The fighting game genre has been around since 1976, with the release of Heavyweight Champ in the Arcade. Today, you’ll find fighting games everywhere, from classic 2D games to modern-day 3D marvels. Today I will be counting down the Top 10 – Best Fighting Games of all time. My picks will include retro classics and recent titles that have earned their spot among the elite fighting games.
The list will mostly focus on traditional fighting, so that means no real-world sports like boxing, mixed martial arts, or wrestling. Now let’s get started on this jaw-breaking list. Remember, this is my opinion, and this is all for entertainment purposes. If you disagree with my list, please feel free to comment down below your Top 10.
Now, let’s get started!
10. Dragon Ball FighterZ
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Buy Now: PS4, NS, XBO, PC
When Dragon Ball FighterZ was announced, I was beyond excited although this title is one of the more recent games on my list, there’s no doubt that it deserves its placement, and I would not be surprised if others place this title higher on their list. There have been countless Dragon Ball fighting games throughout the years, but FighterZ is easily the best overall. Arc System Works made a fantastic fighting game that can stand on its own; they did an excellent job of emulating the feel of the anime and sticking close to the source material with its visuals.
09. CAPCOM VS. SNK 2: MARK OF THE MILLENNIUM 2001
Release Date: August 3, 2001
Buy Now: PlayStation Network (digital)
Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 is Capcom’s less-famous crossover, but its a title that celebrates fighting games and the genre itself. The game features a ratio system that lets you power up your favourite character, presenting a game with a tremendous degree of customization. The gameplay has six different “grooves,” each symbolizing an acronym either CAP (Capcom) or SNK (Shin Nihon Kikaku), essentially altering how you play. So if you want Samurai Shodown’s rage meter, you would go for K-Groove, but if you’re looking for custom combos like in Street Fighter Alpha, you will choose A-Groove.
If you haven’t played Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001, you should give it a try.
Samurai Shodown II was a sequel built independent of the first game, providing developer SNK more creative freedom to innovate and innovate they did. The game featured a more diverse move set consisting of the ability to break your opponent’s weapons, parry, and dodge roll. You can combine these abilities to create more unique strategies, players who are looking for an opening to disarm their enemy or deliver a fatal strike. After this title, SNK continues to put out fighting games, but none of them offered the same level as Samurai Shodown II.
Tekken 7 is the latest entry in the 3D fighting series and is also the best. Bandai Namco continues to refresh and enhance the franchise with a massive roster full of fan-favourite and new characters, an expanded Rage system and a more effective and impactful camera. Although Takken 7s story mode offered an odd conclusion of the old rivalry between Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima, the core gameplay still has incredible depth for loyal fans out there, featuring over 100 moves to learn and master for every single fighter.
06. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Release Date: February 24, 2000
Buy Now: PlayStation Network (digital), Xbox Live (digital), iOS
First, I want to introduce you or re-introduce you to the “I wanna take you for a ride” menu music, it brings that nostalgic feeling and brings me back. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was one of the most ambitious endeavours at putting superheroes and video game characters in one game. The game features 55 characters that were animated beautifully in 2D, and you could choose three at a time to pull off combos that full-up the entire screen; they are mind-bowing even today.
05. Mortal Kombat II
Release Date: April 3, 1993
Buy Now: n/a
The Mortal Kombat series has been notorious for its over-the-top violence and action, but the sequel, Mortal Kombat II, gave it the credibility as a respected fighting game. The sequel featured plenty of shocking moments and grisly fatalities, but it was all helped by the engaging combat mechanics. The game was also stuffed with secrets, including alternative fatalities such as friendship and babalities.
In many ways, Super Street Fighter II Turbo was a reference point for the fighting game genre. Capcom’s string of updates to its classic fighting game, they added new combo types and the introduction of a character you may know named Akuma. Even today, Super Street Fighter II Turbo is still played competitively at Evo, talk about legendary.
03. Soul Calibur
Release Date: July 30, 1998
Buy Now: Google Play, iOS (No longer available on both stores)
For many, when they think of Soul Calibur, they most likely think of the Dreamcast thanks to a steller launch port that bumped up the visuals of its arcade predecessor. Many fans enjoyed the features that came with the game, like the freedom to move in eight directions and the great combo system, and the diverse cast of memorable characters and weapon-focuses combat. Even today, Soul Calibur still feels fresh with its tight controls and bright visuals, making it one of the best Dreamcast games of all time, and one of the best fighting games.
02. Super Smash Bros. Melee
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Release Date: November 21, 2000
Buy Now: GameCube
Super Smash Bros. Melee is not like any fighting game on this list, and that’s what makes it so good. That and the game features a cast of some of the most notable video game characters of all time all mashed up into this phenomenal brawler. The game has proper controls, many options to customize your game and four-player fun. Melee still stands as the most popular, fastest and most mechanically polished entry in the franchise. Even today, many are still playing Malee in tournaments.
After the phenomenon that was Street Fighter II, Capcom had a lot of pressure on making sure the sequel was just as good or even better. So how do you improve on a behemoth like Street Fighter II? The game is very accessible to new and veteran players, as many characters don’t rely on long, complex combos (except for a few). You can parry attacks and enjoy the game without ever mastering charge buffering partitioning, red parries, super jump cancels, etc. Throw in some jaw-dropping sprite animations, a soundtrack that was influenced by a wealth of genres, and a cast of old and new favourites. Making Street Fighter III: Third Strike the best fighting game of all time.
Thank you so much for reading my Top 10 Fighting Games of all time. If you don’t agree with my list, please feel free to let me know your list down in the comment section below.