Thursday, 8 October 2015

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax review (Vita)

Anime mashup time!

Oh hai! Jason here with a review of Dengenki Bunko: Fighting climax (which I will now just refer to as fighting climax to make things easier). Dengeki Bunko is in fact the name of a company in Japan that prints light novels, which are heavily illustrated shortish stories with ongoing plots...basically manga but with a lot more words and fewer pictures. Many of these light novels have been turned into Anime and this creates the premise for fighting climax, a group of characters from a variety of anime all fighting it out. Kinda like Marvel vs Capcom but for anime fans.

The casts most famous characters are Kirito and Asuna from sword art online. The rest of the characters fame levels may depend on your taste and knowledge, but a certain magical index and Durarara will likely be fairly familiar while some such as Ro-Kyu-Bu! and Shakugan no Shana will be less familiar animes. The cast is pretty eclectic however with characters you'd expect to appear in a beat-em-up sitting along side characters like Kirino from Oreimo (a slice of life anime) and Taiga from Toradora (a romance anime).

So how does fighting climax play? The controls are actually fairly simple, square is a light hit, triangle medium and circle hard. The X button calls a support character that you can choose before the fight. All the characters have pretty much the same control scheme, a quarter circle in either direction plus any attack button does one of your two main special moves, a half circle on the D-pad that goes from one side, downwards and then to the other side of the D-pad combined with square and triangle launches your ultimate flashy attack of which each character has two. You can also set the trigger buttons to press either Square and Triangle, Square and circle or all three. This is useful for certain methods, for example pressing all 3 attack buttons activates your burst, which if you're in a neutral situation makes your climax gauge rise faster (...ahem), if you're attacking gives a special attack and if you're being attacked can break combos. The system seems complex at first due to having four different icons and bars charging and changing...but its simpler than it seems. However a basic tutorial would have been welcome.

In terms of gameplay modes there are two main single player modes, arcade pits you against several fighters being controlled by an entity who is taking over various worlds in a bid to crush dreams. The second main single player mode is called Dream duel and pits each character up against six other characters, however before each fight the two characters will have a chat which is a lot of fun if you're a fan of the cast with plenty of amusing references. Other than these there is of course Ad hoc and online as well as a challenge mode (survival, time attack and score attack), a bare bones training mode, and a special section to look at more info on the characters, listen to in game music etc. However this section could have had a lot more too it, and it's a shame that we weren't given more bonus material.

Look wise the game is good quality for the most part, the only real issue on the vita is the slightly jagged edges of the characters, but that's nit picking. The backgrounds are a bit uninspired with only the sonic the hedgehog stage being especially interesting (the games made by Sega) but I didn't notice any slow down even when things became hectic. The game benefits from all the Japanese voice actors providing voice work for the characters to add a little bit of authenticity to the whole package.

So who is this game for? Well if you're somewhat inexperienced when it comes to fighting games then fighting climax is a pretty good starting point. The fact that all the characters controls are the same means you can focus more on learning when to use the characters attacks rather than how to do them. Each character is still pretty individual, but the player will only have to learn what their attacks do rather than memorising button combos. The game also contains some of the complexities of more advanced fighting games with its variety of bars that need charging up and icons that indicate if you can use certain attacks. The flip side is that hardcore fighting fans may find things a bit basic. If you're fond of fighting games and anime then there's a lot of fun to be had with fighting climax. If you're just a fan of anime or just a fighting game fan then this is still worth a go. Personally I'm not a beat-em-up guy but have played fighting climax for many hours over the past few days. You'll come for the'll stay for the gameplay.


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