Again, not exactly a vintage year for fighting titles, but next year is looking very promising in that department. A quiet past twelve months, then, but not without some quality, not to mention the return of a much-loved Nintendo classic.
What we said: Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! earns most of its exclamation marks thanks to frantic aerial brawling, bags of content and handsome visuals, even if its somewhat stiff controls and letterbox aspect ratio disappoint. We rather suspect that the all-female cast, continuity and fan-service will be the main selling point for many players, though.
What we said: Fans of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure will find much to love in this riotously rambunctious fighter, but the gruelling story mode and hateful 'pay to play' Campaign sap the personality and verve out of the zany experience. Still well worth considering if you're a franchise aficionado or fancy playing something a little bit different - it's a shame that the fun of the core battling isn't throughout the entire package. So it's a good thing that the core battling is so much outrageous fun and the characters are so ridiculously insane, then!
What we said: If you engage in regular local multiplayer with friends or family, then this is a no-brainer. Chip in a couple of quid each and you've got yourself a lovely little party title. But it's a bright-burner with a short wick, and you'll have to decide for yourself if that's worth a tenner.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
What we said: Persona 4 Arena was already a damn fine 2D fighter, but Ultimax adds in new characters, smooths out the balancing somewhat, introduces a few interesting little control features, and provides a brawling package for veterans and newbies alike.
What we said: Super Smash Bros. 3DS strains against the hardware and lacks the timeless single-screen play we crave from the franchise, but ultimately delivers an excellent handheld brawler in its own right. Once you get a handle on the controls, you'll enjoy an enormous versatile roster, exquisite handheld visuals, fantastic stage design, addictive multiplayer and content for weeks, even months, of continued play. However, original 3DS owners face a difficult decision between hand cramp or upgrading to a bigger model that will become obsolete next year. Download the eShop demo if you're in any doubt!
What we said: Super Smash Bros. For Wii U brings brilliant brawling back to the big screen. Though Smash Tour and the lack of a true story mode are disappointing, the exceptional character roster, great stage design, handsome visuals, addictive extra modes and timeless fun factor make for a guaranteed good time. Just add mates, whether online or on the couch. Smash Bros has come home. A fitting end to a great year for the Wii U.
Winner: Super Smash Bros For Wii U
Eight-player Smash is stupid. Brilliantly, wonderfully, magnificently stupid. So long as you have enough friends and controllers (it's local only, I'm afraid), you're in for the most bonkers, outrageous and chaotic multiplayer experience on the market. Yes, the distant camera and crazy visual feedback makes it almost impossible to see what's going on. Yes, it's a ridiculous kerfuffle that will never become a competitive standard. But frankly it's also going to going to guarantee you one of the best Boxing Days ever.
What was your favourite fighting game of 2014?