The 23 Best Fighting Games on Steam
Fighting games come in all colors and themes, from honorable duels between street-fighting characters to team battles in a crossover title for the fate of the Earth.
With so many well-established titles and studios, it can be hard to choose a single game to try out. Whether you’re looking for a competitive experience or some casual fun, you’ve come to the right place.
Find the perfect game to suit your needs in our list of the 23 best fighting games on Steam.
Street Fighter V
This is a game with an interesting history behind it. It had a problematic beginning, and it was once the most hated Street Fighter game ever made. In the end, Street Fighter V became one of the best games in the franchise. Unfortunately, it was never able to shake off the bad impression it first caused.
Even though players hated it at first, the team behind Street Fighter V had nothing but love for the game. It took them a while and three years of work, but they were eventually able to deliver a majestic fighting game.
Street Fighter V became one of the most fun and balanced fighting games out there. It now has 46 characters in total, and the game introduced new mechanics, free updates, and many patches that made it so much better than it once was. Frankly, it is amazing to see all that the team has accomplished once they were allowed to work on the game the way they wanted.
Not only that, the developers were able to bring fan-favorite characters back with exciting twists. For instance, we have Cody as a Mayor, Bison with a completely new move set, and Akira from Rival Schools.
People still attribute bad things to Street Fighter V, but most of them, if not all, are long fixed or changed. If you avoided this game in the past, make sure to try it out now. It’s so much better right now, and it is very good.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that DNF Duel is such a good game. The Fighting Game Community quickly got behind it even though most fighting games players weren’t even aware of Dungeon Fighter Online. DNF received positive impressions and made so many gamers grateful for having a new, fun fighting game.
Several elements contributed to DNF Duel’s success. The game can sometimes feel a little chaotic, but that’s because it is. Characters have full-screen moves and specials that feel overwhelming to deal with but are impressively fun to use.
Despite criticisms about the game’s balance, the developers kept their vision for it, and it seems to have been the right choice. DNF Duel might not be the best fighting game for E-Sports, but it is one of the most ridiculously entertaining games I’ve ever played.
If you like over-the-top games that make you feel super powerful, chances are you will fall in love with DNF Duel. However, be ready to have the same kind of oppressive power used against you. For instance, Ranger might shoot from across the screen, and then that hit will turn into a long combo. There is also a good chance that Grappler will take half your HP away after landing a jab. This is that kind of game.
DNF Duel’s unmatched netcode, which appears to be on par with or perhaps better than Guilty Gear Strive’s, is another plus. It is clear that Eighting and Arc System Works put a lot of effort into DNF Duel, which is why it’s by far one of the best fighting games on steam.
Guilty Gear Strive
This game was heavily criticized for simplifying the mechanics of the Guilty Gear franchise. However, besides all criticism and adverse reactions from hardcore fans, no other game of this franchise has been more successful than this one.
Guilty Gear Strive is a graphical masterpiece developed by Arc System Works and envisioned by Daisuke Ishiwatari. Honestly, I never get tired of looking at this game’s animations. From overdrives to regular attacks, there is a fluidity and a high fidelity in this game’s models that make Guilty Gear Strive look just like an anime scene when you pause the game.
The game is just as heavy metal as Guilty Gear has ever been. The soundtrack is outstanding, the character models are surreally detailed, the Animation is something that only this studio could have ever pulled off, and the gameplay is solid and fun.
Besides all that, Guilty Gear Strive has changed fighting games forever due to its impressive rollback netcode, which was constantly demanded by fans, and it was also one of the main reasons this game sold so well.
Tekken is a giant in the fighting game industry, especially Tekken 7. This franchise remained relevant in a genre that almost died, which is already quite impressive. Not only that, Tekken is now one of the most recognizable names among all fighting games.
This footsie-based, grounded game is one of those that are easy to play but hard to master. Mashing buttons will make your characters do random cool things, but knowing the game will shut down any button mashing. This is probably why Tekken has attracted so many casuals and sold so many copies. Frankly, it’s pretty easy to press some buttons and have fun playing this game.
Besides all that, Tekken 7 is one of the few fighting games that managed to sell copies because of its story mode. The only other fighting game that does it is Mortal Kombat. There’s something interesting here for casuals, people who dislike multiplayer, and competitive players. This game also comes with fantastic guest characters and rage arts, a new mechanic that allows players to perform cinematic finishers.
The King of Fighters XV
The King of Fighters XV is the latest installment in the long-running fighting game series. It is a two-dimensional fighting game that features characters from SNK’s many franchises, including Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Psycho Soldiers, Ikari Warriors, and even Samurai Shodown.
This game is one of the most popular fighting games in the world. In fact, this entire franchise is pretty much legendary. The King of Fighters goes beyond mixing a bunch of SNK titles in a fighting game; it has original characters and a decades-old history.
The King of Fighters XV is not the best-looking fighting game of its generation, but it is a considerable improvement upon the franchise’s previous installment. It also presents better gameplay with EX moves that can be used without Max Mode.
If you think that playing only a single character is boring, but tag fighters are too messy, you need to play The King of Fighters. Battles are decided in rounds, and each character stays on until they are defeated. A team of three characters, the standard of this game, is more than enough to keep someone entertained.
Soul Calibur 6
This is what you get when you make a 3D fighter with characters from the 16th century that are not historically accurate and have a pinch of anime in them. Soul Calibur was always one of the greatest 3D fighting games of all time.
This franchise is legendary and has always impressed fans of the genre with innovative gameplay, interesting character designs, and great graphics. Soul Calibur 6 is gorgeous, has a lot of single-player content, and has some of the most remarkable characters to ever show up in a 3D fighter.
Single-player content is something that Soul Calibur eventually became known for. RPG-like modes and character creation are a few of the things that make it fun to play Soul Calibur by yourself. However, this is a fighting game, and the best way to play it is arguably by challenging someone.
Soul Calibur 6 has 21 fighters who are entirely different from each other. You have a staff wielder, a ninja, a samurai, a pirate, and some weird characters. If you like weapons, medieval stories, and surreal battles, just pick whoever you find the coolest and give this game a shot.
BlazBlue Central Fiction
This game is as much of an old-school, hardcore Anime Fighter as it gets. BlazBlue was first seen as an “easier Guilty Gear,” but people did not know what was to come.
There are techniques, combo routes, match-up specific interactions, and so many other things that can keep you busy for years while you dive into this game’s complexity.
BlazBlue Central Fiction is a fan favorite among Anime Fighters fans, and the developers, Arc System Works, made it much better. Recently, they updated the game on Steam. It went from 40GB to 16GB for some reason, and it now has a high-quality Rollback Netcode.
It seems that ArcSys is learning how to make a profit out of their old games by making them actually playable online, but I’m not complaining. This game is great, relatively cheap, and the rollback netcode update was free, so you are out of excuses not to try it.
Skullgirls 2nd Encore
This game is something else. The thing about Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the fact that the game has an identity. Its unique, hand-drawn art style, the jazz music, and the fast-paced, solid gameplay are all things that make this fighting game worth mentioning.
Although this game is not as popular as some mainstream fighting games, it does have a strong, dedicated community who is in love with it, and it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find challengers online. It is also one of the best indie games on the Nintendo Switch.
Make sure that you dedicate some time to learning the game, though. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is not an easy game. You will need a lot of match-up knowledge, patience, and great defense to deal with some crazy mix-ups and long combos that can take a massive chunk of your health.
Guilty Gear Xrd
This game is the first one made by Arc System Works that used this art style of 3D characters mimicking 2D aesthetics. This feat is impressive because it was born out of limitations that obligated the team to think outside the box.
The result was one of the best-looking Fighting Games to this date that demands fewer GBs from your hard drive than your average 2D anime fighter. In fact, even though Guilty Gear Strive still looks better, Guilty Gear Xrd still looks good even when compared to the newest Guilty Gear side by side. This style that Arc System Works is currently known for is seriously impressive.
However that black magic works, the game is more than outstanding visuals. The anime fighter crazy gameplay is definitely here, with insta-kills, air combos, and much more.
Guilty Gear is a franchise that pays homage to Heavy Metal. Its visual style is a mix of Western and Japanese Rock and Roll cultures.
The only issue with this game is its netcode, but if you intend to play it off-line or against people who are really close to you, you should have a good time.
The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
If you are a fan of The King of Fighters, chances are you like KOF2002. This steam version of the game, Unlimited Match, is a great way to enjoy this retro title.
The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match comes with balance tweaks and rollback netcode, which is pretty much the most important thing for a Fighting Game nowadays.
Not many modern games, if any, play like the old ones. The games from back then were very punitive, which can be perceived as a lack of balance and fairness to those who are used to newer games of the genre.
However, the worse was probably toned down with the gameplay tweaks, so you shouldn’t be too scared to play it. In other words, the game can be hard to pick up, but it is indeed a great game to try out.
Rivals of Aether
Not many people expected Super Smash Bros — one of the best Fighting Games on Switch — to have a real competitor. However, it turned out that Rivals of Aether is much better than most people thought it would be. The quality of the game led to not only Smash players dedicating time to it, but the game also attracted many newcomers and pixel art fans.
This 2D platform fighter mimics the gameplay of Super Smash Bros in many ways, from movement to how you defeat an opponent, but it doesn’t mean that the game lacks innovations. All the characters are original, the special moves are not just recycled versions of a Smash character, and even the battle system is pretty unique in comparison.
Saying Rivals of Aether is just a Smash clone is like saying Mortal Kombat is a Street Fighter clone. They are both in the same subgenre, but they are completely different games. If you ever had fun playing Smash, you should try this one out at least once. You might not like it, but there is a good chance you will be surprised and end up enjoying it way more than you expected.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
This was a dream come true for so many people. Arc System Works got their hands in one of the most popular Intellectual Properties in the Anime world and managed to make a fighting game out of it.
This game has easy input motions and auto combos that incentivize newcomers to mash, but it is far from being an easy game to master. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a frenetic, traditional tag team anime fighter. It combines a bunch of Fighting Games subgenres and delivers one of the craziest, fastest, most fun to watch videogames ever made.
This game proves what ArcSys is capable of when it comes to visuals, especially if you consider that this game doesn’t even demand too much from your computer to run perfectly.
Dragon Ball FighterZ’s main issue is the lack of a rollback netcode. If you are really close to someone, this game might run decently online, but chances are you will have headaches anyway. However, if you’re playing off-line with your friends, it’ll be a blast.
The King of Fighters XIII
This is another game that lacks a good rollback netcode, unfortunately. However, this game is incredibly good.
The sprite art is so detailed and well animated that no other 2D fighting game has reached KOFXIII’s level in that regard. The gameplay is fast, the combos are fun, and the most damaging things are seriously hard to pull off.
There is enough in this game for casuals and hardcore players. Besides its online play, this is a game that aged very well and continues to be praised by the Fighting Games Community.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a controversial game. Due to certain characters having weird 3D models and lacking fan-favorite characters, most likely due to an agreement between Capcom and Marvel, it got a lot of undeserved hate.
Although the roster might not be as appealing as the previous game of the series, something that is often true for any new fighting game, it has one of the most fun combat systems ever made in a tag team game.
In Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, you get updated versions of characters that showed up in older games of the franchise. For instance, Strider is much cooler, has special attacks, and is incredibly fun to play in this game. Since this game is 2v2, it might seem that it lacks all the variety of the previous titles, but it is not true at all. There are more mechanics and systems in place to make this game more interesting.
For instance, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has a new tag mechanic which allows players to call in an assist and take control of them to continue a combo, which is one of the coolest things someone can ask for in a tag fighter. Players also get to choose an Infinity Stone, a universal mechanic in the form of an item. Each kind of stone has a different special move that your chosen characters can use.
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Street Fighter will always be the most important name in Fighting Games. If not for being the best series in the genre, for pretty much making all fighting games the way they are today.
Pretty much every single Fighting Game that came out after the first Street Fighter was somehow inspired by it. Knowing that new entries need a twist to stay relevant, Capcom made sure that every Street Fighter has something completely unique, and this collection has all Street Fighter games up to Third Strike.
You can play Street Fighter Alpha for its air block, Street Fighter 3 for its parry system, and so on. Not only that, some of the games in this collection have online modes with rollback netcode.
Them’s Fightin’ Herds
Them’s Fightin’ Herds is a 2D fighting game with a cast of charming animals. In fact, this was once meant to be a My Little Pony fighting game. Although it sounds awesome, being inspired by that franchise was enough for Lauren Faust, a famous cartoon producer, to create this game.
You don’t have the little ponies, but there are plenty of creative, cute characters beating each other. This is what makes Them’s Fighting’ Herds one of the most captivating games of the genre. Whether you like the visual design or not, the art direction is quite easy to appreciate. There is so much love and personality involved that I doubt you won’t want to try it once you see the characters in motion.
Most fighting game players would tell you that the most important thing about Them’s Fightin’ Herds is the quality of the game. This game has solid mechanics, a high skill ceiling, low skill floor, good lobbies, and most things you’d want in a fully fledged fighting game.
However, I’d say this is not the most impressive thing about Them’s Fightin’ Herds. Fitting all those mechanics and excellent mechanics in a fighting game with fluffy and cute animals is a feat worth applauding.
Fighting Ex Layer
The spiritual successor to Street Fighter EX is finally here, and it’s called Fighting Ex Layer. It’s a side-scrolling, 2.5D fighting game with all the classic features of a traditional fighter, but it also has some new features that make it stand out.
Fighting Ex Layer is a game that was willed into existence after Arika published an April’s Fool video showing footage of a game that didn’t even exist. After that, fans of Street Fighter Ex made so much noise that Arika ended up developing an entire game. What was meant to be a joke ended up being a great product.
Fighting Ex Layer is very familiar to anyone who has played Street Fighter Ex. The graphics are not the best, but they are okay. There are innovative mechanics and even Terry Bogard as a guest character — I sometimes feel like Terry is in every single fighting game.
When it comes to how it feels, the game is very much Street Fighter Ex without Street Fighter characters. The pacing of the game is mostly the same, and it counts with all original Arika characters. That includes some fan favorites such as Kairi, Garuda, Allen, and Skullomania. There is also a new mechanic that allows you to get stronger as the round progresses.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a fighting game developed by Capcom and released in 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game features characters from both the Marvel Comics universe and the Capcom universe, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Ryu, Mega Man X, and Captain America.
Despite having controversial characters, such as the Black Phoenix, this game is still regarded as one of the most important games in the genre. It’s undoubtedly one of the most well-known fighting games of its time, and it’s a fantastic game for anyone who enjoys the subgenre.
This game is even more chaotic than the majority of the tag fighters you will see. It’s a 3v3 tag team fighter that allows you to call other teammates to assist you. The assists can show up to protect you or extend a combo, opening this game up for a lot of creativity. This game seems to have been the greatest inspiration to those who developed Dragon Ball FighterZ.
When it comes to characters, this title is hard to match. It features some of my favorite Marvel and Capcom characters. Amaterasu, Ryu, Morrigan, Strider, Iron Fist, Rocket Raccoon, Dr. Strange, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, Dante, Zero, and others. It’s quite an incredible roster. In fact, these characters are one of the reasons Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite wasn’t very successful since it didn’t have many of these beloved characters.
The King of Fighters ’98 Unlimited Match
The King of Fighters is a series with way too many installments, and therefore KOF fans often disagree when discussing which one is the best. It turns out most fans will at least agree that The King of Fighters ’98 is one of the best.
The King of Fighters 98 was the first dream match game of the franchise. This might be why it has a fantastic roster. It was the perfect excuse to add characters that couldn’t return. After all, although this is just a game, SNK tends to consider its series plot when choosing the roster of a new The King of Fighters.
Besides, The King of Fighters 98 was the last dream match game before all the max mode madness of the later games of the franchise. Add all that to refined sprites, better music, and solid mechanics, and you have something really special.
Its special edition, Unlimited Match Final Edition, was released on Steam with a good rollback netcode, exclusive game modes, and balance tweaks. On top of all that, this edition also has a few additional characters, such as Eiji Kisaragi, Kasumi Todoh, and Geese Howard.
The King of Fighters ’98 Unlimited Match is a complete product that improves upon the already great The King of Fighters ’98.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus is exactly the type of game I enjoy. Like the majority of games with Street Fighter on the title and even Mortal Kombat 11, it’s a footsie game that favors match-up knowledge and spacing. I understand this is not the kind of fighting game most people enjoy, but I certainly appreciate a game that rewards good fundamentals.
Unlike other Arc System Works games, this one was made to appeal to fans of the original Granblue Fantasy franchise. To put it another way, this game was mainly developed for players who aren’t used to fighting games. That’s why there are one-button specials, allowing newcomers to enjoy the game more quickly.
When it comes to visuals, this game is something else. It’s one of Arc System Works’ best uses of their technology. The character models and animations are so good that they easily rival Guilty Gear Strive.
Ultra Street Fighter IV
Ultra Street Fighter IV is a game that people just don’t seem to be able to let go of. Fans of this installment talk about it to this date and continue to compare it to more recent Capcom fighters.
One of the reasons this game became so popular is the time it came out. In fact, it is often said that Street Fighter IV resurrected the Fighting Games Community when there were no significant new releases out there.
Ultra Street Fighter IV has challenging combo routes, light attacks that can start a vortex, unblockable setups, and all those other things that hardcore fans love. Add that to 1 frame link combos that only experts can do, and you will realize that the competitive Street Fighter IV scene had some of the greatest moments in the history of fighting games.
Generally speaking, Street Fighter is a franchise that keeps its characters and subgenre but often changes everything about it. It is not unusual to see players who like one particular Street Fighter dislike another.
Considering that each Street Fighter is significantly different from the others, this will most likely always be the case. That being said, they are all fantastic fighting games and are all worth trying at least once.
Killer Instinct is a legendary fighting game franchise with some of the weirdest characters to have ever been a part of a fighting game. However, much like Street Fighter IV, this game came out in an era when fighting games as a genre were at risk.
The people behind this game were very creative in their market efforts. Killer Instinct was first presented as a free-to-try game. You could play for free, but you couldn’t really choose the characters you wanted; they would be on a rotation. That way, you could have a good sense of the game without paying for it first.
Besides, this game also came up with the seasonal system we see today in Fighting Games. Although some people hate it, this is a method that significantly extends the life of a fighting game and allows developers to have the means to support and patch the game continuously.
In this six-button fighter, you will see things like an ice alien, a cyborg, a skeleton warrior, a boxer, a werewolf, and so many other weird things that don’t seem to belong together anywhere else but in Killer Instinct.
The game is fast-paced, combo-heavy, and has a diverse roster. Killer Instinct is undoubtedly one of the best fighting games out there for those who enjoy its aesthetics. Not only that, it has one of the best online plays ever made for a game of the genre.
Dead or Alive 6
Dead or Alive 6 is a fighting game developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo. The game features a graphical upgrade from its predecessor, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, including more detailed character models and stages.
This is a 3D fighting game franchise that, surprisingly, has a lot of depth. Dead or Alive is generally known as the fighting game with cute girls beating each other. Its gameplay focuses on two new systems, the Fatal Rush and the Break Gauge.
Dead or Alive 6 looks really good, and it does count with a roster composed mostly of charming girls for which the franchise is known. However, the developers clearly cared enough to make a solid fighting game once you have gone past the game’s looks.
Much like many other franchises, Dead or Alive borrowed a lot from other games. It has most of Virtua Fighter’s input style and over-the-top moves that seem even more exaggerated than the ones seen in Tekken.
Fights are incredibly fast-paced in Dead or Alive. The characters’ moves are anything but realistic, and some scenarios have really cool transitions. Combine its gameplay with its visuals, and you can easily see that this franchise stands on its own as something unique.