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Fighting Games

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Premier fighting game tourney EVO 2016 dated

Remember, remember July 15-17
Nov 02
// Steven Hansen
Surprise, surprise, fighting game tournament EVO is coming back next year. Here's how EVO 2015 wrapped up. It was fun times, even for a casual. A new Street Fighter V character got announced, a guy got up in euphoric victory before his match was over and lost, and they even played Catherine, the surest way into my heart. EVO returns to Las Vegas with EVO 2016 July 15-17.
Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

Mewtwo gets a new form in Pokken Tournament

Sweet baby Jesus he looks awesome
Oct 31
// CJ Andriessen
Watching livestreams of video games is something I've never been able to get into, but perhaps it's time I start trying to learn how to enjoy them. Last night during a Japanese stream of Pokkén Tournament, Mewtwo was unveiled as a fighter in the upcoming Bandai Namco game. With crystals bulging from his body, this form of Mewtwo is unlike any we've seen before.
Jason photo

Jason terrorizes more Mortal Kombat X players today

Some of them will be teens
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
Like a mall Santa without any other prospects, Jason Voorhees lives for one time of year. (Or maybe he's dead? I don't know.) Regardless, Halloween is kind of Jason's bread and butter because then he can show up, scare some ...
Street Fighter IV photo
Street Fighter IV

Those wacky Street Fighter IV Halloween costumes are out

Wicked Witch Rose
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
Over a week ago, Capcom unveiled some new costumes for Street Fighter IV (yep, the one that's out already), and unlike some of the other pallet swap DLC it has released in the past, these are actually pretty cool. As of ...
More Tekken photo
More Tekken

Tekken 7 will use PlayStation VR

But how? And why?
Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
When I slid out of bed this morning and started prepping for Sony's press conference at Paris Games Week, I didn't imagine the event would be home to so much Tekken stuff. First, there was a cute bit in which series producer ...
Tekken photo

Yep, Tekken 7 is headed to consoles

'Most complete version'
Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
[Update: Following Sony's conference, Bandai Namco confirmed the game will release on "home systems." So, Xbox One, too.] Tekken 7 is coming to PlayStation 4. Officially! We heard the news earlier this year in an Unreal Engin...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V gets a release date, Dhalsim joins the fray

Releasing February 16, 2016
Oct 27
// Brett Makedonski
We now know when we'll be able to get our hands on Street Fighter V (apart from the betas taking place). It was just announced at Sony's Paris Games Week press conference that Street Fighter V will release in Europ...
Put a pin in Chun's kne photo
Put a pin in Chun's kne

Chun-Li graces Mad Catz' first Street Fighter V stick

Stick a pin in Chun's knee
Oct 26
// Steven Hansen
Mad Catz' first Street Fighter V fight stick is up for pre-order. The Tournament Edition 2 FightStick works with PS4 and PS3, has "Sanwa joystick and buttons, the very same parts found in Japanese arcade cabinets," and will r...
Deals photo

Slam 22% off Street Fighter V on PC as beta finally goes live

Beta ends Oct 25
Oct 23
// Dealzon
Today at 9AM PST the Street Fighter V beta numero dos went live on PC and PS4. To get access to the PC version's beta, you'll need to pre-order the game, which is full price on Steam Store as of writing. The cheapest Steam key deal is at GMG, where today a new 22% off coupon code cuts a good $13.20 off SFV's list price.
Skullgirls 2 photo
Skullgirls 2

Audacious iOS developer rips off basically every fighting game

Skullgirls 2: A Deadly Adoption
Oct 23
// Mike Cosimano
I'm not into fighting games, so I have no experience with Skullgirls. The animation is gorgeous, but that's about where you lose me. However, I did sit in on a packed Lab Zero Games panel at Anime Expo, and let...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Here's what Street Fighter V on PC looks like at max settings

Well, ain't that something
Oct 23
// Brett Makedonski
This isn't one of those posts where we throw a bunch of information or opinion at you. No, it's one of those posts where we say "Look at this really shiny thing!" and you turn your brain off and grin at it. Magpies, all of u...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V's second beta isn't going swimmingly

'Not confident [it] will improve'
Oct 22
// Brett Makedonski
Meet the new Street Fighter V beta, same as the old Street Fighter V beta. Again, like the first beta held in July, this one is also running into some snags. And, those aren't likely to be fixed. Capcom detailed the...
Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

Free DLC is coming to Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden

Tie-ins with the series
Oct 22
// Chris Carter
If you're itching for more stuff to do in Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden, you might be in luck. As revealed by the newest issue of V-Jump, the game is getting more content in Japan by way of extra online battles. Some of them...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

You can pre-load the Street Fighter V PC beta now

It starts tomorrow
Oct 22
// Chris Carter
The second Street Fighter V beta is scheduled to start this weekend, and if you happen to be a part of the PC festivities, you can pre-load it now. Just redeem your code, head to Steam, and download the latest build, whi...
Laura Street Fighter V photo
Laura Street Fighter V

Get a look at all of Laura's moves in Street Fighter V

She seems formidable
Oct 21
// Chris Carter
If you're itching to try out Laura in Street Fighter V next year, content creator AXETB has provided a video of all of her moves, so you can start planning your tech early. This run-through even includes normals, an...
Stret Fighter beta photo
Stret Fighter beta

Second Street Fighter V PS4 and PC beta detailed

Better than Street Fighter Alpha!
Oct 20
// Steven Hansen
Capcom has just detailed plans for the second Street Fighter V beta, which includes testing cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and PC. The PC start time has been pushed up closer to the PS4 start, too, giving PC players an additional day
Pokemon fighter photo
Pokemon fighter

There's a Gardevoir in this Pokken Tournament trailer

Know your audience
Oct 20
// Steven Hansen
Sure, this general Pokkén Tournament trailer is a little less balls to the wall exciting than seeing Luchador Pikachu doing a Stone Cold Stunner, but, hey, there's some Gardevoir action going on, eh? The Bandai Namco-...
Ultra Street Fighter IV photo
Ultra Street Fighter IV

Ultra Street Fighter IV's Halloween costumes are bonkers

Haha, Cody
Oct 20
// Chris Carter
Street Fighter V might be coming out early next year, but Capcom isn't done with Ultra Street Fighter IV just yet. The PC, PS3, PS4, and Xbox 360 editions of the game are getting new Halloween costumes, which will b...
Dissidia Final Fantasy photo
Dissidia Final Fantasy

New Dissidia launches in arcades November 26

Final Fantasy fighter not far off now
Oct 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Dissidia Final Fantasy launches in Japanese arcades on Nov. 26, Square Enix announced today. The three-on-three arena fighter is in development at Koei Tecmo's Team Ninja, the studio best known for its work on the Dead o...
Smash Bros. photo
Smash Bros.

Smash Bros. pro Zero has finally had his 53 tournament win streak broken

Time to cash in on that bounty
Oct 19
// Joe Parlock
You might remember back in May the news that a Smash Bros. player had a bounty put on their head. If anyone could beat Gonzale “Zero” Barrios in a Smash Bros. tournament, they’d be paid $500. At the time, he...

Interview: XSEED Executive VP Ken Berry

Oct 18 // Kyle MacGregor
Destructoid: XSEED seems to have formed a close relationship with Nihon Falcom over the years. You've been publishing the Ys and Legend of Heroes series, Brandish released earlier this year, and you just announced Xanadu Next. However, many of these localizations take quite a long time. Are you working to speed up this process or perhaps developing a system with Falcom to localize the games as they're being developed? Ken Berry: That would be nice to implement, but, to be honest, no, we don't have anything like that going on. With Marvelous, our parent company, yes. Falcom is a completely separate entity. Even though we have been working in an almost exclusive relationship for several years, we are not officially exclusive with them. So, we don't have access to their materials early. A lot of times we need to wait for a Japanese retail release before we even get our hands on their games. Part of that I think is because they're such a small team over there and they don't have a dedicated localization team like other companies do. They need all free hands working on their Japanese releases until those are done. Then they can start communicating with us about localization and what to do about a western release. Dtoid: We've also noticed a similar relationship sprout up between XSEED and D3, the company behind Earth Defense Force and Onechanbara, which is actually a Bandai Namco subsidiary. How did that get started and is that something you see continuing? Berry: XSEED actually worked with D3 one time before on the Nintendo DS. In Japan, the game was called Riz-Zoawd and here it was released as The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. We did work on that a long time ago, but you're correct, this is a relationship we've renewed in the past year or so after D3 announced they were going to focus on digital and mobile products. I'm not sure about D3's relationship with Bandai Namco specifically in the US, because, as you know, there are lot of Bandai Namco games out of Japan that don't get published in America. I would think Bandai Namco would focus on getting most of their Japanese games out instead of the D3 lineup. So, we just had an opportunity to work on those titles, and we just jumped at the chance. Onechanbara, in particular, is made by Tamsoft, the same team that made the Senran Kagura series, so that was a very easy decision for us because we know Tamsoft does put out some... nice gameplay. Many of us also have been EDF fans for years, so we were very happy to get both of those titles.  Dtoid: Speaking of Senran Kagura, initially, XSEED seemed cagey about releasing that series here in the West. But, lately, we've been getting all of them. What changed? Berry: Due to the subject matter, how it would be received at retail, or even by fans for that matter, we tested the waters by releasing Senran Kagura Burst as a digital-only title on the [Nintendo 3DS] eShop. That was a big success. The fans loved it. And despite some criticisms from the press side for bringing it over, overall, it was more positive than we expected. Plus, the sales numbers were there, so we decided with the next one, Shinovi Versus on PlayStation, to give it a limited physical release and see how it went. That also exceeded our expectations. At this point, I think we're pretty much set and committed to the franchise. But the producer, [Kenichiro] Takaki-san, loves to push the envelope further and further each time. Estival Versus takes it up another notch, but we're still dedicated to the franchise. We want to keep going with the series, because the fans keep asking for it. Dtoid: Touching on the criticism you mentioned, there has been a lot of discussion in the industry surrounding gender equality and sexism. Has this impacted how you approach and handle Senran Kagura or perhaps some of the other games you localize for western audiences? Berry: I think it all depends on the content of the game. The ESRB is surprisingly very accommodating. They have stated very clearly that their job is to rate the material and not to censor anything. If it ever gets to a point where there's some content that gets us to an AO rating -- none of the platform holders will approve an AO-rated game -- so, only in an extreme case like that where we are forced to scale back some of the content would we go that route. Dtoid: Have you had to back away from certain games for that reason in the past? Berry: There are various games from other publishers -- not necessarily Marvelous -- that seem to push things a bit too far. I'm not going to name titles, but it's something we continue to deal with, especially some of the newer titles coming out from Marvelous. There's a new game called Uppers from Takaki-san that was just announced... Dtoid: Oh, I actually wanted to ask you about that and Valkyrie Drive. Berry: So Uppers does have some elements in there that we will need to get a better look at to see how much of an issue it will be in the US. And Valkyrie Drive, pretty much the entire game is based on that kind of stuff. That's another one we're going to have to learn more about to see if it's even feasible to release in the West as they are. Because, if we have to edit them down too much or censor too much content, then, at that point, we have to consider if it's even worth doing. Because the fans that want the game, they want it uncensored, and censoring the content isn't going to appease the people that had no interest in buying it anyways. Dtoid: Mr. Takaki also worked on the rhythm game IA/VT Colorful. Is it true there are no plans to localize that title? Berry: That is how it's looking right now. You know, a couple of us in the office really love that game. They've been playing in their free time the retail Japanese version.  Dtoid: I actually just recently imported a copy of that and have been enjoying it a lot.  Berry: Good. I'm glad to hear that. Yes, I know for that game -- even the licensing issues in Japan were tough to work out from what I hear. And just even thinking about overcoming those same obstacles for the West just doesn't look feasible right now, which is a shame because it is a great game. Dtoid: I'm aware they're completely different companies and it's a different character, but Sega and Crypton Future Media have published several Hatsune Miku games that are quite similar to IA/VT Colorful here in the West. Are you aware of any particular reason why that situation is different?  Berry: To be honest, I'm not sure how Sega works that out with Hatsune Miku or how that license would be different than the IA license. Dtoid: I'd like to talk about Bokujou Monogatari (which was known as Harvest Moon in the West until recently, when it was renamed Story of Seasons -- though Natsume continues to release games under the Harvest Moon brand). What is going on there? Berry: Those discussions were going on for years. I think Marvelous wanted to own the rights to their own IP, and, over the years, as development costs go up higher and higher, I think it might have finally reached to the point where if they couldn't own their IP in the West, maybe it wasn't as viable to put together a multi-million dollar [development budget]. So, I know those were discussions that were going on for years between Marvelous and Natsume, because the Harvest Moon trademark is registered by Natsume in the West. I think it finally got to the point where the decision had to be made. Do we bite the bullet and rebrand it now or continue working where we don't even have worldwide control over our own IP? Dtoid: You have one of those games here with you today, a crossover game, right? Berry: Yes, Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale. That is a crossover game in Japan that used the Bokujou subtitle, which is why we're able to use the Story of Seasons name here. But that title is very much a PopoloCrois game first with Story of Seasons farming elements thrown in as a secondary game feature. Dtoid: Will we be seeing a lot more Story of Seasons games and spin-offs in the future? Berry: The Bokujou/Story of Seasons IP is [Marvelous'] most valuable IP. So that's one we'll focus on moving forward. Dtoid: What about Rune Factory (a spin-off series of the Bokujou Monogatari franchise)? Berry: There are continuing discussions on how to keep the Rune Factory series going, despite Neverland, the original developers, no longer being around. Hopefully, something will come of that in the not too distant future, because Rune Factory 4 was the best-selling title in the series, I believe, and it's a series that's been growing and growing over the years. Marvelous knows fans are clamoring for a sequel and are looking for ways to make it happen. Dtoid: Do you ever foresee Marvelous doing simultaneous worldwide releases for its games? Berry: We may attempt it on a future unannounced title for next year. Every now and then Japan masters up very early and sits on the code for a certain amount of time with a preset release date in mind for their launch strategy in Japan. That would give us an opportunity to catch up on our localization. It just depends on how much volume of text there is to be localized and how much work it involves. But it is something we would love to be able to do in the future.  Dtoid: Is the recently announced PC port of Little King's Story an example of that? Berry: That is something we're handling out of the US office completely by ourselves. Marvelous did assist us with finding a good company that could do the HD conversion. And of course we need to license the title from them, because it's their IP. But other than that it's completely us, where we're communicating with the company that's in charge of the company in charge of the HD conversion on a day-to-day basis. And then it will be uploaded onto Steam on our account for a worldwide release, as well as other digital delivery platforms, such as GOG. Dtoid: You're also publishing a fighting game, Nitroplus Blasterz, which is a genre we don't typically associate with XSEED. Is this something we'll see more of? What spurred the interest there? Berry: The main reason is because it's being done by Marvelous and they asked us if we wanted to do it. To be honest, at first, we weren't quite sure, because even though we have a lot of otaku in the office, even they didn't know a lot of the characters on the roster. But once we got our hands on the game and sat down in Examu [the studio behind the Arcana Heart series] and the director, it just looked great. So we're like, okay, we think even in the West, even if people don't know the [visual novels] the characters are coming from, this is a great fighting game on its own. So that's when we decided to go for it. Dtoid: A challenge many fighting games not on that Street Fighter tier face is a difficulty keeping the community alive. Do you have any initiatives to keep the game in the public consciousness, the tournament scene, and have people playing it for a long period of time? Berry: That's something we're looking into. Thankfully, in our office we have three people who are pretty active in the fighting game community. Those are the people who took the game out to the Prelude II event and the main SoCal Regionals event this past weekend.  [The people at these events] have been great at saying how to get a game out there, how to get players to notice. We've already held a couple small tournaments and are looking to keep momentum after release to perhaps continue holding tournaments with cash prizes and keep the community involved in the game. Dtoid: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Is there anything else you'd like to tell the fans? Berry: Just thank you for the continued support. We couldn't be more thankful for all the pre-orders especially. A small company like us, pre-orders, we live and die by them, because that determines if retailers are going to carry our titles or not. We've had a great couple years thanks to the tremendous fan support and we hope to keep that momentum going into 2016. Dtoid: Yeah, you've had a few big successes with The Last Story, Rune Factory 4, and Story of Seasons recently, haven't you? Berry: A couple months ago we announced Rune Factory 4 eclipsed 160,000 units in North America and Story of Seasons has sold more than 100,000 units in North America. Story of Seasons, in particular, that was the fastest title of ours to reach 100,000 units. So we are very happy about the successful rebranding of the Bokujou series. For a small company like us, those are fantastic numbers, and both of those titles continue to do well ... I think we're in a very good place right now -- probably the healthiest the company has been in years.  Dtoid: That's great. I'm really glad to hear it. Berry: (Laughs) We're very busy. Our entire team is just swamped all the time, but they love what they do, so we can't really complain. It's better than not being busy enough! Dtoid: Thanks again, Ken. [Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.]
XSEED interview photo
From Falcom to farming and fighters
Ken Berry is the Executive Vice President and one of the founding members of XSEED Games, one of the premier localization houses responsible for bringing Japanese games to western audiences. Earlier this week at an XSEED-hos...

Guilty Gear Xrd photo
Guilty Gear Xrd

Dizzy joins Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator roster

As decided by Japanese arcade-goers
Oct 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Dizzy will soon be joining the cast of Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, the updated version of last year's Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign, after being selected by Japanese arcade players in a popular vote. While Dizzy has been playabl...

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden

Oct 15 // Laura Kate Dale
Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden (3DS)Developer: Arc System WorksPublisher: Bandai Namco GamesReleased: October 16, 2015 (Europe), October 20, 2015 (North America)MSRP: £22.99 / $29.99 So, let’s get the core info out the way. Extreme Butoden is a 2D sprite brawler for 3DS set in the world of Dragon Ball Z. All playable characters have the same core controls, similar to games like Smash Bros. where the inputs don’t vary, but the moves produced do. Dashes double as teleports into counter positions if timed correctly, while characters string together basic combo strings, ranged projectiles, and launchers. You fight each match with a team of characters, built up of mains and non-playable assists, with the player able to switch between team fighters at any time. Characters mainly vary in terms of plot-specific special attacks, power, and speed. If all this sounds a bit dry and by the numbers, it’s because that’s how it feels in game. It’s by no means an incompetent fighting game, far from it, but it just plays everything too close to the chest. There’s nothing about the combat that feels particularly new for fighting game fans, or particularly exciting for Dragon Ball Z fans. Visually, Extreme Butoden has turned out pretty nicely. While not the peak of 2D sprite work, they certainly hold their own with some of the better examples of 2D sprites on the system. Sprites are crisp, expressive, and fluid in their animations, which leaves little room for complaint. It is worth noting that with 3D on the system switched on, some of the special attacks do look rather spectacular, with a lot of work clearly put into effective 3D layering. In terms of a story mode, Extreme Butoden’s initially available story mode sees you playing through a truncated version of the events of Dragon Ball Z. Events are skipped over and dialogue is shortened in such a way that a lot of the drama, emotion, and investment is stripped away. Much of the engagement with Dragon Ball comes from the long, drawn-out exposition screams, and that isn’t really replicated here. Imagine the plot, heavily abridged, and told through mostly still character portraits, lifeless dialogue text, and the occasional brief plot-related battle that doesn’t go on nearly long enough to justify its build up. It’s a bit of a disappointment. After completing the main story, you do unlock some alternative storylines to play through that offer interesting spins on the narrative, as well as an additional adventure mode that sees Goku face off against many of the enemies from the main story in a slightly contrived narrative. It’s fun to do fight bosses in new combinations, but the overarching story attempting to string that together feels like an afterthought developed to excuse the gameplay content. One of the more disappointing aspects for me was the limited playable roster. While many of your bigger-name characters are playable, most of the supporting cast of fighters is relegated to support assist roles. Past Dragon Ball Z games have allowed a very wide selection of characters, down to some of the most useless, to be playable, so this feels like an unfortunate step back. Unlocking these additional assist characters is also a bit of a lengthy chore, as they have to be unlocked by attaining high ranks throughout other modes. Many of these character unlock requirements do not feel like the reward unlocked is really worth the effort put in. Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden does feature a local multiplayer mode, but unfortunately no online multiplayer. If you couldn’t tell from my less-than-enthused review, I really couldn’t muster up feelings either way on this game. It’s a competent fighter with nice sprite work, but it also does very little interesting with narrative presentation, combat mechanics, or gameplay modes. It all feels very safe, and I didn’t really feel much by the time I was done. Time to scratch my Dragon Ball Z itch with some Budokai Tenkaichi 3. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Dragon Ball Z photo
Competent, but not excitingly so
When it comes to Dragon Ball Z fighting games, I am one of those people who loves them for the over-the-top spectacle more than the technical fighting specifics involved. I know when a fighting game feels responsive and plays...

Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Don't expect the next Street Fighter V character reveal for a few months

Also here's a recap
Oct 13
// Chris Carter
Street Fighter V was one of my favorite games at TGS, and Laura Matsuda is looking like a really fun character to play based on her footage -- all in all, the months before launch have been kind to Capcom. But after a long st...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Capcom's Ono on Alex's role in Street Fighter V

Just a wallflower for now
Oct 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Speaking at the Street Fighter V panel at this weekend's New York Comic Con, the title's producer Yoshiori Ono asked the audience if they had "noticed that Alex is standing in the background" of the recently-revealed "City in...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

A closer look at Street Fighter V's new fighter

Laura Matsuda
Oct 08
// Jordan Devore
I don't understand what's going on with Laura's dual hairstyle and likely never will. But it doesn't even matter! She's still a cool addition to the Street Fighter V roster. We already showed you her debut trailer, so how abo...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Leaked trailer confirms Laura is my new favorite Street Fighter V character

Street Fighter's worst-kept secret
Oct 07
// Alissa McAloon
Just a few days after her accidental reveal, a trailer featuring Street Fighter V newcomer Laura has found its way to the Internet. The trailer was accidentally released a bit ahead of schedule by PlayStation and has since be...
Street Fighter V beta photo
Street Fighter V beta

Street Fighter V testing cross-platform play soon

Second global beta test starts Oct. 22
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
Later this month, Capcom will beta test cross-platform matches in Street Fighter V. There are a lot of details to sift through, so let's get to it. The game's second global beta test is scheduled to take place from October 22...

Review: Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax

Oct 07 // Kyle MacGregor
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax (PS Vita, PS3 [reviewed])Developer: French Bread, Ecole Software, SegaPublisher: SegaReleased: November 13, 2014 (JP), October 6, 2015 (NA, EU)MSRP: $29.99 (PS Vita), $39.99 (PS3) Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax has the appearance of a hardcore fighting game, and it certainly has the pedigree, coming from Melty Blood and Under Night In-Birth team French Bread and Ecole Software, but both looks and lineage can be deceiving. Here, the studios (along with their Sega-employed producers and associates at Kadokawa) aimed to deliver a more accessible experience than their previous work, something less impenetrable to the average person than the Guilty Gears or Street Fighters of the world. It's a noble idea. For as enjoyable and well-made as Arc System Works and Capcom's projects are, they are incredibly complex affairs. The barrier to entry with these games is much higher than, say, Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, which is more easily enjoyed by newcomers, despite its potential for high-level play. Fighting Climax tries to occupy a similar space, striving to create a middle ground, an intermediate that can appeal to fighting game enthusiasts of all stripes. In attempting to do so, Fighting Climax strips away many of the genre's more byzantine subtleties, while adding tools to facilitate absorption. There are no elaborate inputs here, not by traditional fighting game standards, anyway. The most difficult commands involve quarter-circle and half-circle movements, which makes executing special moves or "climax arts" relatively straightforward without reducing the gameplay experience to something oversimplified or wading into button-mashing territory. Well, that is aside from the auto-combo feature, which allows players to string together a reasonably powerful series of moves merely by hammering on the light attack button repeatedly. It's a concession to beginners, providing a mechanism to chain together a barrage of attacks, but its use is limited, preventing it from being a substitute for actual skill. Also more simplistic than a typical fighting game are the inputs, which are identical across the entire roster. The 14 main fighters, from Toradora's Taiga and Asuna of Sword Art Online fame to the unlockable Selvaria of Valkyria Chronicles and Virtua Fighter's Akira, all have the same commands for their basics attacks, special moves, impact skills, and supers. This makes picking up a new character easy, but weakens the roster considerably. Since every fighter is essentially cut from the same cloth, Fighting Climax doesn't foster as wide a variety of play styles or combat strategies as do its genre peers. And aesthetically, while every character has unique animations based on the source material, most of them fall into the "waifu" female lead archetype, exacerbating the sense of redundancy and lack of diversity present in the mechanics. There's some depth to be found in the assist system, with 23 support characters to choose between and a wide array of support and offensive moves to augment your fighter's innate abilities. These can be used mid-combo at the cost of meter to lay on some added hurt or topple your opponent, or just in normal situations with a cooldown to disrupt or punish other competitors. While assist characters accent the roster, they highlight a myriad of unique figures in the Dengeki Bunko catalogue that would have made for more compelling choices than several of the leading ladies. While everyone will have their own favorites, I was particularly disappointed to see Spice and Wolf's lupine goddess Holo relegated to a supporting role. The stages are also an odd choice, drawing inspiration from a number of Sega franchises (Sonic the Hedgehog, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, NiGHTS, and Phantasy Star Online among others), rather than the non-Sega worlds the vast majority of the cast is drawn from. While this makes sense in terms of the scant narrative the title's story modes offer, it's curious move on Sega's part to impose itself to such a degree in a game made primarily for fans of Dengeki Bunko's light novels and their anime adaptations.  There is some fan service to be found in the story modes, though, where players get to see characters from various universes interact with one another in cute little vignettes. Beyond that, Fighting Climax offers a bog-standard suite of features fighting game enthusiasts should be familiar with -- a spartan training mode, versus mode, a trio of challenge modes, plus ranked and unranked online versus. Most of it is handled fairly well, but, while I have no major complaints, nothing is terribly exceptional either. French Bread is a talented maker of fighting games, giving the experience a high floor, but this is not the studio's best work. It's perfectly competent, but feels like a major step down from the outstanding Under Night In-Birth, even if the titles were made for different audiences.  While decent enough, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax may be too simplistic for most hardcore fighting game fans to enjoy as anything more than an ephemeral lark, but is also perhaps still too complex for those that find the genre intimidating. It feels like another instance of game designers shaving off any sharp corners in an attempt to please as many people as possible. Fighting Climax shows a clear reticence to take risks, and its failure to do so betrays its potential to become truly remarkable or distinctive. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Dengeki Fighting Climax photo
Identity Crisis
Teenagers are in a strange point in their lives. No longer children, but not quite yet adults, adolescents exist in an uncomfortable grey area, a metamorphic state that compels them to forge identities independent of their gu...

Dissidia Final Fantasy photo
Dissidia Final Fantasy

Dissidia Final Fantasy is coming to Japanese arcades in November

I just missed it
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
I won't forget my experience with Japanese arcades anytime soon. While many of them are dead in the west, they're thriving in Japan, and I really miss them. It looks like I also missed the release of Dissidia Final Fanta...

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