Bram Stroker’s Dracula would have been a way different if Keanu Reeves had yanked off Gary Oldman’s pants early in the film. But that’s the main hook for Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed, from XSeed and Marvelous. A remake of the 2011 Akiba’s Trip, this game takes place in the famed Akihabara area, where players can look forward to publicly disrobing vampires in an attempt at burning them in sunlight.
It’s not as gruesome as it sounds; players can first identify vampires by photographing them, as vampires (or “Shadow Souls”, as Akiba’s Trip calls them) don’t appear in photographs. Players can then initiate 3D brawls with the undead, with various regions of Akihabara as your arena. As fights go on, you’ll deal more and more damage to your opponent’s outfit, be it their headgear, their top, or their bottoms. Enemies are only defeated once their outfit has been removed, leaving them in their skivvies. With a bit of strategy, you can damage their clothes then open them up for a quick strip-combo, defeating them deftly. The same goes for you, however, and if enemies manage to strip you completely or destroy your clothes, it’s Game Over. There’s also a simplistic RPG system at play where fighting the Shadow Souls grants experience points that can level you up, increasing the durability of your clothes or your attack power. Leveling up can also teach you new attacks; in our time playing Akiba’s Trip, we learned a rush move that could mow down enemies at the cost of damaging our clothes in the process.
Combat at the outset feels limiting. You only have simple two-hit combos for striking your opponent’s top, middle, or bottom. As you play further, however, you can discover new combos, weapons, and skill books that facilitate stripping certain kinds of clothes. Fights are nevertheless somewhat messy; in our playtime, some fights became cakewalks when enemies got trapped between our walls of punches and the literal walls of the buildings around them, while other fights would devolve into onslaughts against us as innocent bystanders would get dragged in and overwhelm our character.
While stripping men and women alike in your hunt and eradication of Shadow Souls, players can also collect outfits for themselves. There’s an extremely large variety of shirts, slacks and headwear, ranging from the simplest of graphic tees emblazoned with anime characters, to the most cutting-edge of fashion that would be more suited to Shibuya. Customizing your outfit is definitely a draw, and rarer outfits also boast greater durability. Sadly, there are no options for changing your character’s gender or skin color, limiting customization. Your favorite outfits can be upgraded for even greater durability, at least, and there are options for saving your favorite ensembles.
Akiba’s Trip also offers a bit of variety through its missions. Players can run errands for characters while exploring Akihabara, earning much-needed money and experience while doing so. These missions can involve finding a certain outfit for a character, or finding and defeating a certain NPC. They’re timed, however, so there is a limited window for their completion should you take one on.
Surprisingly, there’s also a New Game Plus option available right out of the gate! At any moment, you can “leave” Akihabara, restarting the game with your amassed experience and outfits up to that point. While we’ve only played a small part of the earlier portions of the game, this seems quite helpful in attaining the multiple endings.
Being a remake of the 2011 game, the Hellbound and Debriefed edition has been fully remastered for newer consoles. It also features full dual-audio tracks in both English and Japanese. We mostly kept to the English track for the purposes of the preview; while some voices were audibly muffled, it was nevertheless an entertaining experience as characters snarked at each other over their favorite anime.
So far, Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed looks to be a quick, naughty romp through Akihabara. Players can look forward to its release on the PS4, PCs and Nintendo Switch this July 20th. Players can also look forward to the Day One “10th Anniversary Edition”, available for preorder, which includes the base game, soundtracks and artbook.