Fighting Games

Fighting games put emphasis on hand-to-hand combat between two or more characters.

  • Genre:Fighting
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Fighting games allow players to assume the role of skilled fighters and face opponents in dynamic hand-to-hand duels. The gameplay often emphasizes the execution of specific strategies to defeat an opponent. To win the match, players must continuously adapt their strategies to take advantage of their character's abilities while outmaneuvering their opponents. Fighting games are a vital branch of the gaming industry, as they have evolved from two-dimensional brawlers into complex 3D adventures. 

The history of fighting games

  • Early years. The first fighting games were produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with games such as Karate Champ and Yie Ar Kung-Fu. These early titles featured basic gameplay mechanics, such as blocking and punching, but lacked the variety of moves seen in modern fighting games. The beat'em up sub-genre was also born in this period with the release of Kung-Fu Master in 1984.
  • The golden age. The premiere of Street Fighter II in 1991 revolutionized the genre. Capcom's hit game featured a variety of colorful characters with unique special moves each. This allowed players to battle each other in intense 1v1 fights and spend long hours trying different warriors. Street Fighter II was so successful that it encouraged other studios to create similar games. As a result, such games as Mortal Kombat, Body Blows, Art of Fighting, and multiple other titles appeared soon after, making the fighting games genre flourish.
  • 3D era. The release of Tekken and Virtua Fighter in the mid-1990s marked the beginning of a new era. These games featured polygonal characters instead of the usual 2D sprites, allowing for more realistic movements and visuals. This change resulted in deeper combat systems with complex combo mechanics and brought forth even more competitors like Dead or Alive and Soul Calibur.
  • Modern games. The latest fighting games have evolved, blending elements from other genres and introducing more creative ways of playing. Games like Super Smash Bros., Power Stone, and Marvel vs. Capcom attract competitive gamers and casual players alike. Cinematic story modes and character development elements are the latest features and additions to the fighting game genre.

Key features of the genre

  • Skill-based gameplay. Fighting games require quick reflexes and a deep understanding of the game's mechanics. Combos, juggles, and other advanced techniques are essential for competitive play.
  • Character selection. Most modern fighting games offer a vast roster of diverse characters. Each warrior comes with their own fighting style and special moves.
  • Special moves. Those are devastating attacks that each character can use. These moves are often flashy and exciting, making them crucial to any successful strategy.

Types of fighting games

We can divide fighting games into several popular sub-genres. 

  • 1vs1 games. These are the traditional fighting games in which two characters compete against each other. Suitable examples are Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, and Mortal Kombat.
  • Tag team games. It's a type of fighting game where teams of two or more characters compete against each other. The most prominent examples are franchises such as Marvel vs. Capcom and The King of Fighters.
  • Beat 'em ups. This sub-genre, also known as a brawler, lets players explore broad levels and fight against multiple opponents at once instead of participating in versus matches. Prime examples are Double Dragon, Battletoads, and Final Fight. Even though brawlers are not as popular as they used to be, we still get new outstanding beat'em up games, such as Sifu and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge.
  • Martial arts simulators. Those games offer much more realistic combat without any unnatural elements or special moves like fireballs. International Karate Championship, Ninja, and Fight Night are good examples of this sub-genre.

The best fighting games

A list of outstanding fighting games is unbelievably long. However, we've tried to select some titles that are particularly worthy of your time.

  • Mortal Kombat 11. It's arguably the best installment in one of the most iconic fighting games franchises. The game offers an outstanding roster of well-known and new characters, polished gameplay, and a variety of game modes, including a cinematic story mode and an action-adventure-like Krypt. Besides bone-crashing hits, every MK11 warrior can perform awesome finishing moves, including fatalities, brutalities, and friendships.
  • Tekken 7. This is the latest installment in the long-running series of 3D fighting games. While its predecessors were quite good, Tekken 7 introduced some notable new features, such as Rage Arts and Power Crushes. It also boasts a wide selection of characters from different walks of life, with each fighter having unique special moves to master.
  • Street Fighter V.  This fighting game series is a classic. Street Fighter V lives up to its legacy with its improved graphics, refined mechanics, extensive training modes, and a roster of characters that span different martial arts styles. With its intuitive controls and smooth animation, Street Fighter V is sure to satisfy experienced players while still being accessible to novice fighters. It's also the first installment in the series to feature a story mode.
  • Soul Calibur 6. This soul-fighting series returns with its signature eight-way movement system and characters from a variety of eras. Soul Calibur 6 also introduces two new mechanics, Reversal Edge and Soul Charge. Interstingly, Soul Calibur 6 features a number of guest characters, including the protagonist of The Witcher franchise, Geralt.
  • Sifu. This beat 'em up title, released in 2022, allows players to play as a Kung Fu apprentice on the path of revenge. The game features a unique aging mechanic. With every defeat, the protagonist gets older. After each respawn, the character gains new skills but has less time to complete the story.