After a sad and unfortunate slump in the days of the PS2, the fighting game has come back in full force. EVO is bigger than ever, the fighting game community is incredibly strong, and new fighting games are coming out all the time. It feels like the old days of playing Street Fighter II in the arcades all over again. So let's take a look back at how we got here. Here are the ten best fighting games of this console generation.
Truth be told, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom barely made the list. It was released for the Wii, which wasn't the fighting game console of choice at the time, and it featured characters that frankly only the most hardcore anime fans knew about. But more importantly, it was the grand return of vs.-style fighting. It had been ten years since we were air comboing and calling in assists, and this game reminded us how fun wacky high-speed fighting could be. In fact, if it weren't for TvC, we may have never seen the release of one of our higher titles on the list. Sure, there were many other games with much larger fan bases, but the impact of TvC on the fighting game community cannot be ignored.
King of Fighters XIII may not be out on consoles yet, but it's been out for a while in the arcades. While we may not have access to all the swanky new console features and characters in the arcades, we did get to see the new graphics and fighting system, which fixed many of the problems that King of Fighters XII had. In fact, King of Fighters XII was so bad, King of Fighters XIII pretty much single-handedly revived the franchise. With that revival came an amazing amount of hype. When KoF XIII releases on consoles, you can be sure many hardcore fighting gamers will be onboard.
You just can't beat a classic. Street Fighter II Turbo is one of the most basic fighting games in existence, and all Capcom did was rerelease it with updated graphics and awesome OverClocked ReMix tunes. That's all we ever wanted. Sure, we didn't have air combos or tags or even a meter that gave us anything to do other than one Super, but we loved this game, and we learned the basics of "Wakeup, Shoryuken" all over again.
Oddly enough, the grand revival of the fighting game genre has actually seen a decline in the popularity of 3D fighters. However, Tekken 6 still hit hard, and the game is still featured at EVO to this day. Sure, it was basically just Tekken 5 all over again with tons of new characters and a rage mechanic for comebacks. But most of the time, that's just what fighting gamers want: an expanded roster and a few new mechanics. Either way, this game was a huge hit, and it probably won't die until we see Tekken Tag Tournament 2 hit arcades.
The first—and, at this point, the only—iteration of the SoulCalibur series to hit consoles this generation had a rabid fan base. Truth be told, SoulCalibur IV didn't have nearly as much staying power as Tekken 6 did, and it had its issues with balance, especially when you consider the Star Wars characters that were added in for pretty much no reason. Still, SoulCalibur fans are perhaps some of the most dedicated fans in gaming. The game has a battle system unlike any other, and since you can't really get your 3D weapon-based combat fix anywhere else, you kind of have to rely on NAMCO Bandai to keep providing you with a tale of souls and swords eternally retold. As long as we want to see knights with swords as big as their bodies facing off against scantily clad women wielding whips, this franchise will always make the list.