Goku still doesn’t realize he’s a bone-headed dad. Scorpion continues his body-crippling blood feud with Sub-Zero, leaving blood, guts, and broken bones in his wake. The stoic Ryu once again dons his gi to obsessively pursue a false sense of purpose. Cerebella and other cutesy, cartoon-like combatants exchange fists, feet, and projectiles against art deco backdrops in hopes of making their wildest dreams come true.
Yes, my fellow digital pugilists, fighting games are back after an extended lull.
Traditionally, the genre has thrived on the home video game consoles, leaving the PC master race feeling rather plebeian. In a bizarre twist that’s not unlike Dhalsim’s limb-lengthening attacks, the Windows PC platform has recently doubled as a dojo for many great fighting games. Yes, fighting games are now great PC games. Anyone hungry for martial arts action has plenty of options, including comical, macabre, 1-on-1, and team-based fighting games.
That said, there are some holes in the library. You won’t find excellent, retro gems, such as Capcom vs. SNK 2 or Darkstalkers (well, at least not legally). Still, there’s enough variety among PC fighting games to please genre fans.
PCMag’s favorite PC fighting games are highlighted below. This isn’t a hastily crafted roundup designed to simply appease the Google gods. Uh-uh. You’ll find links to in-depth reviews, as well as summaries for those of you who are pinched for time. And rest assured that all these reviews are penned by fighting game fans. It’s all love.
We recognize that there are a few coverage gaps. We’re working on that. In fact, this article will be updated with a new fighting game whenever we give one a rating of 3.5 stars or higher. So, please, return. Often. If you really feel jumpy, drop your Steam handle in the comment section, grab a gamepad or fight stick, and catch these refined hands. Or, come see me at Evo.
Oh, yeah, while you’re practicing combos at home, you may want to secure your PC from unsavory types who want to slide into your network for dastardly reasons. We suggest checking out our roundup of the best VPNs for gaming, a collection of PCMag-tested virtual private networks. Explore our reviews to learn about the VPN services that add the least latency to your fighting game sessions.