It’s been a few years since the release of Akiba’s Trip on the PSP in 2011, and after a somewhat short wait, a sequel for PSVita and PS3 named ‘Akiba’s Trip 2’ finally got a release in November. Yet after a good months of ripping the clothes off vampires and conquering female heroines, is this game worthy enough to justify a purchase? (This review is spoiler free)
To start, where the game really stands out is in it’s choice of location. Not having had the chance to experience Akihabara for myself. I can’t completely comment on the accuracy of the game’s representation of Akihabara to the one in our world, apart from what I’ve seen of it on the web. Yet based on the game’s interpretation alone, this world is surrounded in character. Authentic billboards advertise DVD/Blu-ray releases such as Hyperdimension Neptunia (超次元ゲイム ネプテューヌ), music from Japanese artists echo from TV advertisements, colors pop from every corner of the city whether it be a backstreet or on a path along the road. The game also features some simple yet excellent BGM as you walk around the city and into what seems about 100 stores, featuring genres such as rap, pop and I may have even heard a little Vocaloid in there too. Put this altogether with some good graphics for the PSVita system, and it’s a thrill to walk anywhere, more so for those who have had the chance to see Akihabara for themselves. Considering the fact that it can feel a little sparse in places with only a few people on the screen at a time, it doesn’t take from the enjoyment of experiencing the world for yourself.
A broad range of many varying routes are also available all which play in very similar ways to a visual novel, leading to a clean, yet somewhat pleasing conclusion. There’s Touko Sagisaka (The Childhood friend), Shizuku Tokikaze (A Yagami Clan member), Shion Kasugai (The CEO of a pharmacy group), Nana (Your Sister) and Rin a famous Japanese idol/Shizuku’s sister who happens to be my personal favorite. These characters are probably one of the game’s greatest accomplishments, as initially it may seem to be a gathering of cliché characters to an anime series. However, give it time and the routes are an absolute pleasure to play through with a well balanced mix of cute, entertaining and hilarious characters. Especially when they are accompanied by the game’s fantastic art style. Alas, the routes don’t make a significant change to the main story’s conclusion or progression, but they do add a lot of charm to the point where I may have even shed a tear. Yet, the biggest let down is found in the game’s main story. Being somewhat mediocre, it feels like it was rushed and thought up in what could be a few days, making the game’s poor focus on story completely apparent. However, since Akiba’s Trip 2 is driven by gameplay, it’s no real surprise that the game’s major flaw is found here.
The combat in Akiba’s Trip 2 is a very entertaining aspect of the game. Making use of Triangle, Circle and Square to aim for different segments of the body. Landing hits on the targeted piece of clothing deteriorates it to the point where you can pull it right from their backs through a button slaming quick time event, forcing you to not just hit a single button to remove clothing but rather alternate between the three. You are also given the ability to strafe, block and counter attacks leading for even more variety and ways to approach encounters with enemies. Stripping one enemy can also give you the chance to perform a ‘Strip Combo’ if certain conditions are met, allowing you to strip items of clothing from multiple enemies in one sweep. However you usually aren’t alone in these fights, choosing a companion out of the 5 girls allows you to fight along side them, giving you the ability to launch a joint special attack against the enemy. Despite what is a good combat system. It’s does possess a minor issue solely from how easy combat becomes as you progress, powerful late game weapons allow you to make use of just the attack buttons rather than counter, block and strafe. Taking each piece of clothing away in a few hits. Nevertheless, the combat is great fun and large group fights of about 15 enemies are a blast.
For your average full game price tag, the game is packed with content. There are many pieces of clothing and weaponry to get your hands on, some more bizarre looking than others. For example you may use a computer keyboard to hit your enemies, but then again, why would you do that when you can strip them with a Nep-Nep pillow? Your sister Nana also substitutes for a item fuser, increasing the power and appearance of your items. There are also many side quests to complete, different character routes, miscellaneous collectibles and many secret unlockables all which have took me to just over 30 hours of game time.
Overall, while Akiba’s Trip 2 lacks a fully engrossing story and is possibly a little too easy on the difficulty side of things. Those who seek an accurate world, heroines to conquer, bizarre gameplay and own either a PS3 or PSVita should look no further. Just be warned that while you can play the game without knowledge of Japanese, I recommend at least some knowledge to get the most out of the experience.