“Akiba’s Beat” is the “sort of” sequel to 2013’s “Akiba’s Strip: Undead & Undressed“. While they share the same setting, name, and developer, I soon learned that is basically all they share. The predecessor focused on the destruction of clothes. However, this time around music and, yes “beats” is the center of attention.
You take control of main character and self-proclaimed NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) Asahi Tachibana, who has found himself trapped in a never-ending loop of the same Sunday. After some investigation and help from others, he realizes that each day, or “loop”, is tied to a person’s delusion or desires. It’s up to him and his friend’s job to track down this person, enter their dungeon, and defeat them in hopes to end this loop. If the story sounds confusing, that’s because it is, not so much because of depth, but rather because of lack thereof. You are simply told what is going on without building any sort of real interest. The characters are thrown at you like raindrops, and each one feels more archetypal and generic than the last. You meet them and then ten minutes later they are spilling their entire life story to you. While it’s not bad writing really, it just feels uninspired. If you’re a huge fan of Japanese culture without any sort of standard in these sorts of things, you’ll most likely enjoy it regardless.
Visuals have oddly enough received a massive downgrade from the previous release, looking much less detailed and the overall artistry is much less polished. While it seems like a decent recreation of Akihabara, it’s just plain, boring, and lifeless. Even down to the single colored crowds, it simply feels dead and uninteresting, especially when compared to its predecessor.
The art style isn’t nearly as appealing as in the first title, feeling more like a poor man’s Persona 5. While it isn’t terrible by any means, it just lacks the overall polish and aesthetic that I’m used to seeing in other Japanese titles. Another glaring thing that bothered me is the mouth animations in the character portraits. Rather than actual animation in the mouths, they just seem to be warped around the actual illustration (which I personally found very off-putting).
The combat and controls handle like any other action JRPG, only a lot less polished. Clunky and downright boring, the combat revolves around the same basic three moves. You’ll find yourself fighting the same, albeit re-colored, small set of baddies using the same strategy repeatedly. While the audio tracks do add a bit of variety with the skill boosts and “beat” mechanic, it’s extremely limited and doesn’t do much to add depth. You’ll jump at the enemy, attack until you run out of stamina, jump back, and then repeat for the entirety of the game…
+ The music is nice
+ Steeped in Japanese culture
– Insanely repetitive combat
– Shallow characters
– Visually unimpressive
Sound and music: 4/5
Replay value: 2/5
While “Akiba’s Beat” does much to appeal to the niche “otaku” player, it does very little to appeal to anyone else (including action rpg fans). As it’s downgraded visuals, shallow writing, and incredibly repetitive combat have turned the game into anything but an epic kind of RPG experience. In other words, you may want to skip this title unless you are nearly obsessed with Japanese culture and Akihabara itself.
Title: Akiba’s Beat
Release date: 2016-5-16
Difficulty: Very Easy
Spent time: +15 hours
Average grade internationally: 59%
PEGI age rating: 3+
Price: 49.99 USD via Amazon
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by PQube.
The Gaming Ground
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