Publisher XSEED Games has announced that developer ACQUIRE's latest "satirical" slice of life JRPG, Akiba's Beat, will be released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on May 16th, 2017. This means that those who already jumped on the game when pre-orders were announced finally know when they'll be getting their "cute little uggo" mascots. The announcement came along with a brand-new trailer for the game, which you can check out below.
Akiba's Beat is the spiritual successor (though not a direct sequel) to Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed, the JRPG perhaps most famous for a particular mechanic involving stealing your enemy's clothes in battle. The latest game from ACQUIRE takes a slightly different approach. While it continues their design philosophy of fusing real life aspects of living in Tokyo's Akihabara Ward with more imaginative fantasy influences and RPG style battles, this time music is the central theme. As we discussed in our first impressions of the game from E3 2016, music tracks are something you'll actively collect in the game and the tracks themselves will have a role to play in battle. More recent trailers have shown this in more detail and demonstrated that music is also a key influence on the visuals in the game.
The gameplay falls into two distinct phases. In "reality" your character, Asahi Tachibana, will explore Akihabara and uncover the secrets of its residents. This slice of life side of the game is more fleshed out than ever and hopes to immerse players with over 22,000 voiced lines, as well as dual audio track options for Japanese/English voiceovers. Solving problems and uncovering secrets around town unlocks fantasy dungeons known as "Delusionscapes" in which the aforementioned JRPG battling takes place. Fights take place in real time, with a party-based system that allows for combo chaining and 'imagination' powered special attacks.
XSEED Games localization specialist Tom Lipshultz discussed the release date and how the game relates (or not) to its predecessor in a post on the PlayStation blog. The post had an oddly apologetic tone toward Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed, typified by this quote:
It [Akiba's Beat] has a much longer and more complex narrative, a bigger cast of all-new characters, a more involved and nuanced battle system, a more narrowly focused satirical tone (still satirical, but less in-your-face about it), and – most notably – no stripping. None! This one was rated T by the ESRB, and is decidedly much tamer than its Akiba forebear.While it's certain that Akiba's Beat will be tamer than its forebear, if nothing else due to the ESRB rating as Mr Lipshultz says, the comments seem to indicate that the publisher is trying to shed the reputation of ACQUIRE's previous title and open the new game up to a new audience in the West.
How do you feel about Akiba's Beat? Are you pleased to see the developer try something new? Would you rather they kept the stripping (be honest)? Let us know down in the comments!