Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed
Top Critic Average
I can’t imagine anyone so desperate for content that they would find value in this only marginally improved ten-year-old game. Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is and has always been, awful and no HD remaster will fix its terrible story, lackluster combat, primitive graphics, and creepy tone. Some games are broken or bad in a kind of fun way, but Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed isn’t broken, it’s just bad and decidedly, aggressively not fun at all.
The idea behind AKIBA'S TRIP is delicious and fun, but if in 2011 the product could work despite all its shortcomings and the limitations imposed by the PSP hardware, the same cannot be said for its reissue. The one made by Acquire is in fact a remastered only in name, it is no coincidence that the product has preserved all its historical technical problems, such as the mismanagement of the camera, the inaccurate pointing system, the very slow response times of the commands, the cumbersome animations, and so on.
Review in Italian | Read full review
I can already tell that this is going to be a cult game in the west. Something that may be too frustrating and outdated for some, but just the thing for those who are looking for that specific comfy feel. That memory of youth, hanging out with friends on a weekend in your local downtown area, a place you know better than the back of your hand.
It’s hard to really see who Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is aimed at. People that were put off by some of the issues in Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed aren’t going to play its even jankier predecessor, and £34.99 is a steep asking price even for someone that might be interested in trying this out. If you’re desperate to see the series’ origins, then this might be worthwhile — just go in with appropriately low expectations!
As confusing as it is that this game happened at all, I loved having the chance to play it. Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed might look like a game that should have stayed on the PSP, but the satire and humour is there, the grainy rendition of Akihabara is still enough to make this homesick otaku miss Japan, and the action remains on the right side of simple and entertaining that you can enjoy it while it lasts. Akiba's Trip isn't going to win GOTY awards, but I sure enjoyed collecting a big pile of skirts.
I really enjoyed AKIBA'S TRIP: Undead and Undressed which was released on Vita and PS4 before this. Sadly I cannot say the same for AKIBA'S TRIP: Hellbound & Debriefed, which despite being much "newer" is pretty much a bare-bones remaster of an older game that's aged like bread. While it's not the worst game to have Akiba in the title (see: Akiba's Beat), it's very hard to suggest anyone other than die-hard fans of the series even consider this one. It's dated and repetitive with a little bit of charm, but it's sadly outdone by the previous release. If you haven’t played that already, just go straight to it or watch the anime.
Most of the time, though, it’s like playing a stripped-down version of Yakuza. You wander a Japanese neighborhood, shop, do side-quests, build up your character, much like in that venerated series. But then the combat sucks and the story is poorly paced. On the other hand, I can’t deny it grew on me. It feels like one of those janky, Japanese, early PS2 titles like Mr. Mosquito or Robot Alchemic Drive. It might not be the most fun to play, but it’s unique enough to captivate.
Hellbound & Undressed has elements fans will enjoy, and if you dig, you can find quirky and interesting things here, but if it catches you having too much fun, be prepared to have that stripped from you like a finely quaffed set of Shadow Soul clothes. This game is a constant chore to enjoy and should be reserved for the folks that really want to see where the series began.
Between lackluster combat, outdated graphics and the horrendous stripping mechanic, it's very hard to think of a reason to recommend Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed.
There's a fair amount of side-quest stuff to do such as playing mini-games in the maid café or helping out locals with their problems, although none of it is particularly innovative or memorable. There are also loads of different quirky weapons and hundreds of different clothing options to collect. Roaming around Akihabara while wielding a keyboard and wearing a Gundam cosplay made out of cardboard boxes is kinda fun, despite how average the game is overall.