Akiba’s Trip Playtest: Otaku And Vampires Intermingle In Akihabara

By Laura . July 4, 2011 . 3:02pm

The Kageyashi in Akiba’s Trip are no sparkling vampires. They’re a separate race of people (the characters go as far as to imply they’re a different species) who can only live with limited exposure to sunlight. They solve this problem by covering themselves up, dressing normally. This way, they can mingle with human society. If they’re stripped down to their undergarments in broad sunlight, though, they dissolve into ash and float away into the wind.

 

And now, you, as the protagonist, are now one of them.

 

Having been recently (and temporarily) turned by being made to drink the blood of a mysterious Kageyashi girl by the name of Rui Fumizuki, the protagonist is taken in by the secret organization NIRO — National Intelligence and Research Organization — to help fight the growing Kageyashi problem. While the drinking of the blood itself isn’t troubling, the after-effects of this act include lethargy and short-term sensitivity to sunlight, causing the victims to hole themselves up in their rooms.

 

Since the Kageyashi seem to be specifically targeting promising youngsters and productive people in companies while sneaking their own Kageyashi replacement workers in, NIRO is looking to put a halt to this “Hikkikomori Strategy” (the Kageyashi’s name for it, not theirs).

 

For a game taking place in a world of otaku and stalking cameramen, it’s a somewhat surprisingly serious story.

 

True to the title, Akiba’s Trip — or, alternatively, “Akiba Strip” — takes place in Akihabara. The heaviest impression I got of the game as a whole was the culture infused into the city. Everywhere you look, there are ads for everything from TV shows, anime, Famitsu, the idols “Double Bloody Princesses” and the game-specific anime “IT Witch Maria” to computer companies, blood donation centers, and websites. These are even included in the loading screens, with a little IT Witch Maria icon running in the corner. Everything is very thoroughly done, and I must admit, it impressed me. Scared me a bit, too, but I’ll eventually gather enough courage to visit Akibahara someday in Japan in real life.

 

Stores line the streets, filled with computer goods, clothes stores, discount goods, books, and there’s even a maid café you can visit. These goods serve as the weapons, armor, and useable items in Akiba’s Trip. You can buy a wide variety of clothes, each with a certain amount of defense, but they’re also highly customizable by using defense-enhancing items, so you’re free to design your character however you want.

 

Weapons, too, come in a wide variety of forms, ranging from umbrellas to computer monitors. Rice cookers to toy lightsabers. Electric guitars to cosplay items. Entering the café allows you to play minigames with the maid there to earn MP (Maid Points), which in turn earns you gifts after you reach different thresholds. And once you get bored of that, there’s the guy in the dark alley behind the police hideout that hands out side quests for some pocket change (in the millions).

 

The variety of things to do and see in this game, as well as the customization possible, is amazing.

 

On the streets, idiosyncratic people walk around. Despite the fact that there are only “classes” of people walking around rather than individual characters, each class is highly unique. For example, those shady-looking cameramen I was talking about earlier lurk around the streets and snap pictures of every maid, cosplayer, or business woman that walks by (see the top image). Musicians walk around carrying electric guitars, and sometimes will play on the streets.

 

Then there are the supporting characters, such as your little sister who absolutely hates your guts, but will play dress up for you if you pay her allowance money. Then there’s the…uh…dancer who teaches you about stripping and engages in questionable activities with your female superior. The four consultants who work with the police include an avid photographer who absolutely loves idols, a maid whose dream is to fill the city with maid cafés, an informant who seems friendly but definitely knows more than he’s letting on, and a man who has more faith in the 2D world than the 3D one. But they all love the city, and so they all work with you and the police. 

 

I had a lot of fun playing around in Akiba. The game stresses doing what you want, completing your dreams, and this is stressed in both gameplay and story. It’s sort of a “You can do anything you want!!” feeling of freedom. Challenging random people on the street, avoiding arrest by the police, beating the crap out of Kageyashi, and all the while just kicking back and looking through the shops for something to buy. Short on cash? Then go to the roof top of one of the skyscrapers (one of the areas in the game) and you can take part in a series of three one-on-one battles to earn some ten thousand yen.

 

In addition, depending on the choices you make at crucial parts of the game, you can get multiple endings. Luckily, the pace of the game is very quick, and one playthrough can last as short as 10 hours.

 

This isn’t a game I’d mind playing again. True, it has many flaws (which I’ll mention in another follow-up playtest), but the pros outweighed the cons for me. The “New Game Plus” (not that it’s actually called that) allows you to transfer almost everything over, including your play record (the total amount of money you’ve earned, the total number of Kageyashi you’ve killed, etc.), money, and clothes, and also unlocks several character models that weren’t available the first playthrough. Originally, you could only play with the default character model, but now you can actually play as a girl. It also unlocks the Otaku difficulty, which I daren’t try.

 

Food for thought:

1. Despite being a silent protagonist, judging from his dialogue options, your character’s the kind of person who can either be very nice, very perverted, or just plain nasty and mean. There isn’t much middle ground. Also, he’s an avid cosplayer (although no one knows this). Maybe that’s why he’s so comfortable wearing clothes he just ripped off of someone else’s body…

 

2. In keeping with the atmosphere of the game, the menu system is the main character’s smartphone. There’s also an option called “Potsuri” (loosely translated as “drops,” like in raindrops) where people chat and you can read about it. The format is similar to that of the chatrooms in Durarara.

 

3. My record fastest game over ever: five minutes in. 

 

4. Also, a quick word of warning: there is a LOT of text.


Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • http://myanimelist.net/profile/Kuronoa Kuronoa

    “your character’s the kind of person who can either be very nice, very perverted, or just plain nasty and mean.”

    Pervert all the way!
    Now who should I give my money to, no need to fight over it guys.

    • Exkaiser

      I always end up being the super nice guy when the character choices branch out that way…

      • DanteJones

        I agree, no matter the game be it Dragon Age, Infamous, any game with a morality system/dialogue choice. I just feel… bad if I choose the douche options, haha.

        • Exkaiser

          I remember one time I tried to do a dark side playthrough of Knights of the Old Republic…

          I felt bad just refusing to help people, much less doing the things that get you really large sums of evil points, like killing them and taking their money.

          • DanteJones

            Man, KOTOR was awesome. I did the same, doing a dark side run after doing the light, and it gets even worse near the end: I can’t say because I can’t get the spoiler warning to work, haha.

      • http://www.oneltwops.org Santashi

        Haha, I’m glad it’s not just me who does that. I always end up as good/law in games like that purely because I find it so hard to deliberately pick mean (or genocidal) options. I maxed out my hero gauge in Infamous ridiculously quickly…

      • http://myanimelist.net/profile/Kuronoa Kuronoa

        Same here, I like being nice in the games because I always figure it pays off better than pissing off the characters who keep me alive.

        Though it is tempting to go perverted nice guy in this game’s case.

  • http://chronotwist.deviantart.com/ JustThisOne

    Wahahaha! If I had this game, I’d play with the maids all day.

  • Ladius

    Thanks for the review, it was a really interesting read :) Seeing Aksys’s last announcements I guess it isn’t too late to hope a recent game such as this can make it to the west.

  • darkfox1

    Ohohohoho Akiba’(s)Trip I see what they did there :D

  • Darkrise

    “My record fastest game over ever: five minutes in”

    Haha, so true, and I didn’t even die from any action…

    • kroufonz

      just because choosing the wrong choice:p

  • darkfox1

    “Then there are the supporting characters, such as your little sister who absolutely hates your guts, but will play dress up for you if you pay her allowance money. Then there’s the…uh…dancer who teaches you about stripping and engages in questionable activities with your female superior.” 

     The beginning part sounds like an anime I’ve watched before. And the part about the dancer nice addition no complaining from me. :D

  • http://twitter.com/paulinchi28 Paulo Coaguila

    When i first play it…
    It was really boring..Then i die just form choosing an option..And then i didnt know where should i go…If u read japanese, you can play this game

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Yeah, Akiba’s Trip is surprisingly text-heavy.  If you don’t know Japanese, it’s small wonder you had trouble playing the game.

  • DanteJones

    Thanks for taking the time to review this, it sounds like a blast. :D

    I hope there is a ton of side-quest stuff to do. I love getting distracted by doing the small errands, especially if it’s something completely ridiculous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abel-Liegod/100000072534559 Abel Liegod

    I played it, was really fun but I cant understand jack of japanese so yeah
    Any hope of a localization ?

  • Shinji Kazuya

    Damn! I wish this could make it over here! I wanna play it!!! ;_;

  • http://www.facebook.com/clifford.michael Clifford Michael

    I want it!

  • http://twitter.com/TheRyusui Ryusui

    It terrifies me to realize this probably has a higher chance of coming Stateside than Xenoblade.

    • Shinji Kazuya

      I know how you feel.
      But this game seems to be really fun. Hope it comes to US/EU!

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    You can die if you ask the 3 size of an old man that appears at the beginning…. xD

    • Shinji Kazuya

      50-50-50

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Shortest game over ever =)

      Yeah, I got it be deciding to see what it was like to be cheeky.  It didn’t work out well.

      • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

        It was that or asking the glasses girl (forgot her name) to take off her clothes (after hearing her 3 sizes haha xD)…

        Really sad ending T-T

  • Rihawf

    Now THAT’s a good game. They just need to bring this well of money and satisfaction.

  • cj_iwakura

    I will faint from bliss if X Seed are doing this.

  • Covnam

    That’s a surprising amount of content for a game that at first looks like it’s just about running around stripping people.

  • Shadow_Raskolnik

    This game seems really interesting and it would be cool to see a publisher like XSEED or Axsys localize it.

    However the only thing that throws me off is where you pay your little sister to dress up for you. It’s kind of disturbing to see how popular this little sister trend is in Japan.

    • http://www.oneltwops.org Santashi

      Yeah, that sort of thing probably isn’t going to end well…

  • blah blah

    I’m guessing that “horror” thing from XSEED is probably this or Dangan Ronpa.
    Corpse Party may have been likely but probably too visual novely and maybe not quite a “core” title like those two.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I don’t think this quite qualifies as “horror” though…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O6IKTWFCSJLYCYPWEIVJYUVJZY NocturnalKami

    Hmm The more I hear about this game the more I want… *uses puppy eyes attack for localization*

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos