Game: Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
Consoles: PS3 (reviewed), PS Vita
Developer: French Bread, Ecole Software
2015 has been pretty light in the fighting game department. Besides the juggernaut that is Mortal Kombat X, there hasn’t been a whole lot of other big contenders released this year. Sega has opted to please the anime sub-community of the FGC with a title that was once relegated to Japanese players. Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax has finally blessed us with its beautiful 2D splendor and manic battles in the States. After putting in an ungodly amount of hours into this fighter, it’s apparent that this export from Japan is a welcome gift.
This mashup fighter focuses on the brand of light novels released by the Dengeki Bunko publisher. For the American and European crowd who’s being introduced to this game’s roster for the 1st time, everyone will be unfamiliar except for Sword Art Online’s Kirito and Asuna. However, don’t let this odd mix of strangers deter you from learning the in’s and outs of this 2D fighter. You’ll discover a young gangster who fights by throwing traffic signs, a too cute girl who treats her foes like a basketball, a graceful ice magic wielder and more. The game’s entire eclectic cast of fighters should eventually make you a newfound fan of their source material.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax feels like your typical anime fighter. That isn’t a slight on this game whatsoever, though. Everything moves at an insanely fast pace, but controlling the madness happening on screen becomes 2nd nature. Each character comes with a varied assortment of moves that’s tied to their style of combat, plus they can call out their chosen assist character for bigger combo setups. The deeper mechanics expert players will no doubt learn are in abundance here. Armored attacks let you power through other players moves, the Blast lets you gain meter quickly and set up air combos, Trump Card attacks deal massive damage but are limited in use etc. There’s so much to learn here, but beginners will have just as much fun mashing it out.
Sega had a hand in publishing this fighter and it shows. The bright and beautiful looking stages you’ll battle on are perfect homages to Sega’s past. Valkyria Chronicles, Virtua Fighter, Phantasy Star Online, Sonic The Hedgehog and more all have some type of stage representation here. Remixed tracks of classic Sega themes are also thrown in to give old school fans even more nostalgia trips to enjoy. The only disappointing aspect of Sega’s involvement in this fighter is its inclusion of only two fighters from its storied past. We get it, this fighter is mainly composed of Dengeki Bunko characters. But adding just two of three more Sega characters would have made this roster even more incredible.
On the modes front, you have your usual set. The ones that stand out the most and give you the currency you need to unlock new content are its story modes. Arcade Mode throws you into a tale involving “dreams,” while Dream Duel mode acts as a sort of dream match series. Both these modes are decent little diversions, but you’ll mostly clear them out to get new characters, art and online ID icons. The rest of the game is filled with the modes you’ve come to expect – Survival, Time Attack, online multiplayer, Training and more. What’s included here has been done before plenty of times, so you’ll most likely hop online to maximize your fun.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is the type of fighter that looks unapproachable for some, but its gameplay is far to fun to ignore. While its roster is crowded with faces that American and European players may have no clue about, each character’s personality is perfectly captured in their wild style of play. The fighting mechanics here are deep and the nods to Sega should ease in more unwilling players. It’s puzzling to see only two Sega fighters on deck, plus the playable modes included here are just the usual fighting game fare. This anime fighter is still a solid dose of quick and explosive action, though.
- The roster is full of some far out characters who all have great styles of play
- There’s tons of offensive and defensive options to use in battle, plus there’s a great amount of assist characters to call upon
- The classic nods to Sega is apparent in this fighter’s use of stages and theme songs
- Only having two selectable Sega characters is a huge missed opportunity
- Besides the Arcade and Dream Duel modes, the rest of this package is pretty bare bones