Life in Akihabara is flipped on its head when delusionscapes threaten to alter reality. Like many JRPG’s, Akiba’s Beat anime theme contains Otakus, Idols and Maids all represented in their stereotypical forms. Every detail cranked up to the max, the journey is colourful, cringe-worthy in places and full of personality.

Asahi Tachibana is a NEET or person who’s Not in Education, Employment or Training and has lived as such after dropping out of college, by choice of course. Spending his days playing games, watching anime or reading manga whilst eating copious amounts of junk food. This all sounds normal, so of course his life takes a left turn when he obtains the ability of being able to see delusions as they appear throughout his hometown. The delusions cannot be seen by everyone, only by the ‘Delusers’ who created them, by accident or on purpose and ‘the chosen ones’.

Saki Hochino and her familiar Pinkun, the latter being a small cuddly monster, recently moved into the area and encounters Asahi. Ultimately befriending him and being the one responsible for dragging him into the mess of trying to destroy each delusion that looks to take over. Did I mention that because of the before-mentioned delusions, it would appear Akihabara is stuck in an infinite time loop, destined to repeat Sunday every day which makes the objective much more urgent because come on who wants to repeat the same day over and over?

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Throughout your venture more friends will join the party such as Riyu Momose and Yamato Hongo. These add more dynamic to each set of dialogues and introduce more areas of otaku culture. The various party characters will have different roles and attack styles, some will be more damage based and others will have a healing specialization, which is typical of party based RPG games, dishing out varying tasks amongst the team.

Battles are present in the form of encounters, in the overworld once you are near an enemy you have a few options on how you wish to proceed. You can either completely dodge them or at least try too, perhaps walk up to them to begin the battle on an equal level, or sneak up on them and attack from behind which will give you an advantage as the battle begins, the vice versa can happen with the NPC gaining the upper hand by attacking you first.

Combat is action based with its free-flowing button mashing style, regular attacks will help build up your combo meter, imagine gauge and skill points. To use skills, you spend points, if you use them all up then you need to get them back again this breaks up the monotony of just using one attack over and over, adding a layer of depth and difficulty to each battle. Think smart and fight smarter.

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The imagine gauge is a special ability type deal, it fills up throughout each battle, starting at the same point it was when the previous encounter ended. Once a checkpoint on the meter has been reached you can activate imagine mode which will increase your stats for a short period of time, this doesn’t reset the overall gauge you can instead continue building it up. When completely full you can then create an Imagine Field, whilst active the party’s boosts will fluctuate dynamically along with the beat of the music that play’s. Upon the chorus being hit, huge damage is available when the Burst adds to your attack-boosting rate. It certainly sounds complex but is picked up easily.

Like most anime style games, the textures are clean and smooth, some jagged lines can be seen but overall it is a great look and one that goes to show fine detail isn’t needed to make a great looking experience. Each delusion will have its own aesthetic that matches its theme, such as the doll or maid delusions. The latter showcases different shades of red and matches royalty like fabrics with pristine cutlery, top hats and tea-party objects.

The vast majority of NPC’s within the game are blank slates, just animated human shaped objects draped in colour either blue, green, red, purple or pink. This doesn’t do any good for immersion but I can appreciate it adds to the reality vs delusion scenario.

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From the soundtrack, you get the feeling of being in a digital modern world, the ambient music being something out of a pharmaceutical advert and not in a bad way but in a clean and mellow kind of way. Music is heavily featured in the action and plays a role in the imagine gauge system as previously mentioned, you acquire different songs through defeating each delusion that differ in length and burst rate. The tunes vary but I’m constantly in pure joy when I’m able to activate imagine field and start fighting to the beat.

Story – 8.5/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 8.5/10
Gameplay – 7.5/10
Game Design / Innovation – 7.5/10

You are getting the full package with Akiba’s Beat, not only does it feature a unique story filled with a diverse cast of characters, the gameplay is solid and has enough depth to make each fight enjoyable. The experience looks great and sound’s even better, and is a great addition to anyone’s game library provided they enjoy action based JRPG’s and if not, it is a great starting point for someone looking to get into the genre.

OVERALL – 8.0/10 – GREAT

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin (Jester).

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Akiba’s Beat on PS4 however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

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