Review: Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed (PS4)

akibas-trip-review-banner-ps4

Title: Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: AQUIRE Corp.
Original MSRP: $49.99 *This is NOT a Cross-Buy or Cross-Save title.
ESRB Rating: M
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is also available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. *This is NOT a Cross-Buy or Cross-Save title.
The PlayStation 4 download and disc versions were used for this review.
A digital copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
A copy of the disc version of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
This review will focus solely on the enhancements for Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed that are included in the enhanced release on the PlayStation 4. For an in-depth review of the gameplay for Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, please check out our review for the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game.

Gameplay:
While there weren’t many major upgrades to the battle mechanics, camera controls, or the story, the PS4 version of the Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed comes with upgraded visuals, all of the downloadable content from the PS3 and PS Vita versions, as well as some new game modes.

The two major features that are new in this re-release are the Toybox mode and a Visual Editor for the game.

The Toybox mode allows you to begin the game with all of the weapons, accessories, shirts, pants, shoes, etc., unlocked. If you begin the game in this mode you will not be able to earn trophies or start a new game plus after you beat the game, nor will you be able to switch to the Standard Play mode from a Save file created with Toybox mode. I didn’t use this mode at all, but there are some pretty funny costumes that can be stripped off of characters in the Coliseum so this mode would be great if you missed something and wanted to play with these rare items without having to re-play the game.

With the brand new Visual Editor, you can adjust the color pallets, thickness of the lines in the cel-shaded character models, increase the blur effect, add a fog and the range of the fog to your character among other things. There are also some presets that are included with this mode, and while I didn’t leave them activated for long periods of time, it does look really cool and it’s a neat feature to have.

Visual Editor preset Aki-hell-bara.

Visual Editor preset Aki-hell-bara.

Visual Editor preset Vib-Trip Runner.

Visual Editor preset Vib-Trip Runner.

While the presets are great to experiment to see what is possible, the Visual Editor allows you to customize how the world around you looks. Here are a few images of the tweaks you can do with the editor.

Visual Editor setting the motion blur higher.

Visual Editor setting the motion blur higher.

Visual Editor with blur effect maxed out.

Visual Editor with blur effect maxed out.

The settings that are available allow you to customize the character models and how the city looks around them. Below is a screenshot with the border lines maxed out. It really gives the world a cool, watercolor look to it.

Visual Editor with border lines maxed out.

Visual Editor with border lines maxed out.

Overall, the new additions are a nice thing to have, but the most important thing is the locked frame-rate and the enhanced visuals, not to mention just the fact that this game is now on the PS4. I really prefer playing games with the DualShock 4, which is why I was very happy that the upgraded version was announced for the West. I am also slightly disappointed that the gameplay mechanics were left virtually untouched, because this game really needs the ability to lock onto a specific opponent. The camera controls, which were an issue for me on the PS3 and PS Vita, were not fixed either. Each time you get close to an Exit the camera automatically zooms way out and it’s very frustrating to deal with when you’re in battle. In tight places like the UD+ area, you end up getting pushed towards an Exit and many times I had to keep running towards the center of the thin corridor so I could get away from the Exits.

The only major bug that I found in the game is in the AdrenaRin arcade mini-game. It seems that if you choose anything except the default controls there is no way to attack. I played my previous game in Control Type D and when I went to play AdrenaRin I was not able to attack despite hitting the correct button. The control scheme is supposed to be the Cross button to jump and the Square button to attack, but when I had my controls switched to Type D, the jump and attack were transposed onto the same button, the Cross button. If set to Control Type D, when you get close to one of the maids in the mini-game, and hit the Cross button, Rin will both jump and attack at once, then she’ll quit running and slide across the screen.

At first, I thought this was done on purpose to make the mini-game a bit easier, but no matter how fast you hit the Cross button, there’s just no way to complete some of the Stages (particularly Stage Two, where you have to attack two maids in a row). I happened to think about switching the controls back to normal so I set my controls to Type A and this seemed to fix the issue. As of this writing there have been no patches to the game and I have not read about anyone else having the issue so perhaps it has not been discovered yet. I did try to replicate the issue on both the Digital and Disc copies and the problem occurs in both versions. While this is a serious issue it only occurs in the AdrenaRin mini-game and there is a work-around, which is to switch back to the default control scheme.

With the criticisms, additions, and upgrades aside, the game is nearly identical to the PS3 and PS Vita versions, so if you’ve been wanting to get this game, spend the extra $10 and get the PS4 version.

Visuals:
One of the main selling points of the new version is the upgraded visuals. This is one thing in particular that I was hoping to see improved on the PS4. After playing a good amount of the game, I have to say that the visuals look wonderful, but there are some issues.

AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141123220646

In starting the Digital version of the game I noticed right away that the frame-rate was dropping and everything slowed down to a crawl. The frame-rate issues did not happen all the time but when I’d get into a battle the game would slow down as more enemies entered. Also, on some of the chain-strip maneuver animations, the character being attacked would disappear from the screen and my main character would be battling an invisible enemy.

Since the solid frame-rate is one of the main assets being touted in this version I decided to wait for my physical copy to arrive so I could see if it was only a problem with the digital version. When I got it I uninstalled the Digital version and brought my game save up to see if the issues were still there. I’m happy to say that the Blu-ray version runs at a very solid frame-rate, with no slowdown at all.

I became curious if the issues with the Digital version were still present after the release date, so I again deleted the game data and re-downloaded the Digital version to try it again. It seems that my original copy was either corrupted or perhaps the original download was a pre-release version, but I can’t be certain of this. Since I do not know if this issue was a problem with the game, or a problem with the download, I would advise that you purchase the Blu-ray copy if this is a concern for you. If you do decide to download the Digital version and you witness some slowdowns, you may want to re-download it again and it may resolve the issue.

Other than the solid frame-rate for the PS4, this version also includes greatly enhanced character models. While I do not have a way to share a screenshot of my character on the PS3, I can show you the upgraded character on the PS4 vs. the ones from the PS Vita. In particular, on the PS4 version, the hair on the various character models has a kind of translucent sheen on them like they’re coated in a clear enamel and it’s a really cool effect. I think that one of the reasons for the cool effects, particularly on the character model’s hair, is because of the new lighting engine that was used in this upgrade.

The picture below on the left was taken using the PS Vita’s screen capture feature and you can see the hair is a little more dull than the rest of the images below.

2014-08-15-133614AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141122173847

It’s tough to show you these photos and give you the full effect with a screenshot. I’m sure that some of the resolution is taken out, or some of the detail in the image is lost when the snapshot is converted to JPEG format. Here is another snapshot of Nana, and you can kind of see the detail in her hair:

2014-08-15-160945AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141125225230

The photo of Nana on the left, above, is from the Vita while the one on the right is from the PS4. You can sort of see the enhanced detail of the character, but you’ll have to see it on your PS4/HDTV for the full effect. Needless to say, the PS4 is the way to experience this game.

Overall, the visuals look fantastic on the PS4 however, I am a little disappointed that the game still retains a lot of the pop-in issues from the previous versions. The load times on the PS4 are much faster, but I did not expect to see this game start popping in characters when you enter a section of the city as it did in the prior versions. These pop-in issues aren’t show stoppers, but they’re still issues that I would have expected to go away when the game engine was upgraded/retooled for the PS4.

One thing to note however, is the pop-in issue for the side-mission characters was fixed. In the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game, when you would select a side mission, particularly the “Silent Mode” side-mission (where you have to take down three groups of thugs loitering in the walkways), you would enter the area and have to circle the camera around to get them to show up. In the PS4 version this is no longer a problem. When you walk into an area where the side-mission is supposed to take place, the person who gives you the mission is there every time. I played the Silent Mode side quest several times in the PS4 version and each time when I went from section to section searching for the groups of thugs I would see them immediately when I approached the spot where they’re supposed to be standing.

AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141123224737

The game still has some draw distance, particularly in the Electric Town stage, but you will see the three thugs standing at the steps to UD+ as you approach (in the PS3/Vita versions of the game, you’d be standing right next to them and have to circle the camera once or twice for them to pop in).

Audio:
As far as the audio goes, I couldn’t tell much of a difference from the PS3 version. The voice acting in this game is phenomenal, and this version of the game retains that.

As far as Surround Sound goes, the game does a pretty good job of using the back speakers. This is one of those games that drives my dogs nuts when they hear some random man’s voice coming out of the back corner of the room. One thing that I did notice however, and it may be apparent in the PS3 version as well, was that the sound of the traffic noise sometimes cuts out. Once in a while, you’ll be walking into or around a stage with a busy thoroughfare next to you and you’ll pan the camera around and the car noise kind of pops in and out once or twice.

Another minor annoyance has to do with the audio during a chain-strip maneuver. When you enter into a chain-strip maneuver, time is temporarily paused as you hit the next indicated quick-time event. As you strip the next article of clothing, the previous person you stripped is usually laying on the ground crying in agony. As you move to the next person, you can hear the previous person very loud in your speakers and this sort of keeps building where have three or more people repeating the same sentence over and over very loudly. This issue isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I thought it should be noted since it may be an issue if this kind of thing matters to you.

Overall though, the sound in this game is great. It really does give you a sense of immersion as you hear people walking past you and the music from video advertisements are playing.

AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141123102824AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141123102848AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141122173705AKIBA'S TRIP: UNDEAD & UNDRESSED_20141123233648

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is a single-player only.

Conclusion:
Overall, Akiba’s Trip is a great game, and this new re-release on the PS4 is definitely the definitive version. Everything in the game from the previous versions remains intact. For the extra ten dollars, you get all of the paid and free DLC from the previous game included in the game itself (no extra download necessary), extra dialog that was not in the previous game, extra side-missions, and some great extra bonus modes that allow you to customize the experience.

Unfortunately, some of the pop-in problems are retained in this version, there’s a new bug in the AdrenaRin mini-game, and there is still no way to share your save across the three versions of the game. Even with these issues, however, I love this game, and I’m definitely glad that XSEED localized the PS4 version for the West. I really did not expect this updated version to be localized, since we got the previous versions and this is such a niche title, but XSEED graciously brought over this version as well. If you like Action RPGs, brawlers, and quirky Japanese games, I would definitely urge you to pick this one up on the PS4 as it’s a great upgrade to an already great game.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook