Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late|cl-r| (PS4) Review
A fighting game with a decent narrative
Depth requires time to fully grasp
Under Night is a relatively new title in the fighting game genre, only releasing the first title in the series back in 2012 –only then in arcades. While the series is a side series of Melty Blood, another well loved 2D pixel art fighter, it has continually increased the depth and character roster enough to be considered its own property now. While the long and overly complex title might scare some people away, there are plenty of nuggets of goodness for those who just crack open that shell.
The first thing that most people will notice about Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late |cl-r| is that it is unapologetic about how very anime it is. The story sequences are simply visual novel chunks that the player can sit through to learn the back story on just why everyone is fighting. The single player has a plot for each character, but it is the standard fighting game story — not as good as the reboot of Mortal Kombat, but not as bad as Street Fighter V.
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The pixels themselves bleed off the screen. The animation is smooth and fluid; done in the traditional style of the original fighters — not newer titles like Guilty Gear Accent Core that are 3D models with cell shading wrapped around them. The steps that Under Night has gone through to make the game a visual feast for the retro eye proves that it can still be done, and done well–the only real reason anyone would stay away from it is because of the vast amount of effort that it would take to animate that amount of movement.
Not everything is perfectly roses, though, as there is a level of depth in the game that is frankly difficult for anyone who isn’t versed in the series to simply pick up. While there are a handful of characters that still make the experience playable, combos completely plausible, and gameplay fun, there are also advanced characters that take time to simply learn their movesets, let alone how they can possibly lead into simple combination attacks. Anyone who mistakenly chose such a character on first starting would be confused and probably left with a bad taste in their mouth.
Under Night is a solid fighting game that should be welcome in any enthusiast’s collection. For those who are just stepping into the genre they might want to stay closer to the shore of the well known industry tentpoles. They won’t find anything wrong with the title, just that they might want to go in aware that there is a deep end that they probably won’t find is the more calming waters of more well known games. With enough time, though, anyone will find that they can enjoy the swim.