Combo games are games in which combos are easy to make. ’Nuff said.
In Capcom’s Marvel series, utterly ridiculous combos allowed by calling in teammates and performing Aerial Raves gained popularity; this would have a major impact on future fighting games. Major fighting game releases of the past few years have been almost exclusively combo games.
Along with the sense of accomplishment that putting together simple combos brings, it is possible to put together more varied combos than in traditional games, so there is some enjoyment to be had in searching for stronger combos. At the same time, shorter combos will tend not to do as much damage, so longer, more complex combos will tend to win out. In addition to that, there is more importance lended to combos, so if one does not learn a few combos, human vs. human combat can be truly rough.
As a single successful blow can lead to a lot of reward, tactics have a tendency to fall to the wayside; hence, old-guard veteran diehard players tend not to like them as much. The term “combo game” among these people can be a derogatory term (as it implies that the game is about combos rather than fighting).
These games constantly require complex actions, and the systems themselves have a tendency to be pretty complicated, too; therefore, it is not recommended to start with a combo game as one’s first fighting game.