Akiba’s Trip is one of the few whacky Japanese games that ten years ago we would of assumed would never make it across seas. But thanks to the team at NIS, the game has been lovingly localized for European audiences. The downside to bringing these strange Japanese RPGs is that they aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and Akiba’s Trip may be the hardest game to sell to a mass market. Akiba’s Trip is a free roam RPG that involves running around Japan attacking and stripping vampires. Yep, it’s one of those games.
Trying to explain Akiba’s Trip to someone who is new to Japanese culture is like trying to explain quantum physics to a four year old, no matter how you phrase it people are going to stare at you.
Taking place in Akihabara, the heart of all things otaku, you take on the role of a young man who has recently been turned into a vampire. There are perks to being a vampire, such as superhuman strength, but there’s also the major drawback of not being able to go out in the day. To remedy this, vampires wear clothes that (somehow) allow them to move freely in sunlight.
The main character resents the fact he didn’t choose to be a vampire, and after making his escape from the vampire stronghold with the help of a strange female companion, begins a quest to defeat the vampire menace by any means necessary. And by that, I mean stripping every vampire he sees.
Akiba’s Trip’s story is as bonkers as you would expect a game of this calibre to be, and it freely admits its stupidity with open arms and a goofy smile. You know a game is goofy when the main character can cross dress as a magical girl who beats people up with a computer monitor, and yet it does it all with such majesty that all you can do is laugh as you falcon punch a man’s shirt off his back.
The biggest and perhaps most controversial aspect to Akiba’s Trip is that you must strip enemies to defeat them. After beating up an enemy using a high, mid, low attack system you have to hold down a corresponding button to tear away part of their clothing. This starts off as a simple and sluggish battle system, but as more complex aspects are slowly introduced such as chaining and super moves, the combat starts to feel more like a puzzle on how to execute the most effective combo that would award the most exp.
The battle system is fun and engaging, but understandably many people are going to have trouble getting over the fact you openly take off peoples clothing.
In the west, while nudity is more openly accepted than many other cultures, the concept of forcibly taking away the cloths of another, no matter their gender, is considered a major crime and is slightly creepy. To the general public, having a game openly advertise and encourage this behaviour would be seen as despicable and offensive to pretty much everyone.
However if you can look past the fact you rip off girls skirts and guys shirts, and if you can get past the boob jiggle physics that make no logical sense, you’ll be surprised to find that Akiba’s Trip isn’t all about the stripping. It’s about exploring a virtual recreation of Akihabara and exploring somewhere that many people in the west could only dream of visiting.
Akiba’s Trip is not a game for everyone. Many will dislike it’s simplistic and sometimes repetitious gameplay, and most will have trouble with the fact you remove items of clothing to display naked bodies. But if you love Japanese culture, enjoy your anime references, and don’t mind a little bit of over the top nudity here or there, then you’ll find yourself having a jolly good time beating the life out of vampires on the streets of Akihabara in Akiba’s Trip.
Should you play Akiba’s Trip?
Thanks to NIS for supplying a review code