Top 10 Best Fighting Games of 2017 [Best Recommendations]

2017 was an outstanding year for fighting games. We received new iterations of games from franchises we’ve known and loved for over 20 years. At the time time, we were introduced to new IP’s that have redefined how we see fighting games forever. This genre has completed a year of new beginnings and polished single player experiences. We can only hope that trend continues into 2018.

There was no shortage of games to choose from last year. Everything from team battles, motion sensitive controls, 3D fighters, and genre merging titles were readily available to us. With so many options, we had to take character design, single player modes, enjoyability, creativity, and a spectrum of other factors into consideration. That being said, let’s run down our list for the top 10 fighting games of 2017.

10. Brawlout

  • System: PS4, XBOX ONE, PC
  • Publisher: Angry Mob Games, Merge Games
  • Developer: Angry Mob Games
  • Release Dates: April 20, 1017

Smash-inspired free-for-all matches. This game was created to fill in the gap where Nintendo's brawler should be, in the lineup of Nintendo Switch games. The majority of the battle system mechanics are intact. However, the biggest difference is the lack of guard and throw buttons. Instead, they have been replaced with buttons that allow you to dodge attacks.

The roster has a unique blend of 90's inspired cartoon animals and quirky characters with charming personalities. Our favorite is Apu. He's a monkey warlord from outer space, hellbent on interstellar conquest.

The lack of monetization systems in Brawlout is a huge plus. Everything is unlockable through playing the game. You have to play matches with a character to gain experience and rank up to the next level. Ranking up gives you gems and eventually access to new stages. Though it seems straightforward, it actually takes a fair bit of time. This is fine for a free to play model, but a noticeable nuisance in a fighting game.

Developers seem to be currently focused on balancing the game from a competitive standpoint. That's why the game lacks content at the moment. That could change in the future. Angry Mob Games has already showcased their knack for unique character design. Add in a few zanier, over the top characters, coupled with an improved online experience, and you've got a game that'll please Smash Bros. fans. If they add additional "party modes" for casual players and tie that into character and stage unlocks, then you've got a heck of a game. Games nowadays have several chances to recover from a lackluster launch. So, Brawlout definitely has a chance to realize its goal of spiritual successor to Smash Bros. while spearheading its own place in the platform fighter genre.

9. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Dates: May 26, 2017

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is an arcade perfect port of the original Super Street Fighter II Turbo with two new characters, Violent Ken and Evil Ryu. It also implemented a color editor tool so that you can customize your favorite characters. Plus, this title featured Buddy Battle (first introduced in the Alpha series) where you and a friend (or AI partner) take on the CPU in a 2 vs 1 fight. This is enjoyable for a bit, but it's not where you'll spend the majority of your time.

Capcom released this game to capitalize on fighting gamers nostalgia for the series and to add another fighting game to the Switch's lineup. For now, it seems like Capcom was just using this title to test the waters for how fighting games would do the Nintendo Switch. With strong sales, hopefully, Capcom will make a stronger showing with another title for the Switch in 2018 or 2019.

8. Brawlhalla

  • System: PC, PS4
  • Publisher: Blue Mammoth Games
  • Developer: Xaviant Games, Blue Mammoth Games
  • Release Dates: April 30, 2014 (EA), August 1, 2017 (CBT for PS4)

Brawlhalla is another Smash Bros. clone that looks to differentiate itself through item usage, new mechanics, and a customizable character roster. Brawlhalla has been in early access for several years. But, in August of 2017, it entered closed beta for PS4. The developer has said that when the full version of the game releases, it will have cross-platform play between PC and PS4.

Brawlhalla had a decent year in 2017 with the PS4 release. It has steadily been featured in tournaments. It appears as if 2018 will turn it even better. It has already been announced that Brawlhalla will be featured in several Dreamhack events. There will even be a Brawlhalla world championship at Dreamhack Atlanta with a $100,000 prize pool.

Differing from Smash Bros. and Brawlout, Brawlhalla seems to embrace the use of items. In fact, each legend (playable character) has access to two different weapons. Those are unique to the champion. Only one can be wielded at any given time. The weapon falls from the sky and grants the legend access to a different moveset and properties. (Which is great because "unarmed" legends all have the same attacks.) These weapons, a myriad of other usable items, the ability to triple jump, and the potential to climb walls for extended periods of time make this game stand out from its contemporaries.

The last thing we want to mention is the character variety and customization. Brawlhalla currently has 37 playable legends. You can choose to play as a Chinese monk, a dragon, a knight, a pirate, a werewolf, or any of the other nifty character archetypes. Each of these legends has a variety of skins and color palettes. Duking it out as a cyan-colored dragon, in body armor, wielding twin katars or a battle ax is quite a unique experience.

7. For Honor

  • System: PS4, XBOX ONE, PC
  • Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Release Dates: Feb. 13, 2017

This third-person action RPG fighter came out earlier in the year, but that doesn't make it any more impressive than its competitors that released later on. The controls and depth of For Honor are not to be overlooked. Parrying, countering, dodging, blocking, and a variety of attacks are what this game hides under its RPG exterior. Whether you're playing Duel, Skirmish, Brawl, Dominion, or Elimination you'll have to learn to read your opponent if you want to come out of a battle victorious. Countering your opponent is moving important than blindly throwing out a flurry of attacks.

Though fights have a slower tempo compared to traditional fighting games, that doesn't make it any less enjoyable when you finally do slay the last opponent on the battlefield. As with most great fighting games, not everything is focused on multiplayer. You can take on the AI in the fantasy medieval world that Ubisoft has created for us. You can choose to play as a knight, samurai, or Viking. The story mode puts you in intense battles reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors. You'll mow down dozens of warriors as you attempt to siege a fortified building or try to take control of objectives. For Honor gave us a welcome break from traditional fighting games. Whenever we felt burnt out from counting frames and timing cross-ups we'd pop this game in and reinvigorate our fighting spirit.

6. Gundam Versus

  • System: PS4
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Games
  • Release Dates: Sept. 29, 2017

Gundam Versus is one of the few games on this list which noticeably stands out. Its gameplay is less like a traditional fighter and more like a beat'em up brawler. If you ever played Virtual On back in the day at your local arcade, then you know the core gameplay of Gundam Versus. You can choose to fight in a 1v1 mech battle, or decide to make it more interesting by taking part in either a 2v2 or 3v3 team battle. Navigating your mobile suit around the terrain is key to enjoying the game.

Fortunately, controls are straightforward and become second nature in no time. From there you can choose to hit your opponent with ranged attacks using the lock-on system or fight up close with your Gundam's melee attacks. It really depends on your fighting style and the type of Gundam you choose to pilot.

The huge selection of mobile suits (over 90) at your disposal, intense battles with dramatic attacks (reminiscent of the anime), and online multiplayer modes are what draw in players. Even if you have never played a Gundam game or feel that multiplayer battles are daunting, there is still plenty of content for solo players. Trial Battle pits you up against AI opponents in a progression of missions with ten different routes. Ultimate Battle is basically a survival mode. You fight your way through waves of enemies and level up so that you gain access to new strikers, navigators, titles, and pilots. You can even play Free Battle mode and fight against the AI via the settings of your choice. It's the perfect place to try out new mobile suits while giving yourself certain advantages and even choosing the BGM you listen to. There is no shortage of content for multiplayer fans or those who want to play solo and have an enjoyable time.

5. Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

  • System: PS4, XBOX ONE, PC
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Dates: Sep. 19, 2017

Whatever happens with Marvel vs Capcom Infinite's future, you can't deny that it had an impactful 2017. Before its release, it was hyped up by a significant amount of players from the fighting game community. It was played heavily as soon as it launched. It has had a prominent place in various tournaments. It delivered a unique cast of characters spanning the Capcom and Marvel universes, though fans would still like to see even a single member of the X-men. It delivered a shot of adrenaline to the FGC when it was in a slump.

With teams being reduced to two members, the introduction of Infinity Stones (with the Infinity Storm ability), and the tag system being completely reworked there was plenty to keep players busy and satisfied. The in-depth training mode, challenging missions for each character, a variety of online modes, and the pleasantly surprising Story Mode all serve to welcome casual players and newcomers to the Marvel vs Capcom series. Though the presentation is lacking in terms of graphics and visuals, this game came through for gamers who have stuck with this series from the days of the original Marvel vs Capcom.


  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Dates: June 16, 2017

ARMS is one of the few games on this list that is a new IP and doesn't try to copy the battle system or designs of other games. It innovated the fighting game genre while possibly serving as a better party game than Smash Bros. That innovation does come at a price, albeit a relatively small annoyance, you have to take the time settle into the rhythm and mechanics of ARMS' unique combat system. Motion controls are what make the game immersive and intense. Using a pro controller is possible, but you're depriving yourself of the game's best experience. Dodging attacks, timing your punches, aiming your blows, and blocking are all aspects you'll have to become accustomed to. There really is no other game like ARMS so the learning curve is a hurdle you have to cross in order to truly enjoy the game.

The colorful cast of characters, stunning visuals, and customization of offensive capabilities further serve to make this a one of a kind experience. Your fists can be traditional gloves, wrecking balls, boomerangs, and a plethora of other choices. Choosing your preferred style, and even mixing multiple weapon styles together, lets you fight the way you want. This is easily the most unprecedented experience you'll get out of a fighting game.

3. Pokken Tournament DX

  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Dates: Sep. 22, 2017

A slew of updates has started rolling out for Pokken DX since January 31, 2018, including Mega Rayquaza and Mimikyu. But, let's stick with 2017. DX feels like a 2.0 version of the original, especially for those who hadn't played the arcade version of Pokken Tournament. The four characters that were later added to the arcade version plus one more console-exclusive character were added to the Switch port. New modes were implemented, the most prominent being Team Battle mode. This allows you to choose three of your favorite Pokemon and battle an enemy team of three Pokemon in a King of Fighters-esque match. The other huge addition was the single screen two-player mode. The Wii-U seriously messed up by not making this a default feature for the original release of Pokken Tournament.

These changes, along with the much larger player base on the Switch (compared to the Wii U) gave new players a chance to train with their favorite Pokemon and fight other newbies. Naturally, strong players rose to the to in online modes, but new players had a variety of modes and Daily Challenges to get them hooked on Pokken Tournament DX. The re-release definitely revitalized the game and put it on track to a bright future. As mentioned above, updates and DLC content have started to roll out. this title stands near the top of the fighting games available for the Nintendo Switch. It's a must play for fans of fighting games or Pokemon in general.

2. Injustice 2

  • System: PS4, XBOX ONE, PC
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, NetherRealm Studios
  • Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Dates: May 9, 2017

Injustice 2 received high praise during its launch (despite the PC issues). It's no wonder. This game sports one of the most elaborate and immersive campaign modes. The cutscenes alone are worth the price of the game. It takes several hours to complete the extremely enjoyable campaign. At specific points, you can decide which character to use as you make your way through the story. That means you can play through it several times to use different DC characters, see slightly different cutscenes, and view an alternate ending.

Besides the outstanding campaign, there is another standout we have to mention, the Multiverse mode. There you can play through battles with randomly generated modifiers that add a level of challenge to average fights. If you come out victorious, you can acquire new gear, experience, and item boxes. You can earn these same rewards through the other game modes as well. But, outside of Multiverse, the rewards are random. Gaining experience and new gear powers up your character. So, naturally, the game allows you to gain these perks through in-game currency or real money. Note that your increased stats and gear are not usable in Ranked Matches. Injustice 2 sets the bar for what a solo experience should feel like in a fighting game.

Of course, this game truly shines in its easy to pick up, difficult to master, combat system. Normal attacks and super abilities are almost identical to those from the original Injustice. Smashing enemies through walls still trigger stage transitions. Combos and attack strings will feel familiar to anyone who's played the original game. Injustice 2 has refined the combat without making drastic changes to the mechanics. The only gripe with this game is the lack of in-depth tutorials. You are only shown the bare minimum of what any given character is capable of. You have to look up guides online or get smashed in online matches to figure out what your character is truly capable of.

1. Tekken 7

  • System: PS4, XBOX ONE, ARC, PC
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Games
  • Release Dates: June 1, 2017

Tekken 7 maintains its tradition of high-execution, movement-intensive gameplay, but it manages to create its most accessible iteration to date. The battle engine has been adjusted from Tekken 6 to lower the damage and reduce the length of combos. Wall carry combos are still possible, but they don't do 80 percent of your character's health. Dash and sidestep have been slightly slowed down so that they aren't used as much for baiting attacks and punishing. This means that slower characters have a fighting chance and new players have an opportunity to survive longer and enjoy the game a bit more. Online play has consistently good connections as well.

The story mode aka the Mishima Saga is console exclusive. It does a decent job of portraying the series' biggest characters in a humanizing light through a story of betrayal of deceit. Fighting games are finally starting to include engaging story modes and Tekken 7 delivers one that is near the quality of Injustice 2 (which set the bar really high).

It wouldn't be a Tekken game without the ability to customize your character. And this newest entry does not disappoint. Hundreds of unique facial features for your character are just the beginning. You can select alternate costumes with the bottom and top pieces that are interchangeable with any of the other outfits you own. You can change your character portrait, the particles and effects on your moves, and even alter the artwork around your health bar. These options are unlocked through the use of in-game Fight Money, or by battling opponents and gaining new items as rewards. Overall, Tekken 7 stays true to its roots while providing an even deeper customization system and doing all that it can to reach a wide audience.

There you have it! 2017 was quite a year for fighting games. Generally, there aren’t too many games, from this genre, released in a single year. But, we were blessed with so many great titles. We may have been spoiled since it doesn’t appear as if we’ll have quite as many gems this year. But, it’s still early. We may be pleasantly surprised. If nothing else, Dragon Ball FighterZ is amazing enough to keep us occupied for the remainder of the year.

So which of these games have you enjoyed? Do you have a favorite one? We’d like to know what characters you play. We may even challenge you for an online match is you’re up for it! Thanks a lot for reading. We’ll see you in the next article!

Javier Garcia


Author: Javier Garcia

Hey guys! I'm a huge fan of anime and video games. I used to be a competitive fighting game player (search my name in YouTube). So, I guess it was natural for me to make my way over here to Japan. I teach English, write anime articles, and put together videos when I have time. I hope you enjoy the content we've created for you here at Honey's Anime!

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