FG – Good and Bad

The Best (and Worst) Fighting Games for Beginners

There is a metric sh*tload of fighting games out there. That actually may be an understatement, considering the amount there are. Granted a lot of those include things like Turbo Edition 2 and adding other suffixes, but I digress.

Its weird then considering the number that they lack that appeal that people usually go for when it comes to games. Who am I kidding? Its not surprising at all. Maybe it’s the learning curve or the insufferable a*holes who play the games and utterly destroy interested prospective players and crush any interest they had, but either way the problem is there is a very large initial investment to fighting games a lot of the time, and its not a genre that is “pick up and play” friendly.
There are some exceptions, though, to every rule which I think deserve mentioning, as there are some games which manage to be easy to pick up for beginners. There are also games which are the exact opposite and only are there for the more extreme side of the fanbase and like to crush dreams. Below, you’ll find a list of games I think would be great – and not so great – for beginners. I would also like to make mention this is based off of my own experiences and doesn’t necessarily refer to the current meta for a lot of these games.

The Best Fighting Games for Beginners

It seems odd to say that fighting games are not pick up and play friendly and then immediately mention the games that break that mold, but regardless there are some games that do manage to fall into this category. Normally what I mean when I say a fighting game is easy to pick up is that new players can start playing the game and be able to understand the majority of the mechanics and be able to do basic combos and super attacks when they want. The top three would be in no particular order:

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Easy controls and accessible combos made Injustice surprisingly accessible to new entrants into the genre.

Easy controls and accessible combos made Injustice surprisingly accessible to new entrants into the genre.

I was really surprised with Injustice: Gods Among Us actually and how accessible it ended up being. I was worried it would follow the Mortal Kombat manual blocking and breaker system, but it took some ideas and ran with its own as well. What Injustice did as opposed to a lot of fighting games is it had zero problems showing you how to do your basic combos right there on your command list. You just switch over two or three tabs and BAM there are some basic combos. In addition, having your super attack set to something as easy as both shoulder buttons at the same time was a good call. Nobody likes to have to pause the game every other match to look up the command for their super attack.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Fun combos and easy team mechanics made MvC3 a fun game for the uninitiated. Zero can go die in a fire though.

Fun combos and easy team mechanics made MvC3 a fun game for the uninitiated. Zero can go die in a fire though.

For a game that has been praised for its intense high speed battles, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 surprisingly isn’t very brutal to the uninitiated which seems like a good call to make it number 2. Basic combos are as easy as hitting light, medium, heavy, launcher in that game and then you just follow them into the air and repeat. It also is very easy to perform team combos as well so you can feel like a badass when you juggle your opponent between your whole team even if you really are just button mashing at the end of the day. Plus X-factor can be a fun mechanic to goof around with when playing with your friends.

Persona 4 Arena

Auto-combos were a pleasant surprise that ended up doing exactly what it set out to do: make the game easier to get into until you've learned the ropes.

Auto-combos were a pleasant surprise that ended up doing exactly what it set out to do: make the game easier to get into until you’ve learned the ropes.

Persona 4 Arena is a weird experience. Its a game by Arc System Works, so that immediately alienates people with its airdashes and cancels and brutal full damage combos, but Persona 4 Arena did something I haven’t seen before: auto combos. No, the game doesn’t do everything for you, but people have the option whenever they land an attack to mash their light attack to do a low damage combo. It may seem off-putting to people who are not new to a series, feeling like the game and its creators are belittling the players, but a lot of the time from what I’ve seen people are just happy to be doing some cool combos and watching their opponent’s health vanish.  Fans of the series itself will appreciate playing as the characters as well even if they’re not great at it.

The Worst Fighting Games for Beginners

This one is pretty self-explanatory. These are the fighting games which often have very tight combo requirements, some pretty crazy movements for attacks, or are just too fast for normal people to really get a feel for without a lot more investment. I am not saying these games are bad in any way, but they are certainly not for people just entering into the genre for the first time.

 Street Fighter IV

Adding another form of focus attack is just making things even more complicated when it comes to learning Capcom!

Adding another form of focus attack is just making things even more complicated when it comes to learning Capcom!

Street Fighter has a special place in a lot of fighting game fans hearts, myself included. It was a lot of people’s first fighting and they view it through those rose-tinted lenses, but man is Street Fighter cruel in a lot of ways to new entrants.  Quite a few characters to start with are simply not going to be accessible to people who are new to the genre. Some of these characters would include Dee Jay, M. Bison, and especially Gen. Its fine if you want to play the crotchety old man who hits pressure points, but a charge-based stance character is a very high hurdle for new people. Also, focus attacks are something a lot of people are going to forget and that is pretty essential when it comes to playing Street Fighter well.

Skullgirls Encore

A tutorial this comprehensive unfortunately seems to drive a lot of new people away unfortunately.

A tutorial this comprehensive unfortunately seems to drive a lot of new people away unfortunately.

I absolutely love this game. What the creators Alex Ahad and Mike Z have done with their resources and getting their dream realized is nothing short of fantastic, but the game itself shoots itself in the foot when it tries to make itself accessible. Skullgirls Encore has a very comprehensive tutorial. Normally this would be a good thing you would think, but it manages to prove us wrong simply because it just throws you in the deep end a lot of the time with terminology and some very precise input requirements that even when it explains itself it still doesn’t sink in all the way. A lot of people are offput when the game is telling you to “do an air-dash cancel into a super attack” even if it may be easier than people would think the demand for doing it can be daunting or confusing at the same time. The tutorial is so enthusiastic about teaching everyone the ins and outs of everything fighting game-based that it quickly overwhelms people new to fighting games.

 Guilty Gear

Its never shameful to admit defeat, even if its to a video game. Guilty Gear won't rub it in too much or judge you for it.

Its never shameful to admit defeat, even if its to a video game. Guilty Gear won’t rub it in too much or judge you for it.

Hoo boy, if you want a game that is pure insanity and does its damndest to crush hope with a merciless AI and brutal combo requirements, then Guilty Gear would be standing at the top of that list. The super fast-paced airdasher is known for having set the stage for the more anime-esque fighters like BlazBlue, but it still stands alone when it comes to requirements and precision. Single frame windows for cancels, taking additional damage for being defensive, instant kills, and an final boss whose AI has no problem putting you in the ground and taking sadistic glee in doing so. Thanks Gold I-No. The game can be fun as hell, but Guilty Gear is probably one of those types of games that is best left on the shelf in favor of something a little less extreme to start with. If you want to get better at Guilty Gear specifically then go for it; just be ready for a lot of frustration.



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