Wccftech’s Best Fighting Games of the Decade – Genre’s Golden Age
The last decade has been incredible for the fighting game community. After the launch of Street Fighter IV late in the last decade, the industry had been revitalized, and series such as Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, and many more have had a resurgence, in addition to many more brand new franchises.
The fact is that there is no single fighting game which defines the last decade, and people in the fighting game community will hotly debate which are the most worthy, but one thing we can all agree on is that the fighting game community is now stronger than it has ever been before, even in the glory days of arcades, and there has never been a better time to get into one of the most engaging game genres. Here is our list of the best fighting games of the decade. And no, they're not beat-'em-ups.
Ultra Street Fighter IV
Sure, Street Fighter IV launched over 10 years ago, but the definitive, Ultra version of the iconic fighting game was launched this decade, so it simply has to be included. This is still a firm favorite for many fighting games fans, has a huge roster, plenty of depth, and still looks amazing. Admittedly the game has its detractors, but this title is partially responsible for giving the entire genre a second wind, making it one of the most important games of all time.
Few people thought the revival of Tekken would be quite as impressive as it was. A hard, banging soundtrack, Unreal Engine 4, Akuma, and one of the most fluid movement systems in the genre all come together to create one of the most impactful fighters of the decade, and as of right now, it's arguably the most interesting game competitively, whether you're a participant or merely a spectator. If you haven't gotten into Tekken 7 yet, get started ASAP.
Anime-style fighting games are nothing new, but fans were understandably fevered when they saw that Dragon Ball was getting a brand new game made by the fighting game artisans from Arc System Works. Dragon Ball FighterZ has its own unique style and blends aspects from team games like Marvel VS Capcom and the visuals of Guilty Gear Xrd to create a fast-paced fighter with monstrous combos. Combine that amazing fighting game pedigree with one of the biggest anime franchises in the world, and this was always destined for greatness.
Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe didn't make sense. I mean, Marvel VS Capcom didn't make sense either, but one of those games had good execution, the other, not so much. But strip away the crossover nonsense, and you get Injustice, an intense DC superhero fighter that has the Joker literally shooting Batman in the head. And, in true NetherRealm style, the cinematic story mode is also fantastic.
This is one of the biggest fighting games of all time, in almost every way. The number of stages, the number of music tracks, the number of characters - if you listed all the content out on a piece of paper it'd look like the absurd ramblings of a madman or the summary of a fan-made Mugen game. But no, this is real, and yes, Smash Bros. is totally a fighting game - and of course, I'll fight you to prove it.
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 is the kind of game that fans get weak at the knees for. All of their favorite heroes and characters, a gorgeous art style, frantic combat - it has almost everything you could want, and we're all very thankful that it eventually got ported to modern consoles so we no longer have to pull out the PS3, with no way to buy the DLC characters. Unfortunately, Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite wasn't everything fans were hoping for, but hopes are still high that this series makes a triumphant return.
One of the best things to come from the fighting game resurgence was brand new indie developers throwing their hat into the ring, and Skullgirls is a prime example of why it's a good thing. Skullgirls has beautiful, fluid animation, imaginative character designs, and a fun story mode which eases you into the action. Whether you're an experienced fighting game player or a complete newbie, Skullgirls is a wonderful title to add to your collection.
King of Fighters XIII
For my money, King of Fighters XIII has some of the most beautiful and impressive sprite animations in any genre, ever. Combine that gorgeous, classic visual style with the fast-paced and complex combos and movements that King of Fighters is known for, and you have an instant recipe for success. This might be the last pixelated sprite fighter we ever see, at least with this level of detail, and is worth cherishing.
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat is a historic series that is loved by many, and when Mortal Kombat X landed, fans lost their minds. It truly felt like Netherrealm had outdone themselves, with a cinematic story to make other fighters weak at the knees, and gory kills which will prompt your mother to confiscate your Xbox. The recent stories of animators suffering from PTSD after working on Mortal Kombat definitely put a dampener on the violent aspect of the game, but this is still a beloved fighter.
Arc System Works are, as has been said, fighting game artisans, and when Guilty Gear Xrd landed on the market with its distinct 3D/2D anime art style, it made waves. This game is still one of the most visually impressive fighters on the market, even after Dragon Ball FighterZ, and it may only be usurped by the upcoming Guilty Gear 2020. Until then though, this is an essential if you love intense action and gorgeous visuals.
This is a list of just ten games, but there are dozens more worth mentioning. All of the above games are worth playing, but if you've already got them all in your collection, then maybe take a look at the games listed below…
- BlazBlue Central Fiction
- Fight of Gods
- Rivals of Aether
- Them's Fightin' Herds
- Street Fighter V
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
- Samurai Shodown (2019)