Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late (PlayStation 3) Review

By Eric Ace 11.03.2015

Review for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PlayStation 3

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late by French-Bread and Arc System Works looks almost like any other fighter – BlazBlue, for instance. This game is definitely in the same vein as a 2D fighter, with very well drawn sprites, and is fairly approachable for beginners because of the way the combo system works. It also just radiates a ‘coolness’ that many players will find attractive. Available across Europe now, Cubed3 takes a fighting stance and braces for impact.

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late draws from a pretty large heritage, and the inspiration from its designers is obvious as, at first glance, it may look exactly like the BlazBlue series or any of its offshoots. This is both a blessing and a curse, though, as BlazBlue is a fairly renowned fighting series that breathed some serious life back into 2D fighters, but as the series went on it became increasingly insular as the combos were fairly complicated, the story was very involved, and there was little attempt to bring new players in; think of this game as a way to bring new players in.

The game has nothing to do with BlazBlue, but it feels like a good clone of it, within an original title. It can stand on its own two feet, but the comparison will be useful for fighter fans before moving on. 2D anime fighter followers will feel right at home, whilst others that enjoy the genre on the whole should at least check this out as there is some pretty good fun to be had.

Screenshot for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PlayStation 3

The root of the game is simple - beat the other character down. However, it takes it to a very anime-extreme: normal attacks that hit halfway across the screen, projectiles that fill the entire field of vision, attacks coming from behind and under the ground, and so on. To those that prefer more realistic fighters, this may be off-putting, but it needs to be stated as it is pretty important in the style of this release. Simply looking at the art it could be easily surmised, but this is beyond anything BlazBlue ever did.

Combat has some important changes - notably there is a gauge that favours 'combat,' in that moving forward and attacking and successfully blocking both raise it, whereas retreating lowers it, and at times the character with the higher counter gets a damage bonus. There is also an energy bar of sorts that the player can use to upgrade an attack to have more power, and is also how special attacks are done. One good thing is there are very few 'combos' where it is required to learn complex buttons presses in order to do a move, instead mostly being a case of naturally chaining moves, such as a low kick followed by a medium, to an upper followed by an air attack. Good players can certainly remorselessly punish beginners, but among equally skilled players it feels a lot fairer than a lot of other fighters.

Screenshot for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PlayStation 3

The style of Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is very attractive, with each character exuding charm. From their gentle bouncing in the character select screen, to all their various attacks, there is certainly someone for everyone in the roster. This, ironically, is both the game's strong point and its biggest weakness. The story revolves loosely around a 'night' occurring that most people can't perceive, and under this night is when the fighting takes place. During the 'story' mode there are some hints towards the meaning of this tale, and it seems rather intriguing, but the problem is that it's never fleshed out…at all.

Some people probably couldn't care less, just wanting to get to the fighting. However, considering the BlazBlue titles have very complex, multi-game stories, the fact this game attempts to suggest some depth to a plot and then generally fails to deliver leaves the player hungry for more - and not in a good way. There are a lot of interesting plot devices here - about a girl that can't die, a guy with a sword that can end the dimensional trap, secret organisations, and so on. As the player sees these great, inspiring sprites, they obviously will want to know more about what is going on, yet there is simply nothing beyond very, very sparse talking segments during the arcade mode.

Screenshot for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PlayStation 3

The best feature is the fact players can fight online. The servers are hit and miss and the connections interrupt more often than should be allowed, with typically one out of about 20 games crashing the room. Furthermore, for some reason the lag in rooms is very high, to the point where a lot of rooms can't even be joined. However, despite all that, on the positive side, the game smooths over the lag very well right before a match, with about the same 1/20 ratio of experiencing lag and the rest going smoothly.

Overall, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is a pretty fun pick-up for genre lovers. It has good style and art, some of the songs - notably both openings - are very good, and the fighting when among equally skilled combatants is enjoyable enough. The system narrows the severe beatings other games would give beginners against players with skill, but it is still present, and the only serious criticism is the attempt at a pretty deep plot that generally is only touched upon and never developed at all.

Screenshot for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is a solid example in the 2D fighter/anime genre. The sprites look great, the battles are fun, and there are lots of cool characters. Combat is fairly intuitive to the point where a new player could start attacking and feel fairly comfortable. The only thing preventing an even higher score is a near-nonexistent story, some imbalance in the characters, and some networking problems. Overall, though, this is a game fans of the genre will definitely enjoy and shouldn't miss out on if they are looking for something new to sink their teeth into.

Developer

French-Bread

Publisher

Arc System Works

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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