But what, you may reasonably ask, is that?
Evo is the world championships of fighting games. If you like fighting games, you’re already planning to watch it, have Monday off work and are stocking up on cool snacks. If you don’t hopefully you haven’t already stopped reading, because Evo is the spectator event of the year unless you have some sort of allergy to excitement. Taking place each year in Las Vegas, it’s a celebration of competitive play, an exhibition of extreme skill and Championship Sunday is 8+ hours of pure, undiluted hype. Here’s what you should watch, when and how.
The main event, this and pretty much every year, is Street Fighter, and for the final time (based on latest estimates for Street Fighter V’s [official site] release) Ultra Street Fighter IV [official site] will take that stage. Pool play, the preliminary brackets that feed the main double elimination tournament, all the way through to the top 8 are being ran throughout today. While these initial streams are likely to be stomps by well known players onto poor noobies, it will help you get to grips with the game, commonly used characters and maneuvers and there’s always the chance that somebody loses a match they shouldn’t.
As the day progresses games will get steadily closer, upsets more frequent, last moment comebacks and flashy-animation-based sudden reversals of fortune common. In previous years the top 32 and 16 have been definitively unmissable but with 2227 players signed up this year, killer matchups will start a lot earlier. There’s a combined 26 hours of streaming planned across the official Capcom stream and the main Evo stream throughout the day. Did I mention second monitors are pretty much required?
While we’re talking schedules, here’s the full thing (8 hours behind UK time). That’s 175 hours of content, 8 streams, three days. Beyond the mandatory main stage viewing on the final day, here’s where I’ll be spending my eyeballs. Super Smash Bros. Melee is in a resurgence and is the third most-signed-up-for game behind its newer sequel despite being stunningly difficult to even track, nevermind play. It’s as close to fighting game chess as you’ll get, with any of the Five Gods plus relative newcomer Leffen being almost guaranteed top eighters. To give an idea of how much better than their peers these guys are, Mango recently failed to turn up to his first round match at a major tournament, putting him into losers bracket immediately. He still won the finals without dropping a game, losing three total across all ten matches.
And he’s considered to not be playing that well right now. Yeah.
It’s likely to be the last year for main-stage Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as the latter company’s contract with the former has ran out and the game is no longer available to buy from online stores. This also means it’s never going to receive additional content or a much needed balance patch. With a host of up and comers looking to take that valued place, Marvel 3 will take a backseat. Some of the best moments from every year come out of the frantic, deadly and combo-heavy team-based fighter, so don’t miss its finalé. Plus She-Hulk drop kicks Ryu sometimes.
Finally always, always, always try every game. Whether it’s the unmatched animation of Tekken or the knowingly over the top Killer Instinct, chances are one will take your fancy more than it did mine. Shop around, experiment and see if you too end up screaming at the top of your lungs as a giant bear kills a samurai.
For more info and to follow along better this weekend, Shoryuken’s the place to be. Here’s the official trailer: