Akiba’s Beat is a Japanese role-playing game developed by Acquire and published by Xseed. This series has had two other entries so far that were more mature themed than this one and had different playstyles. This third entry in the franchise takes away most of the adult humor from the other two with it leaning towards a T rating and more focused on otaku topics than ecchi jokes. The direction change is a little bit shocking and the game overall is not bad but it does have a few quirks that you may want to watch out for when playing it however.
Getting Back To Akiba
In this game you visit Akihabara, a location in Tokyo, Japan known as an anime fan’s paradise. Akiba is the number one place for fans to visit to collect merchandise, see idols, and discuss their favorite shows and manga. While Akiba is a wonderful place to base a game in, it can be a bit confusing for players not familiar with the layout. The game in a way treats players like they already know the locations they are talking about in Akihabara. While there is a map available this can be slightly confusing for American players. This, however, is quickly remedied as the map is not huge and you will learn your way around.
This game also relies heavily on references to anime gaming and idol culture. This can become a little bit daunting for anyone new or unfamiliar with the Japanese niche culture. While this can turn out to be a great learning experience to anybody looking to get more involved in otaku culture, for someone with little to no interest in the culture, it may be an immediate turn off. If you’re a player just looking for a fun RPG, you may find that having to look up references on Google every five seconds isn’t quite what you wanted.
Overall, for the people who are looking for this type of game, it shouldn’t be something to pass up. I can’t promise you the greatest story ever but it is entertaining enough to play through. I’m sure otaku will be delighted with the amount of references and fun little details thrown in the mix. The game has a great RPG feel to it without going too overboard. While people who like Akiba’s Trip may have some trouble getting into this title do to the drastic change in play style and focus, it’s definitely worth a try.
The main goal of the game is to fight delusions that have infested in Akiba and are causing a Groundhog Day-like time loop recurring in game. You play as a shut-in named Asahi Tachibana, who gets pulled into the mess simply by being able to see one of these delusions. From there on out, you will fight through a type of linear dungeon scheme and getting party members to free Akiba of each different delusion. Many different types of otaku stereotypes will join your party, adding to the mix of hilarious dialogue and references that many anime and gaming fans will love.
The gameplay is similar to that of an old-school RPG such as the Tales series. You can only free-run when holding a certain button and your main movement path will be on a linear line towards the targeted enemy. You have numerous equip-able items to choose from and are able to customize your battle strategies for your party members to fit the current situation. The battle arenas phase in when you come in contact with an enemy in a dungeon and you can strike the enemy before initiating battle so that you can gain the upper hand at the start of battle. If your character gets knocked out while in battle, the controls switch to one of your other party members, allowing you to play with multiple different playstyles.
As for the music and design of this game, the graphics aren’t the the highlight here and you can feel that the title was made on a budget with some of its design choices. Nonetheless, the characters have interesting designs and the voice acting is mostly on point in both English and the Japanese dub with only a few minor exceptions. The music is very upbeat and your attacks will also be based around equip-able CDs that you can switch out at your leisure as you earn them.
As mentioned before, this game does have some setbacks to it. One of the most notable is a non-combative party member named Pinkun. While you may think he’s cute after first meeting him, after you start playing the game you may think differently quite quickly. As it turns out Pinkun will alert you to literally everything in the game. This means every save point, clothing shop, upgrade, enemy, door, and convenience store that you come in contact with. This will happen as you pass every location after you enter an area no matter how many times you’ve entered it before. There is no way to turn him off and at times the constant repetition of his voice can be one of the most annoying features of a game you ever come across. As with most things that are in repetition, his voice will begin to thankfully blend in with the background after a bit of playing.
Another setback is the first hour of the game is anything but entertaining. While this is fixed after you play a little bit, it may be hard for some players to initially push through the opening hour. This of course is a problem for a lot of memorable games and shouldn’t be taken as a total downfall but more as a vice to keep pushing through.
One of the only reasons you might want to consider buying this game new is to support the publisher for future titles. If you want to play it safe, I do recommend buying this game pre-owned so that you can return it just in case you do not like it. Another safe bet is to rent it before you buy it. This game is definitely not for everybody and even some hardcore anime and gaming fans may find it repetitious at times. If you’re the type of person who loves RPGs and want to learn more about otaku culture or already love it, then this game is for you. You will enjoy exploring Akiba and the little references they throw in and it can be a great title to play in between some of the bigger budget titles released this year.