By: Matthew Striplen
If 12-year-old me played Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, I would first scold my parents for letting such a naughty game into my hands. And second, I’d probably giggle uncontrollably for the duration of it. This is one of those games that caters to everyone’s inner perv. Don’t lie, I can see what you really are, even from behind this computer screen. Just try to say the title a little differently. Akiba’Strip? Eh? Nudge nudge, get it?
Since the majority of gameplay is spent either traversing the wacky city of Akihabara or brawling with, and consequently stripping, its eccentric citizens, tight controls are a necessity. By far, the biggest issue comes in the form of the camera. The game grants the player a certain degree of control over it, but it will occasionally make adjustments.
Unfortunately, the camera never adjusts when needed, and when it finally does shift, it usually makes matters worse. Another camera issue becomes apparent when the player gets close to a loading zone during combat, the camera zooms way out, making everything difficult to see.
The combat controls are very simple. Three attack zones are needed to defeat any foe: high, mid and low. A few variations of each are available depending on other inputs, but it’s pretty straightforward. That being said, maneuverability often feels sluggish due to the long recovery times after executing attacks or other moves.
As an ignorant and proud American, I had no idea Akihabara was a real place, and upon thoroughly researching the topic (I googled it), I was shocked to discover how faithfully the city had been recreated. Bright lights, colorful storefronts and wildly dressed otakus fill the landscape to the brim with Japanese culture and nerdiness.
Even the loading screens serve to further immerse the player in the world by displaying real advertisements for shops and other services in Akihabara. I personally enjoyed this playful addition, but for those who don’t, all ads can be turned off. I even saw one of my previous game reviews posted: Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars.
While the graphic design is top notch, the execution is less than stellar. Undead and Undressed looks more like a game that came out in the mid-2000s than 2014, especially considering its ports on next generation consoles. The game also suffers from a fairly low draw distance, but only for characters. If the player is too far away, distant people will be represented with a grey placeholder until the system can load the correct models.
The musical score is fun, upbeat and very J-poppy. In regards to voice acting, Undead and Undressed has both English and Japanese performances, though the English version is very lacking. I preferred the English subtitles with Japanese voices.
Undead and Undressed has a premise to end all premises. The protagonist, Nanashi, wakes up to find himself transformed into a Synthister, a vampire-like monster that consumes energy rather than blood. Once a person becomes a Synthister, he or she usually loses their mind, but not our Nanashi. He fights and escapes to learn how to fight other Synthisters. Now, here comes the kicker. Synthister bodies are extremely durable, but they are damaged by sunlight. Thus, the only way to destroy one is to literally beat the clothing off of them, hence the title Undead and Undressed.
With this supremely silly premise, the developers make absolutely sure to never take themselves or the game seriously, much to the delight of my inner 12-year-old. If you completely strip someone that’s not a Synthister, they scream and run away, hiding their privates. Yes, just yes.
The story only gets more ridiculous as time progresses, adding even more perverted characters and combat elements. One of my favorite gems is an ultra combo, which is triggered by removing at least 10 clothing items in a single sequence. If you play your cards right, you’ll even be able to remove their underwear and keep it because… Japan. It’s all so over the top and stylized that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Undead and Undressed sports an impressive level of character customization and equipment. Everything from t-shirts, pants, shoes, hats and capes will be at your disposal to accessorize for combat or fashion. Yes, you can pick your underwear too, but you can’t remove it. Not that I tried or anything…
Customization goes even deeper with weapon and attribute choices. Even different styles of walking are available to unlock. Flick ‘n Step is my personal favorite because Nanashi suddenly transforms from a meek kid to a supreme asshole who never gets off his phone, even when people are talking to him. It’s pretty goofy.
Arguably one of the most hilarious and important characters is Nanashi’s little sister and professional weirdo, Nana. Never before have I had the pleasure of hearing so many puns on the word “bro,” like “brotaku” and “brofessional.” Outside of her quirky personality, she assists Nanashi by combining clothing items and weapons. How she does this, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the trophy I received after combining my first item: “Sticking things on other things.” I’ve always wanted a fan-bat-soccer-ball, so that’s a plus.
Unfortunately, for all Undead and Undress‘s comedic and customization vision, the technical aspects are not up to par. A few minor but very obnoxious glitches are left in the game. Certain missions require the player to find and speak with people throughout the city, and since Synthisters make up a massive percentage of the population, fights often ensue.
Depending on the person of interest in the mission, they may automatically begin a dialogue. This is all well and good, but if the player is already in combat, Nanashi is forced to engage in the conversation, thus taking him out of the current battle. The enemies, however, don’t seem to care and continue to pummel him. Nanashi is incapable of defending himself in these situations and will quickly end up naked and dead.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed is one of the few games that can be summed up in its ESRB rating, or rather how ironic the rating may be. There is absolutely nothing “Mature” about this game, and that’s how I like it. The comedic dialogue and cut scenes are quite entertaining if you’re an immature pervert like me, and the level of customization and detailed world is impressive.
If the technical issues could have been addressed before release, a higher rating would be warranted. If you’re willing to look past a few blemishes and are in the mood for something goofy, pick up Undead and Undressed and get naked. Except don’t actually get naked, please.