One of the biggest strengths of crossovers comes from the concept of bringing together characters from a myriad of different worlds. Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is no exception to that idea, bringing together fighters ranging from Sword Art Online to My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute in order to battle for supremacy. But with all these different personalities running around you have to wonder: what exactly do all these people have to say to each other?
In most of Fighting Climax’s modes, surprisingly little, it turns out. Some characters have very brief introduction and win quotes with each other, but most of it is pretty unsubstantial (Kirito is impressed with everyone’s weapons like they’re MMO items, Kirino thinks everyone is cute, etc.). The arcade mode has a story, but one that focuses solely on a conflict between your character and a dream-hating monster thing called Zetsumu. Throughout the story Zetsumu steals the identities of various characters, but there’s no real interaction between any of the roster since you’re just battling imitations.
The most substantial interactions are in the game’s Dream Duel mode. In this mode you can choose from one of six different scenarios per character. Each scenario consists of a brief conversation with another character on the roster, told in a visual novel-style similar to the arcade mode. After the conversation’s over, you beat the character up and get sent back to the menu.
My favorite character in the game has to be Shizuo because I’m a big fan of Durarara!!, so naturally I had to try out his Dream Duels first. His first opponent is Mikoto Misaka from A Certain Magical Index. Mikoto zaps Shizuo with a giga-volt, and then gets surprised that he survived. Shizuo justifiably gets upset, and they start to fight. It’s kind of a nothing conversation, unfortunately.
Things picked up a little when Shizuo met Kirito. Shizuo immediately notices that Kirito looks and dresses like his long-term rival, Izaya, and starts getting angry. However, somehow Kirito manages to convince Shizuo he’s a good guy. It’s an amusing enough conversation, but it didn’t really capture the characters all that well to me.
My favorite conversation was the last one with Tomoka Minato from Ro-Kyu-Bu. Tomoka naively suggests that instead of being angry all the time, Shizuo should just talk things out with Izaya. Shizuo seems to take this advice to heart… before slowly devolving into maniacal laughter. It was the first time I felt that the character was genuinely nailed, and the conversation was pretty funny to boot.
Playing through the Dream Duel mode with Shizuo was probably my most enjoyable run through it, but that isn’t really saying much. I’ll admit I don’t know much about a lot of the cast members, but for the ones I do, it was very rare that the Dream Duel conversations were both interesting and managed to capture the character in a way that didn’t feel shallow. On top of that, the conversations themselves don’t last more than a minute before going into the fight. It’s understandable that writing crossovers can be difficult, but it’s hard to imagine fans of any of these characters being satisfied by the interactions going on here. I certainly wasn’t.
It’s a shame, because beyond Dream Duels there really isn’t much interaction going on between all these characters. Crossover fighting games don’t necessarily have the best reputation for showcasing character interactions, but I’d say even Marvel Vs Capcom 3 win quotes are more interesting than this. Seeing as Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax already has a visual novel-esque system set up in the game, it just feels like a wasted opportunity.