Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] is the fighting game you should show to someone who has never played a fighting game before, but wants to learn.
There are a few names that always come up when you mention great tutorials in fighting games. Skullgirls, Dead or Alive 5, Virtua Fighter 4 EVO, and Guilty Gear Xrd are regularly praised for having comprehensive tutorials that teach you the basics of fighting games and deeply analyze their own unique mechanics.
Well, add UNIST to that list!
While the game does have some very unique mechanics that will take time to internalize, the tutorial doesn’t throw all of that at you at once. It teaches you things as simple as “how to properly do a QCF motion” to things as advanced as empty jump lows and what okizeme is. I was blown away when I saw how deep into fighting game theory it gets.
There are some occasional moments of strange grammar like blockstun being called “guard stun” and calling whiff punishing “attacking whiffs”, but this tutorial is superb at teaching the fundamentals of 2D fighting games.
There’s also the mission mode, which has a long list of combos for your character and general strategy on how to play them. They even highlight the character’s best block strings and anti-air moves.
For the actual gameplay, I found some early success in just using 2D fighting game basics. The Passing Link system means basically any character can combo A > B > C to a special move, and I picked up basic combos with Eltnum fairly quickly.
The biggest learning curve will be from mastering the game’s systems. The GRD system buffs the leading player (whoever is blocking successfully and landing more hits) every few seconds. I found it difficult to keep track of who was winning the GRD war while also taking advantage the buffs when I won it, as it gives you access to several new options. The tutorial mode is a great help here, as I consistently referred to it to remember how the game’s meters worked.
Also, every character has a Vorpal Trait that is unexplained. Eltnum’s allows her to cancel A normals on whiff and backdash cancel anything she could special cancel.
There are also Force Functions that take a block of your GRD meter. I assume these are good because of how useful GRD is, but the game doesn’t explain what this attack does for each character. Vorpal Traits and Force Functions are not really explained well, which is the only negative point I have against the extremely comprehensive tutorial.
UNIST is an easier to digest anime game than others. The air movement is very limited for most characters, so there’s little worrying about instant airdashing, airdash cross-ups, and building the muscle memory for really, really long air combos.
When playing, I felt like a lot of fighting game fundamentals carried over for me and I could focus more on learning the system mechanics because I wasn’t getting double perfected every game. And even if you’re new, the tutorial will teach you more than enough to get started. Combos are simple enough to understand with the Passing Link chain system, but there are definitely some difficult, advanced combos that are fun and rewarding to grind out.
If you have even a passing interest in anime games, this is definitely one to pick up. And if you’re not personally interested in Under Night In-Birth but want to learn the basics of fighting games, this is one you must not skip. The tutorial alone won’t make you stop sucking at fighting games, but it’ll help you see the path to being kinda good, eventually.