Another Top 5, these are getting harder to decide on, but if @swooper_d over on twitter can manage a top 30 then I don’t really have any excuses not to do this one.
In reverse order as usual, and where I’ve put down the platform for each game, that’s just where I played the game most or currently. Many of these are available on other systems.
5) Street Fighter V – PS4
If this list was just on the strength of the actual gameplay sitting side by side with an evenly matched mate, then this would be comfortably way out in front. Unfortunately though, Capcom made some poor decisions around the original release of Street Fighter V, and although they have made numerous sizeable content updates, the game remains lacking for single player; and online is brutal if you’re not at least semi-pro.
4) Marvel vs Capcom 2 – DC
Was tricky to decide which of the ‘versus’ series from Capcom to include, as there are so many great ones. This is probably the one I spent the most time with, and has an incredible roster of playable characters.
3) Virtua Fighter 2 & 5 – Saturn & Xbox 360
Cheating here but I’m including both Virtua Fighter 2 and 5 in this list as I couldn’t decide which I liked more. It’s really impressive how well the Saturn port of Virtua Fighter 2 holds up though. When I want to play some Virtua Fighter, it’s one of these two games I reach for, and it’s decided based on whichever is closest.
2) Injustice 2 – PS4
Even I’m surprised by how high this sits. However, if Street Fighter V was an excecise in how not to release a mainstream fighting game, Injustice 2 is a masterclass in how it should be done. Builds on the great DC Fanservice of the first game with another fun story mode, then adds the ‘multiverse’ content and introduces a gear chasing mechanic like Diablo. Don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time playing any fighting game on my own. This is also handsdown the best Mortal Kombat game. (Fight me, ideally on one of these games) That said Mortal Kombat XL is pretty solid fun too.
1) Ultra Street Fighter IV – PS4 & PC
Street Fighter V wouldn’t have been anywhere near as disappointing if they hadn’t been following up the stellar work that had been done on this. Easily the best experience I’ve had all round with a fighting game, right down to the well delivered net play and matchmaking. I’ve gone with Ultra, as that’s what I mostly play now, but I have owned each iteration of SFIV and in my experience whichever you have access to is worth playing.
Skull Girls – PC & PS4
Some of the artwork is dubious and cringey, but this is a joy to play. Embracing the familiar 6 button layout of Street Fighter, this feels instantly familar and very polished.
Fighters Megamix – Saturn
A real slice of Sega Fanservice, basically a mashup of Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers, fans were rewarded with unlockable characters from SEGA properties such as Sonic, Virtua Cop, and even the car from Daytona. This is excellent fun to play, and I’d probably rate it higher if I’d spent more time with the Fighting Vipers series.
Tekken Tag Tournament – PS2
The Tekken series has always been entertaining, but has never felt as balanced as other fighters. Particularly when compared to the Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter games. This is the game I had the most fun with. I picked up the sequel for PS3 in a sale but haven’t really got round to checking it out.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 – DC & Saturn
It’s a tough shout as to whether I’d go with Alpha 2 or 3, as I probably spent more time with the second game first time round. However, 3 is very much my go to these days, particularly now I have access to the excellent Japan only Saturn port.
Vampire Savior – Saturn & PS3
In an alternate reality, Capcom abandoned Street Fighter and carried on making games in the Vampire / Darkstalkers series. 🙁
At least some of the characters live on in the Capcom vs games, but I’d really like another. Ideally a Street Fighter IV style reboot for the series.