Originally developed by Ecole Software and French-Bread, Under Night In-Birth is a 2d fighting game based on a visual novel of the same name. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is the most recently updated version of that game developed by French-Bread and Arc System Works. It released on the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch on February 20th, 2020. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be taking a look at the Nintendo Switch version of the game.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is a fighting game I was looking forward to getting a hands-on with, because of my fondness for past Arc System Works fighting games like Blazblu. So without further delay, let’s jump into it and see how it stacks up!
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is a 2D anime stylized fighting game, developed by Arc System Works and French-Bread, and published by Aksys Games. In typical fashion for an Arc System Works fighting game, the controls are incredibly easy to learn, but with the potential for a high skill ceiling. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] features 21 unique characters, including the new to this version Londreika, each with their own combos, stages and story arcs. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] also features a ridiculous amount of different game modes to choose from. From score attack to survival, arcade, versus, there’s a little of something for every fighting game fan here.
Arc System Works games tend to give the player the option of switching between a “Stylish” and a “Technical” control scheme when selecting their characters. The difference between the two being that Stylish is the easy choice to do big combos and cool special moves with simple button presses, and “technical” is the more difficult control scheme. However, for whatever reason Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] seems to only use the “Stylish” option, meaning that most of the characters combos are fairly easy to pull off. This isn’t to say that this game is only for fighting game beginners, but it is a pretty good place to start.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] has a flashy beautiful anime art-style. Each of the unique characters was lovingly crafted. The care taken to animate over 12000 frames of animation is staggering. Each of the characters also has a palette of alternate colour sets to choose from. The stage designs are a little less detailed, the focus away from the characters who are battling it out. The special effects on the ultimate attacks add a lot of flair to an already exciting battle scene. I played this mostly in handheld mode on the Nintendo Switch, and the game looked great in both handheld and docked modes. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] also runs very smoothly, with no graphical issues or lag.
The music in Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is pretty great. It’s a nice mix of pianos and rock music. The Japanese voice acting of the characters and announcer are very high quality.
The most beautiful thing about fighting games, in general, is the amount of time one can spend playing them. They’re the type of game that you and a group of friends can play for hours and hours. I know my group of friends and I are going to get a lot of fights out of Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r], and that’s just in the versus mode. Including all the other game modes, there could be hundreds of hours of trying to best each other in one on one combat.
Playing Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] was a pretty solid fighting game experience for players of all skill levels. It’s easy to pick up and play and has a fair amount of depth to it. Tight controls, good character designs, solid soundtrack all add up to earn Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] the Thumb Culture Gold Award. I would only consider changing one thing, and that would be to add a more technical control scheme. But all in all, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is a great fighting game, and for $39.99 on the Nintendo eShop, it’s quite a bargain for the amount of content contained within.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.