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Virtua Fighter's Return to EVO (Virtua Fighter Month)


Earlier this year at EVO Japan 2023, Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown was one of the games added to the lineup. I remember last year after SEGA hosted the Virtua Fighter esports Challenger Cup Season 1, Markman came in with an incredible announcement that VF5US would be part of the EVO Japan 2023 lineup. The news was amazing since it was the first time since 2007 where a VF game was part of the main lineup for EVO.

Virtua Fighter has a great history with EVO. It has made three appearances overall starting with Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution appearing at EVO 2003 and 2004, and Virtua Fighter 5 appearing at EVO 2007. Although Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown appeared at EVO 2012 11 years ago, it appeared as a side tournament. 

Looking back at the build for the tournament, I was shocked to see how many people entered VF5US at EVO Japan. There was a total with 796 players that entered, just four players shy from hitting 800, which is the most that I’ve seen. With the majority of VF players coming from Japan and the rest coming from other countries and continents such as the United States, UK, and Europe for example, they traveled to compete and see how far they can get.

One thing that I appreciate during the tournament is where Ryan Hart was giving a history lesson in Virtua Fighter with IFC Yipes, TeamSp00ky, and James Chen during the coverage of each event. Not many people outside the FGC knows about the high-level play of Virtua Fighter, so it was great to have Hart on board because he has competed in VF in the past. My favorite part was when Hart was explaining to both Yipes and Chen about the dynamics of the gameplay. 

During the match between Yasokami (Lei-Fei player) and Densetsu_SP (Jean player), Densetsu utilized his guard break string in which both Sp00ky and Chen were surprised about that while watching the game. This is where Hart was explaining the dangers of blocking in Virtua Fighter, which can result in various guard breaks that will penetrate your defense. I was laughing hard when Chen saw it and said “That’s messed up! That’s messed up! I don’t wanna play this game anymore!” 

As for the tournament itself, I was very happy to see how the VF community was playing in the tournament. There was a lot of high-level play from various players and some of the players from the United States (some who I personally know in real life) went to Japan and tested their skills. The highest-ranked US VF player in the tournament was none other than Shidosha, who is an OG VF player that I’ve fought multiple times both on my streams and tournaments. He finished at the Top 100 players out of 796, which was impressive.

Top 8 on the other hand was hype from start to finish. Players such as Tonchan, Akani Shiwapo, Virgo, Yogo, TetRoom|YOU, Yasokami, Densetsu_SP, and Poroli gave their all in the tournament. It may also interest you that TetRoom|YOU is one of the oldest finalists in the tournament, considering that he’s been competing in VF tournaments since the VF2 era in 1994, so that’s a clear sign that age ain’t nothing but a number. 

I know everyone is wondering how I felt after SEGA didn’t have an announcement for anything VF-related and yes: I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything new announced. But at the same time, I had to lower my expectations as well because there could be little to no announcements for the title. But with the 30th Anniversary of Virtua Fighter, I did what I could to support the series and help celebrate the anniversary.

Virtua Fighter Month has just begun, folks! Join us next time where we talk about the curious case of VF3tb Ports. That also includes one that I wasn’t expecting on the BINGO card.

Until Then… Train Up, Fighters!

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About Virtua Kazamaone of us since 12:55 PM on 07.05.2014

Twitch Affiliate, Let's Player, FGC player, and the host of Virtua Fighter Takeover. I play games: mostly fighters, platformers, beat em' ups, Japanese, Retro, and Modern.

Never miss a livestream! https://twitch.tv/virtuakazama