Fighting games are one of my favorite types of games and are also one of the types of games that got me into gaming in the first place as I have strong memories of playing “Virtua Fighter,” “Street Fighter,” “Soul Edge,” the “Tekken” series, “Primal Rage” and others in arcades and game systems growing up. Whether it was the arcade mode against the A.I. or versus a friend I have so many fond memories from these types of games. The series I’ll be listing here are games that I love for the worlds, story and gameplay that made them standout and that I still enjoy playing to this day.
In my reviews I’ll be listing my favorite characters to play as after the initial review as well as any games in the series I’ve reviewed if I have reviewed any of the games from the series on the blog and I’m curious to hear about your favorite fighting games and the characters you enjoy playing most in them.
Honorable mentions go to “Virtua Fighter,” “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat” and “Primal Rage.”
So without Further ado, here they are.:
5th) Soul Calibur Series
“Soul Calibur” has a compelling premise in a sword that devours and corrupts souls in Soul Edge and that can only be destroyed by it’s opposite Soul Calibur. Whenever the evil in the sword awakens, heroes from around the world seek the sword to stop it or use it’s power. The weapons based combat is so much fun and the character designs and weapons are cool. Most characters have compelling backstories too in their desire to corrupt the world or to redeem themselves or the world from Soul Edge. I first played “Soul Edge” in 5th grade at a small arcade and that was when I first was drawn into the series. What keeps me from rating it higher is they chose to soft reboot the story rather than advance it and there is only ever the same boss at the end. Inferno, the soul of Soul Edge is always there so there is nothing unexpected so as interesting as the main story is it gets predictable by not changing things. Still a favorite series though and I can’t wait to see what new stories are told with the characters.
Favorite Characters: Cervantes de Leon, Sophitia, Seong Mi-Na, Geralt and Voldo.
4th) Guilty Gear Series
“Guilty Gear” is a fun universe full of assassins, religious organizations, pirates, mad scientists, Gears and more. In this universe in the 22nd century humanity invented a limitless energy and called it “magic,” which lead to technology being outlawed but Gears (human and animal DNA combined with magic) who were enslaved and rebelled. After Justice, the Gear leader was imprisoned world leaders called a fighting tournament to select the winners to be part of an order to contain and stop the threat of the Gear leader Justice. From this base and history the game is built upon and it fantastic. The gameplay is the most difficult I’ve played out of any fighting game with some moves that can end a match in an instant and the gameplay depends on quick combos. I first played one of the games in the series in college and have returned back to the series since then. The world and gameplay make it work as does the great character design and music. The series isn’t easy to enter into though due to the complicated gameplay and lore which is why it isn’t higher on the list.
Favorite Characters: Sol Badguy, Zato-ONE and Venom.
3rd) Tekken Series
“Tekken 3” was the first of this series I ever played when my parents rented a Playstation from Blockbuster. I fell in love with the world and conflict and the Mishima family drama as Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin battle of the Mishima Zaibatsu and their family legacy. The story advances when a Mishima calls a King of the Iron Fist Tournament with reward being money or the fight for control of the company. Though for many the draw is revenge against Heihachi, Kazuya or Jin for the people they or their organization has killed in their fight for power and control. The mythology of this game series is great too with the Devil Gene being prominent (certain characters have a devil form because of the gene) and supernatural beings like Ogre, Angel and Azazel as a few examples who heroes face off against and who reveal aspects of the Mishimas to each other or the world. I’ve played all games in the series but the first 2 and I can’t wait to see where the story goes and what other new characters are introduced. The game can be difficult, which is a plus and the final boss varies throughout the games with never the same last boss twice in a row. Only reason the game isn’t higher is sometimes the tone can be too silly with side characters and they added a “Street Fighter” character to the lore in the 7th game rather than making an original character.
Favorite Characters: Marshall Law, Hwoarang, True Ogre, Lee Chaolan and Kazuya.
2nd) Injustice Series
The “Injustice” series is some of the best writing and story I’ve seen come out of DC and fighting games. This game series gives us a universe where Superman went fascist and establishes a regime to end all crime on Earth. It is compellingly executed and Superman is a great threat through both games as he never stops being a fascist villain so other characters like Batman and is insurgency have to face that. The game also gives us redemption arcs too for both villains and heroes who gone bad and joined Superman. The first games does all this in the context of a multiverse where heroes from our Justice League help the insurgency fight Superman and his allies but the 2nd game is all in the Injustice Universe and stronger for it as it gives a threat that forces insurgency and regime forces to work together to stop. I can’t wait to see where character stories go and what new characters from the DC Injustice Universe we meet. Both games are great which is a rare feet for any beginning series, especially a fighting game series where often more effort is put into gameplay rather than narrative. For game modes the 2nd game added gear and leveling as well as multiverse challenges which only made this great game better. A lot of voice actors from Bruce Timm’s “Justice League” voice their counterparts too as do a few voice actors from the animated “Teen Titans” show too. So much work clearly went into this game. These games are both favorites and I can’t wait to see what stories are told next.
Favorite Characters: Batgirl, Zod, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Blue Beetle and The Flash.
1st) Super Smash Bros. Series
It is hard to compete with “Super Smash Bros.” This is a series I first played in Elementary School on the Nintendo 64 and that basic gameplay that worked than has remained strong through all the games in the series. There isn’t really a story but there are fun puzzles and missions in some later games for characters and the constant adding of new characters keeps the series fresh, as well as all the new maps. Besides “Mario Kart” this is the best multiplayer party game to play with friends and that is what makes it number 1. It is easy to pick up and play, the characters are known from their own series and there are so many ways to keep the gameplay interesting with limiting or controlling what specials are dropped. This is easily the best fighting game series I’ve played and it remains timeless to this day giving us so many of the worlds and characters from Nintendo games in the funnest of brawls.
Favorite Characters: Kirby, Link, Meta Knight and King Dedede.