Some of the earliest games ever put in arcades were the blood-soaked fighting games of 2D 1v1 fighting games. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Heavyweight Champ go back to the mid-1970s to ’80s when video games were barely learning to walk. The simple fact is that people and players love to fight each other.
However, games have come a long way from the early days of 2D 8-bit graphics and coin-operated fighting rounds. So pull up a chair and come see where the fighting genre has gotten to over the decades of slugging one out in polygons and epic x-ray graphics in the top 5 fighting games of the modern day!
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
While most fighting games go over the top with violence and bloodshed, Nintendo decided to go in their classic cartoonish brawl way with Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, this crossover fighter is over 20 years of fighting games combined into a single package.
The game is simple: Choose a character from various classic video games, and choose an ultra classic location from the Nintendo universe – DK Jungle, Mario’s Castle, Animal Crossing Village etc. – and have it with friends. The game utilizes items and attacks from all over the Nintendo IP to give a damage percentage to players. The higher the percentage, the more likely it is to knock the player off the map scoring the fighter points or subtracting lives.
This game is most players’ first experience with any kind of fighting game and is family-friendly enough for everyone to play without worrying about some of the finishing moves with other entries on this list.
If Super Smash Bros is the friendly uncle at the family BBQ, then Tekken 7 is that one cousin that just got back from a year abroad. It’s amazing to hear their stories but it will take some open minds and out-of-the-box thinking. Tekken as a series is known for its brutally steep learning curve but amazing combos once players learn the technical aspects.
There’s a lot to say about Tekken 7 but what’s important is this fighting game is done in 3D. No, it’s not just the graphics that are in 3D but the gameplay too. This opens so much to players for new attacks and tactics to pair with the technical aspects of this game. One truly amazing aspect of this game that gives it a spot on this is list that, even though the game is extremely technical, if a player can mash buttons, then they can pick up a controller and still play the amazingness that is Tekken 7.
Street Fighter 6
The newest entry to the oldest fighting game series comes with something a little different. It has easily the best graphics and smoothest moves of the series in Street Fighter 6. However, it’s important to start at the beginning of this story. Street Fighter first hit arcades in 1987 and was a quick success. However, it wasn’t without its challenges.
The Western world and mainly Western parents wouldn’t stand for such heightened levels of violence and blood in a game that kids could play. It seems silly by today’s standards of violence and blood. Despite all odds, this series managed to capture the hearts and minds of well, everyone.
The latest entry in the series has a number of changes. Just about everything that made Street Fighter 5 a bit weak is what Street Fighter 6 aims for and successfully improves on. The art style, character list, venues, and new power system are basically guaranteed to make this version a classic knockout in no time.
Guilty Gear: Strive
Guilty Gear: Strive isn’t a fighting series or game well known to most gamers in the Western world. It was developed by the Japanese team Arc System Works and mainly released in Japan in 2021. It eventually made its way over to the Western markets but is currently slept on. This game combines an incredible anime art style with a technically complex fighting and attack system. Granted the system would make any serious gamer sweat.
The story is built around a 5ish hour anime series with fighting in between episodes. The animations are some of the best the fighting game ecosystem has seen in a very long time. Players can even throw opponents into a different venue for their battle with ease.
Mortal Kombat 1
The Mortal Kombat series is the grandfather of all modern fighting games. Ignoring the fact that the first Street Fighter came out before the first Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat 1 is the newest and most likely greatest Mortal Kombat to ever come out by Netherrealm Studios. Every system is built up bigger and better.
Don’t worry, the gore, spine-ripping, and head-punting gory action is not lost on this entry to the series. It’s done beautifully, in a classic art style with the power of next-gen graphics. The story is completely rewritten with the newly minted fire-god Liu Kang turning forward the clock a few thousand years. The Mortal Kombat tournament is less about realm invasions and more about celebrating democratic processes and the love of fighting. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any shadowing forces at work but no spoilers.