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Javier Reviews: Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late(st)

 

Welcome to Under night in-birth, this is not entirely a new game and is more of a re-hash of UNI-B Exe:Late. The game releases for PS4, PS3 and PSVita on February 9, 2018 in both EU and NA. It adds a new combat system and also adds new characters to the game (some existing who haven’t been available on console before) to bring the total up to 20 playable characters, each with their own unique fighting style to master.

I personally had no idea what Under night is, but after doing some research I understand that it’s a visual novel as well as a 2D fighting game. Which has it’s pros and cons…

Game/Gameplay

First off I am a fan of anime as a whole but even I thought that the opening was very OTT. You get a brief intro to the characters and some Japanese pop music blasted in your ears, letting you know you’re in for some bright colourful fun.

As I’d never played any of these games I jumped straight on to the tutorial (after mistaking practice for tutorial) and learnt the basic and novice moves. First off I thought the controls were more tekken than street fighter but as I played more I came to realise that the specials were done as if they were hadouken (↓↘→ ⬛), my beat em up skills lying only in Tekken (and slightly mortal kombat) I actually find some of these specials hard to pull off, maybe because I just haven’t grown up with them.

Each character is HUGELY different and is where the game really excels. I started with Merkava who is essentially a giant long armed robot bat, his moves reminded me of dhalsim and his stretchy arms, often battering my opponents with a flurry of hits from afar. Moving on to fighters like Nanase who’s a wind elemental-esque sword bearer, and Eltnum who was a small army like girl who focused on kicks. My favourites were Phonon, who has a whip, and Wagner, who is a sword and shield type of girl, I liked her as I found it easy to string moves together and she had some range. I felt I could string moves together with these two and had some fun playing with them. Whereas with Waldstein, giant armed hairy monster dude, was a bit of a slow chore.

Despite all of the character’s being very different the actual combos and special moves hardly varied, nearly every character had the same inputs for the specials and the combos were strung together with random button combinations (from a complete novice’s point of view) I don’t actually know if this system would be good enough for fighting die hards. You can even string together a hit combo into special by just hitting square 5 or 6 times. On the surface the combat system as a whole seems pretty complex and is definitely something you can really get to grips with, but as a casual player I didn’t find much variance in input after playing for a few hours. I did manage to make my way through the arcade by using a few select moves I had learned.

Despite this after I’d finished playing a few rounds I got quite into to the combat and really enjoyed stringing together high to low combos, finishing with special moves. The illustrations for the characters make everything pretty flashy too.

As well as the specials you have and infinite worth move, where you have to have full exs (special bar at 200%) this is pulled off by rotating the stick from left to right (or doing the same with the d pad) and hitting x. Additionally there’s the infinite worth exs which has the same requirements as above but you must also have less than 30% health, to use this you must be in very close range of the opponent and hit x, o, ⬛ and △ in one go. A flash appears across the screen and a very pretty animation appears usually decimating the enemy. Although easy to pull off and the same requirements/button entry for everyone these are very fun to use.

Game modes is another thing I need to talk about here, they’re fucking stingey with this. You obviously have your arcade mode which consists of 10 rounds of different players and a loose story following through, apart from this…there ain’t much. You have your practice and tutorial to get you used to the controls, good stuff. There’s a challenge mode which challenges you with character combos, a gallery for images you unlock. and Chronicles which allows you to watch an onscreen story, which is great if that’s your sort of thing but I found it horrific. There are obviously online modes also which I couldn’t access as I am reviewing the game before it’s release. For me this isn’t enough, I know that beat-em ups are famous for having a lack of modes but Injustice 2 for example did a great job with adding the multiverse and having the extra hook in, this is what I want from my fighting games, not everyone gets these games to become a pro e-sports contender.

Graphics

This a game which is essentially it’s own little on-screen manga. The fighters themselves all look pretty neat, in battle. That’s kind of where any animation stops, and for me this is a bit of a bug bear with anime/manga based games. In battle I appreciated that someone had taken the time to draw every position the character model could be in and I’m sure if you were fully involved in the story this would be very cool. However for me the lack of animation elsewhere grinded me a little.

The cut scenes are just a static drawing of each character with text underneath about a weird ass story (more about that later), even the end of arcade ‘scene’ is your character with text…underneath it, you then get a gratuitous single new image at the end, worth those 10 rounds of fighting eh! Throughout the game you earn IP which you then use to customise your title bar and slightly customise your characters (pick a change of colour for their outfit) which is the only big change that happens.

Then there’s the general menus and layout, everything is so busy, the majority of which feels like teletext. It took me a good hour to get used to all of the menus and combat help etc. It’s not the most user-friendly fighting platform I’ve seen put it that way.

Additionally the stage backgrounds are pretty lackluster and are shoddily made, which I don’t understand as surely that’s where you can concentrate your development?

Overall nothing about the look of this game blew me away. Some of the moves look a bit flashy and there’s a series of special moves that flashes your character’s face across the screen before they pull it off, and that’s cool. Apart from that I felt indifferent towards the whole game and was never blown away by amazing japanese art, which I kind of wanted to be…

Story

First off is my summary:

The game focuses on something called the hollow night, everything is taking place on this one night. Normal people get powers from it who are essentially demon hunters and then there are demon like creatures who feed upon in-birth people (which I think are the special humans) that they call voids.

After looking into it I understand that the Official summary goes something like this:

The hollow night only affects certain humans who can then see the void creatures, these humans are then targeted by the voids, those who survive a void’s attack become an in-birth who have powers and such. – There’s a lot more to it but nothing really grasped me and I didn’t want to become invested in it, perhaps those who are really into their manga and anime would get more into this and therefore get a lot more satisfaction out of this element of the game.

Overall i did enjoy this game but it’s not going to be something I pour days of my life into to become a pro with any of the characters. The game play is relatively fun but at times it felt not simple enough for me to dive into and not complex enough for me to want to master it. I think it would be a good laugh with friends but i can’t help but think it won’t be as fun as putting on any Tekken, MK or SF game.

Where the game falls down is that its tried very hard to focus around this story and if you’re not into that there’s not a lot else to get your teeth into. Despite that being said I did thoroughly enjoy every battle especially after I had found the correct difficulty level for me.

I actually struggled on what to mark this game as I never thought it was awful but I don’t plan on keeping it installed for long. For me it’s a:

7.5/10

 

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