Fighting games are a classic staple of gaming. Series like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter have been around for decades, influencing the way we play games today and giving us some of our most memorable moments. And yet, even with these titans of the genre, there is always room for a brave new fighter to appear on the scene. So, which fighting games were our favorites this year?
5. AEW: Fight Forever
Although wrestling is fake and therefore the fighting you participate in is not as gory as, say, Mortal Kombat, every game is fake and so we should throw that argument out the window this time. AEW: Fight Forever gave us a nostalgic hit of the cartoonish wrestling games of yesteryear, and also gave us some wild and crazy match-ups that brilliantly encapsulate the ridiculous nature of wrestling. It may not be as tight as the WWE 2K series has been lately, but it’s certainly a strong first step.
4. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2
When MultiVersus was decommissioned earlier this year, there was room for a new platform fighter to enter the mix, and Nickelodeon answered our calls with its second All-Star Brawl. Giving us lots of fun characters, skills that make each match as fun as the last, and more, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 satisfied that hunger for some Looney Tunes-style action, while also finally allowing us to answer the question of who would win in a battle between Octo and Garfield.
3. Bravery in pockets
From fighters with the casual fan at the forefront of their minds to those who hold the high-level game close to their hearts, Pocket Bravery is a nostalgic fighter with visuals that look like they jumped straight out of an arcade machine. Even though it may be easy to pick up, this fighter is hard to master and if you want to perform the sickest combos, you will have to put in hours. Pocket Bravery may have remained a bit under the radar with this year’s monstrous other fighting game releases, but it’s a seriously polished fighter for those with a deep connection to the genre.
2. Mortal Kombat 1
Time for the big boys. Mortal Kombat 1 was only officially revealed this year, but fans had been speculating about it for a while. A largely rebooted universe, new Kameo fighters and more made this fighter feel like a real breath of fresh air for the franchise. As always, we got a cinematic story that was as bombastic as any Fast and Furious movie, and plenty of Fatalities that made us shudder in our gaming chairs, but even if Mortal Kombat 1 added a lot of ingredients, not all of them worked, and the hotpot it created was a bit messy at times, with things like invasions not really landing as well as they could have done. There’s also the controversy NetherRealm ended up in with the rampant revenue players experienced. Overall, though, the tight and innovative combat in Mortal Kombat 1 helps it stand out as a major player in this year’s fighting game selection.
1. Street Fighter 6
Even as an avid Mortal Kombat fan, I can’t really claim it was the best fighting game of this year. Street Fighter 6 takes that crown, as Capcom has had a great year with its main franchises. Tight, fluid gameplay, great visuals and the ability to create any monstrosity you want in the character creator make Street Fighter 6 the fighting game of 2023. It is effortlessly fun to play and puts a lot of pressure on the upcoming Tekken 8 to see if it can live up to the king of fighters (no, not that one).
Do you agree with our picks? Which fighting game was your favorite of 2023? Let us know!