Handhelds and fighters are generally a bit of a mixed affair, that’s not to say they don’t work, but its only natural that when you have a slight cramped input device, then you’re not going to necessarily be able to deliver as full an experience as you would in an Arcade or console environment. There’s also the difficulty in generating that all important competitive nature that’s so integral to the success of games within this genre, by limiting yourself to a handheld you almost limit the player to playing against the AI. Now admittedly we do have online modes these days, but it can be tough putting together accurate online code that doesn’t throw up additional problems of its own, and its in these area’s that the Vita version of Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax suffers.
Released over all three of Sony’s current platforms, the Vita version is, fairly obviously, the one that is likely to gain any following. Thats not because its a bad game, its pretty much mostly down to the suitability of the system. The d-pad and face buttons are far too compact for the games reliance on quarter-circle combinations to work making it even less useful as a training tool, nor is it really viable as a good place to start with the genre. It’s unfair to criticise this particular title for this, but all too often games within the genre are far too reliant on the player being an old hand and able to handle themselves, knowing each games variation on commands and being able to spot the seperate skills and techniques that differentiate something like an SNK Playmore fighter from a Capcom one (as an example). Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is no different, there’s no tutorial and the practice mode doesn’t even let you display combinations required to pull off each characters moves outside of its designated menu area let alone record your inputs so you know you’re doing things correctly.
So why would anyone purchase this over, say, Blazblue? It’d be purely down to fan loyalty and aesthetics, ignoring the platform for the time being, the elements that’d attract anyone to this particular release would be down to them being a fan of manga publisher Dengeki Bunko (whom are responsible for manga and anime such as Sword Art Online and Durarara!!) from which characters appear within Fighting Climax to battle it out. SEGA fans may be mildly interested in the locations and music being taken from a handful of the developer/publishers titles plus an appearance from two famous faces from the Virtua Fighter series (Akira appears as an unlockable characxter, as an Assist Character, whilst Alicia from Valkyria Chronicles also appears as an Assist Character) but its not a huge amount of content that would make this an essential purchase for anyone other than die-hard fans of either company.
It”s a shame that Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax feels so hampered by its content, theres an additional story mode that sits alongside the main arcade mode, your standard versus mode just incase you know someone else with a Vita and an online mode, which holds up surprisingly well, I had no problem actually finding games here and had far more success at keeping a connection than I have done with previous fighters on the system, but unfortunately, it all just feels so thin.