The Evolution Championship Series (or EVO for short) is about to be underway. Thousands of players and spectators are arriving in Las Vegas, NV to test their might and win it all. Nine games are being showcased at this year’s EVO. Some games are established veterans while others are getting their first shot. Let’s break it down.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – Nintendo’s latest and greatest in its fighting game franchise, a lot has changed since the game was showcased at EVO 2015. Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios was the undisputed king of Smash 4 a year ago, with EVO being the crowning achievement of his dominating performance. In the last few tournaments, however, he’s been slipping a little. With patches and growth of other top player skills, it’ll take a lot for ZeRo to take on Smash 4 this year.
Killer Instinct – Microsoft’s reboot turned crossover has a small but dedicated audience, and throughout the months has seen a steady source of support and downloadable characters. General RAAM from Gears of War and the Arbiter from Halo are standout characters that show that there’s more to Killer Instinct than its 90s source material. Darnell “Sleep” Waller and Deion “Thompxson” Thompson are favored to win it all, though the game has dramatically changed since previous EVOs.
Tekken 7: Fated Retribution – A game that hasn’t even come out in the states has over 500 entrants, so it’s clear that the foreign Tekken community isn’t playing games when it comes to Tekken 7. The franchise’s trademarked visual fidelity and juggle combos are still in full swing, with Street Fighter ne’er do well Akuma being a prominent figure in the game.
Pokken Tournament – Easily the biggest surprise entrant at EVO 2016, Pokken is the Pokemon fighting game made by Bandai-Namco. The game was a hit, especially for Wii U exclusive standards, and has garnered lots of attention since the game was announced to be played at EVO, with over 1000 people signed up to duke it out, Pokemon-style.
Mortal Kombat XL – With more characters, updates, and balance patches under its belt, Mortal Kombat XL is going stronger than ever. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is the undisputed King of Kombat (and isn’t too shabby at many other games, either). It’s not like he won’t break a sweat, but it’s easy to call him a favorite to win it all.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – A staple of EVO, Marvel is a game that’s faltered but never fallen on its face, hype-wise. Just when you think you’re done with the game, top players shake things up enough to pull you back in. The fast-paced, combo-driven gameplay also keeps eyes glued to the screen, waiting for someone to mess up or input a command wrong.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator – The sole anime fighting game present, Guilty Gear comes from a long line of gorgeous 2D fighters that are fast-paced, smooth, and visual splendors – Xrd Revelator is no different.
Super Smash Bros. Melee – No other game has a history quite like Melee. In the lead up to the event, some top players have had to drop out for everything from personal health to foreign affairs. Players like Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma and Adam “Armada” Lindgren are favored to take the whole event, but in a tournament of thousands, shakeups and surprises are bound to happen.
Street Fighter V – While mired in controversy, Street Fighter is still the undisputed biggest event at EVO. With over 5,000 entrants, the community knows it, too. Lee “Infiltration” Seon-woo and Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi are the two big names who have been dominating the game’s short life-span so far. Don’t count out other huge players like Daigo “The Beast” Umehara, Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi, Team Razer’s Keita “Fuudo” Ai and Kun “Xian” Ho, either.