Written by 7:36 pm Game News, PC Games, Review

Best fighting games on PC 2024

Best fighting games on PC 2024


What are the best fighting games on PC? It may be one of the oldest genres in gaming, but it wasn’t until unintentional glitches gave birth to combos in Street Fighter 2 that the first boom took hold in arcades during the 90s. During the next few years, other classic fighters would enter this eternal tournament, most notably Mortal Kombat with its motion-capture gore, and both Virtua Fighter and Tekken would take the genre into 3D.

Fighting games would grow out of favor in the 2000s, but thanks to the revival of the Street Fighter series, followed by the more recent rise of esports and, to a lesser extent, the global pandemic, we now have access to some of the best PC games. They’re infamous for being tough to learn, but with the help of video tutorials, there’s never been a better time to get into these highly competitive multiplayer games. So grab the best PC controller, the best fight sticks, or whatever control method you desire to use, and get to practicing your favorite character’s combos.

Here are the best fighting games on PC:

Tekken 8

Bandai Namco has taken the Tekken formula to another level with the latest entry in the series. Now that the Tekken 8 release date is here, fans will get to see just how much effort the devs have poured into this sequel. For the first time in the series history, players now have a Heat gauge to keep track of, giving them access to a new set of moves, combos, and mix-ups to spring on their opponents in an instant.

Tekken 8 has been designed for studious players looking to improve their skills with a brand-new training mode featuring a host of useful tools. Our favorite feature has to be the replay analyzer, a tool that breaks down your fights and highlights areas where you could’ve performed a stronger combo or avoided an attack by sidestepping out of the way. Give our Tekken 8 review a read to see what we thought about this excellent addition to the series.

Street Fighter 6

After the mess that was Street Fighter 5’s launch, Capcom would not make the same mistakes for their follow-up sequel. For the first time in the history of the series, Street Fighter 6 includes the first extensive single-player campaign which sees fighters take a journey around the world to save their best friend. World Tour is filled with plenty of deep cuts for long-time fans, and the gameplay is largely the same as the core game except with RPG elements to make things easier.

The Street Fighter 6 roster brings a mix of returning and new characters into the fold. Returning characters have been given redesigns and upgraded moves to differentiate them from their Street Fighter 5 counterparts. As for the new characters, Capcom has tried to introduce fighting styles that the series hasn’t used before, like the drunken fighter style used by newcomer Jamie. Of course, there are also the DLC fighters, of which we’ve seen Rashid and A.K.I completely rejig the meta, and we’ve still got both Ed and Akuma as returning characters to look forward to. We highly recommend checking out our Street Fighter 6 review to find out everything the Japanese developer has done to cater to every type of fighting game player.

Best fighting games: Yashiro and Iori fighting in the middle of a concert stage in The King of Fighters XV.

The King of Fighters XV

The King of Fighters XV is the best KoF game in quite some time. The series has experimented with various drastically different mechanics since the original game in 1994, and the same is true in the newest installment of the long-running 3v3 fighting series.

KoF XV introduces the Shatter Strike defensive option that counters any attack at the cost of a power gauge. In addition, returning mechanics from previous games have been tweaked to make them more usable for newer players. For example, Max Mode now has two versions: one for increasing your fighter’s attack and guard crush strength and one that immediately cancels any attack you land into a new combo that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Its online offerings are impressive, with multiple options for playing against others, including an online training mode where you can connect with other players to learn from them. Fights against other players online feel as close to being in the arcade as possible, thanks to improvements to the netcode, particularly with the PC version. Likewise, battles against other online players feel as close to being in an arcade as possible. There’s a fair bit of legacy skill involved, so KoF veterans will likely stomp all over newcomers, but that’s something you can always work on with practice. With more characters on the way, it’ll be exciting to see how they spice up the established teams.

Best fighting games - Millia uses her hair as a scythe to hit Giovanna in Guilty Gear Strive.

Guilty Gear Strive

Arc Systemworks may be well known for anime-style fighters such as DNF Duel, Granblue Fantasy Versus, and DragonBall FighterZ, but the flagship game has always been Guilty Gear. The Xrd generation introduced us to gorgeous 3D models on a 2D plane. Guilty Gear Strive’s structure is more refined with its combat, presentation, and fully voiced stage music for every character – some of them are genuinely decent songs in their own right, but all work nicely as stage music.

It has two robust tutorials and training modes, an arcade mode that ends with a two-on-one boss encounter with a friendly AI (or a one-on-one ultra-hard boss battle if you’re good enough), and a story mode that’s a decent offering for fans of the series. Unfortunately, however, it’s just a movie with no actual gameplay. In addition, new characters are now appearing in the game, giving players even more fighting styles to master.

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But what makes Guilty Gear Strive stand out is its online mode. Confusing and convoluted lobbies aside, it’s one of the most stable fighting games today thanks to its bespoke rollback netcode, helping online tournaments thrive throughout the pandemic and into the foreseeable future. As a result, we managed to maintain a stable connection while battling players on the West Coast of America from the UK. With the third season of returning characters well underway, it seems we’ll be seeing more of it at the likes of EVO for years to come.

Best fighting games: Rain and Sektor are fighting side by side in Mortal Kombat 1.

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 is the latest in the long-running fighting game series, and not for the first time it drastically changes the formula. Now, you select one of the main Mortal Kombat 1 characters, who all now have altered origin stories, and partner them up with one of the retro-inspired Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo characters to unlock. With decent online performance and a hefty story mode, there’s plenty to love here.

New to this installment are Invasions, best described as the Krypt mode from previous MK games, but are seasonal. We have a guide on what exactly Mortal Kombat 1 Invasions are and when the latest season is. Of course, we also have a list of Mortal Kombat 1 fatalities and Mortal Kombat 1 brutalities to perform if you want to humiliate your foes.

Best fighting games - Vegeta in his Super Saiyan blue form, using a special attack in Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ may not be the first good Dragon Ball game, but it’s undoubtedly the first truly great one. Arc System Works has leveraged its experience in some of the market’s most technically complex fighting games to build one keeping the depth of the best brawlers while staying accessible, and the studio did it with one of the most beloved series in anime, showing plenty of love and care to every character in the Dragon Ball FighterZ roster.

For Dragon Ball fans, this anime game is a slick tribute to the series, from its gorgeous anime aesthetic to the matchup-specific intro and finish cutscenes – Yamcha’s signature death pose is perfect. But all that care and craft is evident even if you don’t know your Goku from your Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Goku.

If the base roster isn’t enough, there are a host of DLC characters, including film villains like Cooler and Broly, and more recent inclusions from Dragon Ball Super. Even the much-panned Dragon Ball GT got some love, with the last characters for season three being Super Baby and Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta. It has been an Evo stable since its release, featuring on the main stage at Evo 2023. The anime fighter is also getting a rollback netcode, currently in beta, meaning your connection to your opponent will be more reliable.

While DBFZ has the aerial combo-driven freneticism of Marvel vs Capcom, it’s much more accessible for newcomers. Simple, universal combos let you make effective basic attacks across every character in the roster. In addition, the system is flexible enough to let you quickly start working in tags and specials for your attacks – which means you’ll be driving foes through mountains with Kamehamehas in no time.

Best fighting games - Gorilla Grodd has pinned Superman in a bar room brawl in Injustice 2. Some patrons look curiously at them.

Injustice 2

NetherRealm Studio has ping-ponged between Mortal Kombat and the DC superhero universe for the past decade. Though there are apparent differences exclusive to MK and Injustice, they’re building on the same formula, but it’s getting closer to perfection with each iteration. As a result, this isn’t just one of the best fighting games on PC; it’s also one of the best superhero games.

Injustice 2 is a grim take on the DC universe that rebalances the sides of good and evil – which is just a fancy way of saying Superman and Batman will fight each other. The broad roster includes superpowered favorites and some delightfully obscure picks, offering authentic powers in richly strategic matches filled with combat options and spectacular destruction.

NetherRealm games shine in their content offerings, and Injustice 2 is no exception. There’s a best-in-class cinematic story mode, a Multiverse full of gameplay challenges and unlockables, and a whole gear system full of ways to customize your fighter’s stats and appearance. Even if Mortal Kombat 11 has supplanted Injustice 2, this is still one of the most complete fighting game packages you can get, mainly if you prefer Batman to Iron Man.

Best fighting games - Samurai Shodown's Haohmaru and Genjuro are clashing swords in a field full of crops as the sun sets.

Samurai Shodown

SNK has a long history of making fighting games, but we think its best effort was the soft reboot of Samurai Shodown. So many fighting games rely on flashy combos with massive hit counters to generate excitement. Samurai Shodown is almost the opposite.

This is because the cult classic fighting game from the arcades is a weapon-based fighter where every hit taken has the potential to lop off vast chunks of your health. It’s great if you’re looking for a fighting game with more emphasis on ‘footsies’ (basically using movement and knowledge of hitboxes to sneak in hits, but it’s way more complicated than that) than flashy moves. It’s more old-school in its feature set than most fighting games.

But if we’re honest, the main takeaway is that we think the incredibly tense fights are worth investing time into. You could be one hit from losing, only to make a spectacular comeback with just a handful of well-timed strikes. Also, new characters are coming to the roster, with the latest being Baiken from the Guilty Gear series. This is definitely one to play with a friend if you can.

Best fighting games - Anakaris is fighting Morrigan in the desert under the full moon in the Capcom Fighting Collection. Several mummies are electrocuting Morrigan so badly, even the bats on her tights are in shock!

Capcom Fighting Collection

While plenty of companies are cashing in on the retro trend, none quite go to the extremes that Capcom Fighting Collection does. It’s a near-complete archive of the best games that Capcom made for arcades in the 1990s. Unlike the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, the best news is that every game included in the package is playable online, giving you an easy way to fight against other players worldwide.

For one lump sum, you get Hyper Street Fighter 2: The Anniversary Edition, all five games, and revisions from the Darkstalkers series, Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness, and the first official home port of Red Earth – a fantasy fighting game with RPG progression mechanics. Puzzle game fans also get Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo to satisfy their falling-block puzzle itch and Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix if they’d rather see these chibi-style fighters duking it out. That’s ten classic arcade games, and they’re all must-haves for any retro fighting game fan.

Best fighting games - Dormammu has created a vortex in the middle of the arena. Tron Bonne is launching one of her Servbots into the black hole as it smiles innocently, awaiting its inevitable demise. Tron doesn't look too worried.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

The fighting game community tends to move on when a new entry in an established series is released, no matter how rough the transition might be. However, that didn’t happen with Marvel vs Capcom. In part, that’s because the latest title, Infinite, was pretty poorly received – but it’s got more to do with the fact that Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is so damn good.

It boasts a robust roster from two of the most beloved companies and their franchises. Then there’s the art that treats all those fan favorites just right. And, most of all, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 has a wondrously complex tag-team fighting system as deep and varied as any game in the fighting game community canon.

Its 3v3 battles, rich with tags and assist moves, can get so wild with destructive combos that it’s tough to follow the action – but that’s what gives UMVC3 its appeal. That cacophony of combos and specials is a rich ballet that rewards mastery in a way few other games can match. So much so that it’s one of the main stage games at Evo 2023, getting the slot as one of the games that defined fighting games and the esports scene in general during its early years. It’s a well-deserved legacy.

Best fighting games: Mitsurugi and Sophitia are sparring in a greek-themed arena in Soulcalibur VI.

Soulcalibur 6

The Soulcalibur series has always struggled to recapture the magic of the original home release on Dreamcast. After nearly two decades, Soulcalibur 6 finally manages this feat. The weapon-based fighter is a delight to play at every skill level, making it one of the best sword games on PC. So whether you’re mashing through your attacks or building the most intricate combos, there’s a generous helping of content to keep you going even when you’re not competing online.

That includes the Soulcalibur 6 character creator, which has provided some of the most incredible (and terrifying) homespun creations we’ve seen in ages. You can take your custom fighter into a lengthy campaign complete with RPG-style upgrade systems and a nearly limitless supply of side missions or take on a full story mode with bespoke dialogue and fights for every character on the roster.

Best fighting games – Pom, a lamb, is kicking Oleander, a unicorn, in the face as a small town burns to the ground in Thems Fighting Herds.

Thems Fighting Herds

Look, we know what you’re thinking. A list of the best fighting games on PC includes the one animated by Lauren Faust – the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Why? We’ll tell you: it’s fabulous!

Thems Fighting Herds is a four-button indie game with silky smooth animations and an engaging magic system to extend combos. It features a unique cast of characters, including unicorns, dragons, and the most adorable alpaca. It also uses GGPO for online matchmaking, which is still one of the better delay-based net codes.

When you’re not fighting against real people, there’s a neat little story mode with challenges that use the fighting game engine in odd ways, like a platformer or dodge projectiles fired from enemies in the background.

The best fighting games on PC have already won more than a few rounds in our hearts, but there’s always more. From upcoming PC games to beloved old games like those in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, there’s a rich tapestry of fighters to square off against. For now, you can grab one of these top picks, load up a combo video, and get practicing in training mode. By the time you’re ready, there’s plenty of competition to find out there.