Earlier this week, we gave a brief history of the Evo, but now it’s time for a preview of the year’s biggest tournament. Evo has eight main games and even more side games. With more than thousands of competitors from over 30 countries attending, the tournament needs to start early if it wants any chance of being on schedule. That’s why players are waking up bright and early at 8:00 A.M. PST / 11:00 A.M. EST for pools this Friday morning. Seven of the eight main games’ pools begin at this time, while Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2’s pools begin at 8:00 A.M. PST / 11:00 A.M. EST on Saturday.
Main Stage Games
Dragon Ball FighterZ makes its Evo debut this year, and it has the most entrants at 2575. DBFZ is a fighting game based off the popular Dragon Ball anime series. Players create teams of three from the cast of 20+ characters, and duke it out in locales from the anime. The game is drawn beautifully with Arc System’s signature art style. Fast gameplay and flashy combos make DBFZ an extremely visually stimulating game to watch. With intense rivalries between Japanese players like GO1 and American players like SonicFox, you can expect high level play as everyone competes to be the game’s first Evo Champion.
The Street Fighter series is no stranger to Evo. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition has the second most entrants at 2494. Street Fighter has classic characters like journeyman Ryu and the world’s strongest woman Chun-Li. The game also saw the return of fan favorites like Illuminati member Urien and professional wrestler Rainbow Mika. With over 30 characters in the game’s roster, you can be sure to see a wide variety of characters throughout the tournament. Street Fighter has a simplistic gameplay style where players compete for space on screen. Players then use proper spacing and timed set ups to deal damage to their opponent. Previous champions Infiltration and Tokido are favorites to win, but with strong players coming from around the world, nothing is guaranteed.
Tekken 7 is different from all the games on this list because of its use of the third dimension. Tekken introduces a third dimension so that players can move freely and create opportunities for openings. There is a 40-character roster with classic characters and three guest characters. These guest characters are Akuma from Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise, Geese Howard from SNK’s fighting game franchises, and Noctis from Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series. With 1543 registrants in the tournament, Tekken provides one of the best spectator experiences because of its phenomenal music and its use of slow motion. South Korea has some of the best players when it comes to Tekken 7 with all of Evo’s past champions being South Korean.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the series’ fourth installment. This year is also the game’s fourth year at Evo. The series is well known for its inclusion of Nintendo characters and giving players the opportunity to have them duke it out. The newest added characters to the game are guest characters Ryu, Cloud and Bayonetta. Ryu is from the Street Fighter franchise. Cloud is from Final Fantasy VII, while Bayonetta is from Sega’s series of the same name. There are 1355 entrants for the tournament, and there have been three different champs over the past three years. Can we expect a new fourth champ in Smash 4? Only time will tell.
17 years in the video game industry is a long time, but that hasn’t stopped Super Smash Bros Melee from being popular. Melee has always been a mainstay at Evo, and this year is no different. With 1353 entrants, this game continues to have support from the community. Players still find a way to find copies of the game, pack their GameCubes, and bring their CRT televisions. Melee has 25 playable characters from Nintendo’s franchises with characters like Mario, Link, and Pikachu fighting for glory. The Smash series is different than your standard fighting game because you don’t deplete your opponent’s health bar. Instead, you must damage them and knock them off the screen to take a stock off of them. A winner is crowned when they eliminate all of the opposing player’s stocks.
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is another new anime game that will have its inaugural tournament at Evo. CTB has a total of 40 characters from four different series. These series are BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night-in-Birth, and RWBY. Competitors must pair up characters to create a team and fight their opponent. A player wins when they deplete the life bar of the opposition’s team of two. Players can tag in their second character to make themselves safe or execute creative combos. With 1181 entrants competing for glory, this tournament will be worth keeping an eye on.
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is the third installment in the series. Rev 2 is the third version of the game which has careful changes to make the experience better. GGXrd is another game by Arc System Works, so it has great presentation with its art and music. The roster is filled with 25 characters that feel completely different because of their archetypes. Unlike the other anime games at Evo, this game is not a team game. Players can only use one character to fight, but with special techniques and finishing moves, this game is just as captivating to watch. GGXrd is a game that has been primarily dominated by Japanese players, with a different player from the same country winning the past three tournaments. Will this be the year that a player from another country is crowned the victor? Make sure to tune into the broadcast this weekend.
Injustice 2 rounds out this year’s lineup. This game basically answers the age-old question of whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. Injustice 2 has the DC universe’s heroes and villains fight to see who is supreme. With a colorful roster of DC characters and guest characters, this game is entertaining to say the least. We have classic DC characters like Superman and the Flash to lesser-known characters like Firestorm and Green Arrow. Injustice also has guest characters like Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fighting game prodigy SonicFox has been a consistent competitor in video games developed by Netherrealm Studios, and after falling short last year, it’s possible that this could be the year he takes the trophy home.
These are the eight main games of Evo. With the competitors and story lines with them, this year’s tournament is worth watching. Look at the schedule and make sure to check out the high-level play. There’s bound to be upsets, comebacks, and amazing decisions to be made.