A large array of anime characters come together in Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax to see who is the strongest of them all. This title arrived in early 2014 for Japan in the arcades and quickly made its way to the PlayStation 3 and Vita the following Fall season. Sega then decided to bring this title over to North America and Europe the year after, released not too long ago on October 6th, 2015. Now that it’s here, is this the 2D game of the year or will it fall short to the more popular titles such as BlazBlue or Guilty Gear?
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax: Playstation Vita [Reviewed] , Playstation 3
Developer: Ecole Software/French Bread
Release Date: 6 October 2015
Price: £24.99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
Fighting Climax has the basic features of any 2D fighting game: Arcade, Versus, Challenge and Training. There are two different modes for Story: Arcade, where you play a set story with an original storyline, and Dream Duels, in which you see special interactions between characters, respectively. The Arcade’s story mode is only interesting on the first playthrough, but it starts to get redundant and tedious when you need to pass through it with every fighter as they all say close to the same speech. The ultimate evil also goes through the same dialogue constantly and just causes the player to want to skip over everything just to get to the fights.
The Dream Duels are slightly more interesting as they have unique interactions between certain characters. There are six opponents to defeat in any order of your choosing with a little dialogue that occurs at the beginning. It’s funny to see Asuna (Sword Art Online) and Rentaro (Black Bullet) discussing their cooking interests right before they face off in a match. It almost feels like a lot of the characters just want to face off for fun and it’s not something serious or forced, like they’re all comrades just trading jokes along with a sparring match. It’s very light-hearted and great to hear the Japanese voice actors for your favourite characters having a conversation as them.
The choice of characters from the Dengeki universe is great and has variety, making sure that no two are similar. Even if players haven’t watched or read all of the series featured in the game they’ll still be happy to see one or more familiar characters. However, there just doesn’t seem to be many of them, with a total of 14 players, including two unlockable ones, it just feels short-handed. It’s such a shame that characters like Sadou Mao from The Devil is a Part-Timer! is only in this game as an Assist character. Their Japanese voice actors reprise their roles in the game, bringing in the whole authentic feel of it. These characters battle on Sega-themed worlds, which is odd as the Dengeki universe has tons of scenic spaces that could have been fantastic as levels (literally tons from Sword Art Online alone). They certainly look pretty and it makes for quite the backdrop but it’s sad that so much potential was wasted on level design from the anime’s worlds.
The fighting mechanics for Dengeki Bunko are simple yet have their own complexity. There is a basic way to perform special attacks (quarter turn of analog stick with the press of any button), and this just makes every character almost feel the same. The only thing that separates them and makes them unique is how certain fighters use their combinations to match their unique style of fighting in their respective universe. Kirito utilizes his dual-wielding after activating his Trump Card and is able to make long combos that don’t deal much damage per hit, but deals a lot more the longer the combo is.
Trump Cards are a neat feature alongside the player’s Climax bar (special meter), which provides additional strategy when facing off against players online or the computer. Certain characters either get a timed transformation or perform a heavy attack with additional buffs for a certain duration. These coupled with performing Climaxes or a Burst can really change the tide of the battle if you’re losing, although it still doesn’t feel like much help against veteran players online.
The Challenges that are included in the game are Score, Timed, and Survival — all of these feel like a bland filler to try and add more replay value but it falls short. The name of each challenge is exactly what it sounds like; it requires you to try and get a large amount of points, shortest time possible, or see how many fighters you can take on with one health bar. It’s typical and boring of them to have added this, although it does include leaderboards online to try and strive for the top in the community which makes it only slightly better.
The game does offer Versus against players online, and it’s pretty good for the most part. It plays like when you’re doing single player and everything is available but it suffers from connection issues and lag. Inputted commands are delayed and the reaction of your character is sluggish if you or your opponent have bad signal. There are ranked matches and unranked along with leaderboards, but there seems to be a lack of people playing, hence the large gap in some of the scores in various modes like Challenges.
The grind is on for this fighter title as players will need to spend a lot of hours playing this game just to beat the Arcade and Dream Duels with every character. Not only that, but a multitude of accumulative tasks to complete. An hour will need to be spent in Training mode, just as an example to those out there about what ridiculous accumulative Trophies there are.
In the end, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is a safe title with basic gameplay that can be complex when the player adjusts to the controls and commands. However, the title lacks anything unique about it other than the array of anime characters and their interactions, it’s just not something that’s memorable. It has replayability but none of it is valuable except to get Trophies, and after awhile it’ll become tedious and disinteresting. Hopefully the next rendition, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax – Ignition, will bring something to the table that could keep the players interest for awhile and be innovative.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
- Variety of characters with great voice work
- Dream Duels adds interesting interactions between characters
- Trump Cards are great addition
- Arcade mode becomes redundant and stale
- Needs more characters and Dengeki maps
- Combat is repetitive and no different to understand one character from another
- Challenges feel like a bland filler
- Online can get sluggish with delayed actions