When most people think of fighting game characters, they probably think of characters like Ryu – good ol' dependable, boring Ryu. These baseline characters have a wealth of options, are well-rounded, and are ideal for new players. However, once those characters are out of the way, the real fun can begin.
A great fighting game character will have a unique style, but the best ones also have interesting quirks. Some of these characters can end up playing a completely different game from their opponents. While the Kens and Ryus of the world bring stability, these oddballs bring chaos and fighting games wouldn't be the same without them.
10 Q – Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Q is a slower, more cumbersome, version of Balrog. He has those classic dash punches, but boy are his normal attacks slow. Which is a serious problem in a game like Third Strike where everyone has a parry. So, what makes this slow, janky dude interesting? Well, Q has a taunt that greatly increases his defense. Moreover, his taunts can stack up to three times. This means that Q can essentially double the amount of health he has.
Suddenly, Q isn't looking to close the distance after landing a big hit that sends the opponent flying, he's looking to get another taunt in. It also forces your opponent to come to you, as no one wants to go up against Q after he has been fully buffed. Q isn't a particularly strong character (you know, besides his massive health pool), but he is a very interesting one.
9 Ginyu – Dragonball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ's Ginyu has style, but he also has the entire Ginyu Force. Each Ginyu force member appears in Ginyu's attack, but here's the catch: you don't choose which Ginyu Force member you get. Instead, they are on a fixed rotation, which means that you need to keep track of who has appeared.
If that isn't enough for you, Ginyu does have one more trick up his sleeve – he can switch bodies! This means that you will have the opportunity to swap your battered Ginyu for one of your opponent's healthy characters.
8 Hero – Smash Brothers: Ultimate
The Smash Brothers series is already a very unconventional fighting game home to many unconventional characters. However, Hero from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly stands out. What makes Hero so interesting is his access to a whole host of spells from Dragon Quest.
These spells work the same way they do in the Dragon Quest series, meaning you have to manage your MP gauge. Accessing them will require sifting through your menu (which is tough while playing a frenetic platform fighter). It's a clever way of introducing RPG-esque mechanics to a platform fighter.
7 Rogue – X-Men Vs. Street Fighter
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter made sure that Rogue has her whole moveset from the comics. She can fly and she hits hard but she also still has her iconic ability to steal powers. Yes, that is right; Rogue can take a power from an opponent and use it for the rest of the round.
Every character has a different power that Rogue can take. The amount of work that went into including this ability must have been immense. Which explains why she, regretfully, didn't get this ability in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. You can't win them all.
6 Aria – Killer Instinct
Aria is the boss of 2013's Killer Instinct reboot. She has three forms (referred to as "drones") that have different moves associated with them. Of course, fighting game characters with multiple stances aren't new, but the implementation with Aria is wholly unique.
Each form has its own health bar. This means that if one of her forms is getting roughed up, she will have to switch it out or risk losing it. Each form also has its own movement speed. Aria has assist attacks for each drone which can be used when they aren't equipped (or destroyed). Aria feels a lot like playing a whole Marvel vs Capcom team but in a one-on-one fighting game.
5 Lowain – Granblue Versus
The goofiest character in Granblue Versus' roster is also the most interesting. Lowain can consume food mid-battle to restore health, and many of his moves are quasi-assists that utilize his "bros", or his robot duplicate of Katarina (don't ask), to hit high, low, or rain down a barrage of different projectiles on his opponent. However, his super is where things get really interesting.
Lowain has an honest-to-goodness summon. Yggdrasil isn't just an attack, no, for a period of time Lowain brings this god into battle to fight on his behalf. This giant has a variety of potent attacks. While experienced players will likely be able to navigate these moves effectively, less experienced players will suffer. This super explains why Lowain's dishes come unseasoned: you're the one providing the salt.
4 Dan – Street Fighter 5
Wait, Dan? What's so interesting about Dan? Sure, he's funny, but he's just a bad Ryu, right? Those comments would have been valid (hurtful, but valid) a few Street Fighters ago, but Dan has become a whole new character in Street Fighter 5. Capcom started evolving his taunts back in Street Fighter 4 by allowing them to build up his meter.
Street Fighter 5 took this concept and ran with it. Now Dan can also cancel his attacks into taunts and then cancel his taunts into attacks (only one taunt cancel per combo, of course), meaning that he can link two attacks that would be otherwise unlinkable. But mess up and you will be left taunting like a buffoon (very in character) and just begging to be duffed.
3 Jack-O – Guilty Gear Revelator 2
If you are a fan of the RTS genre, boy do we have the fighting game character for you. Jack-O builds bases for minions. She has three types of bases that are associated with three types of minions. These troops attack your enemies and ater a set amount of time being down, the bases level up (as do the associated minions).
On top of all that, Jack-O has a number of abilities to help protect the bases, which keeps her little army pumping out soldiers. Fighting Jack-O, in Revelator 2, is like fighting a swarm of bees.
2 Phoenix Wright – Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
In Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Phoenix Wright's gameplay begins with him finding evidence, then presenting the evidence, and finally making an accusation. At this point, Phoenix's regular attacks become massive, his best attack becomes a giant ephemeral accusatory finger point that he can use at will.
Phoenix Wright can use the evidence to activate a super and prosecute his opponent. This super can hit from anywhere and does a huge amount of damage. Playing Phoenix well requires using assists (and Maya) to defend him while he looks for that precious, precious evidence. It can be an uphill battle, but he is a force to be reckoned with when he does get all three pieces. Any objection to Phoenix's inclusion here will be overruled.
1 Junpei – Persona 4: Arena Ultimax
Junpei is the only fighting game character to let you play baseball. At the bottom of the screen is a baseball diamond and a tally that keeps track of balls, strikes, and outs. When you hit someone with your bat, that is a base hit (which will light up a base), a blocked attack is a ball, and getting four hits will let you receive one run. Swing and miss with your bat and you will get a strike, three strikes and you get an out while getting hit is also an out. Three outs and the bases will clear.
Junpei also has a home run super attack which will clear the bases. Get 10 runs and Junpei receives a huge powerup that gives him access to the "clean hit", which makes bat attacks hit harder and improves a number of his special moves. Is all of this ridiculous? Yes. But it is the good kind of ridiculous. The kind of ridiculousness that makes Junpei the most interesting fighting game character ever.
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