Akiba's Beat (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Renan Fontes 28.06.2017

Review for Akiba

While far from a great game, Akiba's Trip was at least interesting in its premise and content. The Japanese city of Akihabara was recreated 1:1 and combat revolved around stripping enemies to defeat them. Combat was tedious more times than not, but Akiba's Trip undeniably had an identity that it never strayed from, for better or for worse. The newest entry in the series, Akiba's Beat, strips away the previous game's tone and gameplay for a traditional action RPG experience, though perhaps at the expense of the sense of self that made the series appealing in the first place.

Themes are an important aspect of any story. They can help tie up an otherwise loose narrative and can be used to develop characters in a neat and concise way. Overreliance on a single theme, however, can leave lasting damage.

Akiba's Beat's main theme is delusion and it enforces that as much as possible. Its reliance on delusions is refreshing, initially. Too many JRPGs begin without a clear focus or fail to flesh out their themes fully, so it's nice when a title manages to integrate its theme so tightly into its narrative. Unfortunately, it's this very insistence that ultimately ends up being the plot's downfall.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Delusions are overused to the point of frustration. The writing is already on the weaker side thanks to a dependence on forced humour and an overall lack of character nuance, but it's made all the worse when characters begin discussing delusions. The repetitiveness almost feels like a joke at times, but it's hard to tell when the script opts for cheap laughs over developing its theme and cast.

The opening, for how grating it is, makes it seem like the plot will eventually criticize society's need to delude itself but, when those delusions come to manifest, it's seldom taken seriously or given the respect a theme needs to flesh out properly.

Even the Groundhog Day plot, which could have been used to criticize how society handles its day to day, is little more than added flavour. Akiba's Beat's story is teeming with potential that stays painfully untapped.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Combat is so stiff and slow that it may as well be a turn based RPG considering how much time is spent waiting to attack again during any given battle. The idea here seems to an attempt at making sure fights don't boil down to spamming the same attacks repeatedly, but it instead makes the action feel restrictive.

A slow-paced action RPG isn't necessarily a bad thing since it can leave room for more strategic play ala Dark Souls but if the AI is brain dead, which is the case here, all that's leftover is wasting time and awkward stops in gameplay.

Dungeons don't fare much better. The concept of dungeons being based off of someone's delusions is a fantastic idea, but it never feels wholly integrated into the gameplay nor realized in the scenery. Environments are samey and interesting puzzles are removed in favour of the ever frequent hunt for switches.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Each dungeon plays out much how like the Midnight Channel worked in Persona 4 with no real interaction outside of navigating past enemies to get to the next floor. Where Persona 4 had engrossing combat and the occasional puzzle to balance things out, however, Akiba's Beat has next to nothing to make dungeon crawling anything more than a chore.

At the end of the ever-repeating day, Akiba's Beat struggles to grasp any kind of identity. In straying so far from the series' origins, the sequel neither improves on any old concepts nor introduces new material to justify it's rather large shift tonally and mechanically.

Screenshot for Akiba's Beat on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

In an attempt to be more like its JRPG contemporaries, Akiba's Beat loses any and all identity the series once had. Akiba's Trip had plenty of problems, but it had a sense of self that made it appealing. Now, the gameplay is little more than an inferior Tales of clone, the story wants to be Persona without any of the nuance, and the writing is more on par with any generic flavour of the month anime than a nuanced RPG. Akiba's Beat has a good enough premise that it could have easily been a creative and fun experience, but with no real individuality, it's simply filler in a year that's not lacking in great JRPGs.

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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