AKB48 3rd Dating Game

AKB48 1/149 Renai Sousenkyo is the third in Bandai’s AKB48 related dating simulation games. Unlike the previous two games, this latest installment includes the rosters from the sister groups SKE48, HKT48 and NMB48.

Those of you looking for some of the international groups like JKT48 and SNH48 or AKB’s “competition” Nogizaka46 are out of luck here. I find that to be a real shame because I would have made a run at JKT’s Melody and a couple of Nogizaka girls if they were included.

But fans can take solace in the the fact that Maeda Atsuko is present and ready for you to woo for one last time. Perhaps consider that your consolation prize? If not, then strike one against this game.

It has been a while since I have played a dating simulation game. The last thing I tried that was close that genre were the dating missions for Grand Theft Auto 3. Unlike that game, there are no “hot coffee” visits. Another strike against 1/149. Not looking good so far right?

Well we are talking about idols here. This game is about pure love and not any of the dirty, nasty, AV related thoughts that some of you out there have about these girls. As for me? Well I bought a PS VITA so I could defile all of my friend’s oshis for sport. That tells you my mindset when it came to playng 1/149 Renai Sousenkyo.

With all that said let’s get into some of the details of the game itself. First, you do not need a Japanese PSP/VITA to play this game. This is completely playable on a non-Japanese system so importing this will not be an issue. However, if you want to download this and get the DLC it’s a completely different story.

AKB 149 Yuko

In that case a Japanese PSN account will be required before you can buy the game. I am not going to go through the process of creating an account and instead I will direct you to this handy guide that I used when I got my Vita. My only piece of advice in this regard is to have a separate memory card ready as your account cannot be linked to the memory card for your existing PSN account from whatever your home country is.

Whatever method of delivery you choose (I went with digital download because I’m impatient like that) it will cost you a bit of coin. On the Japanese PS Store you are looking at around 7300 yen for the game itself and another 1000 yen if you want the DLC of the kissing scenes. If you need some Japanese PSN currency then I suggest Japan Codes.

AKB 149 Rena

If you are one of infinite patience (and also want all the goodies like photo cards & DVD’s) then feel free to purchase the game from one of the CD Japan links at the end of this review.

Being that this is a Japanese game all the menus and language options are in Japanese (duh), so the other question that one may have before even playing the game is whether they need a proficiency in the language to fully understand and enjoy everything that is going on. That would depend on what kind of person you are. If you don’t mind trudging along with blind faith then no, you do not need to understand a word of Japanese.

Your keen decision making will ensure you snare the girl you want right? That’s if you can get past the menus. It isn’t that difficult to navigate the menu system since the icons are self explanatory. If you lack any Japanese language skills you’ll be okay. Be careful with the advance and cancel buttons. In Japanese games they are the reverse and the circle button is confirm while the “x” button is cancel. You don’t want to be hitting “x” hoping to save only to cancel after you scored right?

AKB 149 Phone Call

So what about the game play? Well at the start you get the full directory of 149 girls to choose from and you basically start cold calling them for dates. Simple enough right? Well this is where some knowledge of Japanese would come in handy. Each girl has a scenario you have to play through where you are either in engaging conversation or dragged through the mud until your girl of choice asks you some backhanded question.

AKB 149 Jurina

Well that’s the way I saw it anyway. Anyway, once your scenario ends you are given 3 choices, one negative, one neutral and one positive (from what I can tell, sometimes you are given some vague responses to select from) and what you select will determine if you continue your relationship or if you get rejected. Now if you’re like me, you have an electronic Japanese dictionary handy to help you through the game. Obviously I’m using this as part my Japanese comprehension practice in addition to screwing with my friends by telling them I bagged their oshis on social media.

AKB 149 Double Matsui

Anyway, it’s totally fine to just guess since it takes away the stress of actual decision making. I’m not going to give you a general rule of thumb to follow because even though I have an intermediate understanding of Japanese grammar I still managed to fuck up and choose the negative responses for the girls I wanted to continue with. In the case that you do screw up the bonus taunt of the game is that the music changes to NMB48’s Virginity when you go back to the menu screen for your next cold call.

Intentional? Maybe. Funny? Definitely.

As you progress your choice of girls starts to dwindle down either because:

  • You are a player and get caught on a date with one of their friends
  • You ignore someone too long and they basically tell you to fuck off
  • You break up with them
  • You just say the wrong thing and the game punishes you for being a trigger happy ass

So special attention must be paid to the girls you hope to get a confession from. Keep that in mind I guess if you are really hardcore on getting certain members to give you a kiss. Eventually the counter will come down to 1 girl and it may not be the one you want. Just a warning.

The drawback of the game play is that it’s basically you going through tons of Japanese text while your idol date does voice overs. (with Japanese subtitles) Not the most exciting thing ever but if you were expecting full video interaction with 149 girls for 7300 yen perhaps you need to just go out and find a real live girl to talk to instead.

You only get the videos once you struggle your way to the confession stage of your relationship. And those are pretty damn short. What about those dependent on subtitles? Well there aren’t any during those parts so you have to pay attention to the scene carefully. That leads to my next piece of advice, and that is to save often.

Actually, if you manage to get a 2nd date with any girl just save. Unless you want to intentionally blow someone off in favor of another. Then save again. You can never do enough saving.

There’s nothing else to say about the game play really. It’s not that complicated and once you go through the game a few times you’ll know how to score the one you love without any problems. For a casual fan the replay value of this will be really low. Like super low because the repetitive nature of this sim will feel like a grind. Perhaps too close to real life for some people when it comes their own personal love lives. You know, when not playing dating sims and the like.

For trophy whores and those who like to finish games bagging all 149 (and whoever the extra ones who jack the count up to 153) girls and getting all the trophies will be ultimate goal. In other words, infinite re-playability for the hardcore gamer or wota.

In the end this game was a lot more fun than I expected. I normally don’t like dating sims simply because of the grind factor and the lack of any significant action of any kind. Of course I’m biased in this case being a Japanese idol music fan. But I think this is at least worth giving a try if you are into this genre of games.

AKB 1/149 (Regular Edition PSP)

CDJapan Logo

AKB 1/149 (Regular Edition PS VITA)

CDJapan Logo

AKB 1/149 (Deluxe Edition PSP)

CDJapan Logo

AKB 1/149 (Deluxe Edition PS VITA)

CDJapan Logo