Fighting games are one of my favorite genres, to be honest. Even now, I still have fond memories of blistering my thumbs on Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition on the Sega Genesis trying to master the nuances of the hadoken and hurricane kick.
Suffice it to say, I“ve played many fighting games over the years, and with the recent announcement of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, what better time to reflect on what the best games in the genre are, right? So I present to you a list of some of my personal favorites and the best of the best that have defined and redefined the genre over the years.
10) JoJo“s Bizarre Adventure
An obscure fighter on the Playstation based on an obscure manga of the same name. The series focused on fighters with the ability to summon spiritual beings called â€œStandsâ€ that each boasted unique powers. The cool part about the game was that the fighter themselves could summon them whenever they pleased which and allowed you to control them separately - thus making standard one-on-one fights into two-on-two brawls. They also managed to emulate the art style of the manga as well with the same bright colors and strong angles. While they did make sequels, they sadly never made it to the States.
9) Soul Calibur V
After the debacle that was Soul Calibur IV (lightsabers have no place with samurai swords, dammit!), Soul Calibur V strove to rectify many of the past game“s mistakes. The first was having a guest character that actually fit by adding Ezio of Assassin“s Creed; the other was adding an almost completely new roster of characters, replacing the old cast with new generation of fighters from the past roster. This was a nice way of ushering in a new generation. Plus the character creator mode was possibly the most detailed and involved of the series.
8) Dead or Alive 4
Many other fighters like to take the slow and steady or normalized approach to gaming, taking basic or classy functionality over anything too wild. Then Dead or Alive 4 came along and said, â€œNo thanks, I“m gonna go have fights on friggin“ SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS.â€ Much of what makes Dead or Alive 4 so fun is the mix of different styles. The fighting system is both casual and easy to pick up and yet at the same time, extremely complex with its parry and block systems making it into a network of paper and rock and scissors. The cast is also a mix of cool design and just plain crazy (Zack, I“m looking at you!).
7) Mortal Kombat
Many people who played DC vs. Mortal Kombat said that it was a pleasant game, but it certainly didn“t have the spirit of Mortal Kombats of old (i.e. no blood, gore, and anything else that made it enjoyable). With the latest Mortal Kombat, it made a triumphant return to its former glory, bringing back classic characters and some new faces (like God of War“s Kratos and Freddy Kreuger) and introducing a new X-ray attacks which added some brutal equalizing super attacks.
6) Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Super Smash Bros. has more of a nostalgic place in my heart from my countless hours being played in college. The roster added a huge series of surprise additions with Solid Snake (!!!) and the blue blur Sonic the Hedgehog, Mr. Game and Watch, and Toon Link each with their own signature moves. The stages have some of the most epic transitions in the series (the Pokemon themed stages being some standouts). And with the addition of the stage designer you could really make some truly sadistic designs and traps.
5) Ulitimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
After what felt like a century since the last installment, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom came up with a pretty solid addition. The roster practically doubled from the original and added new tweaks, online match up options, and made a better improvement overall.
4) Street Figher x Tekken
When Street Fighter x Tekken was first announced, everyone had the same thought: how in the world is this going to work? The answer turned out to be "extremely well." Already starting up with a huge cast from the get-go, most of the fan favorites from both franchises came onto the scene. The tag-team function was a greatly balanced and fluid set-up. With the feature of the gem systems it added another sweet system of perks and power ups. Despite the DLC cast shenanigans Capcom is pulling, it doesn“t detract from the fact that the game itself is one of the most solid productions out this year.
3) Street Fighter Alpha 3
Of all the Street Fighter games in the series that didn“t have â€œvs.â€ in the title, Alpha 3 remains the perfect package to me. The customizing nature of the â€œ-ismâ€ system allowed for a huge variety of character builds, and the world tour mode gave you several perks and abilities to equip, and a surprisingly huge roster of characters (including the debut of Final Fight“s Guy and Cody – and my beloved rubenesque wrestler Rainbow Mika). What made this stand out so much were the various innovations that many modern-day fighters harken back to.
2) Guilty Gear XX
While classics like Street Fighter and King of Fighters made way with slight adjustments to the gameplay mechanics and sensibilities, the Guilty Gear series were all about two things: insane visuals and tight gameplay. When the sequel Guilty Gear XX came on the scene, it brought with it several new mechanics: incredibly detailed and high quality sprites with dynamic backgrounds that lived and breathed in their own world.
The game featured a fighting system that encouraged strong pressure-focused, combo heavy fighting styles, an actual working narrative with multiple endings, and a cast of fighters never seen before (where else can you have a cross-dressing nun fight a girl who uses her own hair as a weapon? Nowhere, that“s where).
1) Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend
Blazblue is for all intents and purposes the spiritual sequel to Guilty Gear for the latest generation of systems. All that made Guilty Gear great, Blazblue did and ratcheted it up ten notches. The cast was just as, if not more varied with unique fighters, like a puppeteer, a gunslinger, an amorphous blob of darkness, and even a boxer with a bushy squirrel tail.
The real improvements that make this a winner in my book were an even more intensive focus on story which involved an intricate plot and another addition that is not featured in more fighting games but should be – an honest to goodness character tutorial which actually teaches you how all the mechanics in the game works and has detailed tutorial systems for every character in the game to teach you how to use them.
What do you think of the list? Do you agree or disagree with any of the games and their rankings? Sound off below!