The first thing I thought about the game Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] was in all seriousness “Is there something wrong with this game code”? But no – it's really it. I didn't know it was going to be a 2D fighter. I didn't know it was Japanese. I didn't even know what the rating was. It was the title. But, as they said “Don't judge a book by it's cover.” I went in.
When Shadow people called voids attack people, survivors of such attacks are left with special powers. Hyde is one such person. Others hunt, others protect, but it's pretty much everyone going against these guys. It wasn't bad for a story, but like any 2D fighting game, story takes a bad seat. You press buttons and fight. It's the voyage, not the destination. It's not the best story. But in a game like this, it's not terribly important.
Something about the graphics really bugged me. They tried to make it look like an older game, but included 3D backgrounds and modern effects. I mean, art wasn't bad and character designs were fine, but put all together when playing and it felt so stitched together. And some characters are realistic, while others are straight-up cartoons. Effort definitely went in, but it was a turn off for me personally.
On gameplay it got better. I played on PS4 and it was fun. Since this is the Exe:Late[st] version, not much more has been added but a few characters. But as for regular gameplay, no matter what I said about the graphics, the gameplay is solid. Special moves really are spectacular (some are undercut with anime-close ups, but it's only a little off putting. The fights feel like fights for sure and give that classic 2D fighting style with a little new in the way of moves.
Controls on the PS4 were fine. It's a 2D fighting game – there's not a lot different to do, and you can still win against a skilled player by hitting attack buttons randomly. That being said, combos for special moves aren't as difficult as you would think, so this is above average control-wise.
Music in the game depends on where you're fighting. Some are heavy rock, some are more traditional Japanese and some are more pop or techno based. Again, it goes classic 2D fighter and plays instrumental music that can be looped around without you noticing. Pretty standard stuff, but I do like the closer attention to where the music is played at. Sound is what you would expect to – punches and kicks sounding alike, special moves being unique and characters screaming random things. Not much here to differentiate from other games. If you have ever played a 2D fighter before, you know what to expect.
The frame rate on Under Night In-Birth was fine. There was no real lag, and even complicated moves didn't even as much as slow it down. No glitches either. I thought I was going to mess it up at some point, but nothing really came up. Well, besides one character who kept kicking me and stayed in the kicking motion even while walking. They were like a Russian step kick dancer. So, there may be some more glitches or bugs, but only one happened to me.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], besides having a just terrible name, was okay. It's a standard 2D fighter. It can look disjointed, but it performs solidly. It's not innovating or expanding (beyond typical update things like characters), but it's also not performing less than similar titles. If you like games like this, it's certainly worth your time. It's not game of the year, but it also doesn't disappoint.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.