The lights are on
Last September, I had the pleasure of visiting Japan for the first time. Akihabara was first on the list for places I needed to visit – the Electric Town is a goldmine for anime and video game culture. Even knowing the enthusiasm Japan has for those things didn’t prepare me for the fanfare and crowded streets and shops. Around every bend, everything imaginable from anime and video games surrounds you, like shirts, figurines, and arcade games. Seeing such fervor was refreshing and I can’t wait to go back one day; I truly was a kid in the candy store. Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed immediately piqued my interest, as it takes place in Akihabara with recreated shops and nods to the culture of the city, so during E3 I made sure to stop by Xseed’s booth to check it out.
Akiba’s Trip is one zany ride, and as a complete satire on otaku culture, everything is dialed up to eleven. It doesn’t take itself seriously which works to its benefit. After all, vampires are taking over Akihabara and your job is fight them, then strip them of their clothes, shirt and pants (undergarments stay on), in battle. The stripping angle might be too silly for some, but from what I saw it’s not as overtly sexual as many other Japanese games.
Akiba’s Trip is partner-focused, so you’ll recruit various characters and team up to take down vampires. These characters can help with special attacks, like a unison strip, and the more you use them in battle, the more your relationship improves. This plays into the four branching story paths, which result in two different endings. Multiple choice options determine which character and path you’re set on.
What’s most striking is that while Akiba’s Trip has plenty of silliness and over-the-top antics, it also has such an authenticity regarding Akihabara and the culture. Actual store flyers scatter across the city, video game theme songs blast through the streets, and real video games are on display. You can enter video game bars and even play fun arcade games like hardcore runners. One of the areas in the game is just outside the train station, and it was almost a carbon copy of what I saw my first trip to Tokyo.
I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard of Akiba’s Trip. Even now, I still don’t know what to think. The only thing I know is that I’m intrigued. I just love how it infuses the Japanese video game culture into it, and I enjoy that it doesn’t take itself seriously. Parodies aren’t always easy to pull off, but so far Akiba’s Trip proves its zaniness just might be its biggest weapon.
Akiba’s Trip support both English and Japanese audio and is on track to release this summer for PlayStation 3 and Vita.
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