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Found 7 results

  1. Developer: Soft Circle French Bread Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PS4, PS3, and PS Vita Release Date: February 8, 2018 ESRB: T for Teen Clearly, the Japanese developer French Bread has given up any attempt at a coherent title with their newest fighting game rerelease, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late(st). In spite of its self-inflicted and unfortunate naming choice, the newest Under Night In-Birth iteration remains steadfast as a fighting game gem amongst some pretty fierce competition. It is just a shame that it is highly likely to be buried by the recent Dragon Ball FighterZ (for a multitude of reasons) and possibly even redundant due to many serious fans having already imported this version of the series half a year ago. Those who are still curious as to what Under Night's second console release has to offer may notice its handful of new bells and whistles as it tries to justify its additional retail price tag. I would define the original PS3 release of Under Night In-Birth as having no unnecessary frills, yet also quite entertaining, and that it was only really held back by simply not explaining its nuanced fighting game system mechanics (such as "Chain Shift", "Veil off", and the likes). The lack of tutorials would essentially force one who wanted to give the prior game a fair shot to dig into online guides or wikis to understand the gameplay systems. This is no longer the case with Exe: Late(st) with many, many tutorials that are willing to teach in a very beginner-friendly manner, which range from simply moving around or looking at the health bar to going as deep as explaining concepts like "fuzzy guarding" in high-level play. It is a rather dry text dump based approach compared to Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator's tutorial but the in-game insight is more than welcome nonetheless. It is all well and good that they added tutorials; however, features beyond that should be more enticing for returning players, such as new playable characters and modes. In addition to adding much-needed re-balancing from the prior game (Seth and Chaos are finally viable competitively!), the four new playable characters themselves are all quite enjoyable and generally easy to pick up & play like the rest of the roster. Some are straightforward enough, like Enkidu, who is a close ranged fighter with various parrying skills to Phonon who keeps foes at bay with long-range whipping abilities. The more intriguing newcomers design-wise, however, are Mika -- who is a deceptively mobile fighter despite wielding two huge gauntlets -- and the lady Wagner, who has a fiery and hyper aggressive playstyle that is similar to her presence in the main story. Speaking of which, the newly added story mode may just be the worst part of the whole game. One could tell that the storytelling was not particularly noteworthy in the arcade mode of the earlier release; having an exhausting ten hour-plus visual novel story mode could not do this game fewer favors. As someone who tolerated the extensive visual novel narratives in various Blazblue games, it says a lot about just how dull and uneventful the Chronicles story mode in EXE Late(st) ends up being. At best, players will see some halfway interesting backstory regarding the playable cast. Yet, the far more prevalent theme is that it'll likely bore them out of their mind with incredibly mundane and redundant exposition that can stretch the course of five minutes into feeling like several hours. The worst part about the storytelling is that there is very little resembling a central narrative as whole making it feel that much more pointless to endure. The rest of the gameplay mode feature set is a matter of taking the good with the bad. For example, the "Mission" mode is neat in that it has players be able to learn actual viable bread & butter combos to more advanced techniques. Then there is the training mode which, despite being a total user interface nightmare, allows somewhat granular options in finding out which actions can easily be countered. The Network features remain to be much more mixed, however. In addition to being close to dead in terms of online presence (one of many reasons why the release date timing was unfortunate...), the online netcode itself is kind of dodgy and bare bones. There are the standard lobbies and ranked matchmaking, sure, but good luck finding fellow opponents or matches without noticeable lag. Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late(st) makes for a tricky recommendation in the modern fighting game climate. It's a criminally overlooked, and surprisingly approachable fighting game series though I find myself quite conflicted in how underwhelming Exe: Late(st) is as a re-release. The story mode is downright awful and whatever potential for longevity it has is sapped away by a weak online interface and an even worse release date timing thanks to the recent Dragon Ball FighterZ. What is left are a few neat additions such as the four entertaining new characters and the smart training mode options, as well as the solace in that would-be fans no longer have to go out of their to import the title, but little else. Pros + Rock solid fighting game fundamentals that is surprisingly approachable in terms of controls + The four new playable characters are diverse and entertaining + Nice tutorials and training mode options Cons - Utterly boring visual novel story mode - Wonky versus netcode with the online presence of a ghost town -Interface and UI is clumsy Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late(st) is stuck in the unfortunate position of being a really good fighter that is held back by an underwhelming overall re-release and terrible release date timing. But for those willing to accept Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late(st) as the diamond in the rough that it is should still have fun playing it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  2. Developer: Soft-Circle French Bread/Ecole Software Publisher: Aksys Games Platforms: PS3 Release Date:February 24, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen If there is one thing that developer French Bread is pretty much unrivaled at, it is their ridiculous "Engrish" names for their video games. I thought their most recent iteration of the classic, albeit obscure, PC anime fighter with Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code was in a class of its own. But, oh no, I think they have finally one-upped themselves with their own spiritual successor called Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late in more ways than one. Extremely unfortunate naming aside, however, French Bread is known to make a different flavor of fighting games, even among seemingly similar anime-influenced ilk, and Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late is no exception. To my surprise, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late is one of the most approachable fighters I have played in quite some time. Not quite Divekick simple, of course, but among “anime” fighters which tend to have a few too many base level systems to really be able to do anything without learning them (I“m looking at you Guilty Gear Xrd-SIGN- ), you can have fun right from the get-go just by mashing buttons. Most moves link together fairly easily and there is also a basic auto-combo (a la Persona 4 Arena Ultimax) you can execute just by mashing the square button, or A in more general input terms, for every character. As if to not turn off hardcore fighting game fans, just because it is easy to pick up and play it most certainly doesn“t mean it is easy to master. There is plenty of depth to both the character/system mechanics that you can—and should—learn. Each of the 16 characters play very differently with plenty of subtle nuances to their playstyles. For instance, main character Hyde can modify his thrown projectiles skills into an explosive burst at any time, Vatista has many charge/held-based inputs to her attacks; and lastly, the confusing Melty Blood cameo character, Eltnum, has both a bullet meter and a Gears of War styled active-reload mechanic. Despite me being someone who plays a lot of "anime" fighting games, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late actually has more similarities to more traditional releases in the genre than you'd expect. For example, most character don't have air-backdashes (except Seth), and can't block most attacks in the air, bringing a sort of Street Fighter IV mindset to fights with anti-airs. Also, special meter carries from round to round, similar to various King of Fighters titles. Yet, fights aren't even as defense-focused as Street Fighter IV, or as meter management strict as King of Fighters XIII, as it brings its own distinct flair to its fast & fun offensive-focused gameplay flow. Those who dig deeper into the systems will probably notice the Grind Grid gauge (shown as "GRD" in-game) specifically. Basically, how it works is that—based on how well you play (in particular, playing offensively and landing hits/combos, or blocking smartly)—the meter at the bottom center screen will shift toward one player's side or another. If the GRD meter is in your favor you can essentially cash-in by using Chain Shift to get a varying amount of extra special meter or to use it to significantly increase your combo potential to cancel move animations (kind of like Guilty Gear's Xrd -SIGN-'s Roman Cancel). It's actually a fairly cool system in practice that highly rewards offensive play and more skilled players will constantly keep an eye on it because of its tug-of-war mentality. To the game“s own detriment, however, there aren't really any tools to help people learn these specific nuances because of a complete lack of tutorials/challenge modes. While it is approachable in the sense that there is immediate accessibility to the enjoyable gameplay (and flow and button combinations are pretty easy), most players will probably not naturally understand how systems Grind Grid, Viel Off, Concentration, Chain Shift, and several others work without looking them up. Other than that, the title does have general mode staples you'd expect, such as: Arcade, VS, Network, Survival, Score/Time Attack, Training, and unlockable character outfits and gallery images. Most modes are inoffensive in their execution, even if I wish the online play had a tighter netcode and a bit more than very basic lobbies and ranked matches for something I'd like to make my next go-to fighter. With Arcade Mode in particular, there is some semblance of a story in Under-Night In-Birth despite how there isn“t too much to write home about. It mostly has short visual novel-styled scenes with a bunch technobabble like “Hollow Night”, ”In-Birth”, "Autonomic Nerve", and tons of faction names tossed about to try to disguise it from being some pretty typical anime storytelling overall. Still, I admit, I probably would not mind seeing more of it if certain parts of it were more fleshed out. Ok, to be more honest, I really just want to see the character, Eltnum, be in another story mode where she can make more hilariously blunt (and 4th wall breaking) quips about fighting games and the character designs of the primary cast. Speaking of that, to address the elephant in the room, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late has some really generic character designs. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely a great-looking 2D fighter in motion in the technical sense, and it does hold its own with its really clean, saturated visual color palette (though, something like Skullgirls has better animations). But... it's really easy to blur your eyes and feel like you have seen pretty much every character in it elsewhere. What I actually find more impressive than the visuals is the soundtrack. I may be a sucker for strong, catchy guitar riffs (which the soundtrack is full of), but removed from that context the character theme songs are still quite memorable and varied throughout. The Japanese dub is fairly well-done too, even if, well, it's only Japanese (but after Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-'s questionable English dub, that probably isn't the worst thing). A lot of fighting games tend to feel like they are missing something pretty substantial with their first iterations on console. Such problems can range from a really small character roster, mechanics that don't feel quite fleshed out yet, or it just lacking in general content. Yet, the first console release for Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late doesn't really feel like it has any of those huge shortcomings. Sure, the netcode could be a bit better. Sure, I wish there were tutorial/challenge modes. But, aside from that, it gets pretty much everything else right with its very polished, deep, and surprisingly approachable gameplay that is just a lot of fun to play. Generic anime character designs aside, I think developer French Bread has proven that there is truly another 2D "anime" fighter on the block that is very much worth the attention of fighting game fans, and surprisingly, it is not made by Arc System Works. Pros: + Very easy to learn gameplay and really responsive controls + Surprising amount of depth to both the hugely different characters and the overall system mechanics + Vibrant 2D art style + Really catchy soundtrack Cons: - No tutorial or challenge modes whatsoever to learn specific combos or system mechanics - Netcode could be a bit better Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10) Great Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late makes for a strong first console debut. With its surprisingly approachable, deep, and outright enjoyable gameplay mechanics, it may be just enough to have most people forget how silly the actual title to the game is. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS3 code provided by the publisher.
  3. Curious as to what Aksys Games' first major release in 2015 will be? Look no further than Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late, a new anime-style 2D fighting game being developed by French Bread in collaboration with Arc System Works. That name might be a bit of a mouthful to say, but it looks to follow in the same story-driven format of French Bread's previous games (most notably the Melty Blood games). The game will also feature 16 different playable characters that each have their own fighting style, a network mode (developed by Arc System Works) that will allow you to fight others online, as well as a number of other modes, including Arcade Mode, Training Mode, Time Attack, Score Attack, and Survival. For more on the game and its story, be sure to check out its official site. Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late is slated for release on PS3 on February 24, 2015. Source: Press Release Are you interested in playing this?
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