In celebration of their 20th anniversary Dengeki Bunko alongside French Bread have created a fighting game containing many of the famous characters from the Dengeki Bunko brand.
If you're an avid anime fan, many of these characters should be very recognizable and jump out at you right away. In a sense it's like Super Smash Brothers for a different kind of audience.
As expected of a crossover game, there are plenty of familiar faces (provided that you're an anime fan). While they obviously can't satisfy everyone, the cast here is fairly solid, and even if they're not a playable character, there are a bunch of assist characters such that it's likely one of your favorite characters still made it.
Here is the list of playable characters:
|Akira Yuki||Virtua Fighter|| |
|Asuna||Sword Art Online|| |
|Kirino Kosaka||Oreimo|| |
|Kirito||Sword Art Online|| |
|Kuroyukihime||Accel World|| |
|Mikoto Misaka||A Certain Magical Index|| |
|Miyuki Shiba||The Irregular at Magic High School|| |
|Rentarō Satomi||Black Bullet|| |
|Selvaria Bles||Valkyria Chronicles|| |
|Shana||Shakugan no Shana|| |
|Shizuo Heiwajima||Durarara!!|| |
|Taiga Aisaka||Toradora!|| |
|Tomoka Minato||Ro-Kyu-Bu!|| |
|Yukina Himeragi||Strike the Blood|| |
Here is a list of the assist characters:
|Accelerator and Last Order||A Certain Magical Index|
|Alicia Melchiott||Valkyria Chronicles|
|Dokuro Mitsukai||Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan|
|Enju Aihara||Black Bullet|
|Erio Tōwa||Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko|
|Haruyuki Arita||Accel World|
|Holo||Spice and Wolf|
|Kōko Kaga||Golden Time|
|Kojou Akatsuki||Strike the Blood|
|Leafa||Sword Art Online|
|Mashiro Shiina||The Pet Girl of Sakurasou|
|Pai Chan||Virtua Fighter|
|Sadao Maō||The Devil Is a Part-Timer!|
|Tatsuya Shiba||The Irregular at Magic High School|
|Tōma Kamijō||A Certain Magical Index|
|Wilhelmina Carmel||Shakugan no Shana|
What this game does right, that plenty of other crossover games don't seem to get is that one of the big things people want most, is seeing these characters interact with each other. Taking character you love from completely different worlds and having them meet and interact is always a fun sight to watch. There's a bunch of interesting intros when certain characters end up fighting each other.
They've also implemented a mode in the game called "Dream Duel" in which every character has a small scene, and fights against every other character in the game. Of course before each battle is a small skit involving the two characters that are fighting.
These scenes are short and they're sweet for what they are. But they accomplish exactly what they set out to do. You get to see the two characters interact/clash with each other, and the results are good fun.
Here's an example of the skit between Asuna and Kirino (translated by yours truly)
K: What's with that costume? Is it from a Fantasy anime? Or maybe it's from a game?
A: It's not cosplay. This is the uniform of the Knights of the Blood.
K: Knights of the Blood? Wow, what's with that name….Lame!
K: The guy who came up with that must not have any sense! Definitely a case of chuunibyou.
A: W-Wait, you don't need to say it like that!
A: I also thought the name was kind of weird but… I didn't say anything…
K: Ah, but, this costume is really cute isn't it? The sword and the armor look like they're really well made.
K: I know! If I win, let me try it on!
A: Then, if I win, how about you join the Knight of the Blood? If you do that, you can try it on whenever you like.
K: Eh, I don't really want to… It's kinda lame.
If you've seen Strike the Blood, you'll already know what Yukina is about to say.
While Fanservice often these days is an exchangeable term for nudity, the fanservice in the game is more serviceable than that. Every anime has its own quirks and memes that kind of make it stand out, and DBFC is certainly aware of them and isn't afraid to flaunt them.
Pick certain canon teams like Yukina + Kojou and you'll be rewarded with "NO, THIS IS OUR FIGHT SENPAI". Win a match as Asuna and Yui will run onto the screen. They even kind of reward this behavior as these canon teams actually synergize fairly well with each other so they're not just miscellaneous easter eggs that you never get to see.
When you do a snazzy combo with a canon team, it feels very natural and cool to see the characters work so in sync with each other. The game doesn't have too much to work with, but if definitely encapsulates the essence of each anime.
In terms of gameplay, the game is fairly simple in its execution and compared to other fighting games, has a lower barrier to entry.
There are only two motions needed in this game, quarter circles and half circles. If you can do those two motions, you can perform any special/super move in the game. It also features an auto-combo system where by mashing the weak attack button, the game will automatically do a simple combo for you.
It also has a system called "Impact Skills" which makes using moves that are situational easier to access. Simply by pressing A+B and a direction, you will get an armored move that is generally universal in function between all the characters. Just pressing A+B will do a move that moves you forward. Pressing down and A+B will give you a move that is good at hitting people jumping in on you. Pressing back and A+B will do an overhead attack that will hit people that are crouch blocking and launch them into the air for a combo.
Compared with other fighting games that would require you to remember specific motions that might be unique to each character, this definitely helps newer players pick up the game.
Who is this game for? If I asked you to name off people you know who like anime, you could probably do that. If I asked you to name off people who like fighting games, you might not be able to do that. If I asked to find someone who is really into both, you might actually have a really hard time (not including myself of course).
The amount of people who can really appreciate everything this game has to offer is fairly slim. People who like anime might enjoy seeing the interactions between all the characters, but the gameplay might actually be in the way if that's all they want from this game.
The people who just like fighting games may not like the anime aesthetic. They might even hate anime and simply won't have anything to do with this game at all due to its style. Compound that with the fact that there are more solid fighting games out there (including games that have an anime aesthetic), and a lot of fighting game players aren't that interested.
Now if you are a person who does like both, this is a great package, you get to enjoy both seeing familiar characters, and having a fun game to play as well. But for the majority of people, this isn't even a game they're considering.
As with any game you import from Japan, the game is in Japanese. That means if you don't know any Japanese, a lot of features that are cool in the game such as the Dream Duel mode are useless to you. There's no point in playing through that mode if you have no idea what they're saying. This is a fairly big blow against the game for the Western audience, as much of the fanservice and interactions I mentioned earlier kind of hinges on the fact that you need to understand what they're saying. If you know Japanese, or at least have a good foundation, this isn't a problem as the language they use isn't all that complex. For most people however, this is a problem, and a Western release is highly unlikely.
The online in this game is serviceable, provided that you're not playing people halfway across the world. Provided that you have a decent internet connection, your opponent has a decent internet connection and hopefully live on the same continent, the lag isn't too bad. There are times when it can become unplayable, but that's par for the course for most fighitng games. The netplay is fine and it works, although the amount of people playing in America/Europe seems pretty shallow, so it can be difficult to find games. Be prepared to see the same couple people again and again and again.
Despite having a lot of tools for beginners to get into the game there are a bunch of really odd mechanics that a lot of fighting game players aren't fond of. Trump Cards and Impact Skills can seem really cheap and unfair, and when both players know how to abuse them, you can get really frustrated really quickly.
While it's possible to do a bunch of super flashy combos, the simple stuff is often the most effective, and there's not a lot of opportunity to bust out crazy combos when meter is hard to come by and you'll need to be spending it on simpler combos/assist cancelling/push blocking/etc.
While there's definitely a game to be discovered and learned here, there's not enough draw especially when compared with similar anime fighting games that seem like they're going to have more longevity. No one wants to invest time into a game that no one is going to play a few months down the line, which is understandable, albeit disappointing.
While I certainly like Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, the game is made in such a way that I avoid many of the shortcomings of the game.
I have eclectic enough tastes to be served on both sides of anime and fighting games, I know enough Japanese to make sense of and take advantage of the Dream Duel modes, and despite there being "better" fighting games out there, this is the only one that has actual anime characters in it, and that's a point that actually matters to me.
For the majority of people, there's going to be enough hiccups along the way that make this kind of undesirable to buy, especially considering its high price. But for the select few people who can appreciate all this game has to offer, this game is one of a kind.