Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed

Available for the first time in the West, Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is the first adventure in the Akiba’s Trip series – now fully remastered for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PCs. We reviewed it on a PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility.

For many, the name Akiba’s Trip probably takes you back to Undead & Undressed, which released on the Vita early on in the handheld’s lifecycle. The series actually started in Japan on the PSP though, and Hellbound & Debriefed remasters that particular game with improved visuals and a brand new English dub.

The game is a journey through time in more ways than one though, because the game environment is based on Tokyo’s famous Akihabara district, just as it was back in 2011. An area famous for its manga/anime, you can walk among its streets and see its shops, which is a nostalgic experience for those who have been there and fun for those who haven’t gotten the chance yet.

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You’re not there to do a bit of sightseeing though, as a supernatural enemy lurks there in the shape of deadly vampires. Your way of getting rid of them? Strip them of their clothes, so they become exposed to sunlight and perish. Sure, it’s more of a plot than we get in Senran Kagura games, but it’s still a pretty silly reason to get players to remove the clothing from enemies in the game.

The combat itself is fairly simplistic, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering this was originally a PSP game and predates the Vita follow-up by a few years. Just pounding the face buttons generally does the job, so there’s little need to learn about subtle nuances or tactics. Fighting against several enemies at once feels especially rough around the edges because of this, so if you’re just in the market for a new brawler you’re probably better off elsewhere.

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The audiovisual boost for this new PS4 is noticeable, with excellent 2D visuals and cutscenes and a wonderfully well done English dub, but the dated nature of the source material does shine through in the character models and their animations. Clearly a remaster and not a fully remade game, you can tell it’s a title from a few generations ago.

Looking at a gameplay level Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed isn’t going to win over any newcomers with its sub-par combat and formulaic quests and minigames, but it’s a nice piece of fan service to mark the 10 year anniversary of the franchise that you’ll want to pick up if you enjoyed the later games on the Vita and/or PS4, which also includes Akiba’s Beat, which we reviewed back in 2017.

Score: 6.1/10

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