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The best fighting games to play in 2024

Fastest fingers at the ready, these are the top fighting games, from Street Fighter and Tekken, to Mortal Kombat and Super Smash Bros.

Best fighting games: Superman from Injustice 2 in front of a purple-pink Metropolis background

What are the best fighting games? The fighting game community is one of the most passionate and competitive in all of gaming, and the genre continues to grow in popularity and accessibility. There are few things in gaming that provide a high-intensity, one-on-one experience like a good fighting game, and today there are more choices for the best fighting games than ever before.

But while the field of fighting games is vast and only continues to expand, the whole genre still has a pretty small player base when compared to other competitive games. Still, some of the best fighting games are mammoths in their own right, and learning to master them is all part of the fun. Some of them even make up the best PS5 games and best Xbox games right now.

So what are the best fighting games? Well from heavy hitters like Street Fighter 6 to indie options like Skullgirls, fighting game fans are spoiled for choice. So get practicing your combos, because these are the best fighting games right now.

The best fighting games are:

Best fighting games: a masked character in Mortal Kombat 1

1. Mortal Kombat 1

Heading up our list is the excellent Mortal Kombat 1 – the newest game in our rundown. The brainchild of the meanest, bloodiest developer in the game – NetherRealm Studios – the Mortal Kombat series is not for the faint of heart.

In our Mortal Kombat 1 review we note that there’s a lot to love about the latest installment. “The fighting system might be the best it’s ever been,” we say, “Kameos are a fantastic addition to the game, it has a great cast that brings in well-known characters and some forgotten faces from the 3D games, the story mode is fantastic, it looks and sound incredible, and there are even a lot of great accessibility options, like a screen reader.”

Featuring spine-breaking, impaling, and decapitating finishers, MK1 will test both your fighting game skills and your constitution. With a vast roster of Mortal Kombat 1 characters to choose from, be sure to check out the Mortal Kombat 1 tier list for the top picks should you choose to test your mettle.

MK1 is available on all major platforms.

Best fighting games: Scorpion in Mortal Kombat 11

2. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

NetherRealm Studios’ previous iteration of the Mortal Kombat franchise is one of the most content-rich fighting games of the last five years. The Ultimate edition wraps all of its new characters and game modes in a single package to get new players right up to speed.

Inside, players will not only find a sprawling, 37-character roster full of Mortal Kombat classics and special guest characters like Robocop and The Joker but also a plethora of side content that leaps far past the competition.

Suppose you’re not interested in online competition – especially now much of it has moved to MK1. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate has an impressive eight-hour cinematic story mode, and a whole boatload of unlockables to customize your favorite character with before taking them into any of the game’s versus modes. Each of these makes this one of the best fighting games for hardcore fans and casuals alike.

MK11 is available on all major platforms.

Best fighting games: Joker from Persona 5 in Super Smash Bros

3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the best fighting games of all time and that’s because it features one hell of a character roster. With over 80 playable characters from Mario, Ness, and Kirby to leads from iconic series like Final Fantasy, Minecraft, and Street Fighter – there’s something for everyone in Ultimate.

Plus, with offline and online modes that can cater to up to eight people at once, Ultimate gives some of the other games on this list a run for their money. Smash is arguably one of the best games series of all time, at least for how it brings friends together and its stellar competitive scene.

As one of the best Switch games, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is only available on that platform.

Best fighting games: Tekken 7 battle

4. Tekken 7

If you’ve always been a Tekken fan, then naturally you’re going to gravitate towards Tekken 7. It’s still a 3D fighter, offering some of the best movement in the genre. If you’re looking for a fighting game that offers you more creativity in attack and defense, then Tekken 7 is for you.

Plus, with a grounding in martial arts, you can pick a character that fits your fight style – and what’s better than that?

While a lot of attention at the moment is focused on the upcoming Tekken 8 release date and the roster of Tekken 8 characters, Tekken 7 is still doing a stellar job at holding the fort before the next installment arrives.

Tekken 7 is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Best Fighting Games: Superman fighting Batman in Injustice 2

5. Injustice 2 Legendary Edition

Superheroes play a big part in current pop culture and entertainment, so it is no surprise that one of the best fighting games right now takes beloved superpowered characters and pits them against one another.

Developed by NetherRealm Studios, which already has a couple of places on this list with the Mortal Kombat games, Injustice 2 takes plenty of DC characters and lets them fight it out – MK-style – in a range of game modes, from the story mode to the Multiverse. The Multiverse features varying rounds of enemies to fight, with adjustments that can make each fight interesting.

Injustice 2 also features a Gear system, with each character having a range of interesting equipment that can offer simple bonuses to complete move changes. The Legendary Edition is the complete package of the game too, with all DLC characters, some premium skins, an increased character level cap, and more.

Injustice 2 is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Best fighting games: Introduction in Guilty Gear: Strive

6. Guilty Gear Strive

Strive is the second Guilty Gear game on this list and the newest in the franchise. Guilty Gear Strive maintains all of the style, creativity, and flair that the franchise is known for and sands down the edges to make for an experience that’s every bit as kinetic as previous games, but less demanding on the execution front.

But that’s not to say it’s simply iterative. Originally designed to be a franchise revamp, Strive has reimagined plenty of existing systems, while introducing a mechanic known as ‘Wall Break’ – this allows for stage transitions during arena edge combos. Strive is also another game on this list with an exemplary net code, so if you mess up, that’s on you.

Guilty Gear Strive is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

best-fighting-games: Skull Girls 2nd Encore gameplay

7. Skullgirls 2nd Encore

This indie fighting game has seen a miraculous resurgence. After eight years, it received its first season pass, adding four additional characters to its eight-character roster, breathing new life into the game in the process.

As a game, Skullgirls is an incredibly creative team fighter, not unlike Marvel Vs Capcom. While its roster is small, each character can provide a variety of different things to your team because, uniquely, Skullgirls allows you to use any attack in their move list as an assist. Alongside this, a solid tutorial and the ability to pick your team’s size make Skullgirls one of the easier team games to get into.

Best fighting games: Bardock the Saiyan warrior powering up in Dragon Ball FighterZ

8. Dragon Ball FighterZ

Although Dragon Ball FighterZ has been out for several years now, it remains one of the best fighting games, and arguably the best Dragon Ball game of all time.

Though FighterZ has a high skill ceiling, developer Arc System Works has worked to make it more approachable for new players since its 2018 launch. Even now, the game is receiving consistent updates, including balance parses and even new content – it’s been a hot minute since it last received a new character, though.

If big, flashy attacks involving giant lasers and the condensed spiritual energy of an entire populace sound appealing to you, then the frenetic FighterZ is a fighting game you should familiarize yourself with.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is available on all major platforms.

Best fighting games: a man in green shorts kicking another fighter in the head in UFC 5

9. UFC 5

Three years after the launch of UFC 4, EA Vancouver is back at it again in this new current-gen exclusive. UFC 5 takes a conservative approach to its improvements over its predecessor, representing a generational step rather than a leap.

While this has gone down fairly poorly with parts of the community, UFC 5 retains a very respectable ‘Generally Favorable’ score on Metacritic, though even the critics have noted that more could’ve been done to bring the MMA fighter into the current generation.

Regardless, there are improvements across the board, including better graphics, a much better damage system, and health-based events that can cause your fighter to struggle more than before should they take too much damage. Indeed, you’ll now have to tweak your game plan on the fly, especially if you break a rib or two.

UFC 5 is available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Best fighting games: Characters from DNF Duel in defferent poses in front of a red background

10. DNF Duel

A spin-off from the popular Dungeon & Fighter series, DNF Duel offers an exhilarating fighting game that has simple-to-learn, hard-to-master combos and is created by the developer behind Guilty Gear Strive.

Unfortunately, most of the fighting community has left DNF Duel behind, so it isn’t great for online matches. However, for those looking for an exciting first fighting game that feels different from franchises like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, it’s a great option.

The visuals are extremely stylish, each of the characters feel incredibly powerful to use, and the added MP bar for certain abilities (or skills) adds another layer of depth to an adrenaline-pumping title worth playing.

Unfortunately for Xbox players, this game is exclusive to PS4, PS5, and PC.

11. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite

Despite a rocky launch and some disappointed players, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is still an excellent arcade-style fighting game that boasts an impressive roster of iconic characters, as well as an enjoyable story featuring plenty of action-packed narrative beats and other modes such as arcade, missions, and the standard versus modes you’ve come to expect.

Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite also introduces the Infinity Stones mechanic, with each stone granting specific abilities that can strengthen you or hinder your opponent, requiring you to use each stone at the right time for a powerful Infinity Surge. However, your enemy can also use these stones too.

If you’re looking for a superhero fighting game, as well as one with some iconic Capcom stars, then Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is a great option for you. You can also find it pretty cheap nowadays due to how long it has been since it was released.

Best fighting games: Street Fighter 6

12. Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6 has seen a major return to form for developer Capcom. The legendary fighting game series’ latest installment features a refreshed art style, a brand new Drive fighting system, and, as we note in our Street Fighter 6 review, a “revolutionary” approach to the traditional fighting game story mode.

With 18 unique Street Fighter 6 characters to choose from, mixing faces old and new, there’s sure to be a fighter for you. And if there isn’t… then just make one using its fantastic suite of customization tools.

That completes our list of the best fighting games right now. If you’re looking for something different to play, you can find our lists of the best PS5 RPG games or the best Xbox RPG games and find something new to play. Have fun!