Whether you’re looking for a traditional one-on-one 2D fighter, an arena brawler, a platform/party game, or a frantic tag-team affair, the current fighting game genre is diverse and action-packed. Want something balanced and geared for competition? Have friends over and want to play something accessible and approachable? Do you have a nostalgic itch to scratch or want to connect with a popular character in a new way? Fighting games have all of these bases covered. You don’t need to be a skilled tournament player to enjoy the games on this list, but the option is certainly there if you’d like. Presented in no particular order is a list that will mold and change as new games release. Here are the top fighting games you should check out right now.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Few games have as impressive of a roster as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. What started as a series bringing together a handful of colorful Nintendo characters, like Mario, Pikachu, Ness, and Kirby, has transformed into a behemoth cast that includes iconic franchises owned by third-party developers and publishers. These outside additions range from Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud, Minecraft’s Steve, Banjo/Kazooie (originally a Nintendo property now owned by Microsoft), and fighting game faces like Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter. The unprecedented cast is now complete, with Kingdom Hearts’ Sora joining in mid-October, bringing the number of unique fighters to 82.
Everyone is here to brawl it out in a platform fighter for up to eight players simultaneously, with online and offline Smash modes filled with a plethora of memorable stages, music, and items that make matches even more exciting. Smash Bros. Ultimate is a joyous celebration of video games, and it’s hard to deny the magic of pitting Solid Snake up against Mega Man or Link versus Simon Belmont. This game is an exceptionally charming smile factory that’s as fun to play as it is to think about. | Our review
Soul Calibur VI
Soulcalibur has always had one big differentiator to other fighting games, and that’s its focus on weaponry. Each fighter wields their preferred armament in battle, which provides a suite of unique moves and strategies. Those swinging a massive blade, like Nightmare or Siegfried, have a far reach and hit exceptionally hard, while combatants wielding nimbler weapons like Taki or Raphael resort to quicker strikes and spry movement. Like its Bandai Namco developed counterpart, Tekken, Soulcalibur VI takes place on a 3D plane, allowing for sidesteps and even freely running around the battlefield.
Are you worried about being lost with Soulcalibur VI’s place in the series lore? That won’t be a problem with this entry, as it serves as both a reboot and sequel to the Soulcalibur franchise. Its Soul Chronicles mode lets players experience each character’s events throughout the history of the series, with updated events regarding the tale of this game. Soul Calibur VI certainly sets itself apart from everything else in the genre, but it’s easily one of the most fun games available now. | Our review
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is a gory yet beautiful conclusion to the story arc that began in 2011’s Mortal Kombat. Netherrealm Studios, also known for its Injustice series, sets a high bar for how a AAA fighting game looks and plays. MK11’s crowning achievement is a best-in-class story mode that not only tells a great tale, especially for longtime fans of the series, but is fun to play as well. The story revolves around Kronika, mother of the Elder Gods and keeper of time. She is taking drastic measures to fix an anomaly in the universe’s destiny set forth by the actions of Raiden years ago. The resulting battle between beloved Earthrealm warriors and the forces of Kronika is bombastic and cheesy in all of the best ways. Time travel and alternate timeline shenanigans ensue, leading up to a final battle to control all of time itself.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate brings everything from the base game and its expansion, Aftermath, into one package. That includes a roster of 37 Kombatants with series mainstays Sub Zero, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, and Shao Kahn, alongside a host of new characters and incredible guests the likes of The Terminator, Rambo, and The Joker. Each character comes with customizable moves and interchangeable costumes elements to further personalize your Kombatants of choice. Those who may be squeamish may want to skip this game, but fighting game fans, in general, should give MK11 a try if you can stomach intense violence. | Our review
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
It’s morphin’ time in this game based on the Power Rangers “Shattered Grid” comic storyline. Fight as or against the forces of an alternate universe threat known as Lord Drakkon (a version of Green/White Ranger Tommy Oliver who chose evil over good) and Rita Repulsa from taking over the Morphing Grid. Matches are fast-paced 3v3 tag clashes where you can perform devastating team attacks, combos, or even call in help from the massive Zords.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is the little fighting game that could. Releasing in early 2019, Battle for the Grid has received constant updates from developer nWay, with new roster additions, voice acting (some actors reprising roles from the show), and stages. As of now, the game features over 30 characters spanning the eras and interactions of Power Rangers. Even Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter have stepped up to become honorary Rangers. Out of almost any game on this list, Battle for the Grid shows how players can lead to a better game and encourage extended support. | Our review
What games on this list do you enjoy? What games would you add that aren’t listed? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out our list of lists, a hub of all of Game Informer’s recent genre lists, and more!
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