Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed Review – Yikes (PS4)
Going into Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed on the PlayStation 4, I knew it was going to be a strange game, partly based on the title and partly based on our review of the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game. I also knew it would be filled with weird, sexual actions, such as being able to strip enemies and being able to manipulate panties that have fallen off onto the ground. Despite knowing these things, I was completely taken aback by how incredibly sexist and insulting Undead & Undressed actually is.
But, before I just jump right into a well deserved rant about that, I want to talk about the RPG’s storyline and gameplay first. Undead & Undressed is a North America import of a Japanese title called Akiba’s Trip 2. Being a sequel of the original PSP game Akiba’s Trip, Undead & Undressed begins with your character strapped to a table after being turned into a sort of vampire creature, called a Synthister, by some corporate entity bent on sucking out the energy of innocent civilians. They are trying to get your character to work for them, but before they can torture or brainwash him into doing so, the character is saved by a mysterious girl.
Together, along with the help of the Akiba Freedom Fighters, they must work together to help the people whose energy has been sucked away and defeat the evil corporation. This means going on missions with an AI companion, and either doing main-story quests or side-quests. However, defeating evil proves to be a somewhat difficult task, because since your character has been turned into a Synthister, he cannot have sunlight touch all of his body, essentially meaning that if he ever goes out into the sun with just his underwear on he will instantly die. The only good news here is that all of the bad guys also suffer from the same affliction, putting you and them on equal level.
Strippin’ ‘Em Down
And this is when the game starts to get weird. See, since no one can submit their full, naked body to the sun without instantly dying, it is your task to beat and then strip all of the enemies you fight. Every fight follows the same basic guidelines: attack each enemy’s clothing (hat, shirt, and pants) until each piece of clothing is damaged enough that you are able to tear it off of their body. At that point, the enemy will scream and disappear. At the same time, each enemy will be trying to do exactly the same thing to you. If that sounds weird and uncomfortable, that’s because it is.
However, the most uncomfortable part about fighting isn’t that characters are being stripped down to their undies, it’s actually how incredibly clunky the fighting is. Players can choose to either attack the head, chest, or legs, damaging the clothing that corresponds to each area. In theory that sounds like a good idea, but in the game it is executed horribly. Each attack seems to lag, and each movement feels heavy. The game uses the same animations over and over and over again for each attack, making it boring to watch. Your character can easily be knocked down by enemies, but getting up for some reason takes an absurd amount of time. All of these elements completely kill what is supposed to be flowing combat, and make it seem almost more like turn-based affair. The only redeeming thing about fighting is that there are a variety of wacky weapons for players to use, such as guitars, computer keyboards, laptops, and more. It is pretty satisfying whacking enemies over the head with a guitar, even if it doesn’t make any sense at all.
Blurry, Fuzzy, and Empty
The other thing that doesn’t make any sense at all is how incredibly terrible the game looks. Considering the $50 price tag and taking into account that it is being played on the PS4, it seems reasonable to suspect that Undead & Undressed would look, well, acceptable. That, unfortunately, is not the case. If someone showed me footage of the game and told me that it was from a PS2 game, I would maybe believe them. For one thing, most of the textures in the title are blurry and fuzzy — certainly not up to par with other PS4 games and perhaps not even at the same level as PS3 games. You might not actually notice the blurry textures, though, because each area in the game is almost entirely devoid of anything.
Walking through each of the city areas, all of which looks very similar, I expected to see pigeons, benches, tables, and other city-related objects. However, absolutely none of those things were there. Instead, there were a few poorly textured cars zipping around on a road that players aren’t even allowed to walk on, and there were a whole bunch of mindless people walking around each area. It seems as the creators of the game tried to make up for the lack of objects by just shoving in people, all of which look very similar and just walk in a straight line, not interacting with each other or with your own character. To make matters worse, each person is given a stereotype, such as “Tourist” or “Fan Boy.” The tourists look touristy, and the fan boys look like absolute lunatics for some reason. It is a lazy way of creating literally stereotypical people with no mind, no personality, and no fun animations.
Sexism and Sexuality
The worst of it is, and this is a great segue to the awful sexism in the game, is that some of these random, stereotypical people are labeled as incredibly offensive things like “Gothic Lolita” and “Privileged Skank.” For those of you that don’t know, Lolita refers to Nabokov’s famous book of the same name that revolves around the repeated rapes of a young teenaged girl. The book was published in 1955, and today, the term is used to describe an underage girl who is both considered sexually active and attractive.
These labels were so carelessly tossed into the game that I thought I must have read them wrong. But, no, there they were. The sad thing is, that isn’t even the worst of the sexism. A couple of hours into the game, I noticed a side mission called “She Wants the D… on D.” I started the mission, and soon realized that it is just the worst. Essentially, the missions revolves around some teenage girl who, uh, wants the D. Talking to her, she kept drooling and asking my character if he is a bottom or a top — yikes! You then have to choose various things to say to make her calm down and go away. It is completely random, and has nothing to do with the main story, Synthisters, or evil corporations. It is simply there so that players can either shame this young girl, or get a weird sense of sexual pleasure out of the situation.
Combine Undead & Undressed‘s disturbing sexuality and sexism with its poor graphics and combat and $50 price tag, you get a game that not only should definitely not be purchased, but probably never should have been made in the first place. If you want to spend money on the PlayStation Store this week to take part in the spend $100, get $15 back deal that is currently going on, I would advise you to spend money on anything at all besides this game. You’ll thank me later.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed review copy provided by publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.