Akiba's Beat

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Akiba's Beat Game Poster Image
Horrible, sexually offensive adventure not worth your time.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play Asahi Tachibana, a college dropout, caught in a time loop fighting human enemies, creatures. He doesn't seem remorseful about his actions, but enemies -- called "delusions" -- are portrayed as evildoers.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence

Fantasy violence against human enemies, fantastical creatures. Players can use pistols, swords, magic attacks, and more to kill enemies. Some blood seen during combat (splashed on "camera" lens) and noninteractive cut-scenes.
 

Sex

No nudity, some female players dressed suggestively. Some sexually charged dialogue, including suggestions that it's OK to strip clothes off women without consent and they'll welcome it.

Language

"Bitch," "ass," "crap," "damn" in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, a "total drunkard" can be seen slurring his speech, hiccuping.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Akiba's Beat is an action role-playing game (RPG). Players fight human enemies and fantastical creatures with pistols, swords, and magic in combat sequences. While not very graphic, the game does have some instances where you'll see blood splash across the screen. The game has some sexually suggestive imagery, including many anime women dressed in lingerie. Sexually suggestive dialogue includes lines that might imply consent isn't necessary. The game also has some profanity, and a scene with an inebriated man who slurs his words.

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What's it about?

AKIBA'S BEAT is an action-heavy Japanese role-playing game that folds in science fiction and real locations (Akihabara in Tokyo). This third-person adventure introduces us to a young male protagonist named Asahi Tachibana, who leads a group on missions to destroy anything out of sync with reality in high-tech dungeon environments called "Delusionscapes." Asahi finds himself repeating the same Sunday over and over (think Groundhog Day) and must shatter this "world of delusions" to break the cycle and restore reality back to normal.

Gamers will wander the streets of Akiba -- short for Akihabara, renowned for its video games and consumer electronics -- and will meet residents, engage in dialogue, and enter delusions to fight human and nonhuman enemies alike, in real-time combat sequences.

While not tied to its predecessors, this game is the third in a series, following Akiba's Trip (out in Japan only), and Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed.

Is it any good?

While its concept is intriguing -- fusing a fantasy RPG with a modern-day spin and sci-fi elements -- this game doesn't have much going for it. Shallow in depth, Akiba's Beat first suffers from limitations on where you can go and who you can interact with. For example, while it appears that you can move around Akihabara, the game has "invisible walls" that limit your exploration. Many characters are merely silhouettes instead of NPCs (non-player characters), so instead of letting you chat with an NPC, the game opens up a menu screen where you can choose desired text from a list. As such, the world feels barren and lifeless. That's strange, since the game does try to present storylines for each of the playable characters (with sub-quests, and branching plots), but these people lack any depth and you don't ultimately care enough to learn more about them. While walking around town, you'll be prompted often to save your progress, which hurts the suspension of disbelief even more.

The combat sequences are a little more fun, as you might expect, when you're zapped into a high-tech dungeon and need to defeat the enemy with your party. You'll use items such as swords and guns, and magic attacks, but the AI doesn't put up much of a fight. "Button mashing" is just as effective as planning out moves, so it doesn't seem like much skill is needed to beat enemies. Plus, the sexual themes in this game are awkward, unnecessary, and borderline offensive, particularly the nonconsensual commentary that really is unjustifiable. Save your money for another RPG, as there's simply not much here to justify the purchase.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about the handling of sexual content in games. Is it fine to include nonconsensual sexual advances because this is a game that's clearly unrealistic? Is it OK for young boys to hear this?

  • Talk about violence in video games. Is the violence against human characters OK because it's not overly graphic? Is there a point where it would go over the line?

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