Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PS3 Review)
Thankfully, as the video game market grows we get to see some of the stranger Japanese games, that in the past would have been regulated to a Japanese only release or PC adaptations, receive official translations and proper releases stateside. This particular game, Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed, is a game that will take many people who are unfamiliar with anime, anime fandom, and especially Tokyo’s Akihabara district, aback. At first glance to these people they may misinterpret the game as being either Akiba Strip, that crazy Japanese game where you have to strip people on the streets of some big city. This is unfortunate, because there is a very comedic and entertaining game that does an amazing job at replicating the personalities of classic anime archetypes and replicating areas of Akihabara.
In this game you play a protagonist, named Nanashi by default, who is an otaku high school student who spends the majority of his free time obsessing over anime, games, and various related items. He, along with a group of friends who collectively call themselves the Akiba Freedom Fighters, patrol the streets of Akiba helping those in need, but gather at the end of the day in the game bar MOGRA to plan their next activities. The game starts with your character tied down, having just received some kind of experimental drug, but you are quickly saved by a mysterious girl who explains that you have been turned into a creature, similar to a synthetic vampire called Synthisters. Because of this you must keep your clothes on at all times in daylight, and to fight off other Synthisters you must strip them down to their underwear.
What follows is an amusing game full of well-crafted dialogue, comedic moments, and references that will appeal to fans of anime, manga, and classic video games in general. While the battle system is easy to understand, one button to attack the head, one to attack the body, and one to attack the legs, it is the little details that keep the fighting from becoming stale. It is important to note that you are not actually hitting the person; rather, you are hitting and weakening their clothing. The use of special weapons, that I can only compare with Dead Rising in their insanity, and a range of special stripping moves that can be done when the time is right, is what prevents this game from becoming stale. Naturally, the combat comes off less like a fight to the death, and more like a slapstick routine, which is a very refreshing thing to see in a video game. The social interaction moments are also very enjoyable, and remind me of modern JRPG social interaction mechanics.
Personally, I was very amused to find places I visited in Akihabara in this game, such as Super Potato, the big Sega arcade with the odd slopes on the outside of the building, the big screen above the doors to Yodobashi-Akiba, the happy maids of the various maid cafes, and some of the various anime stores in the area. I laughed out loud, seeing some of the places that I had been in a video game. It was pretty interesting that one of the things you can do in the game is collect flyers from shop assistants, and when you view them in the collection many, if not all, are advertisements for actual stores in the area or other video games. They games that were advertised included Disgaea, Hyperdimension Neptunia, and Kaku-San-Sei Million Arthur, the latter of which is a free to play game from Square Enix.
This game is an example of why I have been fascinated with Xseed games, the group who brought this fun little game and many other games that might have been regulated to overseas markets to the US. Titles from XSeed may not break any major sales records, but they allow fans of niche video games to enjoy titles that deliver an “outside of the box” type of presentation. This game in particular is one worth finding and playing. Overall, it has the quality I believe a game should provide the player, fun! At a cost less than other new releases Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is a great game to pick up and play if you are looking for some good comedy that references anime, manga, and video games in a way that only a fan could understand.