Sun. May 19th, 2024

[Review] Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed – Nintendo Switch

By Elly Oak Oct27,2021
Developed By: Acquire
Published By: Xseed
Categories: Action RPG
Release Date: 07.20.21

Since it’s launch on the PSP back in the day, I’ve always had an interest in Akiba’s Trip. A more modern RPG from the developers of Tenchu and Way of the Samurai? Count me in. Unfortunately, it was Japan only and I do not know the language in the least. The sequels would come over here, but at that point I either lost interest or was busy playing other games. Now over a decade later, we finally have a sort of remake of it on Nintendo Switch in English!

The premise of Akiba’s Trip is that Tokyo, Akihabara to be precise is starting to get overrun with these vampire like creatures. You’ve been bitten by one, and recruited into a bit of a task force to investigate them. This is in addition to your ragtag group of otaku friends also interested in the phenomena. There’s one way to expose the dispose these creatures…strip their clothes off. The sunlight will kill these monsters, so they’ll otherwise need to be huddled up in their homes…not a really nice way to talk about NEETs…

How do you uncover(sic) the wandering predators in the large crows of Akihabara however? Well, you could just get into fights willy nilly and take everyone’s clothes off, but that won’t get you anywhere. You need to look out for a few things. The first is how pushy or much of a money hungry bully they can be. But sometimes people might just *really* need the money. That woman working at the museum refuses to let me leave without buying something, but I’m fairly certain she isn’t a vampire.

The more accurate way is to take a photo of your surroundings. Find a huge crowd and take a photo. Those vampires won’t show up in the photo. Attack *those* people.

Fights are as follows. A high hit for tops, a low hit for bottoms, and a slap? for just getting some distance. Once a piece of clothing gets enough damage, your chance to rip it right off appears. It feels great to just cartoonishly TEAR IT RIGHT OFF. And if you don’t do quite enough damage, you can go into button mash stuggles, which can be satisfying if you pull it off…no pun intended. Unfortunately, the combat out of these parts is incredibly awkward and janky. Fights don’t feel good to get into, especially when you can and will get ganged up on and since you too have been bitten by these creatures, you too can get stripped and wither away in the sun like a tomato.

The saving grace of this is the RPG mechanics of it all. In stores you can buy all the junk you want, and some stores sell the random items…and weapons you can use in fights. Beat the living hell out of those vampires with a rock hard loaf of French bread. Maybe expensive electronics is more your speed though, or an idol poster. Switch your outfit out, lord knows you’ll need to eventually. It’s very open like other games by Acquire can be, which I love.

It is rather obvious that this is a game that was ported from the PSP. Akiba’s Trip is colorful, but the graphics are very, very low budget. Not even in an endearing way, this game looks like a low budget PSP game upscaled. It runs decently at the very least. It also has pretty good voice acting, which I assume is something new to Hellbound and Debriefed.

I got a few hours into the game, was sure it saved my progress, as I did plenty of story beats and had got a game over and continued multiple times. I stopped playing for the day to play something else. Upon starting the game up the next day, I was greeted to a non-existent save file. Either the game wiped my save or it never saved in the first place. I’d like to believe the former, because how the hell can a game in 2021 that’s on a handheld system not have auto save? Or even at that, not make it obvious how to save in the menu? At this point, I knew I had enough, as I wasn’t enjoying the game enough to replay those few hours.

Was Akiba’s Trip work the 12 year wait? Not really. At least not from this underbaked remaster. Everything I like about it is blanketed by baffling design choices or just plain awkward gameplay.

2.5/5

Buy Now: $39.99

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*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review

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