2018 had its fair share of fighting games, and for the most part, they impressed us. Unlike other years, we didn’t get a new Mortal Kombat or a new Street Fighter, but 2018 brought us some exceptionally cool new titles. A few older franchises popped up with sequels, but generally speaking, 2018 was slower for fighting games. Regardless, we’re pretty big fans of the 2D and 3D fighting genres. There’s nothing more exciting that pulling off a lengthy combo or executing a Mortal Kombat fatality. A handful of fighting games in 2018 gave us that level of excitement, so we have to give credit where credit is due. Here are our picks for the best fighting games of 2018!
Soul Calibur VI
Soul Calibur is a fighting franchise that digs into our childhood years, as many of us remember playing Soul Calibur II on the Gamecube, Playstation 2, and Xbox. The series has always been known for its robust character creation, weapon-based fighting, and epic fantasy story. Soul Calibur VI delivers well on those key aspects, but comes up disappointing in other areas. There are two extensive single player campaigns; one is a RPG-lite, and the other is more reminiscent of classic Arcade modes. Using the game’s character creator, you can form the fighter of your dreams, thanks to a plethora of sliders and coloring options. However, the game is not without its flaws. Extended load times make multiplayer frustrating, and repetitive fights make the otherwise enjoyable RPG-lite mode feel bloated. If you’re a fan of the Soul Calibur franchise, you’ll appreciate Soul Calibur VI‘s attempts to retell the original game’s story. We had a great deal of fun with the various features and modes, but the final product lacked the polish we desired.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
When I first fired up Dragon Ball FighterZ, I didn’t have very high expectations. I like anime enough, but I don’t consider myself a huge fan of it. Furthermore, I’ve only ever seen a handful of Dragon Ball Z episodes, so I hold no real nostalgia for the characters or story. Luckily, Dragon Ball FighterZ is so excessively colorful, fast-paced, and accessible that I had no problem jumping right in. The action is ridiculously fast, but you don’t need to be a top-tier player to pull off impressive moves. There’s a nice auto-combo system at play, and the roster of fighters is varied enough to keep you trying new ones. The single player mode leaves a bit to be desired, but online multiplayer is competitive and exciting. As a debut, Dragon Ball FighterZ rocked the competitive fighting game scene (and for good reason). Beyond being a great adaptation of its source material, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a wickedly fun fighting game. Whether you’re a fan of the original anime or not, you should definitely try out Dragon Ball FighterZ. Each fight feels like an event, and rightfully so. Few fighting games nail the anime aesthetic as nicely as this one does.
My Hero: One’s Justice
My Hero: One’s Justice stands as a unique take on a classic style of fighter. At its core, the game feels more calculated than the traditional button combo system of something like Dragon Ball FighterZ. With major blocking mechanics replaced with a sidekick system, and a simple button press that activates a special move after charging up, MH:OJ feels slower. This isn’t such a bad thing, as it allows you to take a more methodical approach to a genre that skews towards snap decisions and twitchy gameplay. The roster is sure to delight any fan of the anime, giving the player a chance to play some of the most exciting characters of the series. There are a few notable missing heroes, but being able to execute a Detroit Smash as the larger-than-life All Might is an experience that’s hard to replicate. One’s Justice may not be for everyone, but it’s a nice change of pace in a genre that got a lot of love in 2018.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
There’s so much content in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that it’s hard to know where to start. Together, the Super Gamesite 64 team absolutely loved Ultimate, but for separate reasons. Some of us found a lot to love in the solo modes, namely World of Light and Classic Mode. Others enjoyed the multiplayer aspect, chewing up foes in casual and online play. Every new fight type brings an exciting change of pace, and over the hundreds of hours we sunk into it, Ultimate never felt stale. The ridiculous size of the roster and stage selection was an immediate positive, as was the comprehensive collection of music. Some balancing issues cause occasional frustration and the online isn’t always the most consistent in terms of connection, but Super Smash Bros. Ultimate exceeds in every other area. Few fighting games took the industry by storm in the way that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate did in 2018. Nintendo set up big expectations and completely surpassed them, cementing Ultimate as our favorite fighting game in 2018.
Those are our choices for the best fighting game of 2018! If you want to hear our full deliberation and discussion behind these choices, check out Episode 118 of Super Gamecast 64! We also discuss categories like the Most Accessible Game of 2018 and the Most Disappointing Game of 2018!