Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late [ST], try to say that one five times fast, is a fast-paced 2D fighting game developed by French bread studios. The game features an intense fighting style, that is both easy to pick up but difficult to master, as well as a full story told through a visual novel style story mode.
The anime style visuals suit the game well, and gives it a unique feel as well as providing its characters both an interesting look, as well as personality. Their personality is enhanced even further by the reasonably extensive story that gives each character even more personality, and the graphics in these sections are more slick and excellent looking than they are in-game.
A problem with the story, however, is that chapters seem to drag on at times, and the translation has quite a few noticeable errors. It is mostly ignorable for those looking to get in-depth lore on the game, but It is an issue to be aware of beforehand.
If I had to make one complaint about the roster it would be that it feels kind of small, and despite the characters all looking unique, some of them feel similar to play in their moves and styles. While they all had moves and specials to set them apart, there are at least a few that felt a little too similar to me.
Enough about all that, this is a fighting game, and what is more important to a fighting game than, well the fighting. The game has an extensive set of combos and maneuvers, plus high powered special moves, all that help make the game feel fast-paced and intense. It also contains a system I can say I have never seen before called Smart Steer, which performs a specific combo for each character with the use of only one attack button.
For a not so great fighting game player such as myself, this made playing the game much easier to pick up and learn, and was a good way for me to get used to the mechanics and get a good idea for how to perform big combos. This system makes Under Night an excellent game for beginning fighting game players to pick up and get their feet wet in the genre so to speak.
A downside to a system like this is that it can make the combat feel overly simplistic if you rely on this system too much. That said once players start branching out into other combos and seeing how deep the combat goes they will be pleased to find that not only is it accessible, but also deep and tactical as well.
Another unique system in the game is the Grind Grid or GRD for short. This grid fills up in a match as you move, attack, and guard. After a certain amount of time whoever has the most grid blocks filled up will enter Vorpal state, which gives a damage boost as well as providing access to more powerful moves. This system seems to help keep the game fast paced and offers one extra tactical element for players to focus on rather than just focusing on reducing their opponent’s health.
Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late [ST] could quickly become an underrated gem in the fighting genre of this generation. While not as high-profile as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or even the recent Dragonball Fighter Z, it manages to stand out on its own with its fast, accessible yet in-depth combat.
While not without its flaws, most are easily overlooked, as Under Night provides a lot of content, including various fighting modes, unlockables, and a surprisingly extensive story. Regardless of if you are new to fighting games, or a seasoned expert, Under Night is a more than a worthy fighting game and well worth a look. 8.5/10
*This review is based on the PS4 version of the game, it is also available on PS3 and PSVita*