Take your pick from the best of anime, samurais and dudes that rip your spine out.
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It would seem that 2019 would have to be a pretty special year to compete with 2018 when it comes to fighting games, as releases like Soulcalibur VI and Dragon Ball FighterZ blew the collective socks off the fighting game community; one for how successful it became competitively and the other for its potential to spawn hideous monstrosities for meme videos. Different strokes for different folks, eh?
Fortunately, with all the fighting games already announced for 2019, we can probably expect a year that’s just as good, if not better, at delivering us virtual media about people kicking each other’s teeth in. Fighting games are just great, and here’s some of the biggest new fighting games of 2019 set to grace your platform of choice.
1. Jump Force
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 15th February 2019
It’s not the first time that anime’s greatest heroes and villains have gathered together to have a barney, but Jump Force might be the best version of it. Combining franchises from Japan’s legendary Shonen Jump magazine, we finally get to see what Goku would look like battering Yugi Muto, or we get to answer the question of who’d win in a fight between Kenshiro and Vegeta.
Taking the form of a 3v3 arena brawler, Jump Force looks to follow a similar path to other Bandai titles like My Hero One’s Justice or the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, with flashy combos that make the game gorgeous to look at, supported by a decent and accessible fighting engine. Combine that with a story mode that allows you to create your own anime hero, and Jump Force could certainly be a must have game for anime and fighting fans.
2. Dead or Alive 6
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 1st March 2019
Known somewhat accurately as “that series with the boobs”, Dead or Alive has always been a fantastic fighting game with plenty of depth underneath the surface. The series accommodates new players who just like mashing buttons while offering veteran players the chance to master the game’s intricate counter and reversal system, and it looks like Dead or Alive 6 will feature more of the same.
Unfortunately, the gameplay of the series has been overshadowed by DOA 5’s increased focus on sexy costume DLC and all that crap; something that DOA 6 should hopefully move past. Even the developer said that they’re planning to focus less on the sexualisation of the–nope, never mind. There’s a $232 edition of the game with boobie mousepads and body pillows.
As you were, I guess.
3. Fantasy Strike
Platform(s): PS4, Switch, PC Release Date: Out Now (Early Access)/Q1 2019 (Full Launch)
You might remember our Best Upcoming Fighting Games of 2018 had Fantasy Strike on it. Turns out it still hasn’t left Early Access on Steam yet and we’re still waiting on a PS4 and Switch release, so it’s featuring on this list too. Now we just implore Sirlin Games to release this game at some point this year. We don’t want to add it to the 2020 list.
If you’re unaware of Fantasy Strike, it’s a fighting game that’s specifically designed to help new players understand the core mechanics of the genre. Instead of relying on complex inputs which are often a barrier for most players, the game instead teaches the importance of spacing and mind games, which are tools that’ll aid players in other games too.
4. Mortal Kombat 11
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch Release Date: 23rd April 2019
Known very accurately as “that one with the ice guy that rips your spine out”, Mortal Kombat 11 is the continuation of both one of the long running franchises in fighting game history and, if all goes well, Netherrealm’s gaming hot streak. With two fantastic Mortal Kombat games, along with the brilliant Injustice 1 & 2, MK 11 has some big shoes to fill.
With the official gameplay reveal set for next week, we’ll have more details about the overall game then, but that didn’t stop sites like GameStop Italy from leaking features like the new GoreTech system, an overhauled Fatality mechanic, fighter customisation that appears to be similar to Injustice 2 and an enhanced focus on online play and the eSports scene. We’ll have more info after next week’s Global Reveal.
A considerable blindspot in your boy’s fighting game knowledge, the debut trailer for SNK’s latest iteration of Samurai Shodown (or Samurai Spirits in Japan) is all the inspiration I need to change that. Considering it’s been over 10 years since the last stand-alone addition to the series (Samurai Shodown: Sen for the Xbox 360), the world has been long overdue a new version.
Not much is known right now about this upcoming version of the game, except for the fact that it’s slated for a 2019 release and will include classic characters like Haohmaru, Nakoruru and Galford. It’ll also sport a whole new art style that feels reminiscent of Street Fighter IV’s cel-shaded graphics. But better, obviously. Modern tech and all that.
6. Kill la Kill – IF
Platform(s): PS4, Switch, PC Release Date: 2019
Arc System Works are another development team on a fighting game hot streak, but as much they should be commended for developing bangers like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Guilty Gear and Blazblue, they’ve also got a knack for publishing games from lesser known developers such as Chaos Code and Under Night In-Birth. Kill la Kill – IF is one such game.
Developed by A+ Games, Kill la Kill – IF definitely has all the makings of a Arc System Works project: stylish graphics that bring the anime to life, extravagant combos and gameplay that epitomises “easy to pick up, hard to master”. Fans of the series will also appreciate the new “IF” storyline that’ll be bundled with the game, on top of recreations of iconic moments within the series.
7. Granblue Fantasy Versus
Platform(s): PS4 Release Date: 2019
That said, Arc System Works are still in the business of making fighting games themselves, and Granblue Fantasy Versus is no exception. If you’re wondering what the hell a Granblue is, don’t worry. I’m not entirely sure either, but I do know that Granblue Fantasy is an RPG developed for mobiles that’s been highly popular in Japan, and now there’s a fighting game and a Platinum Games developed action RPG in the works.
Granblue Fantasy Versus promises to blend the peerless fighting game action of the best Arc System Works games with the abilities and world of RPG. For many gamers, particularly in the West, Granblue Fantasy Versus might be their opening experience with the world of Granblue Fantasy, so we’ve got our fingers crossed for a good first impression.
8. Punch Planet
Platform(s): PC Release Date: Out Now (Early Access)/2019 (Full Launch)
Another Early Access game that’s available on Steam right now, Punch Planet is possibly the most stylish fighting game on this list. The neon soaked sci-fi noir world, the brilliant character designs and synth-laden soundtrack are all excellent, and we haven’t begun to mention the great gameplay mechanics like time cancelling that the game boasts.
With more characters and gameplay modes to be revealed, we’re hoping that the developers can get the game finished as soon as possible. The more we see of it, the more excited we get. Also, if the team over at Sector-K games happen to be reading this, we definitely wouldn’t say no to a console port. Just saying.