Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Review

By Shawn Collier on October 6, 2015

If you've played enough fighting games, you know there's generally two types that exist. There's your franchise titles, such as Street Fighter and Tekken, which are aimed towards the veteran players with their deep levels of skill. And on the other side you have your all-star fighting games, which take characters from numerous properties and have them duke it out against one another. Sometimes you get games such as Super Smash Bros. or Marvel vs. Capcom, but other times you'll get a bottom-of-the-barrel fighter that are just there to cash in on their respective properties. So where does SEGA's latest cross-over fighter, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, fall in the latter side with its numerous properties?

It's evident from the controls that Fighting Climax is aimed at those who aren't used to the complicated button presses the franchise titles regularly employ. There's your standard button presses for light, medium, and heavy attacks, with the fourth button utilized for calling in your selected assist character. Similar to Persona 4 Arena or BlazBlue's Stylish control type, consecutively pressing the light attack button will carry out an auto-combo sequence of attacks, a special attack, topping off with a super attack if you have enough meter.

One thing I liked about the special attack system in particular is that every character's special move is carried out either with pressing two attack buttons or a forward/backward quarter circle. Often times non-fighting game players get turned off by the multitude of special move patterns, whereas Dengeki Bunko allows newcomers to spend more time on using the right move instead of trying to remember what movement did what move. There's a bit of depth to this system also, as you can slightly alter how you execute the press to modify how the special move is carried out. And for more veteran fighting game players, there's additional mechanics such as bursts to break an enemy's combo, as well as the fact that every character has double/super jumps and air/dash moves available instead of being relegated to a select few.

As one would expect given the game's title, all of the characters in Fighting Climax come from the light novels under the Dengeki Bunko banner, with some being more recognizable than other as they were later released in anime form. Sword Art Online's Kirito and Asuna are the poster characters of this game on the cover art, but there's also other recognizable characters such as Kirino from Oreimo and Shizuo from Durarara!! The developers generally did their best to get as many playable characters in the roster as possible, but some might be slightly disappointed if their favorite character ended up either in the assist roster or excluded entirely from the roster completely. Filling out the rest of the assist roster is a number of characters from SEGA's own properties, such as Virtua Fighter's Akira and Valkyria Chronicles' Selvaria.

While the developer did make each character, both playable and assist, feel unique and like they came straight out of their respective titles, like most fighting games there's certain characters that raise above the rest in terms of hierarchy. Fighters like Kuroyukihime can easily cover the field with projectiles, or Asuna has the ability to use her weapon's range to play keep-away with the opponent. Generally these differences don't make themselves present in the offline modes, so unless you are sparring against veteran players this won't be that much of an issue.

Speaking of offline modes, there's the standards here you'd expect from a fighting game. You have your Training, Versus and story modes --- but this time there's two to pick from. The first is your standard Arcade mode where you fight against a roster of characters until you end up against the boss at the end, with some minor dialogue placed throughout.

The second part, Dream Mode, is similar to Arcade in that it's a series of fights, but the main difference is that the combatants are predetermined and there's more conversation between one another. I won't spoil anything particular about this mode, but for fans of the Dengeki Bunko character's franchises there's a lot of amusing chats and in-universe jokes you'll come across here. It's a welcome addition over the exceptionally barren "cutscenes" found in other cross-over titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

As par for most fighting games, completing the various modes unlocks points, specifically CP in this game, which can be used unlock voices, color schemes and key visuals from the various Dengeki Bunko properties. It's not a bad thing, but considering the way the game differentiates itself in other aspects, being so barren with the unlocks comes as a bit of a disappointment.

Final Thoughts

If you're a fan of any of the Dengeki Bunko properties, or the included SEGA assist characters, this is a fighting game that will exceed your wildest expectations as it has enough depth to not be boring but is approachable for those who aren't veteran fighting game players. But for veterans who aren't attached to any of the characters in particular, the lack of higher-level complexity and the overall sameness of the characters will probably disappoint you.

The characters from the various Dengeki Bunko properties are faithfully recreated in the game.
The auto-combo and simplified attack combos make it easy for newcomers to execute their favorite character's moves.
Dream Mode has a lot of in-universe jokes and references that fans will enjoy.
For veterans, the fact that all of the characters have the same techniques might be a detractor.
Some characters are slightly overpowered compared to others.
The unlockables are essentially standard for the genre, unlike other aspects of the game.
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