Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Without much variety in game modes, some players might hesitate to deem Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 one of the best fighting games of all time. What the game didn’t provide in game modes, however, it compensated for in a diverse yet balanced roster, solid combat mechanics, and simplified gameplay that allowed the title to be more welcoming to newcomers. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 also shined by making key upgrades to its predecessor Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds with gameplay tweaks that seemed to speak to the title’s hardcore fans.
Many members of the fighting game community still hail SoulCalibur II as one of the best 3D fighters of its time and perhaps one of the best ones yet. Its large cast of characters was incredibly balanced and the toe-to-toe weapon-driven combat system was the best of its kind. Both single player and multiplayer modes provided deep gameplay that carry on and refine the groundbreaking achievements that were introduced in the first SoulCalibur game. In addition to featuring great mechanics, SoulCalibur II was another visual success for the series with smooth animations, great character design, and a variety of detailed stages.
Super Smash Bros.
Whether you play Super Smash Bros. on Wii U or 3DS, you have subjected yourself to one of the best fighting game experiences created in 2014. Super Smash Bros. is a wonderful example of delightful chaos against vivid, dangerous backgrounds that are just as much a part of your battle as your numerous opponents. Ever since Super Smash Bros. first introduced gamers to a Nintendo all-star brawl on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, it was clear the title would be a hit. Super Smash Bros. not only retains the authenticity and feel-good familiarity that keeps players coming back, but it also provides a ton of additional content and deepens combat with the ability to equip characters with stat boosters.
While the eight player game mode can sometimes err on the side of too chaotic, even in those moments the game feels unapologetically in tune with the entire Super Smash Bros. series in a way that feels welcoming to casual gamers and can still present challenges for the pros.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
Talk about a classic game of convoluted fun! Guilty Gear is a series that most members of the fighting game community either really love or really hate as it tends to break a few of the more traditional parameters we’ve seen set for the genre. While most fighting games follow a particular blueprint at their very core, Guilty Gear has strayed away from the idea that a fighting game should just be about mastering a few moves and combos, reading your opponent and capitalizing on their mistakes. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is an incredibly fast paced 2D fighter with well thought out mechanics and an outstanding cast of characters.
While Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is often criticized for not feeling significantly different than its predecessors, it still did make slight improvements to the combat system that made it feel like a far more refined experience even if it didn’t necessarily feel like a whole new game. With all the barrier blocking, special character specific meters, air-dashes and even insta-kills, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus presents fans of the series with a great toolbox for destroying their opponent and simply allows the good times to ensue from there.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
With the incredible amount of excitement building in the fighting game community over the anticipated 2017 release of Injustice 2, it’s no surprise that the Warner Bros. brawler remains extremely popular to this day. The 2013 release brought the best fighters the DC universe had to offer and pitched them against each other in a display of quirky, unique moves, dramatic ultimates, and interactive stages. During a time when nearly every new fighter was a modern clone of the likes of Street Fighter or a less gore-filled Mortal Kombat, Injustice was a refreshing fighter that made its own rules and truly allowed gamers to feel like they were engaged in a brutal battle between god-like titans.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
If there is absolutely nothing else to appreciate about BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, you can at least praise the game for being a button masher’s worst nightmare. Most fighting games work best for technical players who truly understand mechanics but don’t necessarily hold victory out of reach for gamers who are just randomly hitting buttons and hoping for the best. BlazBlue tends to be more difficult to pick up even just for the purpose of casual play. To really take down other players or even dominate AI, it’s mandatory for players to get a handle of performing rapid cancels and perfectly timed counters.
There’s a bit of a learning curve for the average player but the game is technically solid and has an art style that stands out among most other popular fighting games. The game also offers a great collection of content to unlock and a variety of story paths that make the entire experience incredibly enjoyable.
Power Stone 2
Power Stone 2 is one that truly and sincerely feels like no other fighting game out there. This fighter removes counters and blocking but in a world this downright insane, there is no time for that anyway. Instead of encouraging reading your opponent in order to time a perfect counter, Power Stone 2 encourages a more evasive style of play where gamers utilize whatever cover they can find on the current map while they exploit any openings to attack. Its unconventional approach makes it a little more difficult to seriously place in a competitive circuit, but for casual gamers it’s seriously just a ton of fun and a truly unique fighter.
Virtua Fighter IV
From a historical standpoint it’s only right to mention that the original Virtual Fighter was the world’s first polygon-based fighting game in arcades and the game only continued to be a timeless fighting genre staple as it made its move to console. What made Virtua Fighter IV just downright magnificent was the fact that it felt like Sega AM2 literally sat down and focused on highlighting the best features of all of the previous Virtua Fighter games while also hacking away at the flaws that came in the series’ early days.
Major adjustments included a tweak to the game’s physics that made aerial attacks feel incredibly realistic, more free roaming of the arenas and less of the frustrating battles of evasion that had gamers feeling a little irritated with Virtua Fighter III. On many levels, Virtual Fighter IV was proof that developers were paying attention and understood the importance of creating mechanics that encouraged high pressure and straightforward toe-to-toe combat.
Capcom vs. SNK 2
The fighting game community has seen countless crossover games that relied on nothing more than the pure thrill of seeing characters from two different worlds colliding. Often, crossovers see overall gameplay suffer and hope that just by having two sets of characters existing in the same game, the title will be a huge hit. That’s not the case for Capcom vs. SNK 2. Despite boasting a large roster of 48 characters, the game still maintains a wonderful balance. It also creates a true harmony in its combination of different styles of gameplay into one cohesive experience—a challenge that most crossover fighting games fail to overcome.
For many gamers, Tekken 3 served as their entry point for the now iconic fighting game series. The series’ third installment had perhaps one of the greatest jumps in improvements when compared to the game that came before it. Both the graphics and animations received major upgrades for Tekken 3 and even gameplay changes seemed to shake things up a bit. Tekken 3 placed a major emphasis on the third axis that allowed for sidestepping and helped pioneer a new era for character movements in the fighting game genre.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is often praised for being one of the most inclusive crossover fighting games of its time. With more than 50 playable characters, it’s hard to argue against that. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 truly elevates Capcom’s tag-team concept by allowing for tag ins during battle, which offered a variety of perks like regaining health or performing a powerful combo. That added some truly game-changing depth to the player’s experience and forced players to be particularly strategic when building their teams. In addition to the diverse cast of characters and improved gameplay experience, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 also gave players stunning 3D backdrops and a widely praised jazz-like musical score.
If you’ve ever cornered someone in Mortal Kombat and unleashed a brutal string of combos that nearly prevented your opponent’s feet from ever touching the ground, you have Killer Instinct to thank for that. Rare’s classic fighter title was a pioneer of the unforgiving combo system that lets gamers string together attacks in a way that drastically reduces their opponent’s chances of making a comeback so long as the player can continue timing their combos accurately. Another major selling point of the arcade-turned-SNES title was the unique cast of characters it introduced that kept gameplay rather dynamic and interesting.
King of Fighters XIII
King of Fighters has developed a cult-like following of its own with every addition to the series, but King of Fighters XIII seemed to be a particularly successful title for the SNK Playmore creation. The game nabbed awards that deemed the title the best fighting game of the year and another praised it as the most improved sequel of the year. It received several more nominations for other gaming awards but perhaps even more important is the sheer draw of attention it demanded. King of Fighters XIII became the second most watched game of the Evolution Championship Series in 2012 after pulling in a whopping 90,000 consecutive viewers. It was a graphically stunning game with great downloadable content and a learning curve that appealed to serious fighting game players.
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II was nothing less than an iconic achievement for fighting games and a historical release for the genre back in 1993. The first Mortal Kombat introduced gamers to a fighting game that refused to dial back the gore and embraced the kind of violence that could only exist in a video game. Its successor, however, seemed to perfect the game’s formula by adding even more fatalities, new combat moves, and allowing for some pretty sick combos. This is also the game that introduced us to characters who are now staples to the franchise such as Baraka and Shao Kahn.
Street Fighter II Turbo
From its wide character roster to balanced gameplay, Street Fighter II is a game that requires a lot of praise. Street Fighter II is the pioneer for the fighting game meta and created a blueprint that is still followed to this day. When Street Fighter II Turbo was released in 1992, Capcom further refined what would soon be an iconic fighting experience. Street Fighter II Turbo helped champion complex, revolutionary mechanics while also offering a variety of different fighting styles across a fantastic roster of playable characters.
This also marked one of the first time it was absolutely mandatory for fighting game players to truly understand every character in the game along with their combos, strengths, and weaknesses. During this time, mind games became just as crucial to securing victory in the competitive fighting game community and no game seemed to utilize that better than Street Fighter II Turbo.