Top Ten Best Video Game Combat Systems

Before you vote please note:
1. This list is based on the combat systems themselves not the games they appear in.
2. Therefore don't just dismiss the system for appearing in a bad or overrated game.

The Top Ten

1 Soul Series

You will die oh so many times during these games but you keep coming back to take some more pain just because the combat is so very cerebral. Fighting each enemy is like a puzzle and you really have to watch its attack patterns a few time before you can really have a go. It feels unfair at times but the moments of elation when you finally beat a section and are able to go back through with ease makes you feel like a complete bad-ass.

Hard but fair, but most importantly, it works! Shields block the way they are supposed to block, and weapons hit with real force. No other third-person action game creates such a thrill of tactics combined with a fear of death and the joy of success!

Combat has huge variety, takes strategy to master, and will punish you if you're not careful. Definitely the best combat of all time; while the Arkham series is renowned for its fluent and fast combat, the Souls series has more moves and slightly higher fluency (in 3, at least). - MKBeast

Definitely a great system. Requires that you use strategy before you charge to your eventual demise.

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2 Batman: Arkham series

Or how to drop an entire roomful of people. The combat in these games are based on hand to hand combat, stealth, and gadgets. Essentially hand to hand combat is limited to take downs, a single true attack, counters, acrobatics, and a very strong autotargeting system. Overall, however, it is very fluid, allowing for armies of enemies to be fought at once with little difficulty. Stealth features many different takedowns relative to enemy and player position, with varying "loudness" or levels of "unstealthiness". Gadgets vary and assist both other forms of combat. Overall this system is excellent in allowing the player to toy with many enemies and just be a total beast, but quite bad at making a single man be a threat, relying on stealth and gadgets instead of physical combat. This system has been imitated by the Amazing Spiderman games and the Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor, and is destined to be imitated many more times.

It's fluid, it's satisfying and it's hard hitting. What more could you want.

3 Witcher 3

Everyone bashes this combat system for being too flashy but they haven't really played the game. The combat is very skill based (not as much as the witcher 2 but still very skill based) You can't just casually hack and slash away, you have be careful about when, where, and how you attack because one wrong move can take away huge chunks of your health.

Very good combat system for a story driven RPG

Combat is great, although it looks silly at times. It makes Geralt look like a ballerina. - MKBeast

4 God of War series

Most satisfying combat system

Best game I ever played

This is the third person action combat system many were, and often are still, trying to create. The system consists of long ranged varying attacks used in a multiple input combo system. It speciallizes in fighting groups of opponents with brutal efficiency and performing just okay with one on one fights (often reverting to spamming a single combo). However this system is not very good at creating difficulty. Any attempt to do so results in combo stopping and frustration. This system was used in Star Wars: the Force Unleashed with some success.

Damn... It's GOW... One of the most satisfying combat systems: frenetic, chaotic and awesome to see.

5 For Honor

Easy to understand but hard to master

Yeah, very in-depth combat system

Yes I agree completely along with the star wars merger

I love that a level 1 can beat a level 55+ if he has mastered this complex combat system better then you. I would love to see this combat system along with the execution abilities in a Star Wars game.

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6 Darksiders II

To me one of the most fun combat systems out there. the right mix of melee and ability play.

7 Assassin's Creed

In most of the games it's either meh or blah but in 1, 3, Rogue and Unity combat is just amazing and engaging.

Specifically the combat in Origins. And especially the variety of weapons, with each type having a different way to use them. The Witcher 3 also has great combat mechanics. - MaxStickies

Assassin's Creed is far from having the 3rd best combat system on this list. It sucks. It's basically just holding the parry button and waiting until a marker appears above the enemy that's attacking you--yes, I said 'the' enemy, because in this game only one guard attacks you while you're surrounded by a group of enemies. The stealth isn't part of the combat system so you can't use it as an argument.

Much more to it than what most would tell you, of course, I'm talking specifically about black flag's combat, as it is vastly improved from the combat in 1,2 and 3

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8 Mortal Kombat Series

Although not very flowful
Its more arcade but still great fighting - 11ahmu

9 Red Dead Redemption 2

Amazing ways to execute moves such as lassoing people and hogtieing them

It is also fluint responsive and all around amazing what's not to like?

10 Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

This games combat is absolutely amazing. There are 6 different classes each with different combat variations. The combat is deep and also challenging. Adding on to that is the magic. The magic in this game is absolutely the best. It actually feels like you are harnessing nature to fight for you

Without a doubt the best combat system ever put to game. Influenced by Dark Souls, but improves on everything that failed in those games. Instead of hacking at the toes of giants, you can climb up them and stick your blade into its eye. Masterpiece.

The Contenders

11 Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Really fliuid and smooth

Fluid, responsive, looks awesome. What's not to like?

Like Arkham, but better.

It's the best. flowy, responsive, awesome looking and diverse.

12 Horizon Zero Dawn

Open ended in combat. It gives you a wide variety of weapons and lets you use them as you please. There are a seemingly endless number of ways to take down most machines, especially the big ones. The game requires skill, preparation, and understanding of your enemy's weaknesses. The combat is by far it's best aspect and outshines many other games I have played.

13 Star Wars: Jedi Knight series (Outcast and Academy)

This is how you truly duel an opponent and fight an army with epic results. This game combat system breaks many conventions by featuring: no auto-targeting, limited flinching, and a character that turns with the camera. However what results is a system where everyone creates his/her own fighting methods. The scope of this system is massive, featuring: legitimate swordplay tied to character movement, the direction you are facing, button/direction combos, opponent position, player position, and style (e.G. fast, strong, dual, staff); early first/third person shooter gameplay with unique guns possessing two settings each; force (magic) powers that vary with astounding complexity (stopping combos, stealing guns, bullettime, x-ray vision, physical enhancement, etc. ); a limited parkour system that is flawed but allows for unique effects (delaying attacks, kicking people into pits); some vehicular combat (ranging from land to space); some rudementary hand to hand combat; and mixes between ...more

14 Devil May Cry
15 Sleeping Dogs

The awesome martial arts mixed with medium challenging blocks makes this combat sooo awesome.

16 Super Smash Bros series

A.K. A "brawler"
A very unique fighting game format, the Smash Bros combat system is simple, but elegant, as inspired by the Kirby game series. The series takes place in open yet limited 2D environments. Combat is built around two buttons, but the attacks change with direction of movement, position (grounded or aeriel), and whether or not the fighter is running. The system is also unique in deaths being caused by knocking the opponent out of the environment. The series also features multiple techniques (often born from glitches) that vary between games and add complexity, with melee containing the most. This system has been imitated in PlayStation All Stars battle Royale.

17 Undertale

Yes, here it is, and lemme explain why. While not the best, it's definitely one of the most unique combat systems around. Mixing bullet hell with RPG elements actually pays off here. - MKBeast

Not the best but definitely the most unique as you can either fight or befriend and convince them not to fight

You have a choice between befriending and killing enemies.

18 Lugaru / Overgrowth

An Indy game and it's upcoming sequel demonstrate what happens when you take human animal cross species and put them in the Matrix. In short the combat is quick and visceral, featuring parkour, hand to hand combat, weapons, stealth, and everything in between. The attacks are based off of distance from opponent, character movement, blocking, dodging, countering, opponent position, held weapon, and whether you are in the air or not. Essentially the combat allows for both single and multiple opponent fights without too much frustration aside from personal ability. It currently has no imitators.

19 Dark Messiah of Might & Magic
20 Mount & Blade: Warband
21 Red Steel 2

This is the pinnacle of motion controlled combat. The system features 1-1 precision in both swordplay and gunplay, button and motion combo attacks, motion strength sensitivity, and 4 guns. The system flows between gunplay and swordplay.

22 Oni

Yes, I know you have never heard of it. This combat system combines 2d fighting game combat with a third person shooter to create a deliciously anime combat system. The melee attacks are dependent on what position you are in, what buttons you press, where the enemy is located, and what character you are playing as, featuring punches kicks grabs and disarms. The gunplay features varying weapons with overall impotency to highlight physical combat. The system flows well between ranged and physical combat and features combos similar to standard fighting games.

23 Chrono Trigger

One of the first RPGS to have a non-turnbased system, Chronic Trigger's combat is very deep for its time. - MKBeast

24 Warframe

Sure, the potency of the weaponry is based around what mods you've equipped, but that doesn't change the fact that every weapon has some use in some levels, and that the Stance System is a rather decent way to keep Melee combat from being boring, while the Quick Melee Ability can be chained with gunshots to allow you to increase the potency of the other via Status Procs.

It is pretty dank

25 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

One of the most fun combat systems I've had the joy of levelling up through. What comes across as almost hack-and-slash, turns into a wide variety of weapon and combat styles that turns the player into an unstoppable force of destruction! Button mapping and combos are easy to change up and implement making the game an absolute joyride.

So many weapons to chose from. Easy to switch between weapons. Ever fought with chakrams? Well you can in this game. The amount of weapons gives a great variaty in builds for you character. I've never head more fun with combat than this game. Shame it wasnt a succes partially because of its release date next to skyrim.

26 Bloodborne

Bloodborne has better combat than any game on this list!

27 EarthBound
28 Bully

It's very thrilling and it has cool "executions"

29 Xenoblade Chronicles

Very stylish and not too complicated

30 Transistor
31 Bravely Default
32 Ninja Gaiden Sigma

Best action adventure game out there. 15 years old and it still holds up.

This game should definitely be in this list.
It really makes you feel like a ninja

33 The Legend of Zelda
34 Kingdom Hearts: Chain & Re: Chain of Memories

This is what happens when you combine a card game and a real time rpg. The result is a strategic and frenetic system where you have to not only be aware of when to attack but also what card you should use for that attack, what the opponent is using to attack and when you will have to reload. You have to construct your own deck and use it effectively for this combat system that blends card games and 3rd person (or beat-um up) action.


35 Final Fantasy
36 Black Desert Online
37 World of Warcraft
38 Mirror's Edge series

The number one fault in this game may be just be out of place. Mirror's edge is all about the flow and speed, which are notably absent in this system. However that doesn't take away the potential held in it. This combat system features physical attacks that vary with your current parkour and gunplay where you have to be careful with your ammo. What holds it back is how many hits it takes to knock a guy unconscious and the fact that you have to stop moving if you are simply running. The sequel promises to fix this system by making it easier to take people out.

39 Xenogears
40 Purple Skittles

You fight in a turnbased-style format, similar to games like "undertale" with the bullet hell, but to attack, you must win a point in air hockey, and if you get hit in the "bullet hell" style gameplay (enemy scores), you lose health. Honestly, its not a very well known game and may come across silly to some, but it's combat style is like nothing I've ever seen in an RPG.

41 Bayonetta

How is this not on here?
Arkham series? My toddler can beat that.

42 Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Truly the greatest combat simulator of all time, requiring quick reflexes and A LOT of practice, C:MW is said to have the steepest learning curve of all time. With real time pixel perfect collision detection and twitch-based parrying, you will find it both challenging and rewarding. If you do chose to play this, be aware that skilled players can single-handedly defeat the entire opposing teams of 30+ real players.

43 Absolver

Why is this not here? Probably the best combat system in a game ever.

44 Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

In the first one the enemies were merely obstacles you had to time your hits on, and the second game's combat system was really boring and repetitive. In this one, you get a lot of enemies to fight all the time, but with fun combat like this it isn't really an issue. It also has variety in enemies, making you have to dodge them and attack them differently, unlike the second game. I'm probably just rambling about how great this is, but just play it and you'll see. So darn satisfying. Unless you're playing with default keyboard controls.

45 Mortal Kombat

How is Mortal Kombat not on this list?! I know it's like the regular fighting games, but think about MK4, Deadly Alliance, Deception, Armegeddon and DC Universe! You could fight with 3D!

Also, Finishing Moves.
Fatalities, Brutalities, Friendships, Faction Kills, Fergality, Babality, Hara-Kiri, Quitality, etc.

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