EVO 2011 Day 1
The Evolution Championship Series (Evo for short) represents the largest and longest-running fighting game tournaments in the world. Evo events bring together the best of the best from around the world in a dazzling exhibition of skill and fun, as players and fans gather to honor the competitive spirit in an open format and determine a champion.
This year the annual video game tournament has taken up residence in the ultimate adult playground, Las Vegas, Nevada. Evo is being held at the Rio hotel and casino from July 29 to July 31. As a Las Vegas native, I found it to be an absolute necessity to attend the event and scope out the latest in the video game fighting genre first hand rather than watching the live stream via PlayStation Home.
First let me say I’ve never seen so many fighting sticks in my life. Hundreds of gamers from all across the world gathered in the Rio convention center, it was surely a site to behold. A mega screen and accompanied stage were the main focal point of the exhibition. The worldwide champs graced this stage one by one surrounded by countless onlookers and an air of utter suspense. Prior to the championship bouts, prospective title holders challenged each other one by one for hours in the assorted groupings of flat-screen TV’s and fold-able chairs beside the stage.
Evo’s main events of day one included tournaments for Super Street Fighter 4 (PS3) and Mortal Kombat 9 (PS3) but they were certainly not the only exciting elements at the exhibition. Game centers were riddled throughout the arena offering gameplay of upcoming titles. I was able to fight my way through the crowds to get my hands on developer Revenge Lab’s upcoming title Skullgirls.
The cartoon styled fighting game set to be available for download on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 was very impressive, especially from an aesthetic point of view. Atypical of most 2D additions to the fighting world, Skullgirls utilizes a 3D lighting engine on 3D graphics. This provides a very unique visual appeal which I found very attractive. The gameplay was typical of a 2D fighter featuring diverse characters and detailed stages. Skullgirls is set to be released sometime in 2011.
Playable gameplay was available for The King of Fighters XIII, Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and several others games. The UFC Undisputed 3 trial was accessible at Evo as well. While it technically fits the “fighting game” genre, the UFC game is riding a very thin line between fighting game and reality that sets it apart from practically all other titles at Evo.
I was able to witness some fantastic live gameplay of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The ability to switch characters with the press of a button mid-battle is reminiscent of the mechanics so prevalent in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Not only can you switch between characters, players can perform combined techniques using both characters which I witnessed with Paul and Jack pinning up Kuma by the arms…or paws, and striking him with a combined punch. One interesting gameplay mechanic that I noticed is that after one of the characters die, the match ends it doesn’t automatically switch to your second character.
Besides the numerous playable demos present at EVO and the excitement focused on the center stage, multiple mini-tournaments were taking place in all corners of the area. Super Smash Bros Brawl, Capcom Vs Snk 2, Street Fighter 3rd Strike, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Guilty Gear, and Call of Duty: Black Ops (don’t know why this one was included) were the few that I saw at Evo on day 1.
Today’s main bouts include Tekken 6, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, and Blazblue: Continum Shift. I will be one of the many in attendance and will attempt to get my hands on all there is to offer.
I want to apologize for the quality, all the pictures were taken with my Android. The digital camera will be in use for day 2 to guarantee better looking pictures.
Photos taken at Evo 2011: