Westerners can finally experience Akiba’s Trip Plus with this Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed, a modern remake of the PSP classic.
The 2012 Japanese-exclusive Akiba’s Trip Plus for PSP has finally been gifted to us in the West so that we can experience all that the ultra-cool Akihabara district in Tokyo has to offer.
The game starts with half-dead in an alleyway after being beaten to a pulp by a Shadow Soul – the vampires of the game. When he’s just about to finish you off his sister stops him and you are saved. Well not really, you’re still dying until this same girl gives you some of her blood through a kiss.
After passing out on the ground, your friends find you. They’re not alone though. They’re in the company of a mystery lady who takes you to her facility.
When you finally come around, you find yourself strapped to a chair in a cell, almost completely naked, save for your undies. Your captors reveal that they are part of something called NIRO and are trying to kill the Shadow Souls. They also share that you are now half-Shadow Soul and half-human after your little ruckus, and you’re given the opportunity to join the fight. Though this isn’t really a choice, because if you don’t agree, they’ll leave you to burn in the sun. How lovely…
Although you don’t have a choice in joining the fight or not, the rest of Akiba’s Trip is filled with options throughout the countless hours of dialogue. One of the main choices you have is who you wish to side with. Will you stick with NIRO? Will you jump ship and help the Shadow Souls? Or maybe you’ll create a team all of your own. These choices will lead to entirely different dialogue as well as different endings. I won’t tell you which ending I got as it will spoil the surprise.
Minus the funny and equally questionable main story, I can’t say that there were many memorable side quests. I did take the time to complete some of them, but most of them were very samey. All this did was give me more money as well as boost the opinion of the faction that gave the quest.
This didn’t change much. However, I did notice that by building favour with the people of the city I was mugged less by youths which is always nice, I guess.
The game has some odd features. One example is paying my sister to dress in outfits. It felt very wrong to go and buy a cosplay school outfit and then demand my little sister who looks 15 to wear it for me. She charged 10,000 yen for this “show,” so at least the exploitation went both ways, not that a court of law would see it that way…
If you get bored of roaming Akihabara, which is modelled to look exactly as it did back in 2011, you can waste your Yen on some incredibly difficult mini-games. Stop by the arcade and try out the money-robbing claw machines or sit down for a meal as well as a game of rock-paper-scissors with your waitress at a maid café. It was great to take a break and just relax.
Akiba’s Trip has its own spin on combat in that it has you tearing the clothing off your attackers to beat them. Once you master the ancient art of stripping, your enemies will have no chance.
Although this sounds ridiculous, it’s not ridiculously easy. Combat in Akiba’s Trip is something I really struggled with as your character doesn’t lock on to the person you’re fighting. This meant I would go to hit someone and miss. It’s also a lot of button mashing to try and get hits in before the enemy does, or dodging while they barrage me with hits from their guitar.
I was only playing on casual difficulty and the game still felt incredibly hard. I’ve never played a game that was so unforgiving. It almost felt like Dark Souls, but instead of dodging some giant monster, I’m instead trying to rip the skirt off some Japanese Idol.
Although I enjoyed my time in Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, my biggest pet peeve was the lack of autosave. The only time you are allowed to save is when leaving an area, this got incredibly annoying as I had to remember to save otherwise all the progress I had made would be gone. There were also some enraging moments where I would be put against two incredibly hard bosses with no way to save in-between, this meant if I died on the second one I would have to get there again as well as go through all the dialogue.
Other than this, I enjoyed my adventures in Akiba’s Trip. The funny, weeb humour including the questionable and sometimes on the nose jokes, made experiencing the characters and the environment of Akihabara a time to be remembered – Plus I got to dress my character up as a magical witch, so can I really complain?
Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed, PS5, PS4 Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7/107/10
Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is a challenging experience filled with plenty of memorable moments. If you're a long-term fan of the Akiba franchise, you won't be disappointed. Just be warned: it will get weird.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS4.