Brawlers of 2017

Brawlers of 2017

The fighting genre may be one of the most exciting sectors of Esports, let alone gaming. We’re now halfway through 2017, and the fighting genre has put out some pretty impressive games no matter your fighting preference. We’ve already been treated to the tremendous Injustice 2, Tekken 7, ARMs, For Honor, and the updated and re-released Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers. There are still many more games to come, each with a unique flair and style of its own.

Let’s take a look at all of the fighting games that released in 2017 and are yet to come.

Injustice 2 - PS4, PC, Xbox One
NetherRealm Studios

What happens when you take the creators of Mortal Kombat and combine them with the DC superhero universe? The greatest superhero game to ever exist. Improving on the success of Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios created a tight combat system that plays similarly to Mortal Kombat while having a personality all of its own. The Multiverse and addition of gear for your characters creates extra value and motivation to keep playing, while the ranked multiplayer system works crisply. And visually, Injustice 2 plays beautifully in 4k HDR on the PS4 Pro, PC, and Xbox One (S). It’s one of the best looking games that exists on consoles and PC today.

Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers - Nintendo Switch

Ah, the glory days of Street Fighter. Originally released on arcade machines in 1991, Street Fighter 2 has come a long way. Finding its way to the Nintendo Switch at the end of May, Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers reimagines the classic 2D brawler with crisp visuals and the same, classic gameplay. The game includes new multiplayer features and the addition of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. If you’ve been itching to play Street Fighter 2 and own a Switch, know that this is the most recent update of the classic game made in ten years.

Tekken 7 - PS4, PC, Xbox One
Bandai Namco Studios

Ah, Tekken. One of the first fighter games I ever truly enjoyed (way back on the PSOne), Tekken 7 brings the classic, grapple fighter onto next gen consoles. And with Tekken and Street Fighter crossing before, Akuma joins the Tekken 7 roster. Set to stunning visuals, you can enjoy battling across gorgeous scenery and finely modeled fighters with the addition of your HORI Tekken 7 Edition Fight Stick. We know their accessories are good, and this is an official Tekken 7 stick, so you can do battle like you’re in the arcade.

Arms - Nintendo Switch

Just released, Nintendo’s ARMs has allegedly outperformed the combined sales of Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V. Featuring some pretty crazy but ultimately charming visuals, ARMs allows players to choose between motion or standard controls, fitting any play style. The game has received an average of 77% on Metacritic, and there are many critics who have fallen in love with the game’s unique aesthetics and playstyle. If you have a Switch, ARMs is one of the best games to own, and we’ll have see if it has enough oomph to launch it into the Esports space.

Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter - SNES
Foxbat & BlazePro

Yep, that’s right. Decades after the SNES has seen a release of any sort, Foxbat and BlazePro kickstarted a project to develop Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Featuring the retro graphics many of us grew up with and love, Unholy Night seeks to replicate the fighting games of old. While I don’t necessarily see this one making its way center stage of an ESports tourney, I do find the premise of developing for the SNES something pretty special. Check it out, as it’s currently scheduled to release on Amazon in July.

Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite - PS4, PC, Xbox One

Perhaps seeking to cash in on the Marvel hype train or perhaps because Capcom finally listened to fans, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is set to release in September. From its two story trailers, MVC appears to provide players with a much more in depth tale than its predecessors. Gameplay seems to have been improved, at least as far as the demo is concerned, and players will have to wait to see whether Capcom chooses to keep MVC alive this time around. While MVC 3 happened to be a very broken (but very fun) fighting game, it was so beloved by the fighting community that players strategized around its infamous balance issues. HORI does have, at least in Japan, an official Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite stick that you can use to battle your way through the Marvel/Capcom Universe.

Brawlhalla - PC, PS4
Blue Mammoth Games

Set to release at some point in 2017, Brawhalla is alleged to be a pretty legitimate fighting game. Already available in a limited form via Steam, Brawlhalla sets itself up in the platform style of fighters like Super Smash Bros. This quirky, 2D fighter should be a blast to play alongside your buddies, and if ever a slot for platform fighters makes an Esports circuit, Brawlhalla could find some spotlight.

Gundam Versus - PS4
Bandai Namco

Fans of Gundam and anime, rejoice! Bandai Namco has seen fit to grace us with the arcade brawler Gundam Versus this year. Exclusively for PS4, Gundam Versus features mobile suits from across the various Gundam canon in free roaming, 3D stages. The game features more than 1-on-1 battles and will hopefully re-immerse players into the world of Gundam, much like the Gundam Battle Assault franchise did years ago. For me, this is one brawler to keep an eye on.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Road to Boruto - PS4, PC, Xbox One

What isn’t there to say about Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja 4? It’s a good fighting that improves with each iteration. 2017 welcomed its final edition that closes out the series and adds all DLC in Road to Boruto. Featuring fast gameplay, lovely anime hand drawn graphics, and a rabid fan base, any fan of Naruto or fighting games should get in on the conclusion of this impactful series.

Guilty Gear RXD Rev 2 - PS3, PS4, PC
Arc System Works

Continuing the line of Guilty Gear XRD, Rev 2 released at the end of May to critical success. Perhaps one of the most popular anime-style fighters available, Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2 features cel-shaded graphics, intricate combos, and a complete rebalancing of the entire Guilty Gear roster. The game also boasts an expanded story and arcade mode and the addition of two new characters - all for $39.99. While there aren’t any accessories available for Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2, MadCatz does have faceplates available to attach to the TE2 or TE2+.

Brawlout - PS4, PC, Xbox One
Angry Mob Games

Another game in the same platform style as Super Smash Bros, Brawlout features aesthetically pleasing 3D visuals and colorful stages for its combatants to do battle. Players can wield various items while dueling, and the game has received average critical acclaim. With six playable characters and three more on the way soon, Brawlout doesn’t necessarily boast the biggest cast. Still, the community is alive and well (it released in April), as it just held an online Steam tournament on the 3rd of June with a tournament schedule at the Super Smash Can in early August.

Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe - PS4, PC
FK Digital, Arc System Works

From the creators of Guilty Gear comes Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe. Featuring similar visuals to other Arc System Works games, Chaos Code relies on its fast combat to produce heart pounding and flashy fight sequences. The game itself has been met with positive user scores across Steam and the PSN. Those familiar with Chaos Code from last gen consoles already know New Sign of Catastrophe, as it is, essentially, a port of Chaos Code with the addition of two new characters and online play. Fans of the original can finally get the chance to prove their skills against others now.

Pokken Tournament DX - Nintendo Switch

Although the Wii U was doomed to failure, its release of Pokken Tournament saw quite a bit of success. Naturally, Nintendo seeks to expand its audience by releasing Pokken Tournament DX, appearing to add five Pokemon not in the Wii U version and one not available in arcades. In other words, you’re getting a lot of new content for the Switch. Pokken Tournament DX takes a lot of its gameplay inspiration from the Tekken series and adds its own unique flair, making it a memorable gem that will be making the circuits. Additionally, Nintendo just updated its firmware that allows players to use the Pokken Pro Pad on the Switch.