Under Night In-Birth II and Gunvolt Records Cychronicle Reviews, Ys X English PC Port by PH3, New Verified Games, and Sales – TouchArcade

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Steam Deck Weekly. We’ve had some interesting releases so far in the year across big and small publishers, and things are about to get busy again leading into March. Before next month though, I’m catching up with some reviews I’ve been working on, and also more testing on my new Steam Deck OLED. The reviews in this week’s feature are UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes which I included as one of the best fighting games to play on Steam Deck and Inti Creates’ new Gunvolt rhythm game Gunvolt Records Cychronicle. Beyond reviews, a few notable games have gotten Steam Deck Verified or Playable ratings, and we have a lovely new Steam sale on right now. Let’s get into the reviews first.

Steam Deck Game Impressions & Reviews

UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes Steam Deck Review

If you’ve read my Steam Deck coverage since the system launched, you will know how much I love Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 8, and Street Fighter 6. They are all amazing and modern fighting games. In the case of Guilty Gear and Street Fighter, I even enjoyed prior releases and continue to play 3rd Strike and Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2. I’ve also been playing many of the SNK classics and older games like UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[cl-r] (UNICLR). I love how unabashedly deep, complex, and fun the Under Night In-Birth series has always been with its superlative music. When UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II was rated before its announcement, I had no idea what to expect. Would French Bread take it in a brand-new direction or build on what was already there? We wouldn’t need to wait much longer because UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes was officially announced for PC, PS5, PS4, and Switch, and it looked like everything I wanted from a sequel, but I had a few questions.

When I played the open beta on PS5, most of my fears were gone because UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes played brilliantly. I just needed to see how the online held up in the final game, and whether it was approachable for newcomers. Fast forward to today and it has been out for a few weeks, and I adore UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes. The reason this review is late is because I was waiting for the PC version to get fixed after multiple updates. It is now in a very good place as of last week, and I’m going to be playing it for a long time across platforms. In this UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes Steam Deck review, I’m going to cover the game itself, the PC port, and if there are any issues with it on Steam Deck.

When I got into UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH and ended up loving UNICLR, I kept hoping we’d see an update with rollback netcode. I didn’t really feel like the game needed anything else. It was already a sublime and deep fighter, but the online just didn’t hold up back then. Fast forward to UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes, and we have new characters, rollback netcode, improved gameplay, and a robust training mode. What we don’t have though, is a deep story mode. I wanted to make that clear from the start since I know a story mode is important for many people. The story here picks up from the last game, and is told through the Arcade Mode playthroughs for characters rather than a visual novel or cinematic story mode.

In a lot of ways, I’m glad UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes wasn’t an update to UNICLR because I consider both games worth investing into now. UNICLR for the story and to experience an older take on the gameplay with UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes being the best way to play Under Night In-Birth online and offline, and the base for the future. This may sound weird, but I’m glad that French Bread didn’t throw everything from prior releases into the bin and start from scratch. UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes feels like the jump in quality we’ve seen in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising from the original, with a similar netcode update. Sadly, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes doesn’t have cross play, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

If you’ve never played a game in the series before, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is still a 2D sprite-based fighter, and it looks gorgeous, but only at specific resolutions. Playing on the Steam Deck and Switch screens, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is perfect. It does not scale well enough on a modern 1440p monitor though, with even the UI looking blurry. This is also a problem on PS5. I was hoping that aspect would be addressed for this new entry at least. Barring that, the sprite work is lovely, and the new characters like Kaguya and Kuon look amazing. I’ve not spent enough time with Kuon yet, but Kaguya is a lot of fun.

Mechanically, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is a super deep experience involving a tug-of-war like system, long combos, the GRD system, and more. The GRD gauge on the bottom of the screen is a visual indication of which player has more influence on the match. This is indicated by 12 diamond shaped blocks at the bottom. You earn GRD by attacking, moving forward, and using concentration while dashing back or taking damage reduces your GRD. This system will decide what you are capable of doing in a match. Both players try to get more GRD and this plays out like a tug-of-war in addition to the actual fighting happening in a match. In addition to this, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes has brought in newer mechanics for using GRD and the state you get into after a fixed interval. This includes a mechanic to let you perform specials, one to give you boosted attack, and more. It took me a while to get my head around the new GRD changes in UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes already, but the tutorial and missions help a lot, and I definitely recommend doing them before even thinking of jumping online. Despite the complexity across the board, I love the new changes and I’m glad French Bread didn’t tone anything down for this entry.

On PC, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes’ display settings let you adjust resolution (720p to 4K), screen settings (windowed, fullscreen), toggle v-sync off during battles, adjust anti aliasing (off, 2x, and 4x), adjust brightness, adjust aspect ratio (seemingly bugged right now on Steam Deck), and toggle character visual improvements. In the system settings, you can choose between keyboard or controller button prompts, and also force PlayStation or Xbox prompts for controller buttons. I love that the game on all platforms lets you set it up so that it boots up into the title screen, main menu, network mode, or training. I set it up for training on Switch and network mode on Steam Deck.

While I’ve praised UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes a lot, it is lacking in a few ways right now, but these may or may not be an issue for you. The first is the story mode. Yes, I know this isn’t a huge deal for most people, but having a full numbered sequel gives you certain expectations. The chronicles story mode from prior games is absent here, but you do get to learn more about characters and experience some story through the arcade mode. This is more of a minor complaint, but one to keep in mind if you’re considering this for single player content. The other issue is the lack of crossplay. French Bread is a small team, but I was really hoping we’d see at least PS5 and PC crossplay with Arc System Works publishing it. The final aspect I’m a bit disappointed in, is the interface. It feels a bit sanitized compared to how stylish things used to be in prior entries. This is most noticeable on the character select screen. I’ve noticed this even in Guilty Gear Strive compared to Xrd, but given how French Bread continues to push things forward in every way for Under Night, this felt a bit disappointing. If those don’t matter to you, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is basically everything you will have hoped for and more in a new entry for one of the best fighting game franchises.

On Steam Deck, the only issue I ran into with UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is the pre-rendered cut-scenes showing a color bar pattern. When forcing GE Proton 8-30, the video for the cut-scene worked, but audio didn’t play. Barring this, I’ve had no issues playing online and offline on Steam Deck on the default Proton. I even tested out matchmaking multiple times ranked and casual, and had no trouble. I also used my Hori Fighting Stick Alpha and Razer Kitsune wired on Steam Deck in the game to test. They both worked as they should.

Speaking of the online, the netcode is great, but what about matchmaking options? You can set it up so you can practice while matchmaking in training mode, matchmake for different ranks, not be matched with players who disconnect often, forbid or allow matchmaking with the same player, and more. All of this is very good and implemented perfectly.

UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is a sublime fighting game with robust online, fantastic music, and deep gameplay. I’ve not even scratched the surface with some characters after focusing on a few since launch, but I adore just about everything UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes has to offer. I hope it does well enough so we can get crossplay eventually. There are updates planned and early purchases get the season pass free, but a chronicles-like story mode later on would make this package even better than it already is. In its current state, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes is brilliant to play on Steam Deck, Switch, and PS5.

UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes Steam Deck PC review score: 4.5/5

Gunvolt Records Cychronicle Steam Deck Review

Inti Creates is a very interesting developer because I usually love most of its games like with Dragon Marked for Death, Gunvolt, Blaster Master, and the Bloodstained Curse of the Moon games, but there are a few I find lacking. One thing that’s consistently good is the music. That’s where Gunvolt Records Cychronicle comes into the picture. It is a confusing release in many ways though when it comes to the business model, but a competent rhythm game with some fantastic music. In this Gunvolt Records Cychronicle Steam Deck review, I’m going to cover the game itself, how it plays on Steam Deck, and what I’d like to see added in updates.

Gunvolt Records Cychronicle is a rhythm game that brings together 15 unique songs from the series by Lumen, Lola, and Luxia who are the muses in the games. Notes flow down from the top of the screen requiring you to time your inputs, hold based on the button prompts, and use the sticks timed correctly with the song. It includes multiple difficulty options and has either gameplay or music videos in the background behind the notes interface. This is all in the Concert mode which is basically the main mode of the game.

Barring Concert mode, you have a music player with access to all songs in the base game and whatever DLC you have purchased and a Movie Player that lets you watch the videos from the songs without any UI or sound effects interrupting the music. That’s basically all Gunvolt Records Cychronicle has to offer in terms of modes. It is surprisingly lacking on that front even compared to the Persona Dancing games. I expected some form of in-game currency you’d unlock to customize the muses’ look on the main menu or even some sort of leaderboards, but neither of those are in. The budget asking price makes this a bit less of a problem, but I’d honestly have preferred a more expensive release had it been meatier.

So Gunvolt Records Cychronicle is barebones in its modes, but how about the actual gameplay? That’s a mixed bag right now. The songs are great and the actual note maps are very good, but higher difficulties have slide notes that feel off in their implementation. This is because it is hard to judge the speed of movement with no proper visual indication like in other rhythm games. Barring this note type, I love the split lane gameplay in Gunvolt Records Cychronicle. In fact, not only does it play well on the Steam Deck with a controller, but the touchscreen is perfectly usable for the entire game. I’ve been playing it purely with touch on my Steam Deck OLED in the last few days as well.

Speaking of Steam Deck, Gunvolt Records Cychronicle has no problems running on it, and it even supports 120fps on PC. The in-game settings let you adjust frame rate target (60 or 120 depending on your display), toggle v-sync, and use a windowed resolution (576p to 1080p) or fullscreen. You can calibrate buttons, adjust the confirm/cancel button position, and rebind keyboard keys, but the game only seems to have Xbox button prompts on PC right now. I used my DualSense controller wired and wirelessly when using my Steam Deck OLED docked to play at 120fps on my monitor. I’m surprised Gunvolt Records Cychronicle isn’t Steam Deck Verified already. It likely will be soon.

Barring the modes and that one note type, my main issue with Gunvolt Records Cychronicle is the quality of videos behind the gameplay. I wish the team had used actual in-engine footage like we see in other rhythm games. That makes the game more demanding, but poor quality video playback is worse. It would be good if an optional high quality video DLC is added for those who want to play on the big screen. The video quality is just about acceptable on the handheld screen, but it doesn’t hold up when played on my monitor even running the game at a higher resolution.

If you’re completely new to the world of Gunvolt, I do not recommend getting Gunvolt Records Cychronicle despite the music being amazing. It is very much a celebration of the series’ music for fans of the series and not much else more. The low asking price makes it an easier pill to swallow though. Inti Creates gave me access to the DLC songs on Steam for the purposes of this review, and as a combined package with all DLC for about $35, it is a good package, but I’d have preferred a higher-priced release that did more for Gunvolt’s first full rhythm game release.

Gunvolt Records Cychronicle is a confusing release, but one elevated by its amazing music and solid gameplay. I wish it had more game modes and in-game content outside the core rhythm game though. On Steam Deck, Gunvolt Records Cychronicle looks and plays amazing even with touchscreen controls. I don’t see myself bothering with the game on Xbox or PS5 after how good it feels on Steam Deck out of the box.

Gunvolt Records Cychronicle Steam Deck PC review score: 3.5/5


This week, NIS America announced that Ys X: Nordics will be released in the West in Fall 2024 for PC, PS5, PS4, and Switch. This is a big deal because we’ve never had new Falcom games localized in about a year with the West having to wait a few years usually. Ys X: Nordics on PC will also be done by the amazing team at PH3 making it likely the best version to play across all platforms. I’m very excited to play this one when it launches later in the year.

After the good news, there’s a bit of slightly bad news. Earth Defense Force 6 from Sandlot and D3Publisher has been delayed to Summer 2024 from Spring 2024 for PS5, PS4, and Steam. This delay is to allow the team to add the final touches and preparations for the Western launch. Hopefully it has a good PC port when it arrives later in the year.

Cygames announced that Granblue Fantasy: Relink has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide across Steam, PS5, and PS4. Sales milestones aren’t really interesting to me usually, but in this case, we had Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth and Persona 3 Reload also release around this and do 1 million. If you haven’t gotten it yet, read my review of Granblue Fantasy: Relink on Steam Deck here.

A new rhythm platformer called Krimson with a metal soundtrack is due next month on Steam and consoles. It has a demo on steam right now, but the trailer already sold me on the game. While metal seems like a focus, the game will also have electronic, techno, dubstep, and more blended in. It releases on March 21st. Check out the demo here.

The final bit of news for this week is Monk arriving in DNF Duel. I still don’t have the Season Pass for the game, but will grab it once all the DLC is available.

New Steam Deck Verified & Playable games for the week

A few Verified games, but mostly Steam Deck Playable updates this week. Out of the ones included, I’m glad to see Helldivers 2 and Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden already officially marked as Playable. Hopefully both get Verified soon. Check out the list below:

  • Airhead – Verified
  • Atelier Resleriana: Forgotten Alchemy and the Polar Night Liberator – Playable
  • Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden – Playable
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor – Playable
  • Deponia: The Complete Journey
  • Dune: Imperium – Playable
  • Goat Simulator 3 – Verified
  • HELLDIVERS 2 – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Home Safety Hotline – Playable
  • Refind Self: The Personality Test Game – Playable
  • STAR WARS Knights of the Old Republic – Playable
  • Stellaris Nexus – Playable
  • The Elder Scrolls: Arena – Playable
  • UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes – Unsupported (It works fine based on my testing outside pre-rendered cut-scene)

Steam Deck Game Sales & Discounts

Steam has a Remote Play Together sale on until February 19th with amazing deals on co-op games that have online or local co-op support. A lot of local co-op games can be played with Remote Play Together, and I’ve done that myself on Steam Deck with friends abroad. Check out all the deals here. I recommend grabbing Divinity Original Sin 2, Ys VIII, and Ys IX from the sale.

Humble Bundle has a new Capcom Cup Fighters and Arcade Classics bundle available bringing great releases like Capcom Arcade Stadium, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, Street Fighter V – Champion Edition, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and one more game. This bundle also includes a 34% off coupon for our 2023 Steam Deck Game of the Year Street Fighter 6. Check out the bundle here.

That’s all for this week’s edition of the Steam Deck Weekly. As usual, you can read all our past and future Steam Deck coverage here. If you have any feedback for this feature or what else you’d like to see us do around the Steam Deck, let us know in the comments below. I hope you all have a great day, and thanks for reading.

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