Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is a ridiculous title. It’s also out on Steam now, and after a few hours with it, I’m pretty pleased. Here’s some stuff you might wanna read if you’re thinking of picking it up.
Movement is crisp and easy to pick up. Your options are simple — run, walk, jump, dash, backdash, and a forward airdash resembling a KoF hop — and even for the mechanically challenged like myself, it’s easy to put yourself where you want to be. Button dashes keep your stick hand free to make adjustments or buffer motions, which is a big personal plus.
The combo system is simple and consistent, rare for anime. Attacks can be chained in any order, Melty Blood style, but you can only use each attack once per chain. Three wallslams, one jump-cancel. Light starters mean short combos, heavy starters set up long combos. It’s simple enough for newcomers to put strings together pretty intuitively, but rewards investment and smart confirms for anyone invested enough to do the labwork.
Mashing A also gets you a basic autocombo, which is cool, because it means I can play this game with friends without having to explain what hitstun proration is. I honestly don’t understand why more games don’t do this.
The GRD system is pretty crazy: in a game that already boasts strong pressure, giving the winning player exclusive RCs seems like a recipe for disaster, and it sort of is. Don’t expect to enjoy the game if you’re not willing to deal with a little setplay. That said, GRD is a neat system to play with, offering a lot of interesting decision points and restrictions, while staying mostly out of the way for beginners. It’s cool. I think I’m okay with it.
I love this game’s cast. Frankly, I love any game that’s not afraid to make a gigantic fucking asshole like Waldstein. Gorilla normals are the name of the game. Half the cast are gimmicky shitheads — the other half are just gimmicky, save Hyde, who is just a shithead. (Hyde has apparently spent his entire life training to be the main character.)
UNIEL’s soundtrack is fucking fantastic. The production’s not always worth writing home about, and a few tracks seem to have some mixing or mastering issues, but it’s easy to forget the lack of finesse after catching yourself humming the character select theme for the fifth time. Stellar melody work throughout.
I won’t comment on the voice work too much, since there’s no English dub, but nothing seems overly obnoxious or unfitting. Orie is cute. Additional shoutouts to the excellent menu sounds.
Graphically? It’s French Bread. You probably know what you’re getting. Animations are crisp and fluid, stages are vibrant and varied (though rather polygonal), and hitsparks have just the right amount of…spark. It’s polished, but it’s also easy to see what’s going on, even as a first time spectator. Big characters feel huge, fast characters feel snappy, and Gordeau feels like the great ape he was born to be.
The port itself is pretty bare-bones: it would be disappointing if it wasn’t the fighting game standard. Only three resolution options, with a minimum 1280x720, so anyone expecting to run it on a potato might be disappointed. No other graphical options whatsoever. There’s some unusual screen tearing every now and again, but no obtrusive input lag. My 660 Ti runs it with no problems at 1080p — nothing special for a game that’s 4 years old, but hey, can’t complain.
Netplay might not work. I don’t know. Sometimes I can connect to rooms, other times I can’t. Hosting them seems to work with no problems, except when it doesn’t. Haven’t found a ranked match yet, and I’m not quite sure what to attribute that to.
When netplay does work, it’s definitely on the better end of delay-based systems: coast-to-coast connections feel a little slow, but nothing too distracting, and anyone close by feels nearly local.
Single-player leaderboards are already blown wide the fuck open, courtesy of Cheat Engine, but netplay itself is safe from hacking by the nature of the mode. Music modding might also be a thing in the near future.
Honestly? I’m a simple guy. I just like girls with swords. UNIEL is on sale until the 19th, and it has girls with swords. It might be worth your time.