Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed - PS4 Review

Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed by developer Acquire Corp. and publishers Marvelous and XSEED GamesPlayStation 4 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Akihabara, Akiba for short, is considered by many to be the centre of modern Japanese popular culture and a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, electronics and computer-related goods. Icons from popular anime and manga are displayed prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés and some arcades are found throughout the district (Wikipedia). So with all of that as a potential setting for vampires, otakus, cross dressing and stripping techniques, good luck explaining what you're playing to a normal person!

I want to start this off by mentioning that both me and Richard had no idea that "this" title even existed. I own the sequel that we thought was the first Akiba's Trip, Undead and Undressed for the PS3, PS4 and the Vita as well as Akiba's Beat, but Hellbound & Debriefed? It only clued in that this was not new content about fifteen minutes in as I wasn't seeing the same elements that I expected to find.

So with that, I had a little bit of a dilemma while trying to figure out exactly how to review this original entry into the series. Originally released solely in Japan for the Sony PSP this is the first time that it's seeing a localization but as it's coming after its sequel, and years after that mind you, there constantly felt like there were elements lacking BUT, knowing that it came first and that it was going to be the first, seeing the roadmap and having a better idea of how the elements of the sequel came to be was interesting.

So the big question. Worth playing? Yes but more for the novelty than anything else. The reason for this is that if you've played the sequel, one, twice, three times depending on the platform and PSNow, you've essentially played what will feel like a less complete version of Undead and Undressed. Where things may be interesting is that while it is the first title and while it may feel like the same story, there are a few small interesting spins on the content which were nice to experience.

Breaking into the nitty gritty though, Akiba's Trip, probably better known and pronounced as Akiba Strip, is the story about quasi vampires invading Akihabara and the only thing truly standing between the humans and their demise, is you. An Otaku of varying amounts depending on your dialog choices, you'll soon be leveling up as you learn a few moves to help you brawl your way through the back streets all while removing the clothes off anyone that gets in your way.

So due to the quasi nature of these vampires, and you now finding yourself as one, you can like Marvel's Blade walk out in the sun as long as you've covered up. Lose your clothes and you die as the light of the sun will burn you alive. Applying to your enemies just as much, you'll have to learn your high, medium and low attack patterns to be able to either shred the clothes off of your opponent or be able to move easily, pull it off and potentially use it yourself.

There's no avoiding it, glossing over it, or even hiding behind something else against it, it's ridiculous. It's also not really something most people will want to play around other people as you are stripping them down to their underwear so generally playing in the living room is out depending on the household composition. It's not "bad" per say and there's no real gratuity, but you are tearing the clothes off of other people while running around Akiba so you may just want to pay attention to who's around or where your TV is pointing. Unless you want to traumatize your neighbors!

Mechanically, Hellbound & Debriefed does feel a bit clunky at times when you're trying to move around or shift to better attack your opponents. Launching attacks to grab can also just not work or work when you want them too as they are all mapped to your actual attack buttons and often you'll find yourself swinging a punch instead of launching a grab. After the sequel, there's also the issue with trying to pick fights with some people that you are never told that if you haven't bought the manual on how to strip them down, because who doesn't like a classy suit? You need to buy a book first!

Graphically though, it's made a decent tradition over to the PS4. The text is easily to read, the type of models are easy to distinguish, but following on the clunkymess are that the menu interfaces that don't allow you to either change clothes or save while in a map. They have to be done on the world map but there's never a prompt to tell you this so that took a while to figure out as my "closet" was only getting bigger. It's a bit of a pain down the line as you would like to be able to more easily swap out, sell, or upgrade certain prices while doing away with others without having to go back to the main map.


So overall, Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is going to most likely find itself as more of a novelty experience than one that draws new fans to the series being the precursor to Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed. It's not a bad brawler or beat 'em up, but it does show its age in its mechanics especially when compared to its sequel that we've had our hands on for much longer.

Score: 6 / 10



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