Akiba's Beat (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 16.05.2017

Review for Akiba

In the heart of Tokyo, in the Chiyoda district, on any Sunday of the year for a few hours, one would be excused for getting hopelessly lost. At 13:00, the main road in Akihabara closes to vehicles and opens up to massive amounts of foot traffic. They are gathering to venture into electronics boutiques, manga shops, and video game retailers. These things are open all throughout the week, and while the layout is seemingly easy to navigate, there are a plethora of shops for one to get sucked into. Well, shops, and sadistic dungeons called Delusions. Cubed3 reviews Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4.

Akiba's Beat shares many similarities to Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed (PS4 review, PS Vita review) besides its namesake. They feature the same kind of animation and a story that feels weird, even in an anime. That's not to disparage anime, mind you, but their stories tend to get kind of out there. Apparently in Akiba, they get weird even by those standards. However, at this point, the similarities fade into some very important differences.

Akiba's Beat stars Asahi, a young man who really doesn't have much going for him. Like many young men who don't have much going for them, he's got a tendency to be somewhat sarcastic. Still, to drive the cliché bus in, he's got a heart of gold. He's a perfectly nice fellow, though he has a tendency to be a bit rude and is famous amongst his friends for his tardiness.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Enter Saki and Pinkun. Saki is the very traditional "girl who has no time for the hero's nonsense, because something bad is happening," and Pinkun is the typical "weird spiritual being friend of the girl who has no time..." and so on and so forth. Akiba's Beat plays to the anime tropes pretty well, though Asahi occasionally manages to step outside of how his first impression comes off.

One major issue that pops up early on is the dialogue. Pinkun is a great example of this. Whenever the player runs past a save point or is near treasure, Pinkun pipes up. Now, the dialogue isn't particularly funny the first time. Pinkun only has about three or four different responses, or at least it feels that way as she repeats it for about the fifth time, since the player walked past the same save point.

The irritating dialogue works its way into the cutscenes, as well. Now, it's important to note that cutscenes happen entirely too often. Much of the dialogue is just repeating things from the previous scene, which makes the whole exchange pointless. Pinkun's cutscene dialogue is absolutely grating. She's incredibly untrusting of Asahi's abilities, and spends large portions of her screen time needlessly scolding him. Saki is actually the most interesting of the early characters, and other characters that appear are largely hit and miss.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Akihabara isn't the biggest area, which is why it's so odd that the game has to load so frequently. Loading doesn't take very long, but sometimes, the story objectives require walking all the way to the other side of the map. In that time, three different screens may have had to be loaded for an area that just isn't very large.

Of course, Asahi will eventually get to head into a Delusionscape. These act as dungeons, and the backstory to their existence, and thus the central story of the game, is actually really creative. While it is weird (not a negative, just a fact), and there are moments where the game doesn't steer it very well, it manages to hold together enough to be engrossing.

In these Delusionscapes, Asahi will work through the dungeon, eventually coming across a boss, also known as Grand Phantasms. Enemies are generally not very difficult, and thanks to a lucrative amount of shops in Akihabara, the player can boost their stats so the challenge is even further nerfed.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Combat is a mixed bag, and anyone who has played the newer Star Ocean games should be able to figure it out. The player is allowed to wail on their opponent as long as they have the correct amount of AP to do so. When they run out, they have to wait a moment for it to recharge. They can also set party members tactics, and use speciality moves.

The problem is how inconsistent it all feels. Square performs light attacks, while X does stronger ones. These stronger attacks, especially after getting the AP back, sometimes just don't register. Speciality attacks are mapped to the control sticks, and are very cumbersome to use. Fortunately, they use SP, or skill points, which the player has much more of. However, it seems like with an empty AP gauge, they similarly don't work. While the combat is fairly easy to grasp the basics on, then, it feels a bit off.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Akiba's Beat really only works every so often, but fans of the genre will likely appreciate it on some level. While the dialogue is difficult to get engrossed in, and the combat feels unresponsive at times, there's still a cult classic buried in this little title. Not every game can be perfect, and that definitely applies to Akiba's Beat. Still, it's clear it will be perfect for many people out there, and that's what matters.

Developer

Acquire

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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