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First Impressions - Akiba's Beat




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Taiyz



Joined: 16 Aug 2005
Posts: 186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:58 pm Reply with quote
This game feels too much like a western indie game, in a bad way. It tries SO hard to act like "hey! We're one of you! BIG NERDS, NEETs ARE FUNNY RIGHT", the dialogue is so accurate it hurts sometimes, which is great for a comedy, but then it meshes terribly with all the magical Delusion nonsense happening on the sidelines. I think the voice-acting is actually pretty solid, the characters sound like REAL people having a casual conversation, which contrasts harshly with all the fantasy crap. It doesn't help that everyone's caught up in their own otaku BS and doesn't really get involved, the delivery of any plot-related dialogue always feels half-assed because nobody cares and nobody really wants to explain anything JUST 'because DELUSIONS OKAY?

The original game had a terrific sense of humour and plenty of charm, Akiba felt real and all the NPCs looked great even if their weapons made no sense, it had enough moment to moment comedy that it made up for the serious talk, not to mention that the method of fighting back was comical by itself. Akiba's Beat feels like it was made to pander to socially awkward people, not just your average anime fan, and becomes awkward itself. The removal of all the official branding of stores and proper NPCs makes the environment feel shockingly sterile for what used to be such a bustling place.

The general plot of the game is SO closely related to Persona 5, I couldn't believe anyone who might tell me it's just a coincidence, the only difference is that it's lacking the theme of thievery. Stuff like Delusionscapes instead of Palaces, and having to defeat a Grand Phantasm instead of stealing a treasure...The comparisons just can't be ignored. While one of P5's ultimate triumphs is its new, structured levels with the dungeon crawling taking a backseat, Akiba's Beat really misses the mark. There's a skybox themed to the Delusion's nerd perference, then floating square platforms and rectangular paths connecting them with random enemy designs thrown onto the squares haphazardly. It can barely be considered a level design. Rendering NPCs as crowds of coloured silhouettes is also very reminiscent of the NPCs in the subway system of P5, and the loading screens in reality, as does walking by the crowds and having text fly to the side of the screen as you eavesdrop. While this was a major point of the protagonist's development in P5 in that people just don't want to interact with him so eavesdropping was necessary, in Akiba's Beat it doesn't make sense given the protagonist's alleged people skills.

It also doesn't help that the battle system is incredibly clunky. It just doesn't feel right to have the game cap your combo string and force you to wait 2 seconds before you can attack again or even use a skill. It feels like an alpha or beta of a Tales game, except the recent Tales of Berseria pretty elegantly handled its combo system (making it a core focus of its new battle system) after stumbling with Zestiria a bit. Zestiria's system was actually kinda similar to Akiba's Beat, except SP was used to govern all actions rather than having a hard action limit separate from SP, and being out of SP just meant that enemies could defend or dodge, you could still perform normal attacks. Yes, Zestiria/Berseria combo strings are four skills long, but there's no forced delay between combos besides your typical recovery frames on each move. With the way that the box advertises the music mechanic, I was thinking there might be some sort of rhythm element in play, but to learn that it's just a buff state that you can trigger, that's shockingly unimpressive.
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Lynx Amali



Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 1125
Location: Ontario, Canada
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:37 pm Reply with quote
Taiyz wrote:

The general plot of the game is SO closely related to Persona 5, I couldn't believe anyone who might tell me it's just a coincidence, the only difference is that it's lacking the theme of thievery. Stuff like Delusionscapes instead of Palaces, and having to defeat a Grand Phantasm instead of stealing a treasure...The comparisons just can't be ignored.


Really? It seemed a lot more in tune with Akibaranger to me, particularly Season 1. I will agree though that it misses the tone and general appeal of the Akiba's Trip games though.

Completely missed the goal post in that regard.
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silentjay



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 298
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:30 pm Reply with quote
Lynx Amali wrote:
Taiyz wrote:

The general plot of the game is SO closely related to Persona 5, I couldn't believe anyone who might tell me it's just a coincidence, the only difference is that it's lacking the theme of thievery. Stuff like Delusionscapes instead of Palaces, and having to defeat a Grand Phantasm instead of stealing a treasure...The comparisons just can't be ignored.


Really?


Yeah, the handful of reviews for it are pretty much saying the same thing, and I thought it too. That said, I wouldn't say "related" to P5, just that it's ridiculously similar to P5. I'm only a couple hours into it, with the mystery red-headed girl just introduced, but it does seem to be going a different path with it than P5 did.

Mind you, it's absolutely correct that it doesn't have the charm of the prior game, and thus far, the only positive thing I can say about it is, "well, it doesn't suck." I sort of regret picking it up on launch, as it really does feel like something you'd pick up during a PSN flash sale, and not be disappointed with it. (The localization of it is pretty good, especially after suffering through the most recent SAO game prior to the release of the massive patches.)
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 536
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:54 pm Reply with quote
I actually find the concept of how any successful place must continually reinvent invent itself, and how that leaves some people behind (whether economically, or just gripped by nostalgia), to be interesting. Akihabara has indeed had quite a lot of reinventions over the years, from home appliances to home audio, video, and cameras, to PC parts, to anime and manga, to idol cafes, and so on.

The concept is quite relevant to our modern politics, as well as to any era. Southern California lost aerospace manufacturing; Pittsburgh is not about steel anymore. Successful places must reinvent themselves to survive; those that do not decline. We have an enormous problem right now with people and places that have been unable to adapt, and have sought to go back to what worked in the past.

None of that means that this game is particularly good in implementation, but I think it's wrong to summarize it as "some guy really missed when Akihabara was about cool electronics instead of idols and anime" and less than serious and important topic. Indeed, part of our great political debates here as well as in Japan is whether this sort of complacency and nostalgia is the root of the lack of societal advance, or moral failings as postulated by much of Persona 5. spoiler[Intriguingly, the last part of Persona 5 makes an interesting swerve itself in shifting from its prior ascribing the root of problems to the seven deadly sins to concentrating on complacency. The belief that the correct policy decisions are known to all so only evil, especially as done by them can prevent us from achieving them is itself the kind of thought that leads to demagogues and populists. There's elements of truth to both explanations, as Persona 5 wrestles with.]
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
Posts: 2569
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 6:53 pm Reply with quote
Taiyz wrote:


The original game had a terrific sense of humour and plenty of charm,


When you say the original game you mean the first game that was on PSP which didn't leave Japan not the 2nd game which was the first game the west ever got?

Taiyz wrote:
Akiba's Beat feels like it was made to pander to socially awkward people, not just your average anime fan,


I would think that given their aspects this was casually true for the first two games given how meta some of those aspects were.
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Paiprince



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 591
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 7:06 am Reply with quote
I would normally be interested in games like this, but after trying out the Japanese demo, I just zoned out during the middle of it. I gave it a chance and didn't let my bias for Akiba's Trip try to judge it, but the game itself is pure mediocrity. You can tell from the graphics and mechanics to the storyline and characterization that everything was on a shoestring budget. Hopefully this is just a minor hiccup from Acquire and if they're sticking with Beat, then they have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to bring back the spark Trip put out.
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silentjay



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 298
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 11:41 pm Reply with quote
I'm about 12 hours in, and I'm still not hating it. It's gotten better, and John Thacker's right about the concept, but I still think they fumbled this one, as it doesn't feel like you have much in the way of player agency. Mind you, the fact that things are so paint-by-numbers, and that there isn't much to do except be led by the nose through the narrative, I doubt it would really matter. Of course, the sheer lack of character development doesn't exactly help, either.

That said, I think if they'd kept the art style from the last game, it wouldn't look so cheap, and would likely be more palatable. Plus, the over-animated character dialogue bits make it look like a cheap flash game.

Heh... maybe I do hate the game. Smile


Last edited by silentjay on Wed May 24, 2017 4:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TsukasaHiiragi



Joined: 24 Feb 2010
Posts: 152
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 1:32 am Reply with quote
I don't hate the game, but I was very disappointed though and I hope that we'll still get Akiba's Trip 3 at some point to make up for this disappointing game Sad
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