As a fan of Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code, I was excited to see Arc System Works bringing UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late for the very first time to PC. FRENCH-BREAD is known for their great anime-themed fighting games such as Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax so no doubt expectations were high for this latest installment.
Steam describes the game:
Since time immemorial, the organization known as the “Night Blade” has acted as guardians in what is known as the “Hollow Night”. While resting from her eternal labors in a non-descript town that the Princess of the Night Blade, Linne, meets a young boy named Hyde, who is in possession of the fabled sword of destiny that she has been searching far and wide for.
In the Hollow Night, monsters called Voids feed upon the power that manifests there, while those known as In-births use that same power for their own ends. While investigating the reason behind the sudden increase in the numbers of both Voids and In-births in the Hollow Night, Linne hears of an evil plot being hatched by someone calling themselves “Paradox”. This person turns out to be none other than Hilda, the leader of a shadowy organization known as “Amnesia”.
Vowing to stop “Paradox” before her nefarious plans come to fruition, Linne heads off into the Night. Unbeknownst to her, the young boy she encountered, Hyde, follows behind her with a desperate need to know who, and what, she is.
And thus, the story of the Hollow Night, and In-births, begins–-
The game’s roster has 16 playable characters, a pretty sizable amount that gives players various options in terms of playing style. Most of the characters to are more or less balanced with each possessing their own strengths and weaknesses. Hilda, for example, is a long-range fighter that can deal massive combos but requires great mastery and impeccable timing to be properly used. My personal favorite is Eltnam because not only do I have a favorable bias towards anything Type-Moon, but also because I am familiar with her playing style due to playing her Sion counterpart in Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code. Of course, the main characters such as Hyde and Linne are the easiest and perhaps most popular to use.
As expected of FRENCH-BREAD, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late’s gameplay is both fast-paced and flashy. Nonetheless, it is easy for newcomers to learn the game’s mechanics. Veil Offs and Specials can be easily performed. One mechanic that enjoyed was the Grind Grid which can increase or decrease depending on actions performed during a cycle. And within each cycle, the player with more GRD holds an offensive advantage.
The game has various modes common to most fighting games such as arcade, training, versus, and network modes. More modes that UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late have include customize and gallery mode where players spend points to purchase costume palettes, titles, images and more. Thankfully, this game is DLC-free, and more content is unlocked by just playing through the game and accumulating points.
In terms of visuals and sound, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late definitely is not slacking in quality. The soundtracks are very likeable and memorable with the voice acting top-notch. The sprites during both arcade mode and gameplay are also very appealing. With the ability to also customize the color of these sprites, characters can match up to the players’ personal tastes.
When I first got the game, I played through it non stop, experimenting with all the characters while also going through their stories in arcade mode. This is a game I would recommend for both fighting game veterans and newcomers alike. However, be warned that players in network mode can be very competitive so I would advise getting used to playing to the game before trying out ranked matches.