PS4 Review: Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [st]

Can this brawler compete with the likes of Street Fighter?

The best parts of Street Fighter and BlazBlue combine in this epic 2D fighter! Easy to pick up but filled with tactical depth that will have you playing for years, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is the frantic new fighter from the maker of cult-classic Melty Blood — and the hit underground Japanese brawler that has captured both the imagination and hearts of the fighting game community.

This is actually the first I’ve heard of the Under Night series, this PS4 version is more or less an updated version of 2015’s PS3 version that lacks the [st] addition to the subtitle. This updated version has all the same content as the PS3 version, but also a new Chronicles Mode and they’ve also added a few new fighters to the roster. Ultimately, it doesn’t sound like a great deal of new content so it’s only really easy to recommend if you are new to the series like myself or if you loved the original version so much, but want to replay it on the PS4.

The combat itself is typical of traditional brawlers and clearly takes inspiration from Street Fighter, BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. The Vorpal system adds a level of strategy to the formula, while combo fluidity is strong. The only thing working against a game like Under Night is the obvious competition of brawlers that have also upped their game over recent years, but having said that there’s definitely a niche here for such a classic formula and Under Night seems to fill it well.

The 2D pixel art-style works well for the game, especially among the fluid combat. But also the story has a nice visual-novel style to it and it’s actually a decent plot, which I find is rare among fighters. The soundtrack is also quite addictive and intense.

The Verdict

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [st] may not have a lot of new content from it’s 2015 PS3 counterpart, but it is a great brawler and a good purchase for those who missed out on it first time around. It’s traditional, but also fairly fresh within the genre and is a welcome addition.

Score: 8.0