Review: Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax (PlayStation Vita)
PlayStation Vita 5 likes 12 comments
- Release Date (NA): October 6, 2015
- Release Date (JP): November 13, 2014
- Publisher: SEGA
- Developer: KADOKAWA ASCII MEDIA WORKS
- Genres: 2D Fighter
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Also For: PlayStation 3
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Released in Japan last year to celebrate Dengeki Bunko’s 20th anniversary, the west finally gets a chance to pit their anime waifus against each other in battle.
What happens when fighting game developer French Bread, light novel publisher Dengeki Bunko, and SEGA all come together to make a game? You get Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, a game that incorporates many popular anime and light novel characters and lets you fight it out between them all. The gameplay is that of a 2D fighter with support characters that can be called upon, in a semi-similar vein of the Marvel VS Capcom series. While some fighting games seem overly complex, with long complicated combos, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax has a simplified control scheme that makes it easy for newcomers to the genre to get stuck in. If you can do a half circle motion on the d-pad, you’re pretty much set.
Fighting Climax gives you 14 playable characters to choose from, varying from Sword Art Online’s Kirito and Asuna, Toradora’s Taiga Aisaka, and Durarara’s Shizuo Heiwajima. SEGA also included two of their own characters as unlockables, Akira from Virtua Fighter, and Selvaria from Valkyria Chronicles. You also have 23 different assist characters, ranging from many other light novels and SEGA series. With that, Fighting Climax boasts a fairly broad representation of characters from over 20 different franchises.
All of the characters in Fighting Climax share the same button combinations, and while they all play slightly differently, this makes them all feel too similar to each other. A (Square) B (Triangle) and C (Circle) are your basic attacks. Pressing A+B (Two simultaneous button presses can also be mapped to the L/R buttons or the touchscreen.) will result in a stronger attack, that you can use to start combo’ing your opponent. The D (Cross) button calls in your support to do an attack, which changes based upon which direction you’re pressing. Your special attacks, called Climax Arts, are performed by a half circle motion + BC and are flashy attacks that consume your Climax Meter, which fills by getting hits on your opponent. Lastly, there’s the Blast attack and Trump Card. These are limited attacks you can use in each match that will usually turn the tide of a fight. Blasts, performed by pressing A+B+C, will blow back your opponent and quickly fills your Climax Meter. The Trump Card is a powerful attack that not only does a ton of damage, but also gives you a temporary power-up that lets you easily chain attacks together and use Climax Arts without using up any of your meter. If all of these combinations sound a bit too much, the game allows you to use an auto-combo by repeatedly pressing A. It doesn’t do as much damage as a manual combo attack would, but it gives new players something to work with as they adjust to the controls.
As far as 2D fighting games go, Fighting Climax’s sprites are very lackluster. The character models are jagged, and the animations lack a certain fluidity to them. The game itself is very colorful, almost to a fault. Each of the 10 stages are SEGA themed, and while they stand out nicely on their own, everything starts to clash during the actual gameplay. There’s just too much going on visually.
While the visuals might be subpar, the game has quite a few catchy tracks, and surprise, surprise, a handful of them are SEGA remixes of songs from Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS, Phantasy Star Online 2, and other popular SEGA games. Fighting Climax also has it’s share of good original songs, such as the main theme, “Belief”. The tracks exude an “arcade-y” feel, and fit nicely during fights.
Fighting Climax also offers a standard “Arcade” mode which consists of a barebones story that progresses slowly between each fight. Each playable character has the exact same story: they’re summoned to fight an evil entity at the behest of a goddess dressed in Sega Dreamcast themed clothing. And that’s about it. There’s also a “Dream” mode, which offers up some fun and quirky dialogue between select characters. The interactions have nice references to source material, and a majority of the characters are voiced by their original Japanese anime voice cast.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax has options for Ad Hoc (Vita) or Local Versus, (PS3) as well as an online feature. You can fight against friends worldwide, or face off in Ranked Matches. However, in the 10 matches that I tried, not only did it take forever to find someone to play against, there was also terrible lag in each match. Granted, these were fights against people in a completely different country, but the amount of input lag was shocking.
As a last bit of information, I’d like to note that this game is NOT cross-buy. There’s no difference between the two versions, so it’s up to personal preference for which platform you’d like to play the game on.
If you’re not a big fan of the represented anime franchises here, you’re not going to get a lot out of this game. There are plenty of better fighters if you’re really into the genre. If you do however, happen to love the character roster, there’s a great amount of fun to be had, versing with and against your favorite characters.
+ Dream Mode
+ Easy to just pick up and play
+ Character roster
- The lacking visuals
- Characters all feel too samey
- Takes forever to get into an online match
Animations are stiff. Stage backgrounds aren’t cohesive and feel too busy. Characters have oddly jaggy outlines.
The simple gameplay and low entry barrier make this game easy to just pick up and play. While the game does boast a diverse character roster, characters lack variety between each other
Unless you want to unlock each and every alternate color for every character, or have friends that consistently play this game, it’ll most likely wear out its welcome fairly fast.
out of 10
(not an average)
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is a pretty fun crossover fighter. Anime fans will get a kick out of all the references and cast of characters. However a few cosmetic issues and over simplistic gameplay hold it back from being a game that can be recommended to anyone outside of its small core audience.