles, you will take on missions from the various factions in Akihabara and go around the city completing them. Most of these will have you stripping many vampires down to their undies so they can meet their end. That’s right, the best way to kill a vampire in this world is to expose their skin to sunlight and watch them fry! While this sounds simple, combat is more involved here than most folks would think at first glance.
In combat, there are three different areas on an enemy you can target: head, body or legs. As you attack each one, the article of clothing on that part will take damage. If you inflict a ton of damage on an article of clothing, it will simply burst, but most things take a ton of hits before this happens, making this not a very effective way of stripping your foes. The best way is to attempt to tear off the clothing. You can do this pretty easily, but you will still have to inflict heavy damage on some things. If you have not bought books that tell you how to remove these clothes, they will simply tear, but if you have trained yourself in the art of stripping, they will be yours to keep.
You may think there is not a lot of depth to the combat here, and while it’s not complex, there is still a good amount of meat here. As you level up, complete certain quests, or purchase combat books, you will gain new moves and skills to aid you in combat. Most of the new moves just give you access to bigger combo attacks, but these are very helpful when taking on groups of foes. Just like in the last game, you can get worked over by two or three enemies at once very easily. This will seem very unfair at first, but with some upgrades to your skills and gear, you’ll be able lay waste to anyone in your path very soon.
Akiba’s Trip is still one of the most unique franchises in gaming. I mean, what other game can you pick up a crazy weapon like a rice cooker, beat down a vampire with it, and then strip their clothing? This may sound crazy, but it’s just a ton of fun. The story is great no matter which path you choose, and it took me around 28 hours to complete all three of them. There are still some sidequests and items I need to collect to have 100% of everything. There are some annoying bits of combat and some muddy textures, but these are very minor flaws. If you were a fan of the previous release, you should definitely pick this one up. You’ll find more of what you love here at the $39.99 price tag. If you are new to the series, this is a great place to jump in, since this is technically the first title in the franchise.
Game copy provided by the publisher.
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