Have you ever felt like assaulting someone in the street and forcibly removing their clothes for all to see? Well, if you would prefer to stay out of jail, this game provides an excellent alternative.
Let me give you one example of what kind of thing happens in this game. While running down the street, I pushed a random passerby out of the way. As any normal person would, she got pissed and started fighting me. So, as any normal person would, I beat the crap out of her and ripped her clothes off. I do not support this kind of behavior in the real world, but in a video game it’s awesome!
This game’s ridiculous concept – stripping pseudo-vampires so that they’re killed by sunlight – caught my attention right off the bat. Along with the actual gameplay, another integral part of the game is the setting, Akihabara (also known as Akiba). Akihabara is a part of Tokyo famous for its electronics stores and heavy focus on “otaku” culture (anime and video game stores, maid cafes, idol shows, etc).
Now that I’ve sunk a bit of time into the game, it is safe to say that this was completely worth every penny.
The game begins with the protagonist (named Jebediah, as is tradition) trapped in a shady basement after applying to a part-time job where he would be compensated with rare figurines. He is told of his predicament, that he has been changed into a “synthister,” which is basically a vampire without a thirst for blood. After being saved by a mysterious pretty young anime girl, he escapes and returns to join the Akiba Freedom Fighters, a group of people who aim to keep Akihabara safe. Because of an increase in synthister activity, the AFF work to find the source of the issue and keep Akiba’s people safe from harm.
As a whole, the story isn’t anything amazing. The individual parts, however, are pretty nifty. Besides the obvious forced stripping, the player can explore Akihabara, visiting storefronts of many major chains such as Animate, Gamers, Sofmap, and Kotobukiya. In addition, you can actually receive advertisements for actual stores in Akihabara. So if you ever get the chance to visit Tokyo, keep those names in mind!
Along with advertisements for stores, there are plenty of other tie-ins – advertisements for Conception II, Mind Zero, Disgaea 4, Super Sonico, and more can be seen at various points.
A bit strangely, a lot of the text in the game was left in Japanese. For example, all of the ads, loading screens, and a few other details were left completely untouched for the localization. So, if you can’t read any Japanese, you’ll probably be a bit clueless on what some of the ads are for. If you want to, you can even change all the game’s text and audio to Japanese (the English dub’s not too bad though).
Much of the game parodies Akihabara and otaku culture, mainly through the various side missions. One example is a request to break up a strike by “AKW48” (despite the AKB48 Cafe being included in the game, they still changed the name of the group for this mission). Basically, a generic otaku is disgruntled by AKW48’s decreased productivity and wants the protagonist to knock some sense into them. So, to complete the mission, you have to beat up and strip all 48 members of the group. At least it’s not actually AKB48, because they have 140 members.
The battle system is pretty simple on the surface – triangle targets the head (headphones, headdresses, hats, etc), circle targets the abdomen (shirts, jackets, dresses, etc), and cross/X targets the legs (pants, shorts, skirts, etc). Once an enemy has been completely stripped to their skivvies and shoes, they either perish from the sunlight or (in the case of normal people) cover themselves and run away screaming. It is possible to remove everything, but it is a rare opportunity and the enemies are covered by bright white light, masking all of the naughty bits. There are several other mechanics included in the fighting, such as guarding, countering, and unified stripping, but those are not introduced right at the onset.
The coolest part about the stripping is something that comes a bit later in the game. As rewards for completing specific missions, you receive items that can change your “battle style.” In practice, this changes the final stripping animation. So, depending on which item you have equipped, you’ll be able to literally suplex someone’s shirt off, telepathically remove their pants, or tear off their clothes in the extremely exaggerated style of a typical battle manga character.
The game is also a bit of an RPG, so you can change and upgrade your clothing and makeshift weapons. After reaching a certain point, you’ll be able to change your partners’ outfits too, so you can dress them up in maid costumes, suits, or whatever else suits your fancy.
Unfortunately, you are not able to change their underwear until a second playthrough, as they will all give you a witty remark if you try to do so. Something like “What are you looking at?” or “Today is very hot.”
One of the other advantages of a second playthrough is that you can change your character model and carry over all of your equipment and stats. Let me just say that it is hilarious to watch Tohko (ponytail girl) pelvic thrust the air while wearing a maid outfit and telepathically removing the enemy’s clothing. Her default underwear is also blue striped panties. 10 out of 10.
While the game is overflowing with craziness, here are some of the more interesting things that happen – I ran around like a zombie, I made my partner run around like a mime, I took part in an Anchorman-style brawl, I watched my partner slap a guy while I was being accosted by an “artlien,” I may or may not have commanded my little sister to strip, and I joined the cult of the Lord STRP. You can join too for the low price of 50,000 yen, which will be used to support the Lord’s work. Additional member bonuses will be available for an additional 30,000 – keep this in mind!
The word “brotagonist” was used at one point in the game, so I am going to take full credit for inventing that word. Brotosaurus, brody, brotographer, brototype, brobocop, brobro, and many other similarly painful puns were also included.
According to the interwebs, there are nine different endings to the game depending on decisions you make and who you choose to partner with most. Unfortunately, I believe I only got the default one on my first run, so I’m going to have to try for something different next time.
Altogether, Akiba’s Trip is one of the most ridiculous games I have ever played, but it is definitely worth it.
Recommendation – If the concept sounds appealing at all, definitely try it out. While it is available for PS3 (and PS4 somewhat later in the year), I feel that this kind of game is better on the Vita. Regardless of your console of choice, the game will be just as enjoyable.
As someone who’s been to Akihabara, it was cool to see the same stores and arcades that actually line the streets. Unfortunately, the game isn’t as open as I would like, so you can’t actually walk around in stores or wander as aimlessly as I did, nor can you wreck the UFO catcher like I did last summer. And there is no Dr. Pepper in the game, so it’s an insufficient representation of Akiba.
And of course, the stripping is awesome. When people argue that video games are a form of art, I’m going to agree with them. And this game will be the proof.
At least the game’s a lot cheaper than a flight to Japan.
This doesn’t count as one of my “reviews” from that poll. I’ll be doing Sword Art Online eventually, and then probably Disgaea 4 or Conception II. Maybe.