10 fighting games to look forward to in 2017

The fighting game has never been the most mainstream genre. It’s rare to see 10 fighting games released in a single year, let alone have them be of high enough quality to make a top ten list. Yet miracles do happen, and fighting games are kind of going through a renaissance right now.

Here are the fighting games we are most excited for in the coming year.

Absolver

Absolver is an interesting new take on the fighting game genre. Combat takes place in three dimensions and focuses on blocking, dodging, and striking with martial arts attacks. The combat system is more minimalized compared to what you might find in Street Fighter. The focus is less on combos and footsies and more on pure mix-ups. In a way, it plays like an action game, something out of Devil May Cry or God of War. It will be interesting to see if indie developer Sloclap can turn that action game experience into a competitive fighting title.

Unholy Night

I hope you kept your old SNES in the back of your closet, because Unholy Night is a new SNES game being developed by ex-SNK developers. Yes, a SNES game. Yes, it’s coming out on a cartridge and everything. Its gameplay recreates the slower and more deliberate pacing of older SNES fighters from SNK. If you are a nostalgia buff then this is the game for you.

For Honor

Speaking of new takes on the fighting game, For Honor’s take on weapons-based combat has been enthralling gamers since it was first announced at E3 2015. Demo after demo has shown how incredibly deep its three dimensional combat is. The complex system of weapon parries, throws, disarms, and more has already developed an intricate multiplayer meta. It’s the furthest thing on this list from a traditional fighting game, but that’s what makes it so interesting.

Brawlout

Until now, Nintendo has had a monopoly on the “platform fighter”, the genre that Super Smash Bros. created. Well, not anymore. Brawlout is a new platform fighting game designed specifically for competitive matches. The chaos and items of Smash matches are totally omitted, replaced with a roster of diverse and balanced characters with unique fighting styles and combo paths. If you are a serious Smash fan and enjoy the competitive side of this interesting genre, definitely give it a look.

Gang Beasts

The only real party fighter on this list, Gang Beasts has been in some form of development since 2014. But it’s finally ready to release in its final glorious form, which means you will soon be able to throw your friends off buildings, push them into wood chippers, and light them on fire all you want. While you probably won’t find this on the main stage of EVO, you’ll definitely find it at on the main stage at your next party.

Tekken 7

Bandai Namco is investing an incredible amount of money behind Tekken 7 as a new e-sports title. While it may never be able to compare to Capcom’s heavy investment in e-sports, it will certainly be a worthy runner-up. If you aren’t into competitive gaming, then Tekken 7 has one of the most incredible story modes we have seen in fighting games to date. Not a Tekken fan? Well, Akuma is part of the roster and he plays exactly like his Street Fighter IV incarnation. The next installment in the king of 3D fighters has something for everyone. It’s about time it got out of the arcades and onto home consoles and PCs.

Smash Switch

Ever since the Nintendo “NX” was first teased, rumors of a new Smash title started flying around. When last we heard from Nintendo, Smash was slated to be a launch title for the Switch, but this was well before the official name of the console was even announced. But now that the Switch is being teased, we still haven’t heard anything about this rumored new Smash title. It’s possible that we are just chasing ghosts here and, even if we aren’t, it’s possible that Smash Switch won’t release in 2017. It’s also possible that it will just be a port of the Wii U’s Smash 4. That being said, the incredible impact Smash has on both the professional and casual fighting game scenes is more than enough to give it a slot on this list. Keep your ear to the ground for more details, because this might just be the Switch’s killer app.

Injustice 2

Injustice 2 is taking a lot of risks with the fighting game formula. Its new equipment system will allow you to customize each character on the roster in thousands of different ways, altering their stats and giving them new moves to choose from. While this makes for an intense online experience, it creates some problems for offline play, especially in the tournament scene. But our worries about these new features do not outweigh our hype for the innovation. In a world where most fighting games are based off the same Street Fighter II formula we have been using for years, Injustice 2 is willing to break it. And, on the casual side, who doesn’t want a fighting game that puts Batman up against Superman without all the…. Ben Affleck.

Street Fighter V Season 2

Akuma, the first character of Street Fighter V’s Season 2, has just released and he is a ton of fun. We have five more characters coming, and none of them have been featured in a Street Fighter game before. In addition to these five completely new characters, a huge host of balance changes have been made to the game. It’s a much more balanced, and much more aggressive game now. This new wave of content might be exactly what Street Fighter V needs to skyrocket to popularity after its lukewarm launch.

Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite

They said it couldn’t be done. Heck, I said it couldn’t be done! Well, we were all wrong. Marvel came back to Capcom to give them the licenses for all our favorite characters for yet another crazy crossover battle. While team size has been scaled back and assists have been removed, the new system that makes use of the MCU’s infinity stones looks incredibly robust and fun. The addition of Captain Marvel and Mega Man X to the roster is sure to make both Marvel and Capcom fans happy, and the removal of X-Factor is a change everyone can agree on.

Accessible to newbies, deep for veterans, incredibly fun to watch, and full of all our favorite characters from VS. series past, this is sure to be the breakout fighting game hit of 2017. Our personal hope? That the characters from Next Wave get a slot on the roster. Make it happen Capcom!