What’s that you say? BAM! The List God has no time for your contributions! The List God doesn’t want chat, it wants ANGRY PEOPLE PUNCHING EACH OTHER. Oh List God, we offer up to thee the finest fighting games of 2018, and beg mercy – KO us not.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Capcom, 16th January
This spruced-up version of SFV includes all the DLC characters from seasons 1 and 2, new modes (including the long-awaited arcade mode), and a new V-Trigger option for every character. Best thing? Existing players get everything outside of the DLC characters for free, while new players can pick up a standalone retail release at a budget price.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Arc System Works, 18th January
This could be one of the year’s early surprises. Even if you’re not a Dragon Ball nutter, everyone loves Goku, and this is a team fighting game with a great art style and a tonne of original elements. You’d expect no less from Arc System Works, but this is a real dark horse.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
Team Ninja, 30th January
Released in Japanese arcades in 2015, this sequel to the surprisingly excellent Final Fantasy PSP brawlers rebuilt the battle system and added a tonne more spiky-haired characters. It also switched the focus to three-on-three team battles, with the AI controlling whoever you’re not fighting as – which does give it that ‘group’ feel of a Final Fantasy battle.
PS4, Xbox One
EA, 2nd February
EA’s UFC games are pretty great and, if the beta’s anything to go by, UFC 3 is the same again but bigger and better. An especially cute touch is that you can use social media in the career mode to set up rivalries with other fighters, but the real sucker punch here might be the quickfire matchmaking options that should make multiplayer fights fast and plentiful.
Nicalis, 21st March
Blade Strangers is a four button 2D fighting game designed to be accessible at the entry level, but with a higher level focus on frame counting, chain building and recognising hit box specifics. It contains fighters from games like Cave Story +, and uses some tech magic to turn 3D models into 3D sprites for a unique art look.
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
A jam-packed bundle, as you might expect, though to be fair it’s mostly variants of the core 2D Street Fighter games: Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter III. Nothing to sneeze at there though, these are some of the best fighting games of all time, and with the addition of online matchmaking for four of the games (including Street Fighter II: Third Strike, arguably the series’ jewel) this will be a must for fisticuff fans.
Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle
PC, PS4, Switch
Arc System Works, TBA
A 2vs2 fighter, this incorporates characters from Blazblue and Persona 4 Arena as well as a couple of anime series. Arc promises a whole new style of combat and the snatches shown thus far certainly look spectacular – though that’s true of all its fighting games. After the lukewarm reception of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite however, its obvious team-based competition, fighting game fans may well be hungry for something fresh in this niche.
PS4, Xbox One
Angry Mob Games, TBA
While already available on PC and Switch, Brawlout comes to PS4 and Xbox One later this year. The game takes considerable inspiration from the Smash Bros. school of fighting game design, combining characters with unique varied movesets, fast, frantic combat, and a party game feel where players can easily jump in and have fun, but also have room for competitive growth.
Zero Dimension, TBA
Another 2vs2 team brawler, but coming from an indie team with serious pedigree and the promise of doing things differently. Cerebrawl has been in development for three years and the devs are launching a kickstarter to fund the final production push. This definitely looks like one for the hardcore but hey, we’re talking fighting games here.
Sirlin Games, TBA
Developed by Dave Sirlin, lead designer on Super Street Fighter 2: HD Remix, Fantasy Strike is a simple six button fighter that aims to focus on tactical and strategic decision making rather physical complexity of move execution. Counters are automatic if you stop moving and fighting, supers are single buttons rather than motion or combo triggered, and players are encouraged to get right to learning how to read and beat an opponent rather than having to learn to control their character in depth first.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Soleil Ltd., TBA
A four-on-four fighting game where teams compete to bash each other about with ninjitsu and complete missions, this isn’t quite as pure as some of the other entries here – but its mix of over-the-top action and objectives makes it look like a lot of fun. Fighters have different styles that combine to different effects, and the promise of an online ‘ninja league’ surely has all pyjama-fanciers excited.
Soul Calibur VI
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Bandai Namco, TBA
Soul Calibur VI sees a fighting game series known for armour clad weapon wielders slowly hitting each other with neon spark covered weapons, and VI sees the combat system simplified and made more accessible at the low end, while keeping the challenge for competitive players.
Want more of our 2018 offerings to the List God? Find them all right here.