NEET: Short for “Not in Employment, Education, or Training.”Typically considered to be underskilled shut-ins who live by themselves in humble yet comfortable apartments, NEETs are known to mooch off their parents’ good will to play video games and watch anime all day instead of looking for work.

Asahi Tachibana is a textbook NEET, living a lazy, cozy life in Akihabara, the infamous Tokyo suburb renowned for its proliferation of anime and video game merchandise, maid cafes, pop idols, and all other forms of counterculture indulgence. To him, every day is Sunday, and every Sunday is a fun day.

Little does he know, however, that every day is about to become Sunday for real! Caught in a temporal loop, where the day restarts as soon as it ends, Asahi is one of only a chosen few whose memories don’t reset with it. He and his merry band of time-displaced losers must now scour Akihabara for signs of “delusions” – people’s innermost fantasies made manifest, changing the cityscape and the behavior of its citizens alike. It is the duty of this ragtag team (whether they like it or not) to infiltrate and destroy these delusions, restoring the natural order of Akiba in the vain hope that each loop may be their last.

During the course of this increasingly improbable quest, Asahi and his companions will unravel a deep, twisted mystery that blurs the line between the physical world and that of mankind’s innermost desires. Can this band of misfits restore normalcy (or what passes for normalcy) to Akihabara? Or will they succumb to the will of the enigmatic pink-caped man, who seems to be the key to everything…?

I initially agreed to take this assignment because I figured it’s been quite some time since I’ve dove into a good old JRPG, and well for better or for worse, I certainly got more than i bargained for with Akiba’s Beat. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of it all I will say the localization for this title was REALLY well done. I didn’t run into any of the poor translation we sometimes are exposed to in the world of JRPGs and the voice-acting is top notch anime style. I’m not a fan of anime at all so the voice acting to me seemed to be a little over the top and corny, BUT, I know that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be so I can at least appreciate that.

The art style too especially in the conversation screens are done in traditional anime style, and is very well done. The music holds up as well. Music changes as the mood and tone changes as well as your environment. Most of the music is techno, EDM, or JPOP so it fits the setting perfectly.

The game overall though does seem a bit fractured. There are basically two styles of gameplay featured here: heavy story involvement where you walk around and converse with other characters and running small tasks here and there. This is where you get most (if not all) of your story from.Every character to encounter and engage with is fully voice acted as well which is a nice touch keeps you more engaged than just reading text box after text box.

Combat, my favorite part of this game, plays out like a strategic hack and slash. You can customize the rest of your party by selecting who the attack (closest, weakest, same as you), how often they use their special abilities and even their items. In this regard it did remind me a lot  like Kingdom Hearts.While it might seem easy, if you rush in without thinking or planning it’ll end really quick. When you hit a certain combo level you can activate your special attack modes which greatly multiply your damage and can make quick work of your foes.

 

Now for all it’s got going for it, this game does have some shortcomings, and they did really bother me and effected my scoring when it comes down to it. This game has about 20 hours of action wrapped in an 80 hour cut scene. To give it the anime reference equivalent, it’s like watching a season of Dragonball Z, there is hours and hours of build up before anything actually happens. I attempted to stream some gameplay to post with this review and I had played for almost an hour before I was able to fight a single person/creature. As fun as I think the combat is, it was frustrating that I ened up button mashing and not even listening or reading the dialog while attempting to get to that point. Even with using said strategy it was still 45 min before getting to a fighting sequence.

Now maybe it’s because I haven’t had much exposure to these types of games lately, wanted to dive into Persona and such, but if this is the pattern these games take. I don’t think I will be diving back in anytime soon. If you are a big fan of Anime and can get behind the slow moving story then I think you would definitely enjoy this title. If you are not, I think this game is a hard pass for you.

%

Great Art, Great Music, Great Combat, WAAAAAY too much talking