Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is a crossover fighting game bringing together the major players from many of the light novels under the Dengeki label, many of which have been adapted into anime and manga as well. This includes well-known series like Sword Art Online, represented by leads Kirito and Asuna, and lesser known series like Strike the Blood, spearheaded (literally in fact) by Yukina Himeragi. Seriously though, if you have not looked into Strike the Blood, do it. It is amazing.
First things first, let’s talk about the playable roster. It is not the biggest I’ve seen in a fighting game, with twelve characters unlocked at the start and two unlockable characters that can be obtained by satisfying in-game conditions. In addition to the playable cast, there is also a large support character roster that fills the gap with some notable series that didn’t get a playable entrant and others that were missing a few popular faces.
For fighting games, the story is never the major draw; unless you count some recent games in the genre who have shattered that stereotype. Nevertheless, Fighting Climax has a bit of story and, without giving any spoilers, a message that all should be able to understand. Before each bout, characters exchange banter true to their novel counterparts, such as Kirito’s comment on whether or not Shana’s sword would drop if he won the fight and the like. These little exchanges give life to the game and add a lot of humor. Aside from your normal story mode, there’s a second solo player mode that has you take on five enemies, in any order, with the same kind of witty banter, but different dialogue. And it’s different for each character, so that is always a plus.
The game’s overall sound and art designs are amazing, featuring soundtracks and backdrops from the different series and from Sega classics. Watching Asuna and Kirito throw down on an old school Sonic the Hedgehog is definitely a sight to see. The character’s voice-overs are in Japanese, which as an avid lover of anime, I definitely appreciate and the game’s fight music and overall soundtrack are outstanding as well.
Now, to the reason that we are here; the gameplay. The fighting engine is very simple to understand. Your character has three basic attacks, and if used in rapid succession, create a quick combo. You can also link the various special moves from these basic attacks for even more fun. Each characters combos and moves feel unique, which makes experimenting with all the characters a necessity to find ones that you like. Want to go in guns blazing and dish out punishment? Kirito is the one you want. Want an anti-air character to punish those who jump too much? Yukina is your lady. Each character is unique and brings a lot to the table.
Of course, the game is not without a few minor things that did bother me. While I did say the engine is very easy to understand, at times it is too easy where you can mash your head into the controller and bust out 50 hit combos. I’m joking about the head thing, not the combo though. There were also times where the difficulty seemed a tad too easy, even at higher levels, especially with certain characters, (here’s looking at you Kirito).
Another small gripe I had was with the playable roster. I just felt there was not enough variety at the character select screen. While some of my personal favorites were available, hence my hype to play the game, there were a few from series like The Devil is a Part-Timer (another good series, by the way) that only got a support character as opposed to a playable representative, which bummed me out a little bit.
Now, this game is a cross-play title, allowing you to take your saves on the go for fun on the road. Between the PS Vita and the PS3, there’s definitely a lot of content and you get your money’s worth with one or both versions of the game. Now, the one major sad mark for me was that this is one of the few games that doesn’t work on PS TV, so unless you own either the handheld or the console, you’re outta luck on this one. But, if you are an anime fan or just like fun fighting games, definitely give Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax a try.
Review copy provided by Publisher