While Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's tag-team fights are like a bolt of lightning from Mjolnir, its story is dreadful and its characters look like they were deliberately designed to spawn a million derpy memes. It manages to be easily one of the worst and also one of the best fighting games in recent memory all at once. Like its heroes and villains, it's stuck between two worlds.
King of Fighters XIV offers an astonishing amount of content, with nearly double the playable characters of most other games available on day one. The fighters themselves are interesting and well designed, both visually and mechanically, and they push limits with an execution ceiling higher than perhaps any other fighting game. King of Fighters XIV’s netcode and technical shortcomings are itis biggest stumbling blocks, but mastering its characters and leveraging what you’ve learned remains satisfying regardless. There are no shortcuts to becoming the new King of Fighters, but the journey to the top is well worth taking.
Pokkén Tournament takes a lot of what we know from old fighting gaming favorites and sticks them into a blender, delivering a unique take on both Pokémon and on fighting games in general. Sometimes all those ingredients spill over a container that's a little too full - there is a surprising amount to learn beyond the beginner's level, and that may alienate some Pokémon fans without fighting game experience. Pokkén Tournament does do a good job, though, at alleviating this bloat of mechanics with single-player modes to help ease into the action.
Imaginative characters, complex battles, and a killer soundtrack are just a few good reasons to love Guilty Gear Xrd.
Injustice 2's fights improve on Gods Among Us in nearly every way, specifically addressing fan concerns about movement speed and giving you new ways to burn meter. Visually, the DC roll call shines even as they star in a flat and unnecessarily grim story. The unrivaled amount of single-player content to explore, especially the highlight Multiverse mode, and the height of Injustice 2's skill ceiling make it an easy environment in which to lose hours of your day without ever even challenging another human… or giant telekinetic gorilla, as it were.
Tekken 7 truly is a hallmark, a fighting game crafted with obvious affection. It strikes a fine balance between accessibility to series newcomers and retaining much of its technical traditions. The soundtrack is an electronic treat, and while the story can at times seem a bit cliche, the fact that it never takes itself too seriously lets it bring in a tremendous amount of flexible character customization. Its dedication to the details helps push it into the position of my favorite fighting game of 2017 so far.