With a fresh new title and extra content to boot, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] features flashy, difficult, and challenging combos, much like its long title. Unlike a lot of modern-day games, Under Night sports a gorgeous pixel-art style that makes its gameplay clear and easy to gaze at. While its high level on entry may scare some, this new spruced-up version definitely holds its own compared to other 2D anime fighters on the market.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] features a complex story that centers around a key focus. Each Night of a full moon, certain areas are infested with mysterious creatures called Voids that prey upon unknowing citizens. If a person is bitten by a Void and survives, they become In-Births and gain the power to control their unique EXS power, the source of all living things. This sets up for different groups to head out with their own goals, whether trying to save civilians or dominate the world themselves.
Since Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] is an enhanced port, it features all of the content from the previous version of the game, as well as some extras. New music, characters, and overhauls are to be expected and accounted for.
One of the most important things for a fighting game is the roster. Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] has a more fine-tuned roster in comparison to other big fighting games, with over 20 completely unique characters to choose from. Choosing from close range sword fighters like Linne or Hyde to characters who fair better at midrange like Orie and Vatista is vital to enjoying the game. Every character has a different recommended skill level and playstyle, so getting the gist of each one is necessary. For beginners, characters like Hyde or Nanase are recommended for their ease of use. More complicated characters like Yuzuriha and Seth are for experienced players.
Considering Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] is a 2D fighter, all of the stages are flat battlegrounds with varying locations. While the game could have skimped out in this area, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] updates the stage list with over 20 detailed stages to fight on, ranging from a school cafeteria to an abandoned park, setting the atmosphere for the battles to come.
Even though Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] is a fighting game, it still doesn’t skimp out on modes. There are a total of 14 modes in the game, and each of them changes the objective of battle.
In arcade, you choose a character and go through their story path while facing off against a series of 10 opponents. In chronicles, you get cutscenes that act as a prequel for the events in arcade mode. Versus and network feature the standard 1 on 1 gameplay, with network being online. Score attack, Time attack and Survival are all modes that test your skills by providing a series of battles challenging the number of points you get, the time you finish, and the number of battles you complete, respectively. Training, Tutorial and Mission allow you to polish up your skills and moves while being taught new ones. Customizations, Replay and Gallery allow you to view things like character colors, past battles and in-game illustrations. Finally, options allow you to change settings in the game.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] features pretty standard controls for a 2d fighter. The main controls consist of movement and the 4 attack buttons. The A button stands for light, quick attacks, B stands for medium attacks, and C stands for strong, slow long-range attacks.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] is a unique fighting game that features many systems other games don’t have. As a 1v1 fighter, you choose a character and fight against your opponent to deplete their health gauge first. Besides the Health Gauge, there are 2 other Gauges you have to pay attention to. The EXS Gauge acts as your special meter, and the GRD Gauge is a constantly fluctuating gauge that fills when you are being active, aggressive, successfully blocking your opponent or pressing the D button (b on the controller) to use the concentrate action, leaving yourself open and gaining you GRD, while removing your opponents. The GRD gauge features a ring in the center, and whoever has the most GRD by the end of the ring timer enters the “Vorpal” state, where they gain a 10 percent damage boost.
All characters have access to dash, block and throw commands. Pressing Right and D allows characters to do a fast airdash called “Assault”, and double-tapping D while in Vorpal activates a Chain shift, canceling attacks and gaining EXS depending on the amount of GRD attained. Pressing A, B and C with 100 EXS lets players use a veil off, consuming all EXS while freely using EXS moves without the cost. Besides that, each character has special moves they can use with certain inputs. Most characters have “Quarter Circle” inputs to activate their Special Move. Using them in combination with EXS and Vorpal can lead to insanely long block strings and high damage combos. While the Combo system is complex and is definitely aimed to benefit skill over anything else, the game features things like auto combos and tutorials to help new players learn the game.
The online mode for this game is a mixed bag. To start a game, players have to choose between ranked and unranked. In unranked, players host a lobby and wait for people to join. They will pick stages, music and characters as well as other options in unranked friendly lobbies, whereas in ranked they can only pick characters. The more a player plays, you get a higher ranked and a “square color” to show off your skills. While the game usually runs decently, most connections aren’t good enough to have frame perfect inputs, however, players can still have a fun time playing with friends that have decent connections.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] is an updated version of the classic arcade version, so it features the same pixelated look that it had back then. This makes gameplay feel more fluid. Each sprite has enough detail to where it looks good, and the overall mystical look of the menu and theme is enticing to look at.
The music of the Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] has always been phenomenal. From the stellar opening theme to the rock hip hop tracks of the character theme, each song is good enough on its own to listen to.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] brings in enticing new content while also keeping the old stuff intact. With over 100 changes to character moves, a new character, music, as well as a new platform, this fighting game gets another chance to shine in the limelight. While it may be confusing to get into, and online certainly doesn’t help, that doesn’t take away from this meaty fighting game. Play with friends or with a good connection online.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r] gets an 8/10.