Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax (PS3 Review)

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Sega has finally brought over their anime-based arcade fighting game, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, that features 14 playable characters and 23 assist characters from over 20 various anime including their original voice actors. At its core it’s what you expect from a fighting game that originated in the arcade scene and still includes the standard 9-battle gauntlet. Newly added to the console release are training, network play and challenge modes which allow you to earn currency to unlock extras in the customize and special categories.

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Story

The story follows a very simple plotline like most arcade fighting games, which is a good choice since attempting to blend every characters backstory would be too convoluted to enjoy in a simple 9-stage arcade. Essentially like many fighting games, an evil force has defeated the warriors from multiple worlds and copied their likeness and abilities to increase his own strength. Regardless of character the story always plays out at the same way with the same pacing. After you complete every two battles, a short text-based cutscene will play giving your character more insight on to why they were summoned to fight. Regardless of your character choice, each playthrough will be identical besides each character adding their own personality to the lines towards the end of the arcade story.

The Dream mode is new to the console version and is where 90% of the characters will interact with one another in a non-hostile manner. Each character has 6 dream matches with predetermined opponents that you can fight in any order despite being labeled 1-6. This mode is unique and shows a lot of creativity because we get insight on how the characters would talk to one another if they ever had a chance to meet in the others universe.

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Gameplay

Dengeki utilizes a 3-button battle system for stringing combos together, in addition to the support attack from your assist character which is set to a short cooldown to prevent spamming. On top of each character’s basic attacks, you will also have access to special moves just by inputting simple quarter circle commands with the various attack buttons. Every character inputs are all the same which simplifies the fighting system, making it easier for newcomers to fighting games.

Stringing together your light, medium, and heavy attacks and taking damage will build up your climax gauge which can be used to perform either EX versions of your special moves or your Climax Arts, which are the flashiest of moves that you are used to seeing the characters pull off in their own world. Finishing moves are also just as simple to input with every character, only needing to input half circle forward or back commands in addition to any two attack buttons. Your final offensive option in combat is your characters trump card attack. Each fighter starts with 2 charges each match and will only regain one if they lose a round. These attacks will either deal major damage with little effort or allow a character to utilize unique skills for a limited time such as Kirito’s (Sword Art Online) ability to dual-wield. You also have a burst gauge that when activated defensively will free you from an opponent’s combo or if used offensively will increase your health and climax gauges for a limited time.

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Online

Like many fighting games Dengeki’s online is split into Ranked matches and Player matches. Ranked matches have you pick your character and set the parameters for matchmaking with your opponents such as their connection quality, disconnect rate, and even their skill level. Player matches on the other hand allow you to fully customize the room settings when hosting other players, also like many other popular fighting games the current match is shown on the screen while waiting in a lobby of up to 8 players. After spending some time in both player and ranked matches, the quality of the matches were excellent with no lag, although I did avoid players with 1 bar of connection quality. Player matches were abundantly available and quick to join whenever I wanted to play, but Ranked, on the other hand, had me waiting for a few minutes before each match while matching me with someone of near equal ranking. Overall the online experience was enjoyable once I was able to get into matches and hopefully the community will only continue to grow.

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Extras

When you’re ready to mix it up from normal fighting modes, you can take your chances in 3 extra modes: Score Attack, Survival, and Time Attack. Score attack has you fighting through 9 battles to earn the best score while garnering bonuses for stringing together higher combos, perfects and utilizing Climax Arts to end matches. Survival, as it sounds, has you fighting as many battles until your hp runs out with minimal recovery between rounds, and Time attack has you clearing a set number of matches as fast as possible. Scores for all three modes can be uploaded to the online leaderboards to achieve bragging rights around the world.

Along with extra modes, there are copious amounts of unlockables to purchase with all the currency you earn from combat. Unlockables you can buy include alternate colored costumes, illustrations, voice clips and 100s of options to customize your online profile with.

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Final Reaction

Overall Dengeki accomplishes capturing the core feel of its roots like many other fighting games that have when ported from an arcade to a console all while adding more content to keep fans interested beyond the core arcade mode. The biggest highlights are the utilization of the original voice actors for the cast of characters, the Dream mode which adds a nice level of depth to the characters stories and chemistry, and simple yet deep combat system. I also found myself chuckling when certain characters interacted prior to the start of the match, whether it was Kirito drooling over characters weapons or two characters arguing over the proper use for vending machines.  I’ve also found an interest in watching even more anime for the characters that I was unfamiliar with before playing the game. Downsides are the limited character roster which has already been improved upon in its sequel that is currently in arcades in Japan,  the lack of an actual tutorial to explain what the nuances of the game, and smaller community for online play. Dengeki isn’t the greatest fighter to come out this year and who knows when we will see the sequel and its enhancements. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel for fighting games but it does just enough right to be enjoyable to fans of fighting and anime.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is currently available both physically and digitally for the PS3 and PS Vita.

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.