Review: Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax

Release Date
November 13th 2014 (Japan)
PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
Publisher / Developer
SEGA / Ecole Software, French Bread
2D Fighting

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is a 2D fighting game which gives you a chance to play as and battle against some of Dengeki Bunko’s greatest heroes. For many anime fans, at least one or two of the characters will be recognizable. The game features favourites such as Sword Art Online’s Asuna and Kirito, Durarara’s Heiwajima Shizuo and Toradora’s Aisaka Taiga. The cast is truly fantastic.

Each playable character has their own story mode, sadly it’s pretty much the same for each character, so there is nothing really special about it. Alongside story mode, you have access to Dream Duel, which is much more creative and offers a great deal of fanservice, no we’re not talking S enran Kagura type of fanservice, get your head out of the gutter!

Before each Dream Duel battle characters will have a little conversation, for example Yukina from Strike the Blood and Misaka from To Aru Majutsu no Index talk about their favourite mascots Nekomatan and Gekota. These conversations are short, but often funny and manage to capture each characters charm in that space of time. Battles even start with characters saying something unique, like Kirito seeing Shana’s sword and claiming it’s a rare item. These are all nice little touches which go a long way to making the game a much better experience overall.

The gameplay is extremely simple, it has auto-combos which allow you to hit the same button multiple times, resulting in a visually satisfying move being made on your opponent. Even special attacks are straightforward to pull off, only requiring quarter and half circle motions along with a quick tap of other buttons to unleash the devastating moves, which means even for me, who isn’t great at this type of game can make it through battles easily. Each of the 12 characters have very similar button combinations making it very quick and easy to master each of them. It’s clear the game is trying to appeal to anime fans who don’t feel confident playing 2D fighting games, which is kind, but serious players will find it a little disappointing. Fighting Climax manages to make everyone look and act as you would expect. Shizuo is casually smoking, while throwing rubbish bins at foes, Kirito is using quick skills and has access to his dual sword ability and Mahouka’s Shiba Miyuki is using ice attacks to dash around the screen and freeze opponents. It’s a great deal of fun, but for those who don’t know many of the characters, the game will lose it’s appeal rather quickly.

Fighting Climax may only have 12 playable characters and 2 hidden ones, but there is also a variety of wonderful support characters too, including Kaga Kouko from Golden Time , Harayuki from Accel World , Izaya from Durarara!! and even Accelerator from To Aru Majutsu no Index. Each are wonderful and use abilities we’ve seen in the anime or read in the novels, with some humorous ones thrown in such as Kaga Kouko smacking people with a bunch of roses and Izaya jumping and up down while laughing like a maniac. All very nice and detailed little touches.

As well as Story Mode and Dream Duel, players have access to the usual time trials, survival and score matches. There is an online mode, but depending on where players are located it can become a rather laggy and frustrating experience, which makes competitive play pretty difficult. As mentioned earlier, the game is simple, but when you play a match against someone who can flawlessly chain together their combos, you’ll find yourself really getting into the game and wanting to master your favourite character. By completing the various modes you’ll gain CP to buy new colours for characters, icons, autographs and even illustrations. You are also able to read some of Dengeki Bunko’s light novels, which is a great addition.

The game looks brilliant, every character is well-represented and you can tell a lot of love went into the aesthetics. It also has a catchy J-pop theme tune and every character is fully-voiced. Sadly the rest of the soundtrack is pretty forgettable. There is no English language option, not even subtitles, which is normal for a Japanese game. Sadly chances of the title being localized are very slim, which is a big problem for fans with no knowledge of the Japanese language, as much of the game’s charm comes from the witty dialogue between characters.

Fighting Climax is not a perfect fighting game and doesn't offer much to those not interested in the series it represents, however, fans will find a lot to love. The cast look and play fantastically, using signature moves from their shows. It would've been nice to see more playable characters and a more creative story, but the addition of the short but sweet Dream Duel mode makes up for it. The game is entirely in Japanese, which is an issue as Fighting Climax's best moments are found in its dialogue, so a little knowledge of the language will go a long way to increase your enjoyment of the game.