+Colourful cast members some of the most renowned anime’s around
+Franchises such as Sword Art Online and Shana no Shakugan collaborate wonderfully
+Special moves, stages, and character animations are on point
–Mechanics are not unique, inspired or seemingly original from other 2D fighting titles
–Neglects those unfamiliar with the anime franchises
–Heavy online lag prior and post release (tested on multiple ISPs)
–Credits can not be skipped in story mode
When coming from playing franchises that helped start the 2D genre like King of Fighters, MArvel vs Capcom, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Beast Wrestler, and many, many more – it’s hard to state that I’m a stranger to fighting games when the truth is I’m not. Though I am drawn to titles such as this that bring such an unusual collaboration between anime cast members such as the ones drawn into this SEGA title. As a fan of the franchises it was hard not to have some form of nostalgia when seeing Shana, Kirito, Asuna, and a select few others step up to duke it out. The unfortunate part? Having had a friend of mine try it who was not accustomed to any of these characters, he was confused and felt disconnected from a game that should be welcoming fans and non-fans to the title. The focal point of this game is not the newcomers, but instead the fans who will be overcome with nostalgia for the selected cast of characters.
You’d think when it comes to 2D fighters that have just released that there would be something spectacular and mind blowingly unique to each one, but unlike other fights this game does not attempt to be unique, creative or different from them. Instead the game’s formula is very simple compared to any other fighting titles I’ve played to date. With that being said fighting moves are quite simple and are tied into the formula many fighters will be used to that have played games such as Blazblue, Persona 4 Arena/Ultimax, and Street Fighter. It does match up to these in the fact it follows traditional fighting game approaches, which outlines a minimalistic story, a lot of fighting, and a bit of fanfare; all something that this game does very well for that matter.
As a Vita game this title does house quite a bit of versatility in game modes such as story, arcade, time attack, online competitive, and a couple of others that are truly not worth mentioning. These are all something that are a baseline for most fighting games for those of you whom aren’t accustomed to such titles. The most commonly that will be played, assuming you like to test your skills against others, is the Online Mode, which will allow you to take your fighting skills online in order to test them out against other players. Regardless of your skill level, the game does tend to not care if you are a beginner, an expert, or a moderately experienced fighter; you will get matched unfairly unless you play with friends. But this is only one of the games true issues, which can be seen as a downfall since most fighting games focus just on that – fighting online against others.
When looking at such a game, you’d think that the game would be beautiful, graphically promising, but instead we get a game that isn’t just graphically flawed bad enough it would pass as a SNES game, but we also get a game that seems inconsistent when it comes to high animation filled scenes. Let alone was the expectation high for Japanese flamboyancy and animations, the game suffers tragically from what appears to be dumbed down graphics and animation on the PlayStation Vita, which has demonstrated graphical prowess on games before this one such as Dead or Alive, Injustice Gods among Us, and even Blazblue; all of them having looked much better than this game itself. With that said? It’s simple to say that there is nothing here to see, move on. I state this simply because stages are beautifully illustrated, vibrant, and alive; character specials are much the same until the characters are drowned out and their rather poorly designed animations are shown. While it would have been nice to see a bit more crispness to the graphics, it seemed that corners were cut in order to ensure that the game launched on the Vita in a timely manner.
Much like any fighting game; Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax does attempt to appeal to the crowd of fans who are still in that phase of transitioning away from the less serious anime’s and light novels to those who are full blown into them, and unfortunately their targeting these crowds works as many of these fans will find themselves in trouble when it comes to the online multiplayer. It wasn’t uncommon that when choosing Asuna that I would find myself quickly booted from the lobby and returned to the main menu where I would once more have to queue up, find a match, and choose a character I wasn’t accustomed to when it came to online fighting. While I admit it is funny to see Asuna getting the ever-living-shit kicked out of her by Kirito or even Shana, I did find myself a bit let down as I was growing used to watching the opposing player teleport across the screen momentarily or the game stutter as it caught up with their connection. While the lag didn’t seem to appear as harshly on the PlayStation 3 as it did PlayStation Vita, it’s still a bit dumfounding as to why the latency is apparent on the PS Vita while the PS3 doesn’t suffer as much.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax (PS Vita [Reviewed], PS3 [reviewed])
Developer: French Bread, Ecole Software, Sega
Cost: PS Vita: $29.99 USD |PS3: $39.99 USD
Release Date: Now Available
While I am familiar with previous titles by French Bread, Sega, and new to anything by Ecole Software, it’s hard to understand why this game feels as if it has fallen flat on its face, and struggles to take it seriously so that the game could stand up in both graphical prowess and even underlying mechanical strength. With a subtly weak netcode, small array of characters to choose from, and a selection of support characters that pales the previous in comparison, it’s hard to understand what went wrong with this game and why the companies couldn’t take it as seriously as it should have been.
Even with the few flaws aside, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax does try to appeal to fans by its small, but fun list of characters ranging from animes such as Durarara, Accel World, A Certain Magical Index, Sword Art Online, and many more, the company does have the appeal of a stripped down fighter that can welcome fans into it as long as they do not feel let down or even neglected due to their lack of knowledge about the light novel or even anime franchises. While the game will introduce them to some they may not know, the developers should have spent a bit more time on the story elements, and even exactly as to what the Hell is going on with the games campaign. However, with that aside? This game can be enjoyable to those who do know the animes and love fighting games, but take heed that this is not a game for die hard fighting players, but instead for those that want a game that is a pick-up-and-go title that will not be taking itself seriously like many of the other fighting games out there. With that being said? Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax does have a long ways to go and could easily be improved upon with a few add-on contents as well as story add-ons to improve what has already been put into the game.
Our review is based upon the final version that was given to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 5 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.