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    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]

    Game » consists of 9 releases. Released Feb 20, 2020

    The third major update to the 2012 fighting game Under Night In-Birth with numerous character and gameplay tweaks.

    infinitespark's Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] (Digital) (PlayStation 4) review

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    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] - PS4 NA 2020

    Under Night In-Birth’s gradual progress throughout the 2010 decade has been a marvel to witness and one of the more underrated success stories for developer Soft Circle French Bread. Each iteration of the game gradually improved the game’s quality and grew a strong audience which built up to UNIST’s entry as a main card game at 2019’s Evolution Championship Series. Taking advantage of UNIST’s peak popularity, French Bread sought to strike while the iron’s hot by announcing UNICLR, which adds Londrekia and touts over a thousand gameplay changes. French Bread has done a fantastic job improving this franchise through its updated iterations, the latest jump from UNIEL to UNIST boasting the most substantial and impactful improvements and additions with a comprehensive tutorial mode and four new characters that were immediately fun and quickly meshed with the current cast. However, I feel the latest jump to UNICLR feels more of an internal tune up instead of another huge upgrade and the additions and tweaks do not feel they bring a big breath of new air onto what they already built upon. This release does not deliver the highs that each new iteration brought to the franchise, it is still a great product overall that already has all of its hallmarks strengths established and brings tremendous value to newcomers to the franchise.

    It was tough to imagine how much more French Bread can do to continue to build and tweak the game without tipping the scales. UNIST was an excellent release that added tremendous quality of life tools along with numerous tweaks and new characters that resonated with current Under Night fans and received a lot of attention within the fighting game community. There were still a few holes within UNIST’s package that could have been addressed with UNICLR, but French Bread mostly kept all the modes and tools established in UNIST the same with minor tweaks within them. UNICLR’s package boils down to one new character and numerous tweaks for the existing cast and the fighting mechanics during battle. I would have been more critical against UNICLR if this was sold as a brand new release to purchase.

    Since the scale of UNICLR’s upgrade isn’t as grand as UNIST’s, the upgrade to UNICLR came for free through a patch to those who purchased a copy of UNIST on the PS4 and PC with a fee to unlock Londrekia. The mostly free update offered for free through a patch mitigates some of my disappointment with the game’s overall package, though it does not excuse the lack of updates in certain modes to reflect the updates made to the characters and gameplay mechanics. I saw the highly touted tutorial mode that was introduced in UNIST get repurposed in UNICLR and new moves added onto the character’s command list, almost everything else information and presentation wise is carried over from UNIST. The only thing visually that has changed is the main menu, where it changed to having all the game modes shown on the main menu instead of having it scrolled through in UNIST.

    My biggest complaint against UNICLR is the lack of updating information on certain modes. When I browsed through Orie’s mission combos, there were no combos that included her new 4C follow-up special move after performing her 214A/B/C special move. All of the combo routes featured in UNICLR look to be exactly the same combos in UNIST. The only tweaks made to the character’s missions were a few changes on the tactics section, where they made slight adjustments that may reflect updating the character’s battle plan in UNICLR. The lessons and information in the tutorial mode is also the same from UNIST aside from a few additional lessons, though in UNICLR they recategorized the lessons through battle concepts instead of difficulty which is a nice change. Players can focus on learning within a battle concept and gradually stack on the learning within a topic instead of covering a ton of concepts within a difficulty that was set up under UNIST.

    UNICLR was an opportunity for French Bread to capitalize on improving some of their content that was built from UNIST, but they stuck with what they already had. While the tutorials are comprehensive in covering both Under Night’s unique mechanics in play during battle and covering advanced fighting game techniques such as okizeme and option selects, it would be nice to see these lessons played out using different characters aside from the main protagonist. An expanded character tutorial section would be nice to let players know the main idea of the characters and how to utilize their movesets under various battle situations and how to integrate them with the battle mechanics. UNICLR’s training mode covers a lot of bases, though a lack of frame data is an oversight. Saved replays from online mode are only straight up replays with no ability to manipulate it to pause and rewind for use of review. Online modes remain the same with the generic ranked and player modes and played under delay based netcode.

    It would have been nice to see UNICLR have a more fruitful update to its package, in the end the game still wins out with its excellent fighting with characters and unique mechanics that mesh around the gameplay very well. The fighting remains great where the player can execute multiple attacks in succession easily, the pace of the fights kept fast throughout every round, and the push/pull of offensive and defense and using the various mechanics in play at the right moment to turn the tide that make Under Night fights frantic and distinctive from its competitors in the genre. Rarely you would see combatants play a mini-battle to win Vorpal at every 17 seconds to reap its benefits. Under Night also boasts well implemented options to extend the offensive pressure or defensive options to stop the opponent’s offensive momentum and mount a counterattack.

    UNICLR still provides enough content for both newcomers and veterans to dig into. Newcomers to the series will find a ton of content to help them learn the nuances of Under Night combat through the through tutorial, numerous practical mission combos to practice, and a solid training room with options to record and playback opposing character actions for the player to practice against along with the usual arcade, offline versus, survival, and story modes. They get all the characters, balance tweaks, and content wrapped in one package for a decent price. Veterans will appreciate receiving all of the balance tweaks for free through a patch and only paying a fee to unlock Londrekia. The draw for veterans is to find out the changes made with the cast and formulate new approaches for their character of choice against the rest of the roster.

    Despite Under Night’s aesthetic remaining the same from its original version back in the arcade, it did not hamper my impressions of the game and a lot of what was already done is still incredible to glance and listen to. Under Night’s soundtrack is its strongest trait with one of the best character select themes produced and every character’s theme matching their personality and great listens outside of the game’s theme and context. Every character oozes with personality with their looks, colors, and strong voice acting. I always found the smaller details with the odd vocabulary (GRD, EXS, CVO) and the strange small sentences for characters at the start of battle to be charming. The UI look outside of battle is plain, but they’re not glaring enough to be an eyesore or hinder the game’s functionality.

    UNICLR may not be the awe-inspiring update that UNIST brought to help bring a lot of attention to the franchise within the fighting game audience, but it remains an excellent game due to its strengths in gameplay, content, and value. Those new to the franchise can purchase this version that conveniently gathers all the content to date in this release while veterans will continue to enjoy what they’ve already enjoyed with some subtle tweaks to discover and implement. This release will not get an ounce of attention against the bigger games discussed in the current video game landscape and is still a small pod within the fighting game genre, it does what it set out to do really well.

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