Akiba’s Dead Beat
Akiba’s Beat is an RPG set in Akihabara; Otaku ward of Tokyo in Japan where the main character Asahi; who is not in employment; education or training and because of this is always referred to as a NEET by others. Asahi finds out he is the “chosen one” along with others and then heads out on an adventure to change peoples delusions.
Ten minutes into Akiba’s Beat and I found myself strangely drawn to another games influence; said game being Persona 5. As you traverse the streets of Akiba you are among silhouettes of people lining the streets and stores whose conversations with each other pop up on the screen. The silhouettes themselves are usually brightly coloured pink or purple and still; people don’t walk the streets here; you are limited to where you can go as some footpaths have an invisible barrier. Sometimes you are walking alongside the main road and the many cars and anime themed buses that drive past really do give off a feel that you are in Otaku filled Akiba; even a lot of the buildings are the same ones which you will see in real life Akiba; along with a day to night transition that changes the lighting and it does do a good job of this.
Alongside travelling Akiba you will be traversing peoples Delusions; in the same way that Persona 5 handles its dungeons is also seen here similarly. Asahi and his companions find ways of entering Delusions but only they are able to see what is happening around them; there is also a mascot called Pinkun who has a distinct voice; one thats definitely fitting for it’s character but also later on gets rather tiresome as you will hear it a lot.
The Delusions themselves are rather basic and consist of following a linear path with a few enemies in your way; they are nice to look at and each Delusion is very reminiscent of the character whose Delusion is being invaded; the trouble is they are too short and don’t have much variety; they are wide open spaces which you can see ahead of you so you know for the most part what to expect.
Battles are initiated upon enemy collision on the map. Touching an enemy will start a normal combat while attacking an enemy will take a portion of their health of pre-battle. If the enemy attacks you from behind will see your own health took off at the start of battle. The battles themselves are Akiba’s Beats weakest point of the game. It is similar to any of the Tales of games but on a much weaker scale. You can move around by holding L1 plus the analogue as just the analogue will move you towards an enemy; you can do a chain of attacks and special moves by holding the analogue in a certain direction. The problem I have with the battle system is that normal attacks require AP. You begin with four and each attack depletes one AP and at zero renders you useless; even special moves that use SP will also use a block of AP so once it reaches zero you will end up retreating until a couple of seconds later where it replenishes to full or you can stay in enemy territory. Either way it doesn’t matter as enemies are incredibly weak in this game and I have never found myself in any danger even when taking a couple of hits each battle. One thing I found funny is that if you take a hit in battle and end up on your back you will not move providing you do not press anything; even the enemy will swing away at you and nothing happens; you can go away and make a cup of tea mid battle and resume as I have done.
Items have also been easy to come by and I find myself with a rather healthy inventory of Life Cans and not once have I even needed to use one. Bosses aren’t at all difficult either; just drawn out to give off the illusion that they are. There is an imagine mode where building up a circle meter allows you to do more powerful attacks; however fights still feel uninteresting and the meter only makes them more boring as imagine mode negates falling down and only making fights more easier. If you are used to the Tails-esque type of battles it may be worth cranking the game difficulty to max and see how it plays out.
The overall style of Akibas beat is generally nice which is a shame that the game suffers from so much that is bad. The style of the characters is good; the voice acting is not too bad either although certain voices you will not want to hear after a while especially the mascot who decides to speak during battles; every time you are low on health even if you are not you are warned; when a treasure is nearby you are told and even closing in on an enemy on the field you are reminded. You will hear Pinkuns voice a lot so it is something you will need to get used to. There is also a Japanese dub option if that is your thing. The graphical interface is easy to navigate and pleasant to look at aswell as having icons for each individual item shows some definite care has gone into it. Silhouettes of characters will show up as they are talking however unimportant characters will show up as pink or purple just like they do in the street. The main character can jump; in and out of battle and for whatever reason I have yet to find one still.
The last thing to mention is the games sound and music; it is highly the games best feature by far and probably for good reason; the games foundation is built on popstars; music fanatics and concerts.
A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by PQube