Review: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late (PlayStation 3)
- Release Date (NA): February 24, 2015
- Release Date (EU): February 27, 2015
- Release Date (JP): July 24, 2014
- Publisher: Arc System Works, Aksys Games (NA), NIS America (EU)
- Developer: Ecole Software, French Bread
- Genres: 2D Fighter
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
"Thousand night, recurrence night, reverie end invite... and... 7 days immortal, unreal black things." I'm going to be honest, I have no idea what that and the title are supposed to mean. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late, available now for the PS3 is a recently released 2D fighter from Ecole Software and French Bread, published by Ark System Works (BlazBlue, Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena...) Aksys Games and NIS America. Originating as an arcade fighter (Under Night In-Birth) in Japan, the game has now moved to Europe and NA on the much beloved home console that is still going strong even in the face of the current-gen PS4. The game is your typical 2D fighter, much akin to Street Fighter or Marvel vs. Capcom and features 14 characters across 15 stages (one for each character plus the training room) with your typical story campaign, VS mode (against another player or CPU), online VS, a time attack and score attack mode, and finally Survival mode. Survival mode is a one life game where you get matched against other CPU players that get progressively harder, where your goal is to advance as far as possible on one life. Any damage you take gets carried over to the next round except for a small portion of it that is restored; if you do poorly one round but do perfect the next few it is then possible to heal back to full health.
UNIEL does offer a story but it doesn't seem terribly cohesive. I had a hard time understanding exactly what the reason for the fighting was, but in the end does it really matter? People fight. They beat each other to a pulp. That's what the game is about and it does it well, and given the genre I'm not terribly concerned with there being a great story or not. Full disclosure, fighting games are not my genre of choice - I don't play them very frequently and I'm not very good at them; the only one that I've played a lot of is StreetFighter 2 - Champion Edition on my Sega Genesis. That said, I did have a lot of fun while playing this. It's got a simple control scheme (move with the dpad or L stick), light, medium, and heavy attacks (A, B, C) are spread out over □, △, and O respectively, with block (D) on your X button. It plays very fluidly and at a fairly fast pace, and it continually ramps up in difficulty. My only issue I found with it is that the combo moves can be a bit hard to pull off, but honestly I think that has more to do with my lack of skill with fighters than it does anything to do with the game itself. I also do not have a fight stick for my PS3, so I was stuck using my DualShock 3, again not something that was acting in my favor.
UNIEL is not much more than you'd expect from your average arcade fighter, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. The characters design is nice but a flat 2D model. The backgrounds are nice but flat and 2D. The music, what little you hear of it due to the fact that the fights usually only last about 20 to 30 seconds, is nice enough and fitting for a fighting game. The story is a bit confusing and lacking I feel, but again, I don't know anyone who plays fighting games for the story. Character selections and powers are varied enough and more than flashy enough to keep the fights fresh. Whether you're a master fighter or it's your first time stepping into the Fight Club, it's sure to be fun no matter who you are, especially when playing with another person near your skill level.
+ Very fluid, fast paced gameplay
+ Matches are very short
+ Controls are not overly complicated
- Story is a little lackluster for those who care about it
- Looks like any generic 2D fighter
Flat animations, looks like any other generic 2D fighter out there but it's still presented nicely. Character models, attack animations, backgrounds and music are all nicely done.
Fun, fast, and fierce. I may not be the best fighter player in the world but I still had a lot of fun playing it. Combos feel a bit difficult to reliably pull off but that's likely user-error more than anything.
If fighters are your genre of choice I can definitely see this being an up and coming staple on the home console fighter scene. It'll be interesting to see how widely adopted this game becomes among the fighter community in the coming months.
out of 10
(not an average)
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is a pretty solid fighting game from my time spent on it and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a new game to add to their collection. Multiplayer is especially fun and a good way to fool around and learn some of the special moves on your characters outside of the training room. It looks, sounds, and plays nicely and I think it could definitely be a hit in the coming months.