The Best Fighting Games on PC in 2023

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Goku is still unaware that he is a bumbling father. Scorpion’s body-crippling blood vendetta with Sub-Zero continues, leaving blood, intestines, and shattered bones in his wake. Ryu, the stoic, dons his gi once again to compulsively seek a false sense of purpose. Cerebella and other cartoon-like opponents trade fists, feet, and missiles against art deco backgrounds in the aim of fulfilling their greatest fantasies. Fighting games are returning after a long hiatus, and they’re here to stay, my fellow digital pugilists.

The genre has always flourished on home video game consoles, leaving PC aficionados feeling fairly plebeian. However, in a twist reminiscent of Dhalsim’s limb-lengthening strikes, the Windows PC platform has lately served as a dojo for a number of excellent fighting games. Fighting games are now excellent PC games. Anyone looking for martial arts action has several alternatives, including funny, macabre, one-on-one, and team-based combat games.

However, there are some gaps in the library. There are no fantastic throwback treasures like Capcom vs. SNK 2 or Marvel vs. Capcom 2. (not legally, at least). Nonetheless, there is enough variation among PC fighting games to satisfy genre lovers.

The following are PCMag’s top PC fighting games. This isn’t a hurriedly compiled list meant to placate the Google gods. Uh-uh. There are links to in-depth evaluations as well as summaries for those of you short on time. And you can be confident that all of these reviews were written by fighting game lovers. It’s all about love. If you want to knuckle up on the SteamOS-powered Steam Deck, many of the listed titles will also operate on Valve’s portable.

We are aware that there are some coverage gaps. That is something we are working on. So, please come back. Often. Drop your Steam handle in the comments area, grab a controller or combat stick, and capture these perfected hands. Alternatively, you may visit me at Evo.

Oh, and while you’re rehearsing your moves at home, you may want to protect your PC from unsavoury characters who want to break into your network for nefarious purposes. Check out our overview of the best VPNs for gaming, which includes a variety of PCMag-tested virtual private networks. Learn which VPN services offer the least latency to your fighting game sessions by reading our evaluations.

Brawlhalla

Blue Mammoth Games created Brawlhalla is a free-to-play fighting game (PC, console, and mobile) that expands on Smash’s crazy, character-focused action by providing unrestricted wall-jumping and other mobility possibilities that assist exciting combat.

The character roster also includes Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe, Randy “Macho Man” Savage from WWE, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, and Chun-Li from Street Fighter. Many of these licensed combatants will cost you money, but that’s great; it’s worth paying $20 on all present and future characters since this platform-fighter is so thrilling.

6 Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive 6, like its immediate before, is equal parts fighting game, fashion display, and schlocky action film. Individually, each of the game’s highly disparate parts may not hold up under investigation. After all, DOA 6 isn’t the finest fighter, doesn’t have the most in-depth character customization, and doesn’t quite match the Tekken series’ level of plot craziness.

Nonetheless, Dead or Alive 6 is a fun and surprisingly strategic PC game with enough new features to merit playing with its new Break Blow and Break Hold abilities. In addition, the game’s well-known Triangle System and Danger Zones are immensely exciting.

Divekick

Divekick by Iron Galaxy Studios is the most hipster fighting game ever made. It’s a creation of the indie scene that viciously mocks fighting games and their fanbase, but requires you to be part of the underground circle to properly understand all of the allusions and in-jokes.

It’s a weird game, but it’s entertaining if you can accept the ridiculous premise of a two-button combatant centered purely on leaping and kicking. And rounds of 20 seconds. And a single hit kills. And a scrimmage line. Yes, Divekick is a fighting game freak show, but it’s well worth seeing.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Aside from Fist of the Northstar and Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure, few anime franchises are as naturally suited to the fighting-game treatment as the Dragon Ball franchise. Akira Toriyama’s manga-turned-anime-turned-game series is all about muscular monkey men, humans, aliens, and androids throwing blows in true earth-shattering conflicts, spanning numerous series, movies, and generations of characters.

Dragon Ball FighterZ, the series’ most recent video game adaption, abandons the Xenoverse games’ arena-brawling concept in favor of 3-vs.-3 tag-team combat on a 2D plane. The gameplay change is only one of the many reasons Dragon Ball FighterZ is regarded as one of the year’s most significant releases. Its stunning aesthetic, fierce fighting, and simple control technique combine to create a game that everyone can enjoy for Super Saiyan delights.

You may also kick Cell through a mountain.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a surprisingly complex and aesthetically spectacular chapter in the long-running Fatal Fury series, was heralded as SNK’s magnificent answer to Capcom’s Street Fighter III when it was released in 1999. SNK has finally given the fighting game the PC treatment, releasing it with various more visual settings, leaderboards, and rollback, online versus play some 20 years later.

Despite the removal and downplaying of several series-specific characteristics, Garou does not seem like a Fatal Fury game. It’s situated in Southtown and includes many combatants with traditional Fatal Fury ancestors, whether via biological ties to or martial-arts instruction from elder characters. Kim Kaphwan, for example, isn’t in the game, but his kids carry on his tradition of quick, combo-heavy tae kwon do kicks.

The final product is an amazing game with stunning animation, Just Defend parries, and the strategic T.O.P. system, which provides higher attack damage, restricted life regeneration, quicker super-meter build up, and a unique special attack when the mode is used.

Guilty Gear Strive

Because of its magnificent graphic style and a deep, difficult, and lightning-quick combat system, the Guilty Gear series reigns as the king of anime-style fighting games. Unfortunately, its oceanic depth and towering skill ceiling have kept the casual gamer out—until now. Arc System Works simplifies the series’ distinctive battle techniques in Strive to make them more accessible to newcomers while keeping the prior games’ artistic depth.

Strive has fewer bonus modes than its predecessors, but it still has a lot to offer, including stunning graphics, outstanding character play styles, and quick, lag-free online play thanks to top-tier, rollback netcode. Strive is an accessible series installment that twists up the Guilty Gear formula in the best conceivable ways.

Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-

Guilty Gear is a niche series inside a niche genre that has a cult following since its debut in 1998. Arc System Works abandons the series’ 2D sprites in favor of 3D cel-shaded visuals in Xrd -SIGN- in an effort to broaden its audience. Similarly, series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari aimed for a more friendly play style while retaining the complexity and high skill ceiling that long-time Guilty Gear fans like.

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, on the other hand, preserves the series’ typical combat action (Roman Cancels, Bursts, and Dusts) that allows for innovative offensive and defensive play.

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct’s release for Windows 10 in March 2016 marked the newest chapter in the ongoing PC fighting game renaissance. With its release, Microsoft’s one-on-one fighting game entered the ranks of high-profile series such as Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters, Street Fighter, and others.

Killer Instinct has a combo-heavy engine that caters to both beginners and experts, amazingly realistic visuals with insane particle effects (everything explodes! ), and an over-the-top, NBA Jam-style commentator who yells your achievements (“C-c-c-combo Breaker!”) at the top of his lungs.

Microsoft’s Play Anywhere project includes Killer Instinct. So, if you purchase Killer Instinct through the Microsoft Store, you’ll be able to play it on Xbox One for free. It also supports cross-platform play with Xbox One, which expands the online player population. There’s also a Steam version. Even more, the game’s insanely superb netcode provides seamless play all around the world.

The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate Match Final Edition

The King of Fighters ’98 is one of the finest fighting games ever produced, with its hops, rolls, blowback strikes, and meter-filling Advance and Extra modes, so it’s no wonder that developer SNK has returned to the title several times since its initial release.

SNK honored the game’s tenth anniversary in 2008 by converting it to the PlayStation 2 as The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate Match, a game packed with more characters (including the fearsome ’96 Boss Team! ), stages, techniques, and gameplay modes. A modified Ultimate Match is now available for purchase as The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition.

This version has several visual choices as well as excellent, but not amazing, internet connection that allows you to compete against other KOF enthusiasts from across the world in 3-vs.-3 combat.

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Battle, like The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition, is a dream match that foregoes a plot in order for developer SNK to incorporate as many characters as possible, even those who are canonically deceased, such as criminal mastermind Geese Howard. As a consequence, Unlimited Match has one of the most extensive fighting game lineups of all time, with a 66-character roster.

The superb battle of King of Fighters 2002 Ultimate Match maintains the series’ legacy. Unlimited Match, although lacking KOF ’98 UMFE’s three dramatically distinct battle mechanisms (Advanced, Extra, and Ultimate), features a single system that mimics Advanced Mode. This combat style provides several offensive (Dash, Run, Hops, Super Jumps) and defensive (Guard Cancel Strike, Guard Cancel Roll Throw) options for laying or dodging traps. Excellent rewind netcode allows you to play folks from all around the globe without interruption.

The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition

SNK’s highly intricate, 3-vs.-3, team-based fighter, The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition, is now available on the PC through Valve’s video game marketplace. It’s an all-around great fighting game, and one of the greatest in SNK’s extensive library.

If you played with friends and adversaries in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, you’ll feel right at home here: This Steam version effectively transfers the complicated battle mechanics, meter management, and the greatest sprite-based visuals ever seen in a fighting game.

Furthermore, The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition includes all console DLC as well as the King of Fighters XIII: Climax arcade features. The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition provides good online play, similar to The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate Match Final Edition, but anticipate some difficulties.

The King of Fighters XV

SNK took the foundation of KOF XIV, revised the MAX meter, introduced the Shatterstrike counter system, and redesigned the character models to produce one of the finest fighting games in recent history. KOF XV has an overhauled fighting engine that allows for fast-paced, inventive action, as well as near-flawless rollback netcode that will have you knuckling up with online opponents for hours.

There are a lot of possibilities in this game. You may participate in casual and ranked online combat, examine leaderboards, and watch match replays, as well as enjoy the narrative-driven Story mode.

SNK includes an esports-friendly tournament style tailored for locals and majors like Evo in an effort to create community. You may store up to 15 unique teams, create brackets and rulesets, and register up to 32 competitors. It’s a nice touch. Furthermore, KOF XV allows you to join online lobbies to play against others or just watch.

The Last Blade

With 1993’s entertaining Samurai Shodown, SNK placed weapons-based, 2D battle on the map, but the developer went on to enhance the notion of sword-based combat four years later with a much lesser-known Neo Geo title: The Last Blade.

The Last Blade, which was released on Steam with a few modern bells and whistles, has outstanding swordplay, a dozen finely created characters, and a breathtaking anime- and manga-style presentation that makes its 19th-century Japanese setting one of the most beautiful in fighting-game history.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has received a lot of criticism since its announcement, and it’s not entirely undeserved. The debut teaser for the tag-team fighting game had drab, washed-out visuals, and Capcom emphasized the new novice-friendly, auto-combo features, which are intended to assist casuals blast off cool-looking combos in an otherwise difficult genre. As a consequence, fight aficionados, like myself, were dubious about the game.

Fortunately, after many hours with the game, my feelings towards Infinite shifted. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is a tremendously exciting PC game to play in both casual and intensive sessions, thanks to the Infinity Stone hook and the switch to 2-versus.-2 tag team combat.

Nonetheless, Infinite suffers from presentation and MCU-centric roster concerns that keep it from getting to the absolute top of the fighting game elite.

Mortal Kombat XL

When NetherRealm Studios published Mortal Kombat X for consoles in 2015, the one-on-one fighting game continued to expand with free and paid upgrades that introduced characters, balanced the roster, and enhanced online play. To the chagrin of die-hard Mortal Kombat fans, the High Voltage Studios-ported PC version of the game got no post-launch support.

Thankfully, that has changed with the Mortal Kombat XL upgrade, a version of MKX that finally provides PC players with all of the bonuses that console-based combat aficionados have had for some time. I loathe the concept of paying additional money for PC stuff published after the console version, but the enhancements, which include even more fighters, levels, outfits, and gore, are hard to resist.

Paid DLC included a slew of guest combatants, which has become the norm in the fighting game community. They include the Predator and Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th.

Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 is much more than the guts and gore titles that made the franchise famous. Mortal Kombat 11, the storyline sequel to Mortal Kombat X, employs time travel to pit characters against their adversaries in the past in order to change the present. Whatever.

Mortal Kombat 11 builds on the series’ legacy of chop-socky action and otherworldly mystique, laying the groundwork for military agents, ninjas, gods, and monsters to punch each other in the face. MK11 is the finest Mortal Kombat game to date, thanks to character customisation, HDR10 compatibility, fluid animations, and new offensive and defensive meters.

MultiVersus

Warner Bros. Games’ cross-brand platform-fighter MultiVersus allows you to participate in brawls with characters from DC Comics, Game of Thrones, Looney Tunes, and other brands. The free-to-play game has enough iconic characters (including Bugs Bunny, Iron Giant, and Wonder Woman, among others) and close multiplayer combat to keep you engrossed for hours.

The creators also have big esports goals, sponsoring a $100,000 event to coincide with Evo 2022. In other words, the developer is sure that the strategic, team-based warfare in the game would appeal to the esports audience. While the basis is faulty, it has promise. We can’t wait to see how the gameplay develops, as well as the additional characters drawn from the vast WB pool.

All-Star Nickelodeon Brawl

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is the finest platform-fighter clone on PC. What is the appeal? A large cast of characters and sets from famous animated series such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Wild Thornberrys (now with voice acting!).

Developer Ludosity didn’t include many new mechanics, but what is there works effectively despite some rough edges. The online modes handle multiplayer brawls with ease, and they don’t suffer from latency owing to well-implemented rollback netcode. Check out our review of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl on Nintendo Switch for more information.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore

Skullgirls 2nd Encore, the sequel to Reverge Labs’ critically praised first game, pulls inspiration from numerous well-known fighting games and merges them with the series’ own, cartoony, art deco-influenced visual design

Skullgirls 2nd Encore’s aesthetics, on the other hand, don’t stand out much from the competitors. The indie fighter has a Capcom vs. SNK-style ratio system that allows you to choose up to three characters to combat up to three opponents, as well as a Marvel vs. Capcom-style help system. The fighter also has an automated method for stopping infinites, which are those nasty and abusive combinations that never finish.

NK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium

With the rerelease of Match of the Millennium, the hidden greatest fighting game in the SNK vs. Capcom crossover series gets a new audience. SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium features an 18-character default roster (Athena, Chun-Li, Dan, Felicia, Guile, Haohmaru, Iori, Ken, Kyo, Leona, Mai, Morrigan, Nakoruru, Ryo, Ryu, Sakura, Terry, and Zangief) and three deep groove systems that replicate beloved the companies’ beloved fighting game engines.

That would be more than enough diversity, but Match of the Millennium adds some extras. It has basic battle modes such as Sparring, Survival, and Time Attack. Olympics, on the other hand, is the most exciting option, as it allows you to participate in a variety of non-fighting game minigames. For example, you may use first-person shooting to destroy Metal Slug’s Mars People or lead Ghost ‘N Goblins’ Arthur through pits to collect gold. Versus points earned here unlock additional super moves for the normal and hidden characters. These competitions lack the complexity of early mobile phone games, but they’re a welcome change from the usual fighting game action.

Match of the Millennium is a really enjoyable and rich fighting game that blends difficulty and strategy with a healthy dose of humor.