Japan’s never-ending stream of fighting games ventures further into anime territory with Dengeki Bunko, a dream match featuring an array of characters that many anime fans would be familiar with.
Dengeki Bunko is a Japanese light novel publishing company that has been putting out many works since 1993. Some popular Dengeki titles in their library that have characters in this game are Shakugan no Shana, Sword Art Online and Toradora. Dengeki Bunko Fight Climax is published by Sega and developed by French Bread and Ecole Software, the developers behind the Melty Blood game series and Under Night In-Birth. Oddly enough though, this game plays similar to Aquapazza, a game by Examu. Currently the game is only out in Japan.
DBFC features 14 i playable characters and 23 support “assist” characters, with more DLC planned for the future. For those who have not played Aquapazza before, these games play similarly to a King of Fighters ’98 or Capcom vs SNK style game except with the gatling system of your typical anime fighter where you can chain weak>medium>strong normals with ease. Also like the Persona fighting game series, you can mash ‘A’ for an auto-combo for those new to the genre. While I went quite in-depth in our Persona 4 Ultimax collab article, I don’t want to talk much about the mechanics and intricacies of DBFC since the game’s appeal is more to the anime fanatic, and the game is quite simple and accessible to the “casual” player.
Fighting Climax is an anime lover’s fan-service game. It let’s you pit characters against each other and make use of moves and supers that relate to the character in some way to the series they star in. Whether or not the character is actually somebody with special powers or not, this game manages to find a way for them to fight. You have characters like Yukina from Strike the Blood who fights with her lance and magic as in the show, and those like Taiga from Toradora which is a romance anime, so she gets to use a wooden sword and snow-sled as well as an array of angry kicks. Many characters have custom intros with each other in the game as well, which may or may not make any sense at all, but seeing them interact with characters they should never otherwise appear with is again, a major portion of the charm of the game.
There is an Arcade/Story mode like most other fighting games, and in this scenario everyone is transported to this “world” and fight for reasons that again, usually make zero sense at allii. I have to appreciate for one thing that the developers created barely-moving CG models for the story mode dialogue, and while I feel that they could have done much more with the idea, it was nice to not just see static 2D images during the conversations.
A couple of major gripes I have with the game are that for one, the menus and overall presentation look cheap and minimalistic, like the type you’d expect from a Super Smash Bros. game. Unlike Persona 4 Ultimax, the game does a poor job of hyping you up from the menu screen, which on some level brings the rest of the game down with it. The other big issue is the price. This game clocks in at a whopping $70 retail and ~$74 digital, while I believe this is possibly due to licensing fees for all of the IPs used in the creation of the game, it cannot be good for a game to have such a price increase over the rest of the market. This fact alone will discourage many potential buyers from purchasing the game, and I don’t think Sega can handle many more failures.
Overall, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is a fun game and does not take a lot of time to gain entertainment from. Due to the price though, I think only the most die-hard of anime fans and/or fighting game aficionados will bother acquiring the game. There are currently no known plans for a Western release of the game, but from a pure fighting game perspective it is not hard to get into even if you don’t know the language. Much like Aquapazza though, I have a feeling it will show up on the American PSN store over a year from now.