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EVO 2019: A Closer Look at the Lineup

We take a better look at each game for the competition.

by Alex Levine


With less than a month to go, the hype is starting to build up for the Evolution Championship Series (EVO). The annual fighting competition draws in thousand and thousands of contenders each year, and the event continues to grow bigger as a result. The best part about EVO is that you don’t have to be well known to enter any competition, it’s open to literally anyone who attends, but you do need to register for the respective game that you wish to partake in.

Speaking of which, the games are a major part of the event, usually stemming from the well known classics to newcomers that are thrown in to create some variety for the fans and the applicants. Some titles are seen as “not worthy” of being in the EVO series by the old school fighting game aficionados, but we aren’t going to talk about that. Here we’ll go through each confirmed game for the EVO lineup and see just how much it measures up to the “EVO standard.”

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition

Street Fighter needs no introduction here. The series is the longest running fighting game staple in EVO history, and has been played at every single one. Street Fighter V didn’t exactly have a great launch back in 2016, but it has since rebounded with newer content and the much improved Street Fighter V Arcade Edition. The established V Trigger and fighting mechanics are all still here, but now we have an actual single player arcade mode, something that fans were begging Capcom to release post launch of the original.

While it’s obvious that this iteration was made for esports, it’s still an excellent fighting game and a great starting point for anyone who has been living under a rock for the past 30 years. All of the fighters that were previously available via Season Passes are all gathered here in the Arcade Edition. They’re still bringing out new fighters and content in order for people to continue experiencing this title. The game is still loved by the community, ensuring it’s inclusion into this years EVO.

Mortal Kombat 11

One of the newer entries on the lineup, Mortal Kombat 11 is yet another game that was marred with some controversy upon release. Despite this, the fighting game aspect is easily the strongest it’s ever been in the series. NetherRealm Studios did everything they could to make sure that you felt a bit squeamish when dishing out some brutal Fatalities on your opponents, and vice versa. It also helps that the in game mechanics are fun and very addictive.

Mortal Kombat has only recently been considered part of the EVO lineup, with Mortal Kombat X being one of the most registered games at one point. Now they have a place in the annals of esports, and competitors will be lining up to see how they do with 11’s first outing at the event.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Last year, Dragon Ball FighterZ was the most popular fighting game out there. In fact, the game had the single most registered applicants for the previous EVO, which dethroned Street Fighter as the long running champion of contenders for the first time ever. As for the game itself, it’s still going strong thanks to its second helping of fighters that were introduced this year.

It’s no surprise that it’s coming back to EVO. Many fighting gamers consider this to be the best game that Arc System Works has ever made, and that’s including Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. The 2D style with easy button combinations and beautiful art style made this a must play for not just Dragon Ball fans, but fighting game fans.

Tekken 7

Speaking of fighting games that haven’t lost any steam, Tekken 7 is arguably the most popular 3D fighting game out there right now. With the release of Dead or Alive 6, many thought that Tekken 7 would be taken off the EVO list this time. However, it seems that the people behind EVO prefer the slower paced technical skilled style over the faster paced one.

The roster for Tekken 7 is insane, especially with the addition of more fighters thanks to DLC. The game has the second biggest roster in the event, next to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Tekken fans are still lining up to play this one, so expect to see a big reception for it once they start going at it.

Soul Calibur VI

Sould Calibur VI marks the franchises grand return to the event for the first time in years. While old school fans prefer the 1999 arcade classic, VI is easily one of the premier fighting games out there. Similar to Tekken and Mortal Kombat, Bandai Namco has increased the roster with DLC, but the game is much more than that.

The developer has added some depth to the fighting mechanics, including the new super moves which can make or break a match. Other than that, the heart and soul, pun intended, of the series is still alive and kicking with a variety of different weapons with each fighter. Fans of the series will be delighted to see the Soul series return to the competition.

Undernight Inbirth EXE Late St

Undernight Inbirth EXE Late St might be the only game in the lineup that most fighting game fans know the least about. Believe it or not, but this is actually the third iteration of the game, whereas the original came out on the PlayStation 3 years ago. A huge hit in Japan, the series has found a fanbase here in the States, albeit a fairly small one.

Another series made by Arc System Works, the game plays very much like their other titles, Guilty Gear and Blazblue with some additional mechanics like multiple super bars. While the game can get a little hectic on screen, due to so many different abilities activating, it plays very well, and it’s easy to see why it’s being added to the EVO lineup.

Samurai Shodown 

Samurai Shodown is the most recent game to launch this year to be included in the EVO lineup. The series has been a part of the event for many years, and this is merely the next addition for them to use in the competition. The game plays a little bit differently than most fighting games. Instead of fast paced combos, you’ll need to learn the mechanics of your samurai and their weapons.

One unique part of the series is the inclusion of blood and fatality like finishers, a rare commodity for an SNK game. The newest version has this in spades, and many fans of the franchise have been waiting for the game to be part of EVO. Their wish has been granted.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle 

Yet another Arc System Works title (they make good fighting games) this is a spin off of multiple franchises combined into a unique tag team fighting game. Using fighters from the BlazBlue, Persona, Undernight, and RUBY series, the game has made some waves on the fighting game circuit with it’s easy to learn style despite the crowded roster.

Players use two select fighters in each fight, but you can trade fighters out to keep your opponent on their toes and vice versa. This will be the second EVO for the game, with the first one being right after it was released last year. Regardless of it’s current standing on the amount registered participants, BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is a welcome game for the event.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Last but not least is the game with the most amount of registered participants for EVO 2019, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This game needs no introduction, least of all a reason to have it at EVO. The Smash series has always had a presence at the event, specifically Melee which is still considered by many to be the best in the series.

While some might be sad to see it gone from the event, Ultimate will more than make up for it with it’s absolutely massive cast of fighters. Not to mention the classic Smash fighting style that is oh so addicting. Don’t be surprised to see this game be the last one on the lineup to be finished, as EVO always saves the best for last.

What do you think of the EVO lineup? Let us know in the comments below. EVO 2019 goes from August 2 Friday-August 4 Sunday at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

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