Every Xbox Game Pass fighting game ranked

By Luke Albigés,

Want to know how the fighting games on Game Pass stack up? You've come to the right place! Which Game Pass fighters are top tier, and which are never getting picked?

We quite often see fighting games coming to Game Pass, and it's a great way for them to get a fresh injection of new players to keep their communities active. But not all fighters are created equal, so if you're looking to throw hands thanks to Game Pass, you'll probably want to know where the best places to start might be. That's where this (hopefully) helpful rundown comes in, separating the top-tier fighters of Game Pass from those that aren't really worth your time when there are so many better things to play. Interestingly, we devised the order of this list independently of TA user scores for these games, but aside from the third and fourth spots being switched around, it seems we're in agreement with the wider TA community on most of this, so that's probably a good sign! Let's kick things off at the bottom of the pile and work our way up...

Xbox Game Pass fighting game tier list

7 — Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a very silly game, not that you'd really expect much else from a fighter based on this wonderfully daft franchise. Bringing together heroes and villains from across the series' 25-year history, Battle for the Grid is effectively a dodgy twist on the Marvel Vs. Capcom tag team formula, with all manner of assists with which to juggle opponents awkwardly to death, plus certain characters can even call on Megazords for crazy screen-filling stomps and swipes. It's rough enough that it can be good for a laugh but it's probably not something you'll want to put too much time into, although the grindy achievement list would have you do just that, asking you to play 1,000 ranked matches and climb to the top tier of the competitive ladder. Good luck with that.

6 — Killer Instinct 1&2 Classic

We've lumped these two 90s favourites together as they're very much cut from the same cloth, and while they were lauded at the time, the two Rare fighters haven't aged as gracefully as many of the better fighters from the era. In the wake of Street Fighter II, everyone wanted a piece of the action and with few developers able to match Capcom in terms of sheer tight gameplay, many rival fighters turned instead to gimmicks to help them stand out. For Killer Instinct, this would take the form of elaborate lengthy combo strings that rain down dozens of hits, but with a breaker system that gives smart opponents a way out of a lot of attack strings. Since the format was improved and iterated upon brilliantly with the 2013 reboot, there's not really a whole lot of reason to play the originals today outside of nostalgia, hence their lower spot on this list.

5 — JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R

While there's a lot to like about the wild ride that is JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, it's not quite the fully-stacked love letter to the cult classic franchise that previous games have been, nor is it quite tight enough as a fighting game to give the top-tier rivals a proper run for their money. Solo play boils down to a series of CPU battles with increasingly mean arbitrary conditions, while the weak netcode makes online play a frustrating experience... JoJo fans will certainly get a kick out of All-Star Battle R, but anyone who doesn't know their ORAs from their MUDAs has plenty of better options available to them.

4 — Injustice 2

Injustice 2 is a better fighter than its mid-tier position might have you believe, but competition for the top spots is pretty fierce. Netherrealm's DC fighting game comes loaded with love for the comics and pulls in some unexpected characters, though as is the nature of something like this, some fans will always be left to lament the absence of a particular hero or villain. The original game's odd clash mechanic returns, letting you wager some of your super meter to try and escape damage or heal up in a pinch, joined for the second game by a somewhat ill-fitting gear system that allows you to augment a character's abilities and even grant them new moves. Injustice 2 is a lot of fun all the same, with plenty of solo content on top of the usual full plate of online options, so there's always something to do.

3 — Killer Instinct

Round two for Killer Instinct now, with the 2013 reboot having come a long way since its rather bare-bones launch to become one of the best 2D fighters of recent generations. With almost 5,000 Gamerscore up for grabs across the breadth of the game's myriad modes, Killer Instinct has grown into a seriously chunky game, and modern HD visuals and UI make the classic combo breaker system that much more readable — reacting to predictable attacks with breakers always feels great, as does taking it even further by baiting predictable breakers and reversing those as well. The combo system is extremely versatile and lets you chain from openers into extenders before sealing the deal with an ender, making for a much more satisfying combofest than simply pulling off the canned combos of earlier games. Here's hoping Microsoft isn't done with Killer Instinct, because the state of the reboot today makes it an excellent launchpad for a follow-up that could be great from day one.

2 — Mortal Kombat 11

Time for a bit of the old ultra-violence as we come to Netherrealm's second game on this rundown, and the latest blood-soaked entry in the long-running Mortal Kombat series is one of its best outings in a long time. Character variations serve as an evolution of Injustice 2's gear system, letting you pick one of three stock variants with special moves that work differently or change entirely, or you have all the moves unlocked to build your own for use in custom games. It's still got that slightly stiff feel of most Netherrealm fighters but it's a blast all the same, with the new Krushing Blow system opening up new combo opportunities and mini X-ray-style effects if you can land certain attacks under the right conditions. As is par for the course with Netherrealm fighters, MK11 is stacked with single-player content from the expanded and fully explorable Krypt to the ever-changing Towers of Time, and the popularity of the brutal brawler means you shouldn't struggle to find someone to beat up online, either.

1. Guilty Gear Strive

The most recent fighter to turn up in Game Pass also happens to be the best of the bunch — Arc System Works' Guilty Gear Strive is one of the finest fighters around and a seriously great get for Game Pass. While not quite as loaded with rich solo content as some of the other top Game Pass fighters featured here (Netherrealm is famously one of the best around in this regard), what's there is fantastic and mechanically, nothing else on this list even comes close to being as tight, versatile, and satisfying as Strive. Our Guilty Gear Strive review over on TrueTrophies called the game "nothing short of exceptional, and honestly only an additional solo mode or two away from picking up top marks," and that still rings true today. Strive's systems hold up wonderfully whether you just want to dabble with the game or want to dive deep into its intricacies, so don't miss out on this stunning fighter now it's one of the best games on Game Pass!

What do you make of the rankings? Anything you particularly agree or disagree with here? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments, but let's keep the throwing of hands limited to inside these games, please!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.
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