Of course, all that meant nothing when I took my game online. Let’s get this out of the way quickly – for the dedicated you’re going to get no end of fun out of the online component. The netcode didn’t drop a frame when I was playing, my matches never felt laggy and each and every humiliating defeat was down to me and me alone. I managed to cheap out a couple of low-rankers with some expert mashing when things got hectic, but for nine out of ten of my matches I got absolutely schooled. If you’re new to fighters, prepare to get dominated for a while. If you’re a veteran, have fun in your new stomping ground.
As opposed to the phenomenal look Arc System Works have achieved in their Guilty Gear and Dragonball series with what can only be described as ‘three dimensional 2D’, Latest has stuck to its roots with pure, pixelated 2D sprite work. It’s a dying style in the genre, as most fighting games like Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom and Mortal Kombat have moved away from their 2D heritage and embraced 3D art, but Latest proves here that it can still work to great effect.
The sprites of every character are beautifully detailed and fluid, and showcase some of the best pixel art in the genre at the moment. Everything is incredibly animated and wonderfully designed – and considering this is still a young franchise the cast already feels surprisingly fleshed out and varied. The swarm of visual effects and super moves happening on screen at any given time also help in distracting from the lacklustre stage design, the only visual low point of the entire package.
The sound is also top notch, with nearly every line of dialogue in the game between bouts being voiced in Japanese. On point, arcade-y sound effects and a great soundtrack also keep this fighter feeling alive and tense, which is all you can really ask from a fighter.
Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[st] is a fantastic looking game that harbours a deep and enjoyable fighting experience. Going from Melty Blood to this was an absolute treat and I might have just found my new favourite 2D fighter, even if I’m currently complete garbage at it online. Expect a learning curve that is offset with some fantastic and enjoyable tools, a rich roster full of fun characters and a whole slate of modes and options and you’ll have a blast. If you’re a fan of the genre you should already have picked this up.
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