Under Night In-Birth was released back in 2015 and was well received by the majority. Now in 2018, Arc System Works has released an “extended” version of the fighting game. In a vein similar to the BlazBlue “Extend” versions, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [st], expands on the original title with new characters and some new modes.
One of the biggest changes that Under Night In-Birth has undergone is its expansive tutorial, which covers everything from basic movements to special move canceling, and even advanced techniques such as fuzzy guarding. The tutorial is the best I’ve ever seen in a fighting game as it walks players through everything they need to know. And a majority of the lessons can be utilized in other fighters. It can be pretty overwhelming at first glance, especially with its own mechanics. I even had to go back a relearn a few things just to wrap my head around it.
Under Night In-Birth takes the gameplay mechanics from several games such as Melty Blood, BlazBlue, and Guilty Gear and blends them together with a few of its own unique mechanics thrown in as well. It all works surprisingly well and the gameplay is fluid while also having strict timing and tight controls.
If this is your first time playing Under Night, then perhaps the Story Mode would be a great place to start. However, if you’re like me and you don’t like visual novels then it can be a bit of a slog. The “Chronicles” are split up into individual character visual novels with each one containing about three to four chapters. I personally wasn’t into it and it drags on a lot longer than I was expecting, but if you enjoy visual novels then the character backgrounds and humor are there for you.
Under Night has also added a few new characters to the mix such as Phonon, a whip user with extensive range, Mika, a little girl that uses giant gauntlets and is the second grappler. Then there's Wagner, also known as The Crimson Knight, who utilizes a sword and shield along with fire-based attacks. Lastly there’s my favorite character, Enkidu. Enkidu is the only character that fights solely with his fists and he can even counter enemy attacks.
Under Night also has the base modes that you would expect from a fighting game; if you want to know about a specific character then you can try your hand at the Arcade Mode. Outside of Chronicles, Arcade gives you more insight into a character's story. Under Night also comes with a Versus, Time Attack, and Survival Mode.
Under Night In-Birth, of course, has online functionality and a solid netcode going for it. With ranked and casual matches you can play against people all over the world. I played a few matches and got paired up pretty quickly. You can even train while you wait for matches, which is always a blessing. The best part of online matches is that the game will inform you of how many frames you are delayed by. Good connections will usually have a delay of two to three frames, while poor connections can shoot up to upwards of a twenty-frame delay.
I’m truly enjoying Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [st]; most fighting games of late have been sequels to things we’ve already had. But Under Night tries to do its own thing while fusing together other traits and it succeeds on all fronts. Despite the boring visual novel stuff, Under Night is a superb fighting game and I hope it gets to continue on. I give Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [st] 4 TOV Stars out of 5.