Wccftech’s Best Fighting Games of 2023 – Fatalities In Metro City

Wccftech’s Best Fighting Games of 2023 – Fatalities In Metro City

2023 was one of the best years ever for gaming, thanks to the release of several excellent titles across different genres, like role-playing and action-adventure. It was also a fantastic year for fighting games, thanks to the long-anticipated return of the two series that defined the genre back in the early 90s: Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

2023, however, wasn’t all just about the latest entries in these two glorious titles, as plenty of other minor fighting games made this a year to remember for a genre that, while extremely niche nowadays, still has a strong hardcore following.

Without further ado, here are the fighting games we feel are the best released in 2023, alongside a few other titles that, while not stellar, deserved to be mentioned. Don’t forget to vote for your personal favorite in the poll at the end of this article!

Street Fighter 6 (10)

The Street Fighter series by CAPCOM may not have created the fighting game genre as a whole, but it did influence its development significantly with the second entry in the series and continues to do so with each new entry. Following Street Fighter V’s effectively broken launch in 2016, the development team effectively turned the game around in its final couple of seasons with an amazing level of care that bode well for Street Fighter 6, which was finally released to commercial and critical acclaim in 2023.

Right from the first closed beta in 2022, Street Fighter 6 showed its best features, such as amazing character design and the new Drive mechanics, which addressed some of the most common complaints aimed at the previous entry in the series, such as the rushdown-focused playstyle of the vast majority of the cast and the lack of defensive options. At release, however, the game proved to be much more than just yet another fighting game for enthusiasts and competitive-minded players, with an extensive single-player mode called World Tour, amazing accessibility and tutorials, and the new Modern control scheme that makes it easier than ever to get into the series. The game’s flawless rollback netcode also makes putting one’s skill to the test against other players online more enjoyable than ever.

While some may complain about some balancing issues due to the dominance of certain characters in the meta, such as Luke, Ken, Dee Jay, and JP, there’s no denying that, as far as first versions go, Street Fighter 6 is one of the best in the series. No matter if you are a casual player looking for some mindless fun or a competitive player who wants to take a shot at winning the Capcom Cup, Street Fighter 6 truly has something for everyone.

Mortal Kombat 1 (8.5)

Much like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat has had a lasting influence on the fighting games genre as a whole but has taken a different road than CAPCOM’s series since its first few of entries. Where Street Fighter always had a major focus on its competitive aspects, Mortal Kombat leaned more into the single-player aspect of fighting games without neglecting its competitive nature.

In this regard, Mortal Kombat 1 is no different than the games that came out before it. Featuring an excellent cinematic story mode that reboots the universe once again, the board-games inspired Invasion Mode featuring role-playing game elements, and the classic Towers, the latest entry in the series by NetherRealm offers everything one could want from a fighting game in terms of single player content, although the lack of deep character customization, replaced by a standard live service approach does damage the experience a bit.

While the single-player content may feel lacking compared to the past, the amazing rework of classic characters, the introduction of Kameo fighters, tag-team partners that can be called for assistance during matches, smoother, faster gameplay, and the amazing rollback netcode that powers the online experience make Mortal Kombat1 a juicy, and extremely gory, package.

Having been developed by a team known for creating complex fighting games, Arc System Works surprised the entire fighting game community with Granblue Fantasy Versus, which featured some streamlined mechanics that made it extremely easy to get into. Sadly, the lack of crossplay and the ancient delay-based netcode terribly limited the game’s popularity.

With Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, things have changed considerably. While the game retains the simple-to-learn, hard-to-master nature of the original release, it improves the experience considerably with new mechanics to break through the opponent’s defense and perform powerful combos, a new Story Mode, rollback netcode, and crossplay support.

While having auto-combo mechanics for all normals can be an issue for some, there’s no denying that Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a considerable improvement over the original. With a free-to-play branch that features three rotating characters, there’s really no better time than to get into the fighting game inspired by the franchise created by Cygames.

Pocket Bravery

Pocket Bravery may not have had the same high budget as some other games in this list or their modern visuals, but don’t let this fool you. The game developed by Statera Studio has every right to be among the best fighting games released this year.

While the SD presentation is an evident tribute to the Neo Geo Pocket Color and SNK vs CAPCOM: The Match of the Millennium vibes, Pocket Bravery is as modern as it gets, with its Story Mode providing more information on the playable cast and its unique Ichor powers, its extensive tutorial and training mode, the latter complete with frame data, and a simplified control scheme that is reminiscent of Street Fighter 6’s Modern controls. The more than competent AI, while at times unfair, is yet another callback to a time when fighting games were meant to be brutally challenging to force players to shell out quarters upon quarters.

Pocket Bravery may not be the most accessible fighting game released this year, but it is without a doubt one of the very best, especially if you think the genre peaked back in the 90s.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

With the Super Smash Bros. series reaching incredible levels of popularity, no one was surprised to see other developers attempt to create their own take on the formula created by Masahiro Sakurai and his team. Among these developers is Fair Play Labs with its Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, which, while competent enough, did not set the world of platform fighters on fire.

It’s almost incredible how the developer managed to make Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 so much better than its predecessor in just two years. Pretty much every element has been refined and improved. Character design is more on point, delivering wildly varied fighting styles, animations better reflect the cartoony origins of all the playable cast, sound design makes each hit more impactful, and some choice tweaks to movement and attacks made the game simply way more enjoyable to play. Add in some new mechanics like the Slime meter which shakes the formula of the original considerably, and you get one of the best platform fighters released this year.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 may still feel a little too much like the Super Smash Bros. series, but it is undeniable that the game by Fair Play Labs is an extremely accomplished platform fighter that has proven how a game featuring an all-star cast of characters doesn’t need to rely just on nostalgia to be engaging.

Wccftech Community’s Best Fighting Game of 2023

Honorable Mentions

The five games above are the best fighting games released in 2023, but there are a few other titles that deserve to be mentioned, whether for bringing back a beloved classic into the modern era or for attempting to twist the genre’s formula in unique ways.

  • God of Rock
  • Your Only Move is HUSTLE
  • King Of Fighters 13: Global Match
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