I’m going to level with you, pull back the curtain, and let you in on a little secret. This review would have been out a lot sooner if I’d have played the previous entry in the series. UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes features an incredibly complex yet layered system that features one of the largest fighting tutorials I’ve ever seen, and it took me a long time trying to figure out the nuances of combat. However, after giving it the time it deserves, I can safely say I’m glad I took my time and learned what I did because this is such a satisfying fighter.
If you’re coming in fresh and aren’t familiar in the slightest, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is about risk and reward, carefully planning each attempted strike and attack, and pulling off combos and special moves that once done right, can give you moments of genuine pleasure. After a few hours with the likes of Tekken 8 or Mortal Kombat 1, you’ll start to grasp the fundamentals and learn what they’re asking you to do. Be aggressive or defend efficiently, you know your role, however, with such a dense level of detail in a fight, you’ve got more to learn and master in this than any other fighter I’ve played in recent years.
If you’re willing to spend time with it, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is a fantastic fighter. Chaining combos together is always satisfying, but trying to manage the GRD gauge is where it gets impressive. The grind gauge builds over a short time depending on making successful attacks, blocking, moving forward, or dodging, however, it’ll decrease if your opponent can do the same. Whoever has the most GRD when the timer runs out gets a boost to their attacks and reaches a Vorpal state which can be built upon further and introduce something known as Celestial Vorpal, and if you hit it, you’re going to feel pretty damn powerful.
You’ve also got some other moves that can help you in a fight such as Creeping Edge which will allow you to dodge, but it’ll take time for you to master. That’s kind of the thing with UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes. If you want to get the most out of every system at play and unleash impressive special moves when you’re taking advantage of GRD gains, it’ll take time. Saying that, the fundamental attacks will still do damage and can be learned pretty quickly. It’s more about patience and hard work to get the most out of it, and if like me you want to master a fighting game rather than only scratch the surface, give it your time and you won’t be disappointed.
UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is a gorgeous looking game, with pixel art so clear and pretty that you almost forget the characters are sprites, and when in a fight characters move with plenty of grace. The roster of 24 characters are all beautifully animated, and the three new fighters, Tsurugi, Kuon, and the “Twin Barrel Beauty” Kaguya add plenty of depth to what came before. While new characters, additional moves for existing characters, and a solid fighting experience are fantastic, there’s little else outside the arcade mode.
This sequel concludes the ‘Hollow Knight’ storyline but does little to catch up new players or remind those who played the original. It takes place across individual fighter playthroughs, and while it might not be presented in the same impressive way as other recent fighters like Street Fighter 6, it still gives you some decent moments. What UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes does is present an excellent fighting game which removes the bells and whistles to give you a solid experience with a rich level of systems that all work incredibly well together.
UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is a strong fighter that challenges players to learn, adapt, and take risks. It provides a robust tutorial that goes through every element of its systems to offer everyone the chance to play and appreciate just what’s been done with the fight mechanics, and while new players can enjoy to a point, it’s those who put in the time that’re going to enjoy how much work the developers have put in. It features wonderful visuals and a varied roster, a sparse yet efficient online experience, and a story that should please those who’ve been waiting since the first entry in the series concluded.
GRD is a fantastic system
Awesome roster of fighters
A lot to learn to get the most out of it
Not much outside the arcade mode