The 2017 SRK FIGHTING GAME AWARDS: What games and characters were the best of the best?

By on January 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm
SRK FGA trophy results

The results are in! What were your favorites in 2017?

We asked, and you answered: here are the best games, characters, and more from what 2017 had to offer. First, we’ll reveal the best of the best as chosen by our reader poll, then we’ll let you know what the SRK staff themselves selected as their own favorites — though we certainly didn’t always agree, as you can see in our comments below!


BEST NEW GAME: TEKKEN 7

tekken_7_heihachi_kazuya_750

  • FIRST PLACE: Tekken 7 (52.07% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Injustice 2 (15.73% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (9.45% of total respondents)

Tekken’s return to home consoles made a big impression, taking over half the total votes! And we agreed, although we rated Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite a bit higher than Injustice 2 — and we’ve got some die-hard fans of Fight of Gods as well.

SRK STAFF PICK: Tekken 7

Crow_Spaceboy: “Tekken 7 marries difficult legacy mechanics and visceral style in a way that has completely revitalized 3D in the FGC.”

Waveflame: “Despite the rocky start it’s had, I truly believe Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has one of the most open and unique battle systems I’ve ever seen, with the recent patch and DLC giving it a solid boost that can hopefully be carried into a second season of content.”

BEST GAME REVISION/UPDATE: GUILTY GEAR Xrd REV 2

gg xrd rev 2 baiken banner

  • FIRST PLACE: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 (59.13% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (14.07% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: BlazBlue: Central Fiction [version 2.0] (13.47% of total respondents)

Guilty Gear took the majority of the votes, dealing a decisive Instant Kill to its competitors. A bit surprising to see Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers take the second spot, just edging out BlazBlue at that. Maybe the Switch update to classic Street Fighter has some supporters after all.

SRK STAFF PICK: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2

For the most part, we agreed that the REV 2 upgrade made an already-great game even better. But other titles still had some support:

Woocash: “Version 2.0 of BlazBlue: Central Fiction did exactly what most fans wanted: it brought down the menacing top tiers slightly while giving more tools to characters that really needed them, like Bullet and Hibiki. We didn’t get a needless change of all combo structures (like in Extend versions), and the free update paved the way for the momentous release of Jubei. Arc System Works really hit the mark with this one.”

Waveflame: “I wrote in my Evo preview that despite the stacked bracket, BlazBlue: Central Fiction‘s future was looking very uncertain. The update announcement and 2.0 changes gave the game a solid shot in the arm, and I’m still in awe that we FINALLY got Jubei playable, after nearly a decade of waiting!”

Crow_Spaceboy: “Pokkén Tournament DX has every fundamental that makes a compelling fighting game, but its phase-shifting foundation makes it a unique, genre-pushing experience few fighting games share.”

BEST RE-RELEASE/PORT: WINDJAMMERS

windjammers

  • FIRST PLACE: Windjammers (22.84% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!! (14.97% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Samurai Shodown V Special (14.51% of total respondents)

A lot of ports hit consoles and PC this year, but the FGC’s love for Windjammers outshined them all.

SRK STAFF PICK: Windjammers

While Windjammers was our clear majority pick, SNK’s excellent SamSho port caught our attention as well:

Crow_Spaceboy: “It’s already understood how fun and time-consuming Samurai Shodown V Special is, but I’m shocked that the online play I’ve experienced has been as good as it is.”

BEST NEW (PLAYABLE) CHARACTER: MENAT

Menat SFV Art

  1. Menat [Street Fighter V] (15.06% of total respondents)
  2. Jubei [BlazBlue: Central Fiction(7.08% of total respondents)
  3. Answer [Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2(6.71% of total respondents)
  4. Zeku [Street Fighter V(6.64% of total respondents)
  5. Abigail [Street Fighter V(6.11% of total respondents)
  6. Kazumi Mishima [Tekken 7(4.33% of total respondents)
  7. Monster Hunter [Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite(4.10% of total respondents)
  8. Hellboy [Injustice 2(3.28% of total respondents)
  9. {TIED} Jedah [Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite(3.13% of total respondents)
  10. {TIED} X [Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite(3.13% of total respondents)

Street Fighter V‘s fortune-telling apprentice has strutted her way into the FGC’s heart, earning a strong majority of the votes — followed by the long-awaited “One-Eyed Twin Lotus” Jubei, REV 2’s “business ninja” Answer, and Zeku, SFV’s own business ninja of sorts. Abigail got a lot of flak at first, but still makes #5 of the top ten; I’m happy that my favorite tiger-slinging ghost girl Kazumi also fared quite well.

SRK STAFF PICK: Jedah [Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite]

MvCI Jedah

We agreed with the readers in many respects, though we apparently liked Ed more than the majority, as well as Swamp Thing’s appearance in Injustice 2. But the staff was happiest overall to see a certain Darkstalker return.

Waveflame: “Tons of great choices here, but none come close to seeing my favorite Darkstalker in a modern 3D title after a 13-year hiatus. Easily one of the best-looking characters in the game, and they clearly put in work to recreate him down to the tiniest detail.”

Crow_Spaceboy: “This is selfish, but Hellboy. I am a hopeless, shameless fan of Mike Mignola’s art, and if we could just have an entire fighting game with his style, that’d be pretty swell.”

BEST GUEST CHARACTER: GEESE HOWARD

tekken 7 geese 3 750x400

  • FIRST PLACE: Geese Howard [Tekken 7] (46.45% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Akuma [Tekken 7] (29.14% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Hellboy [Injustice 2] (11.46% of total respondents)

A “predictabo!” outcome, Tekken’s guest Geese Howard annihilated his fellow contenders with characteristic contempt — though his murderous Tekken partner Akuma also earned much respect. Nice to see that Hellboy’s foray into Injustice 2 also got noticed.

SRK STAFF PICK: Geese Howard [Tekken 7]

We also agreed on Geese’s spectacular Tekken incarnation as our own #1, but we enjoyed Hellboy a tad more than Akuma overall.

Crow_Spaceboy: “Geese’s successful implementation (and reception) in Tekken is the truest realization of the 2D experimentation they’ve been attempting since Eliza first chucked a fireball.”

BEST ONLINE PLAY: GUILTY GEAR Xrd REV 2

baikenvsanswer

  • FIRST PLACE: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 (19.92% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Tekken 7 (19.02% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Street Fighter V (12.38% of total respondents)

This one was closer; unsurprising, considering how subjective an experience this can be. Guilty Gear wins again — but Street Fighter V in third…?! Really? Either you’re trolling us, or there’s some vastly different user experiences going on out there. For ourselves, we had the best online play quality with different games entirely…

SRK STAFF PICK: {TIED} For HonorInjustice 2 / Pokkén Tournament DX

We couldn’t really settle on what game was best to play online, and while the three-way-tie above earned the most support, there was still a fair amount of disagreement!

d3v: “While Capcom has made a few missteps with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the game’s netcode isn’t one of them. The netcode is rollback-based, which automatically puts it above others which use variable delay netcode. However, beyond that, the game had a pretty smooth launch in terms of online, with people generally having a positive experience in online matches from day one — and even before, with more than a few players getting copies of the game before launch.”

Waveflame: “MvC:I is solid, but NRS has made amazing strides in the online realm, especially since they switched to rollback-based netcode with MKXL. Injustice 2 was their first title to benefit from this out of the gate, and it shows. When you’re paired with someone with good ping, I’m hard pressed to find anything smoother.”

Crow_Spaceboy: “Tekken 7. I blocked Heihachi’s DB+2 the other day on 4 bars. It may not happen again for a while, but it happened, and I am thankful.”

BEST OVERALL GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE: GUILTY GEAR Xrd REV 2

Answer

  1. Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 (18.85% of total respondents)
  2. Tekken 7 (18.03% of total respondents)
  3. Street Fighter V (10.13% of total respondents)
  4. Injustice 2 (7.24% of total respondents)
  5. The King of Fighters XIV (6.13% of total respondents)
  6. BlazBlue: Central Fiction (5.62% of total respondents)
  7. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (5.32% of total respondents)
  8. Mortal Kombat XL (3.77% of total respondents)
  9. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2.96% of total respondents)
  10. Ultra Street Fighter IV (2.88% of total respondents)

The popularity of Guilty Gear was undeniable this year, and Tekken 7 earns a close second place. The King of Fighters XIV gets a solid position on the board, too! 3rd Strike earns a very impressive spot for its age, and USFIV even managed to hang on and slip into tenth place.

SRK STAFF PICK: {TIED} Injustice 2 / Tekken 7

The staff ended up in deadlock between Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 as our main go-to games.

Waveflame: “While each fighter brings its own flair, Injustice 2 stands out as truly being a GAME first and foremost. From a fantastic Story Mode with multiple endings and branches, to arcade ladders, to Guilds, character customization and — of course — the Multiverse, NRS’s latest offering has a near-endless amount of things for players of all levels and preferences to do, giving it a sense of replay value sorely missing from some other modern offerings. It keeps you coming back for more.”

Lazybones2020: “Injustice 2 feels like a sequel in every way. It improves upon what made the last title great and moved forward with a storyline that proves fighting games are just as capable of providing blockbuster moments as any other genre. The roster is diverse, the combat is intense, and the entire experience is visually captivating. Injustice 2 sets the new standard of what to expect from a AAA fighting game, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for the franchise.”

[HONORABLE MENTIONS: We sadly overlooked two important games in this category when preparing the survey: Killer Instinct and Skullgirls 2nd Encore. It was too late to add them into the survey once the error was caught, but no slight was intended to those titles or their fans and communities. Our apologies!]

BEST COMPETITIVE CIRCUIT: CAPCOM PRO TOUR

capcom cup black 750x400

  • FIRST PLACE: Capcom Pro Tour (46.15% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Tekken World Tour (24.87% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Arc System Works Fighting Game Award (14.34% of total respondents)

The Capcom Pro Tour still is #1 for hype. Can anything threaten its scope and popularity in 2018? Interestingly, Capcom’s other circuit, the Battle for the Stones, didn’t go over so well: it scored dead last.

SRK STAFF PICK: Capcom Pro Tour

Waveflame: “Amidst stiff competition, I’ve got to give the nod to the premier series in our community. A lot of the format changes worked out for the better, and we had some fantastic storylines throughout the year — culminating in RISE|MenaRD’s ultimate victory over Evo Champion Echo Fox|Tokido.”

Crow_Spaceboy: “This year’s Tekken World Tour was exceptional, capped by one of the most intense and emotional grand finals a fighting game could hope for.”

[HONORABLE MENTION: The Skullgirls Tour arguably warranted an inclusion in this category.]

BEST BETA TEST/DEMO: FIGHTING EX LAYER

ARIKA TGS exhibition

  • FIRST PLACE: Fighting EX Layer [open beta] (42.75% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Omen of Sorrow [demo] (28.80% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: Dissidia Final Fantasy [closed beta] (13.06% of total respondents)

ARIKA’s April Fool’s curve-ball game has taken the scene by storm, and was the clear favorite here. An impressive number of you were into the upcoming Omen of Sorrow, too!

SRK STAFF PICK: Fighting EX Layer

d3v: “In an age where most ‘beta tests’ are glorified demos, Fighting EX Layer’s beta felt like an honest-to-goodness old-school ‘location test.’ ARIKA wasn’t shy about showing off a game that was clearly in-progress, allowing players a chance to try out characters in their most raw form. Yes, it was highly unbalanced, and broken — but that’s okay, this is a real test, and letting players figure things out is likely a better way to polish a game, instead of pre-emptively nerfing characters’s tools before launch. On top of that, the beta had a training mode — something a certain other beta forgot to add, despite being a standard feature in other beta tests for fighting games.”

[HONORABLE MENTION: The Dragon Ball FighterZ closed beta kinda fell out of our heads; we were most likely distracted by the game’s open beta that was rapidly approaching. Though it was reportedly tricky to get into, it definitely should have been on the list — and if it had been, it probably would have been #1, because…]

MOST ANTICIPATED FUTURE RELEASE: DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ

DBFZ Android 21 Evil

  • FIRST PLACE: Dragon Ball FighterZ (34.37% of total respondents)
  • SECOND PLACE: Omen of Sorrow (22.60% of total respondents)
  • THIRD PLACE: SoulCalibur VI (12.03% of total respondents)

Of course it’s Dragon Ball FighterZ! This game will be a big deal in 2018, no question. A little surprising to see a new IP like Omen of Sorrow beat out SoulCalibur VI, but that can be attributed to the fact that the new SoulCalibur was announced so late in the year. We expect anticipation to build.

SRK STAFF PICK: Dragon Ball FighterZ

As for ourselves, we’re as eager to throw ki blasts as the rest of you, but we want to get our hands on Punch Planet, too — and we’re more excited for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT than Omen of Sorrow.

Crow_Spaceboy: “Punch Planet is being made by the FGC, for the FGC, and it absolutely shows when you play the game or talk to any of the easy-to-access developers. I’m also madly in love with the time-manipulation-based battle system and neon sci-fi world.”

Waveflame: “While I’m looking forward to several games in 2018, BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is my personal most-anticipated. The announcement came out of nowhere, and it’s really great to see the Persona characters again. I even got into RWBY because of this. It was the crossover I never knew I wanted, but now I need it ASAP!”

[HONORABLE MENTIONS: We neglected to include a few interesting upcoming titles in this category, too: most notably Toaru Majutsu no VIRTUAL-ON and My Hero Academia: One’s Justice. Blade Strangers and Slashers: The Power Battle slipped under the radar, too. We’ll be looking for all of these games in 2018!]


Thanks to everyone who participated in our reader poll for the 2017 SRK FIGHTING GAME AWARDS. Onward into 2018!

Shoryuken.com Editor-in-Chief and performing member of Kita no Taiko. Street Fighterin' since there was only a "II" in the name.