Also On: PS3
Publisher: Arc System Works
Many fighting game fans in America might not know about Under Night In-Birth. It was hugely popular in Japan and quietly released for the PS3 early in 2015, but went largely unnoticed here. Thankfully Steam is finally releasing this fantastic fighter to the world and hopefully it will gather more attention because this one is definitively not one to pass up.
Under Night In-Birth is an original title from developer French-Bread, the makers of the Melty Blood (Lunar Legend) Series. It is a fast and furious 2D fighter that will satisfy even the most hardcore fighting game fan. A great and balanced line up of characters await you as you play through the story in single player, or hop online for some real challenge. There is a story for the single player campaign, but it is forgettable as this is definitely not a game you play for the narrative. It seems that a phenomenon called the "Hollow Night" is happening and demons are spilling from some portal. Normal people are being turned into "In-Births", which are super powered humans. Naturally, all of this means that random strangers have to get together in abandoned places and fight to the death. As I said, the story is not the reason you are here.
The lineup of characters is great, with almost every fighter possessing a great assortment of moves and combos. Unlike other fighting games like this, the characters are nicely balanced, so one character isn't powered over others. your ability win a fight is solely based on your skill and not an issue with your character.
You can go at it alone in Arcade Mode, or challenge your friends in 2P VS either locally or online. Online play is incredibly smooth, and functions as it should. Lobbies were rather vacant at the time of the review, but there is a small community of players floating out there that will give you a challenge. I had no lag or disconnections while playing, and after dealing with other online fighters like Street Fighter V and Guilty Gear Xrd and their rampant connection problems, this was a refreshing experience.
Each of the 16 characters have a wide variety of combos and special moves that can be linked together for maximum damage. Landing hits, or blocking attacks with your limited magic barrier builds up your power so you can unleash super moves. No matter if you prefer fighting sticks or fight pads, Under Night is a dream to control. Even novices can perform large combos and pull off special moves with minimal effort. It's not super simple, but at the same time, not over complicated either.
Visually, this is as top notch as a 2D fighter can get. The backgrounds and animations of the characters are absolutely stunning and flow perfectly. The backgrounds themselves are 3D, but with not much going on as to not distract you from the actual fighting. Music ranges from haunting to hardcore, and fits very well with the manic fighting. Definitely a soundtrack that I would listen to on it's own.
Under Night IN-Birth Exe:Late may have a confusing name, but it is an awesome fighter that deserves your time. Great character design, fast paced action and great online play make this one a winner. If you missed it on PS3 like the majority of players did, than jump onto Steam and download this one as soon as you can. It's one of those rare 2D fighters where hardcore and novice players can coexist on an even playing field. It's fantastic that this game has finally made it to Steam, as now more players will become aware of it. Highly recommended for your library!