It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

I’ve been in and out a lot this week, what with yesterday’s new piercing trip and today being my girlfriend’s birthday. My mom and I are taking her out to lunch and afterward, we’re all going to a baseball game. I’ve also been taking a break from everything by catching up on TV shows, going through most of The Flash’s 2nd season and all of Master of None’s on Netflix.

AKIBA'S BEAT - Key Art

I’ve put roughly six hours into Akiba’s Beat, which is a spiritual successor RPG to 2013’s Akiba’s Trip. Unlike Trip’s pseudo open-world beat-em-up in which you expose vampires to the sun by tearing their clothing off, Beat is more akin to a Tales of… game with action-focused combat and a light-hearted story. Aesthetically, it’s similar to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE with its semi-cel-shaded visuals and multi-colored crowd silhouettes.

Beat’s story centers around Asahi, a college dropout and NEET (a real acronym for “not in employment, education, or training,” used to describe a lazy young adult lacking aspiration) living in Akihabara. The dreams and desires of the electric city’s citizens have begun manifesting themselves as portals around town, which, of course, lead to typical dungeons called “delusionscapes.” With Akiba’s Beat being a JRPG, Asahi discovers his hidden ability to see and fight the delusions that otherwise go unnoticed by the common passerby, and teams up with others possessing the same power.

These menacing delusions aren’t the only problem, however, as the characters become stuck in a repeating Sunday (though the game doesn’t add any potentially annoying time management mechanics). The otaku Groundhog Day concept is interesting and the game itself is translated and voiced well, but the combat is incredibly dull.

Similar to the Tales of… games, Akiba’s Beat segues encounters from free-roam mode to a gated-in, action-focused combat arena. Depending on Asahi’s AP stat (raised through weapons and gear) he can act a set amount of times, typically by mashing square for basic attacks and executing special abilities by pressing X in combination with the left and right analog sticks. It’s very stiff and unsatisfying (giggity?) and could definitely have benefited from a longer development cycle or a larger budget.

akiba

What prevents the combat from feeling generic is the game’s focus on music. Asahi and company can collect CDs which add new songs to the game. One song can be selected as your battle music, which provides its own set of combat benefits and damage boosts once a certain meter is filled by attacking enemies. It’s interesting, but since it’s mostly a passive enhancement, it hasn’t really added anything to the experience.

I received the game to review, but I’m not sure I’ll get around to finishing it. I hear it’s nearly 80 hours long and extremely mediocre, so if it fails to evolve over the course of the next ten or so hours, I’ll probably cut my losses and review it up to that point. It’s not being received very well here in North America or in its native Japan. I’m always glad to see publishers take a chance translating and localizing these types of games, but in a year over-crowded with quality releases, there’s just really no room for an 80-hour experience that stands far below everything else.

injustice22

Outside of Akiba’s Beat, I just installed my rental of Injustice 2 on PS4. I loved the story mode in the original game, being a DC fan, and I’ve really enjoyed NetherRealm’s plethora of single-player content in their fighters. I’ll probably just play through the story mode and send it back, but the addition of an RPG-style level-up/gear system is definitely intriguing. We’ll see how long I stick around afterward.

I watched Giant Bomb play through The Flash’s chapter and the animations still have that oddly stiff Mortal Kombat feel. Facial animations and character models look downright incredible, though.

I avoided buying the game due to WB’s notoriously shitty paid-DLC model, having already announced new fighters before the game even released. I’ll probably do what I did with Mortal Kombat X and wait for everything to be bundled together cheaply before investing. I want to support NetherRealm and their dedication to providing content for every walk of player, but WB’s money-hungry ways are a bit hard to swallow.

What about you, folks? What are you getting into this weekend?

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26 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. After finishing up the Doom reboot, I want to finally take a crack at completing Paper Mario Thousand Year Door. I’ve got the GameCube ready to go with an actual copy so I’m excited to give it another go

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  2. This weekend is going to be a landmark for my video gaming career: I have a brand new unopened 50″ 4K LG TV, a console stand to put together for my systems, a full motion TV mount, a can of paint, and enough track shelving to store my entire game collection. After 2 weeks of living at my new house, I’m finally turning my office into my gameroom. :D Probably won’t play a whole lot aside from some Mario Kart 8 Deluxe but it’ll be incredible to finally open the many cardboard boxes sitting on my floor filled with all manner of games, consoles, and amiibo!

    Can’t wait! :O

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  3. I have finally reached Persona 5’s final dungeon. If I can beat the game this weekend I’ll make a start on Fire Emblem.

    Akiba’s Trip was a short and sweet brawler that made me laugh. Don’t like the sounds of Beat because the combat in Tales games has never clicked with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the combat in Tales never clicked, this is a far inferior version that’s sure to disappoint. Congrats in nearing the end of Persona 5. Still hoping to finally START that one here soon once I get these last few reviews finished.

      Which Fire Emblem? I finished Awakening in February for the first time and thought it was incredible. Picked up both physical Fates releases and they’re still in shrink wrap (because of course they are).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re so versatile with the games you get to each weekend! I feel like I play the same thing for months, but here you are, going to school and still managing to find time to play all the games. I’m on The Room 2 now, which is more expansive than the first one in terms of you can move around each particular chamber more, but the puzzles are simpler, so it’s a fair trade. It’s got a bit of a creep factor to it, so I don’t play late at night (wuss…puss). I’m still on Brave Exvius trying to level my characters and move on with the story.

    I bought and received two new games this week, Horizon Zero Dawn and Final Fantasy Type-0. I’m getting a 3DS from an acquaintance for $100 sometime this week, and Mr. Panda is going to keep his eyes open for places that get Switches in. I see everyone playing Mario Cart and I SO want it :)

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    1. Between GameFly rentals, games I receive to review, and my own backlog, I’m never at a loss for things to play lol. I’m also on summer break, so I’m taking full advantage of it by catching up on TV shows I missed and games I’ve put off.

      Yay for FFT-0HD! Such a great soundtrack and a lovely XP exploit that allows you to max out your favorite characters rather quickly (we’re talking mere hours) to muscle through the story and the more annoying boss fights.

      3DS has a great library of games, particularly JRPGs. Time to hop on that Fire Emblem Awakening!

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      1. I’m trying to catch up on shows myself! I put a moratorium on any new shows until I’m caught up with my old hehe.

        I might be cutting back on FFBE so that I can play some other stuff. I still like it and am very interested in the story, but I’m getting tired of the freemium annoyances like needing to expend consumables in order to level up. We’ll see how much longer I keep up with it.

        I’ll have to look up that XP exploit, because I have no qualms whatsoever doing that! Get me through the boss fights and onto the story I say.

        I’m hoping my contact gets back to me! It’s been a few days. I’m ever cautious, but hopeful this goes through.

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      2. Haha, well I just so happened to write a guide for it when I freelanced for another website!

        http://wp.me/p2go2D-5oH

        I just plowed through the first season of Riverdale, which I liked quite a bit. Reminded me of Twin Peaks in a sort of “small town with distinguished characters” way. I was surprised to see it was a disturbing take on the Archie comics characters as teenagers, but it worked out really well.

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  5. O It’s one of the many on my list. I’m on The Room 2 now, which is more expansive than the first one in terms of you can move around each particular chamber more, but the puzzles are simpler, so it’s a fair trade.

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