Akiba's Beat - PS4 Review

From the same people that brought us Akiba’s Trip, a game about pantsing vampires, we now get something completely different. Acquire has moved away from the pantsing scene, and vampires, and has moved into more traditional JRPG territory. While I’m always glad to see companies try something new without resorting to bank on a style without adding anything, this change is much more bland and mediocre, much to my chagrin.

Akiba’s Beat follows the life of Asahi Tachibana, a youth living in Akihabara after dropping out of college, and he refuses to leave his room if it can be helped at all, except to meet with his best friend Mizuki Aihara. One night some stuff happens, and Asahi runs into Saki Hoshino, and discovers a supernatural world of delusions manifesting themselves as real world phenomena. Cue an ever repeating Sunday while Asahi and his ever growing band of compatriots try and fix the repeating Sunday, and every other delusion that pops up.

Eventually they uncover a conspiracy, an underground freedom fighter force, a black market dealer, and many a maid. The story in general is an interesting look into how people can let their delusions run wild, and the effects these delusions can have on a person, whether good or bad. Unfortunately, the delivery is rather poor, most of the time. While there were some interesting moments, most of the actual storyline, or at least the core concepts, were ridiculously stereotypical, at least until the very end of the game. In fact, the only delusion that I really found interesting was the concept tied to the bonus dungeon, and that whole experience was rather…painful.

On the plus side, pretty much every character that appears not as a neon silhouette outline has a unique personality, and playable characters are all very diverse, in weapons, fighting styles, and personalities. You’ll be hearing a lot from these characters, so it’s a good thing they’re as varied as they are. The support characters, on the other hand, are about as pacifying as a live lobster pinching your nipples.

Basically, any character who doesn’t have the ability to “fight delusions”, but is still able to recognize their existence, will generally be able to follow you around in the real world/delusions/battle, with only providing voice tags that are so overused and unnecessary that I actually wanted to stop having them around, despite the fact that they give you battle bonuses. I’ll exempt the post-game characters as they’re more interesting, but they were certainly toting the line. Except Acquire-chan, she can stay, for no other reason than one beautiful line she has: “let’s do the item shop shuffle. Cry, wallet, cry”.

So how does the actual combat fare in Akiba’s Beat? Well, it’s there, I guess. It’s incredibly standard action RPG format, and if you’ve played any of the Tales games, you probably know everything you need to already. You can smack enemies on the field to initiate a free movement battle, where you can slap the enemies with combos based on direction held, and you can use skills assigned to a direction held plus the skill button. The only “novel” thing about the combat is the music based “over-limit” that you can do once you’ve built up a gauge, which is also the only way to use each characters ultimate move.

In retrospect, this is pretty much a Tales combat system, just with more music and less intuitive combos and skills. On the positive side, there are a lot of music tracks, which can be selected as either longer or shorter versions, depending on how long you want to spend in the over-limit like state, and I personally like almost all the tracks, which is great considering how often you’ll probably be listening to them. Once you get about halfway into the game, and least for me, about half of the enemies and all the bosses become glorified damage sponges, that aren’t difficult at all, just stupidly time consuming.

If you wanted to know why I hated the bonus dungeon, this reason right here. The final fight took me about twenty minutes longer than I would have been comfortable with. It’s really not a good sign when you’re more frustrated with how long a boss is taking than the beat down you’re receiving. If it weren’t for the decent and varied music from going into over-limit, I would’ve thrown something through my TV. The dungeons start to become just as frustrating as well, especially when you have to go back through a bunch of them and all the enemies give 10 exp when you need 50 000 to level. Please, just add a quick jump command for cleared dungeons.

Despite how much I’ve just griped about the game, it wasn’t exactly bad, just extremely mediocre. If Akiba’s beat was the David Hasselhoff, then Akiba’s beat was Jeremy Jackson. Because let’s be honest, everyone will remember Hasselhoff from Baywatch, but how many people remember Jackson? Akiba’s Beat was completely overshadowed by it’s predecessor, but still functions as a complete and solid game, albeit an extremely mediocre one.

All the playable characters had their own unique battle styles, and I had fun playing as any of them, nothing is missable in the game, as you can always continue side-quests or go back to dungeons to pick stuff up, and there is a neat collectable card system, where you can buy card packs with in-game currency that will have two effects, and depending on which of the two slots available you equip it in, that’s the effect you get. Screw getting all the cards for that trophy though. Yes I did get the platinum, and yes, RNGeesus was mean to me with the card collection.

Graphics are ok at best, weird at worst, and there’s only about eight or nine enemy polygons, and everything else is just palette swaps and nothing more. I gotta say though, getting the requirements for the true ending were some of the saddest things I’ve had to do to get a true ending in quite a while. I mean, most of them were pretty sad, but there was one that just felt like a serious kick in the pants for me.

All in all, I can’t call Akiba’s beat good, I can’t call it bad. It’s like that one guy at the party that’s always in the corner: as long as he doesn’t do something stupid, no one really cares if he’s there or not. If Akiba’s Beat was supposed to be a “proof of concept” sort of deal to indicate Acquire could make a standard RPG, congrats, they’ve succeeded, but more than anything I want to yell at someone to give me their pants again. Acquire has a lot of potential, so let’s hope they realize it more often.

Game Information

Sony PlayStation 4
Xseed Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation Vita


Article by Richard


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