My one and solely journey to Japan came about in 2000, after I made the trek with my highschool Japanese language class for ten wonderful days, exploring the intense neon-lit streets of Fukuoka, the farming and coastal communities of Shimabara, and the industrial-meets-city life city of Sasebo. I’ve very fond recollections of my journey and proceed to save lots of and put together for a return journey to the southernmost a part of Japan in some unspecified time in the future. However, I even have each intention of constructing my approach via the remainder of the island in order that I can go to different locations like Osaka, Kyoto, Nagano, and, in fact, Tokyo.
Ah, Tokyo. I’ve all the time dreamed of visiting the town that, to me, looks like heaven on Earth. I’ve even just lately gone as far as to attempt to get a style of the Tokyo metropolis expertise by taking part in video games which might be primarily based in Japan. So, you possibly can think about my delight after I was provided the chance to take a look at the remastered Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed for its tenth anniversary – to not point out its official launch within the West. Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed isn’t your typical remaster – that is not at all on the extent of titles resembling Resident Evil 2 Remake. Although the game has its moments of frustration and arguably appears like a product of its time, Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is an pleasing expertise that takes you thru the streets of Akihabara, circa-2011. TLDR: my nostalgic jet-setting Japanese coronary heart is completely satisfied.
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is technically a brand-new game that has been remastered and launched for a Western viewers. The authentic game – referred to as Akiba’s Trip Plus in Japan – was initially launched in May 2011 for the PSP, making Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed a close to must-have for followers of the sequence. Can you play the game as a brand new participant to the franchise? Speaking as somebody who had by no means performed an Akiba’s Trip game earlier than, I can affirm that there actually is not any barrier to entry to diving proper into Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed. Just be sure to know getting into that the game’s title is – in fairly literal phrases – telling you what kind of game you’re about to play.
In phrases of the game’s story, you’re a newcomer to Akihabara, generally known as an otaku paradise. Trendy retailers line up aspect by aspect, attractive anybody who passes by to peek in and see what materials treasures await inside. Rather than it being a pleasure journey, nevertheless, your customizable character is thrown into the fray just about instantly, discovering themselves on the dropping finish of a brutal encounter with a vampire-like humanoid. Eventually, you’re contracted to work with NIRO, a secret company tasked with taking out these demons that stroll among the many remainder of the inhabitants disguised as dwelling, respiration human beings. And how precisely are you to rid the world of those monsters? Why, by stripping off the garments that they’re sporting, in fact.
The aptly titled Akiba’s Trip sequence has maintained a deal with “strip-combat” mechanics, and Hellbound & Debriefed is not any exception. You’re in a position to determine demons by utilizing your cell system, which usually leads to a hand-to-hand brawl the place your essential purpose is to strip your entire opponent’s garments off earlier than they do the identical to you first – which successfully leads to a game over.
The trick is to put on your opponent down by hitting and kicking them, or smacking them with a wide range of random weapons (the loaf of bread being my private favourite weaponized merchandise). Once they take sufficient punishment, you possibly can seize an article of clothes and rip it off of them, which turns into all of the extra satisfying whenever you acquire the flexibility to string strips collectively in a mixture of button-hitting quick-time occasions.
The combos are positively the very best a part of the fight system, which regularly feels extremely clunky. Hitbox inconsistencies, tough digital camera angles, no lock-on system… all of it provides as much as a considerably irritating expertise, made much more irritating by the sheer quantity of combating that you just’ll be doing within the game. Perhaps probably the most irritating half, although, is taking up a number of enemies without delay. The size of those encounters could be exhausting, particularly whenever you’ve been slain (stripped?) by the identical group of enemies a handful of occasions already. Eventually, you’ll work out one of the simplest ways to method every state of affairs. It simply would possibly take you a number of tries (or extra) to get there.
Aside from any fight woes, Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is a enjoyable romp via 2011 Japan – made all of the extra nostalgic due to the game’s graphics. As I mentioned, this isn’t the everyday high-caliber remake that the majority gamers have come to anticipate. It appears advantageous for what it’s, however it nonetheless appears and appears like a step above a PSP or PS2 game. But you recognize what? It works. Maybe it’s the truth that the setting options the entire shops and surroundings that had been current in Akihabara in 2011, however there’s a snug, simplistic, and nostalgic feeling that programs via the streets and alleyways of Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed. I’m a sucker for these sorts of old-school, retro video games, and Hellbound & Debriefed is a stable entry into that class.
There’s a ton of depth to the game’s RPG component as effectively, permitting you to construct up your character with particular abilities, outrageous outfits and different beauty objects, in addition to steer the route of the relationships you keep with NPCs, which finally impacts the result of the game.
There’s quite a bit to like in Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, whether or not you’re a veteran or newcomer to the sequence. It appears and performs very like the video games of yesteryear, however that’s what provides it a lot of its attraction. You can positively add Akihabara to my checklist of spots to go to after I lastly make my approach again to Japan. I’m no vampire demon, however maybe I’ll put on an additional layer or two. You know, simply in case.
A PS4 copy of Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed was supplied to TheGamer for this evaluation. Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed will probably be out there on PS4 and Nintendo Switch on July 23.
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