Not many genres stand the test of time as well as 2D fighting games. French Bread's Under Night In-Birth has already seen a console port in the form of Exe:Late so can this Latest iteration put up a fight?
If you're new to Under Night In-Birth, allow me to explain what it's all about. Whereas many modern fighters heavily focus on carefully timed button presses and memorizing combos, Under Night In-Birth features much more accessible gameplay. Any genre newbie can easily pick it up and play with little instruction but there is a handy tutorial in case you'd like to learn its more intricate systems. Such systems include the Grind Grid which rewards players for being aggressive and allows you to enter Vorpal state to increase the damage you deal and allow you to unleash a Chain Shift that fills your EXS gauge which lets you perform powerful moves. Once you have enough EXS, you can enter a Veil Off state that lets you freely chain special moves. Overall, the core combat is rather basic and intuitive while these nifty systems add a layer of strategy. On the other hand, the accessible mechanics may turn off genre veterans who enjoy mastering complex moves.
List of characters in Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]
- Phonon *
- Mika *
- Wagner *
- Enkidu *
* new to Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]
As you can see, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] features a decent selection of characters. Each one is bursting with personality both in the arena and during story sequences. Speaking of which, watching the drama unfold in Chronicles mode is certainly entertaining although I'm disappointed that the mode merely consists of reading lengthy visual novel segments. I wish that it had some sort of interactivity such as decisions that change the story or challenging boss fights. It is neat that you can enjoy the story in whichever order you wish but it's still essentially quite linear. Anyway, learning the ins and outs of how each character fights is a great deal of fun.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] features a large selection of modes that you can play through. For starters, the Arcade mode from the previous game returns although it remains unchanged. Of course, you can challenge local friends as well as online players in Versus and Network modes. If you're looking to test your fighting abilities solo then you can do so in Score Attack, Time Attack, and Survival modes. However, if you find that your fighter skills are lacking then you can always practice in Training, educate yourself in the comprehensive Tutorial, and master character combos in Mission. Finally, there are a lot of cosmetic items to purchase such as icons, plates, titles, character colors, and a gallery of images. In the end, it'll take hours upon hours to discover everything Exe:Late[st] has to offer.
Before wrapping up this review, I should mention that if you already own Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late, it might not be worth picking up Exe:Late[st] as well unless you're a diehard fan. Obviously, being able to play as Phonon, Mika, Wagner, and Enkidu and experience a much more fleshed out story is cool but the game as a whole doesn't feel all that different. If there was a completely new gameplay system that you could choose to integrate then that would have added some much-needed substance.
When it comes to accessible 2D fighting, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is a worthwhile game that's sure to provide hours of enjoyable combat. Just don't expect any big surprises if you already played the original game.
- + Accessible and solid fighting gameplay
- + Endearing cast of characters
- + Loads of modes to master, content to unlock, and story to watch
- - May be too easy for genre veterans
- - Not a huge step up from the previous game
- - Chronicles mode is non-interactive