A renewed interest in the fighting game genre seems to be giving it a resurgence. Some well-loved classics and new titles appeal to both veterans and new fans looking to experience the genre for the first time. From remastered classics to niche anime revival games and undying legacy competitive titles, the fighting game genre has started to thrive again in 2021, and it’s looking to an even brighter future.
Here are the best fighting games available in 2021.
Guilty Gear Strive
Guilty Gear Strive was recently awarded the accolade for Best Fighting Game in the 2021 Game Awards, and rightly so. Although the series already had some degree of popularity with past titles such as Guilty Gear Xrd and Rev 2, this year’s Guilty Gear Strive managed to amass a new audience of fighting game veterans and new fans that has toppled every other recent game in the genre.
Developed by Arc System Works, the newest installment is true to the anime-inspired aesthetic of the series and has made its gameplay more accessible in an attempt to reach a larger audience. With stunning characters and unique mechanics, Guilty Gear Strive has proven to be the perfect entry title for new fans looking to join the fighting game community.
Guilty Gear Strive was released in June 2021 and is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Street Fighter V has been around for five years and is still considered the king of all fighting games. The Champion Edition released in 2020 featured 40 different World Warriors and added new mechanics that have kept the title at the forefront of the fighting game community for both competitive and casual players.
Street Fighter V is the legacy of the fighting game community, and one of those titles that will always be a top contender for new fans and veterans alike. With added character favorites such as Akira, Luke, or Dan and Rose, Street Fighter V has stood the test of time as one of the best ongoing fighting games of all time.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition was released in 2020 and is available on PlayStation 4 and PC.
Demon Slayer (Kimetsu No Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles
There are fighting games that are more akin to competitive play, and there are fighting games better suited to more casual players. The Hinokami Chronicles is the latter. This is another anime arena fighting game praised for its vibrant aesthetic and being true to the anime from which it originates.
Developed by CyberConnect2, Demon Slayer (Kimetsu No Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles was released just last October worldwide. Although the game was criticized for having a small roster, the latest update to the game added more characters and a new 60 fps mode for next-gen consoles. It might be ill-suited to more competitive players, but fighting game fans looking for a more casual experience might find exactly what they’re looking for in this title.
Demon Slayer (Kimetsu No Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles was released in October 2021 and is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PC.
Mortal Kombat 11
Developed by Netherrealm Studios, Mortal Kombat 11 was released in 2019 and is still considered one of the go-to fighting games for both competitive players and those more interested in the narrative aspect of the series. Its highly praised story mode offers fans an amazing conclusion to the story and a thrilling battle between Earthrealm warriors and Kronika’s forces. With a roster of 37 characters and a myriad of popular guests such as Rambo, The Joker, or The Terminator, Mortal Kombat 11 is one of those games in the genre that every fighting game fan should give a try.
Mortal Kombat 11 was released in 2019 and is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ saw its worldwide release back in 2018 and was developed by the same creators who more recently brought the highly praised Guilty Gear Strive.
Based on the popular Dragon Ball franchise, the game allows players to pick a team of three characters and boasts an impressive fighting system and an extensive character roster. The base roster includes 21 different characters and 19 more characters which have been released through FighterZ Passes and DLCs, amounting to a total of 43 characters to choose from. The game has sold over eight million copies worldwide and is still considered one of the best fighting games in recent years, winning the Game Awards’ accolade for Best Fighting Game on its year of release.
Dragon Ball FighterZ was released in 2018 and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown
Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown is Sega’s fifth installment in the Virtua Fighter series and was released just this year as an exclusive title for PlayStation 4. The series has been around for decades and comprises some of Sega’s most classic fighting games.
The game comes with updated graphics and some significant improvements to its competitive elements. With 17 returning characters and three additional new ones, this enhanced, remastered version of the original game was released in celebration of Sega’s 60th anniversary. It comes with a “Legendary Pack” that includes the music from all the games in the Virtua Fighter franchise and new items for character customization.
Virtual Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown is available on PlayStation 4.
Melty Blood: Type Lumina
Melty Blood: Type Lumina is a 2D fighting game developed by French-Bread. As the fifth installment in the Melty Blood series, most of the gameplay mechanics are very similar to its predecessors. The game incorporated several new elements, though, such as the auto-combo Rapid Beat and special moves in the New Moon systems. The addition of more modern systems such as the valuable rollback netcode and a new lobby system have made this title see newfound popularity this year.
Based on the Japanese visual novels known as Tsukihime, the Melty Blood series is known for its unique anime art style and some eccentric character designs that make this game one of the more niche anime fighting games available.
Melty Blood: Type Lumina was released just last September and is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.