Arc System Works’ updated release Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is available now for Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, refining an already popular fighting game while adding another character to the roster.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late has been with us for quite some time now. We first reviewed Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late’s PC version back in 2016, then the Vita version of Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] which arrived in 2018. The game’s been constantly evolving (and reaching new platforms) though, and cl-r marks another milestone for the game, featuring over a thousand balance changes as well as story updates.
At its core, however, is still very much the same game, and veterans can jump right in or refresh themselves using the excellent in-game tutorial. That doesn’t mean that Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is an easy game to play though – it’s got a fairly steep learning curve largely on account of the action being fast and frantic. The action never pauses for long, battles keep raging even while airborne, and nearly all of the characters are very quick on their feet. If you’re coming from a slower-paced fighter like Tekken, this really ramps it up a notch.
The game also still has all of the intricacies in its gameplay dynamics that previous releases had, including the ability to charge up through a variety of mechanics. This creates a rather complex blend of things to learn and master, but the game remains playable even when you initially stick to the basics. If you want to get the most out of the game, then it absolutely has all the depth you need to entertain you for months (which explains why the game’s been around as long as it has).
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] only features one new fighter, whereas Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] had four newcomers. There’s an upgrade option for players already playing [st] though, allowing PS3 and Vita players to pick it up at a discount whereas PS4 owners actually get all of the balance updates for free (but not the new content or fighter, those are DLC).
Speaking of the new fighter in [cl-r], Londrekia brings Sub-Zero-like gameplay to Under Night with his ice-based attacks, but in a much more fluid sense where all the attacks chain together while offering the ability to slow down enemies at the same time. It’s a worthy addition to the roster and feels well balanced right from the start as he brings the total number of fighters to 21. What’s impressive about that is that while nearly all of them emphasize fast movement, the entire roster feels very diverse with a good range of character types and primary weapons and attacks.
In addition to the fighting, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] also retains the ability to unlock additional content by accumulating experience through playing, and builds on the existing Chronicles move with new content – further expanding the visual novel-style narratives for each character. This aspect of the game is mainly interesting to those invested and/or interested in the lore behind it all, but it’s lovely fan service in a series that originated as an arcade game back in 2012.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is an excellent fighting game, but it’s not a radical change from the previous release and if you weren’t still actively playing it then this probably won’t draw you back in either. If this is your choice of fighting game, however – or if you’re just interested in a great anime-fueled fighter, then definitely check out this release.