Whether 2D or 3D, fighting games have been around for a long time and have grown to be a very popular genre. Especially recently with their respective tournament scenes in events like EVO. Fighting games have a lot of different franchises trying out new mechanics to make them stand out from the rest of the crowd which makes it an extremely competitive field.
Every console has their fair share of great fighting games and Xbox is no exception, having 2D, 3D, and anime fighters from many different companies. Let’s discuss the eight games that I think are the best ones you can get on the Xbox One.
Killer Instinct (2013)
Yep. One of the Xbox One’s launch titles remains not only one of it’s best fighting games, but one of the console’s best games as a whole. While it started off as a smaller title, Killer Instinct grew into a very underrated fighting game. It offers more content then most fighters do even to this day while still delivering some of the more engaging action in a fighting game.
This game will make sure that you pay attention to what you are doing and it wants you to at least practice a little bit with each character to be able to stand a chance and understand it’s combo breaker system. The reward you get for doing so is reading your opponent and landing some of the longest yet stylistic combos in a fighting game outside of something like Marvel vs. Capcom. It also has some of the best online connections of any fighting game to this day.
Furthermore, it’s home to one of the best soundtracks of any fighting game with a fusion of a variety of genres including techno, synths, heavy metal, symphonic, rap, and even Mongolian death metal and make them all work. Mick Gordon (who would later go on to compose DOOM (2016) and DOOM Eternal) really knocked it out of the park with this soundtrack. He even got Ali Edwards & Casey Edwards (who would later work on the music of Devil May Cry 5) for Orchid’s Theme, “Touch Me & I’ll Break Your Face”.
Killer Instinct does it’s very best to give you as much fun and content for the price and the game does it in spades as one of the more complete fighters of the generation as well as one of the more unique and artistically different fighting games out there. It being back at EVO for 2020 as an online title will hopefully give it more attention as a great game.
Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)
Want to see a game filled with love for it’s source material? Look no further than Dragon Ball FighterZ. After it’s unveiling in 2017 at Microsoft’s E3 conference, it was hugely talked about and continued all the way through release. After release, it has widely been considered to be one of the best fighting games of the entire eighth generation of consoles.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, the game is a visual marvel and is one of the best looking fighting games out there on art style alone. From a gameplay standpoint, it is an extremely fun and in-depth fighter. Like the Marvel vs. Capcom series, it is a team based assist fighter with lots of characters, 40 of them with Ultra Instinct Goku’s recent release. And all of them are very faithful to the manga they hail from (seriously, almost all of the attacks are ripped straight from the manga, including normals).
It being an Arc System Works game, the music is phenomenal with a great mixture of metal and orchestral pieces (The Broly’s, Cooler and Vegeta’s themes get special mention) and even a great jazz piece in Hit’s theme. However, also like Arc System Works games, the online leaves a lot to be desired with frustratingly bad connections aplenty.
Despite the rocky online mode, Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighters you can get. It even comes with a story mode, something that not a lot of fighting games do. It’s worth every penny of it’s purchase price and a must buy if you are a Dragon Ball fan.
Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Yes. Your eyes do not deceive you. You are seeing Spawn, The Joker, and The Terminator together in an image. Mortal Kombat 11 allows you to play as them. Not just them, but starting on the 26th with Aftermath, you’ll be able to play as RoboCop as well! Go nuts with recreating RoboCop versus The Terminator from comics in glorious, gory HD.
Besides the fan-service with the guest characters, Mortal Kombat 11 is a very well crafted game with some of the best character models in any fighting game. The visuals are simply stunning, with some of the best stage backgrounds in modern fighting games. The game itself has a very solid roster of characters all of whom play really well. Due to the variations, there’s bound to be something for everyone to pick up and play.
The story is engaging and expertly voice acted from everyone in the cast. While it does have plot holes and some story choices are questionable, it is well told with extremely high production values. With characters people recognize, it keeps the intrigue going as the story progresses.
It is a really well done game that started out a little rough with unlockables being really frustrating to get, but thankfully it has been patched. If you are a Mortal Kombat fan, get the game. Especially since Aftermath comes out very soon and brings in fan favorite features from previous entries like Friendships.
Injustice 2 (2017)
This game is probably one of the better recent sequels to a fighter. While Injustice: Gods Among Us is enjoyable, Injustice 2 just blows it out of the water on basically every front. From production, gameplay, story presentation, voice acting, content, and fan-service, Injustice 2 is a step up in every way.
Like most NetherRealm titles, this game has phenomenal production values and it is such an improvement over the original that you’d be forgiven if you thought it was another studio who worked on the first one. The cast is fantastic in the portrayal of the characters and the story is well told, However, I do have my issues with the overall story itself.
It plays really well, in my opinion much better then the original, and the roster is bigger and better even with omissions I’m not a fan of like Deathstroke and Raven. It’s probably NetherRealms best game from a gameplay standpoint. While it does have some notable faults from a story stand point, it makes up for it by being a very solid fighting game.
Tekken 7 (2017)
Probably one of the biggest fighting games out right now, Tekken 7 is quite the title. It was released in Japanese arcades in 2015 and it didn’t make it’s way into consoles until 2017 (a big year for fighting games looking back at it). While people were excited for this game, what really gave it a push was Street Fighter’s Akuma making an appearance.
Not counting Tag Tournament 2 nor Street Fighter X Tekken, this game has the biggest roster out of all the entries in the series. It also includes guest characters like the aforementioned Akuma from Street Fighter, Geese Howard from Fatal Fury, Noctis from Final Fantasy XV and bafflingly enough, Negan from The Walking Dead (something that even Super Smash Bros. goes “What?”).
All of the characters are well done and very fun to play as and due to it’s very patient yet very back & forth style of play, it delivers extremely intense fights for both the players and the spectators watching. It is one of the harder fighting games to get into and the online connection does not help it, making it’s accessibility a bit harder then most other fighting games. It is however one of the more beginner friendly Tekken games, so if you want to jump into the series, Tekken 7 is one of the best ways to do it. It’s also on Game Pass if you are interested in playing it.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011-2017)
This is an odd pick because this game is available on previous generation systems and there is a sequel out in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. While that game has some good things about it (notably it’s gameplay and it’s online), many will agree that Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is simply a much better game. It’s also an important game that made fighting game tournaments more frantic and exciting to watch for new players. Since it is available on Xbox One it is eligible.
The visuals are fantastic with one of the best art styles I think a fighting game has ever had. While the models themselves are nothing great, the art style makes the colors pop and makes everything much more vibrant and frantic, making the game visual eye candy. The gameplay is also fantastic, taking the formula established in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and expanding on it with new mechanics like the Team Aerial Combos and the controversial X-Factor. All these make the game a treat for the eyes. With an excellent roster of 50 characters spanning the decades of history of both Capcom and Marvel and you have a game you almost can’t get enough of…
…until you go online. The online mode is quite awful, filled with lag and severe button delay making certain characters (like Dante, X-23, or Jill) very difficult to play. The game also does lack content so you’ll likely go through all the modes the game has to offer in just a few hours.
However, what you’re playing is excellent and is considered a very important and well regarded game in the FGC due to the impact it’s left on it, opening it up to new venues and making it bigger then ever. “When’s Mahvel?” indeed, and with Marvel vs. Capcom 2 back at EVO 2020, only time will tell.
Soul Calibur VI (2018)
Soul Calibur VI was widely anticipated and a return to form since the mixed reception of Soul Calibur V. Upon it’s reveal at The Game Awards in 2017, fans of the franchise felt that they were on cloud nine.
Continuing the tradition of the franchise, there are guest characters such as Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series, 2B from Nier: Automata, and recently Haohmaru from Samurai Shodown. All three were very positively received by players and made for some very enthusiastic reactions from not just the Soul Calibur fanbase, but the guest characters respective fanbases as well.
Gameplay wise, it continues to be more offense based like Soul Calibur V, but refined it to make it more accessible to new players yet deep and intriguing enough for veteran players to dive in and explore. The game’s ability to create characters gives it more replay value then most other fighting games due it having near limitless potential in being able to create and what you’ll face online.
Samurai Shodown (2019)
Samurai Shodown is the most recent entry on this list as it came out later in 2019 then Mortal Kombat 11 did. It is also a new entry in a franchise that has not seen a release in over a decade, so people were really surprised upon seeing it come back with a new entry.
Samurai Shodown is a more unique fighter compared to other games in the market. Most fighters focus on neutral and combos, punishing even the simplest of mistakes with a long combo for their troubles. While Samurai Shodown continues that, it instead replaces combos for hard hitting punishes, making every neutral play count as to not get hit a 2-3 hit combo that takes away half your health.
Due to this, it can be almost as intense as Tekken in terms of back and forth and very patient play. While Tekken is 3D, Samurai Shodown is a 2D fighter and this kind of tension is very palpable and impressive to pull off. It’s very similar to old-school Street Fighter in this regard so if you are a fan of that plus want to get into this franchise, this game is a good entry point.
That wraps up the list of the best fighting games on the Xbox One. Let us know down in the comments what your favorite fighting game is. Stay tuned to Generation Xbox for more like this and everything else in the world of Xbox news. Also, if you’re looking for something to listen to, check out our weekly podcast here.