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    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]

    Game » consists of 9 releases. Released Jul 23, 2015

    The second major revision of the fighting game Under Night In-Birth, with an updated roster and a new gameplay mechanic.

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

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    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] - 2018 PS4 NA Region

    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late skyrocketed as one of my favorite recent fighting games with its excellent concoction of classic 2D pace, anime fighting game-esque mechanics, and a varied cast with identifiable fighting styles. UNIEL shined in spite of my poor play, missing some key typical fighting game modes such as a tutorial and character combo missions, and boring game package presentation. I played the hell out of the imported digital version of UNIEL and rode its initial surging popularity until major interest waned. I loved the game so much that I even double dipped and purchased the localized version just to check how it was.

    As the updated version of Under Night In-Birth was nearing its console release, I was expecting more of the same that typically comes with a new version of a fighting game: new characters, a myriad of adjustments of varying degrees to the characters and mechanics, and new mechanics thrown in. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] delivers on those typical additions with four new characters, the adjustments, and the addition of the Cross Cast Veil Off mechanic. UNIST’s strengths from UNIEL remain the same with the excellent fighting and mechanics in play and the new characters feel right at home with their own personalities and fighting styles. I would have been satisfied if UNIST’s release was simply just UNIEL with new things tacked on, but there was a few impactful quality of life additions to UNIST that really merits the cost of its separate new release over its predecessor.

    While UNIST’s presentation remains the same passable template from UNIEL, it more than makes up for it by adding in those essential genre modes of tutorial, character combo missions, and even a visual novel story mode that serves to give some background to the game’s story and characters for anyone interested to know the game’s lore. The story mode is a nice inclusion for value’s sake, but not essential for anyone who is truly going into UNIST. The other two modes, the character combo missions and the tutorials, are more than meets the eye. Both modes simply do not give out the bare minimum that comes with the genre territory, but are excellent learning tools to give newcomers to the game all of the essential information they need to pick up and continue to build upon their progress into eventually feeling satisfaction of their level of play in UNIST.

    UNIST’s crowning achievement is its comprehensive tutorials. They section out the tutorial into five difficulty categories ranging from beginner to veteran. I was surprised at the novice level the tutorial explaining on the proper way to perform the usual special move motions of quarter-circles, dragon punches, the tricky down-down, and even a useful shortcut to perform a 360 motion. The tutorials not only provides important information for novices to the game, but also includes information that is commonplace to the genre, such as damage scaling, fuzzy guards, etc. The veteran level tutorials go deep into complex fighting game techniques displayed in expert level play such as option selects are taught. It’s neat to see a game dig far into the technique bag to show you almost every trick in the trade that many other fighting game tutorials do not even explore. My gripe with UNIST’s tutorial mode is a lack of step-by-step demonstrations to really tell the player what to do and look out for, especially toward the expert level lessons where the mere explanation and in-game demonstration do a good job setting the lesson, but a through, step-by-step interaction would be more welcome for those who are eager to improve their play. Nonetheless, UNIST’s tutorial is the gold standard that the genre should seek to follow.

    Another underrated and useful addition found in UNIST is the cliff notes section of the character’s fighting style found at the end of the character’s combo mission list. A fighting game’s roster consists of a number of characters that play a particular fighting style. Characters fall into different subsets of styles: classic balanced types, close-quarters, keep-away, grapplers, etc. All fighting games develop characters of different styles, but many games may not tell you some of the character tools to utilize the character as intended. UNIST partially solves that problem by including a section briefly detailing the character’s style and which attacks and combos to utilize in certain situations. For those who always loved how a character plays but unsure on what to do, the character guide that tells you the basic game plan helps.

    The rest of UNIST’s package is your typical modes you come to expect included in a modern fighting game: arcade, story, tutorial, training mode, various challenge modes, art gallery, and online. All of them are available right from the start and the menus and tools are easy to use and navigate. Online mode consists of ranked and player matches all through menus. While UNIST’s online mode lacks the beautiful presentation and options of arcade lobbies and rooms that graces the latest Arc System Works titles, its barebones options still functions with no issues. Online matches play fine for the most part if you are matched with an opponent with a good connection.

    In the end, it’s the fighting that matters and Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] still carries over its exciting battles from its predecessor and then some. One of the fun aspects to UNIST’s battles is the ease of chaining combos together, combined with extended knowledge through the tutorials and character combo missions, anyone can pull an impressive string of attacks together and then some utilizing advanced fighting techniques and game mechanics. Many special moves are relegated to the usual set of motions while EX versions of the super moves sort of count as a super and Infinite Worth is the ultra super costing the the entire meter outside of Veil Off mode. You won’t have to worry too much on timing your attack chains or worry about suddenly stopping because one attack does not chain to another as the game is flexible in allowing a lot of attacks that flow from start to finish. Even the beginner combos look flashy and are practical in many cases.

    Complementing UNIST’s excellent fighting is its well developed mechanics. The most important mechanic that really opens up UNIST’s battle is Vorpal. Vorpal is won when one fighter earns more GRD blocks over the other at the end of the GRD timer. The battle to earn Vorpal adds in a mini-battle within a battle. On paper, this may sound bad adding an additional element on top of battling, but it works out wonderfully in UNIST because Vorpal can exchange hands many times in one round since the GRD timer continually resets and runs. One can earn Vorpal the first cycle, but then quickly lose it on the next cycle. I also applaud the developers on rewarding GRD to great defensive play so that they can earn Vorpal on the next cycle as an award of getting through the offensive of your opponent with Vorpal. There are a few instances where a person can lose the ability to earn GRD altogether, adding another neat element to the bout on hand. Not to mention the one who wins Vorpal earns additional damage, passive benefits to their character, and access to other important mechanics such as chain shift, which serves multiple purposes aside from just sacrificing GRD for meter.

    Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] may not have the glamorous legacy of Capcom’s or SNK’s library, or the flash from Arc System Work’s franchises, it stands on its own by having an excellent package of great fighting with smartly developed mechanics and a deep, comprehensive tutorial and character mission guides that many games in the genre can say they have. Though the game will never reach the numbers and spotlight that other games in this era of fighting games have garnered, but is a deep cut delight for those who are willing to try from the genre’s outskirt offering.

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