Best Fighting Games for PlayStation 4 iMore 2021
- Best Overall: Mortal Kombat 11
- Best Combo Fighting: Tekken 7
- Best 2D: Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Best UFC: EA Sports UFC 3
When it comes to fighting games they can sometimes blur together in a cacophany of punches, kicks, and gore. PlayStation 4 manages to offer up a robust selection of realistic and over the top games which let you live out your fighting fantasies from behind the safety of a controller. Out of all of them Mortal Kombat 11 easily delivers the best experience with fantastic graphics, a robust tutorial and the best fighting mechanics the series has ever had.
Best Overall: Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat has set the bar for what a fighting game should look and play like for more than 20 years now, delivering countless fatalities, over the top action, and more blood than any game needs. With Mortal Kombat 11, Netherrealms continues this saga with the best Mortal Kombat game that has ever shown up on console with an emphasis on excellent graphics, intuitive fighting mechanics, and plenty of characters for you to love or hate.
Mortal Kombat 11 looks amazing. Old favorites and newer characters that debuted with Mortal Kombat X look fantastic in menus and during fights. There aren't any issues with stutter or frame rate dropping when you are in the middle of kicking the crap out of your friends, and the gore looks bloodier than ever. Plus, the over the top finishing moves, and complicated combos are fluid and realistic.
The combat mechanics have gotten a facelift as well. Mortal Kombat's basic system revolves around the fact that you have buttons for kicks, punches, and blocks, and depending on how you string them together you can trigger combos that annihilate your enemies. One of the major additions is a robust tutorial mode that introduces the basics to new players making this game easier to pick up, even if you've never played a single round of Mortal Kombat in the past. The tutorial doesn't just cover the basics either; it goes all the way up through advanced techniques, making it easy to learn how to get the fatalities that you crave without grinding for hours to figure it out by yourself. A new specialty move has also been added to every character in the form of Krushing moves. These moves are critical attacks that can be triggered automatically when certain conditions are met.
Story mode also returns with another great entry. The story in Mortal Kombat 11 runs at about 6 hours and is a ton of fun, with well acted voice parts across the board. Instead of focusing on a specific character, everyone in the roster gets their moment to shine in a story that is fun and over the top in all of the right ways. It picks up where the last game dropped off, and using new enemies, it merges previous game info with everything new and shiny that Mortal Kombat 11 delivers.
Mortal Kombat 11 delivers a stellar experience for anyone who loves fighting games. The fighting mechanics have received enough of an update to feel streamlined, without taking away the excessive violence that makes Mortal Kombat so much fun. A huge tutorial, amazing graphics and fun story mode all add to the flavor of Mortal Kombat 11 which is easily the best game in the franchise and definitely the best fighting game available on consoles today.
- Best fighting mechanics in the franchise
- Stellar graphics
- Awesome tutorial for new players
- Campaign is fairly short
Best Combo Fighting: Tekken 7
In many ways, Tekken 7 is the game you already know and love to play with a crazy story, gorgeous graphics, and plenty of characters who are ready to duke it out. The formula hasn't really changed, but updates to gameplay and graphics have made it better than ever.
Starting with graphics, every step, technique and combo looks flawless on the screen. There are no residual issues with frame rates whether you are in the middle of a match or you've just started up the game. One of the great perks that Tekken brings to the table are the endless customization options. There are costume pieces like a giant pizza, or a floating lantern that you can attach to your character if you want a good laugh. There are thousands of options split between costume pieces, attack effects, even mix and match alternate costumes.
Combat mechanics have also gotten an update that makes them easier for new players to pick up, but it doesn't ruin the experience for veteran fans. Short and middle range fighting feels more intuitive thanks to the quickness of forward or back stepping, and side stepping is a hair slower than it used to be. This makes gameplay a bit more challenging. Longer combos are not quite as punishing as they used to be, which is another step towards making gameplay more approachable for new players, since a single massive combo will no longer take you out of the match.
It is worth mentioning that while the mechanics have been adjusted for Tekken 7, the fighting is better and more technical than it has ever been before. While you can just hop in and start mashing buttons hoping for the best, taking a strategic approach to launching combos will lead to a fluid, organic fight that is as much fun to watch as it is to play.
- Amazing graphics
- Balanced fighting mechanics
- Great selection of characters to fight with
- Single player mode is lacking
- Steep learning curve for new players
Best Anime: Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball Z has been one of the most popular anime series for years, delivering intense action with memorable characters and plots. While there have been other DBZ fighting games, none of them have managed to capture the look and feel of the anime in a 2D game quite as well as Dragon Ball FighterZ does.
The first thing that catches your eye when you boot up are the graphics that look plucked out of frames of the television show. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2D fighter that perfectly emulates the animation style and delivers it to your console. There are 24 different characters that you can play as including fan faves like Android 21, Bardock, Vegito and more.
When it comes to the actual fighting, it also encapsulates gameplay that feels like the show. You'll be able to jump into the air and pull off crazy aerial combos. The gameplay is fun, fast-paced, and delivers a great fighting game for DBZ fans and newcomers alike.
- Awesome anime graphics
- Fan service for DBZ fans everywhere
- Long loading times
- Waiting for online matches is a drag
Best Value: For Honor
For Honor takes a different approach than most fighting games. At first, it looks like an action adventure, or a hack and slash entry, but it's neither. Instead, it's a game built on duels, with you taking on the role of vikings, samurai, or knights in fights to the death.
Each faction has four classes that you can choose to play as: assassin, vanguard, heavy and then a mashup of heavy and vanguard. Even though the factions share classes, they don't really act the same way. You're not going to play a knight vanguard in the same way as a samurai vanguard. With 12 different heroes to play as, it means each one has its own pros and cons that you'll learn as you play.
There is both a campaign mode and robust multiplayer. In the campaign, you'll play across all 12 heroes faced off against specific foes in a particular environment. It's about eight hours long from beginning to end, and is more fun to learn each class than it is playing the thin story woven throughout. Multiplayer lets you fight against friends, or random folks on the internet in a more intense setting. That's because there are several different online modes including brawls, or modes where you aim to kill as many folks on the other team as possible.
- Play as vikings, samurai or knights with 12 playable heroes
- Extensive campaign modes
- Great graphics
- Combat can feel slow and clunky at times
- Repetitive gameplay
- $12 from Amazon
Knight, viking, or samurai?
Duel to the death with different factions, abilities and skillsets to take advantage of.Best Value
Best UFC: EA Sports UFC 3
The newest installment of EA Sports UFC 3 brings the pulse-pounding, bone-breaking action to your PS4. Most people don't have the stomach for going into the Octagon as a fighter themselves, but with this game, you can still enjoy the sport without breaking your own nose in the process.
Campaign mode gives you control over your ascent to super-stardom. Before each fight, you'll have to spend some time training to increase your attributes for the most damage, and promote your upcoming fight to build a following of fans. Of course, that can go wrong if you go down hard early in the fight. While it's a cool mechanic, it can feel formulaic after a while, which can be a drag.
Online play is equally fun and brutal, with matchmaking that always has you fighting against players of equal skill. Microtransactions are a significant part of online play, but there are a variety of ways to pick up in-game currency without spending real-world money in the process.
- Robust career mode
- Great fighting mechanics
- Gameplay becomes repetitive
- Microtransactions can unbalance online play
With a variety of different fighting games available, PlayStation 4 works to make sure there is a game out there that everybody can love. Each game on our list ticks off different boxes, but every single one is excellent and tons of fun to play. Of course, the absolute best is definitely Mortal Kombat 11. Delivering the whole package of excellent fighting mechanics, a robust tutorial for new players, awesome campaign mode, and stellar graphics, Mortal Kombat 11 is everything that a great fighting game should be.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner has been playing video games and kicking the crap out of her friends with Mortal Kombat for more than 20 years. You can find her on Twitter
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.