Marvel vs Capcom Limited.
As someone well versed in the world of fighting games, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for the Marvel vs Capcom series. They were never my favorite games to play, but even so, the ridiculous potential of what a true master could showcase with an unlikely team was always fascinating- leading to some of the greatest moments in competitive gaming history.
So, when a brand new entry to the series was finally announced after half a decade of wait, I was thrilled to see where the series would go next. Unfortunately, the end result has left me feeling disappointment in more ways than one.
Platforms: PS4, X1, PC
Multiplayer: online vs mode
Played: 10~ hours
It’s been a long six years since the release of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and fighting games as a genre have come a long way. In that regard, what gamers have come to expect from a full-priced fighting game has changed as well.
Story, arcade, versus, challenge, training and online modes are all pretty mandatory at this point, and Capcom seems to have learned from their blunder with SFV by launching MvC I with all the aforementioned features.
The story mode takes the player through about an hour and a half of nonsensical world clashing nightmare, as aggressively boring as it is poorly written. I found myself constantly tempted to skip cutscenes, but I steeled my resolve to see it all the way through so I could judge it properly, and outside of two or three chuckle worthy one-liners, it was devoid of any charm. The fights in the story mode themselves were mostly against waves of brain dead generic soldiers that moved forward until they expired like a bunch of lemmings. Even when I was finally able to fight against some proper combatants, I was stuck playing as the characters chosen by the story, and the big final boss was just a giant wall of HP to chip away at for ten minutes as he summoned even more waves of generic soldiers.
As the credits rolled, I had to ask myself if it was better to not have a story mode at all if it’s going to be this bad, and while I would personally say yes, I could understand why someone else might disagree.
Outside of the story, all the other modes functioned about as well as you would expect, as I found challenge mode combos to be a decent jumping off point to see a character’s potential and the online mode worked well enough, for the most part. I could search for ranked matches with 3+ bars and have a good experience for three or four games in a row and then encounter an extremely laggy match that was nigh impossible to play. However, it’s important to note that netcodes in fighting games are notoriously difficult to gauge due to a myriad of factors that could affect it.
The big controversy surrounding MvC I before its release has been about its visuals, and that was for a good reason. All the promotional material including screenshots and trailers showcased many of the beloved classic characters like Chun-Li and Dante looking extremely weird.
Luckily, Capcom has put in some extra work in those departments, but looking at the final product, it wasn’t enough. Most of the characters have this cheap knock-off plastic figurine look to them, and when I look at other games in the genre like Injustice 2, Guilty Gear Xrd and Blazblue, it becomes immediately clear that this is an ugly looking game by comparison.
It’s not just the character models either, as every facet of the presentation feels lacking. The stages, menus and even the UI all look generic and uninspired. It feels like a game without its own identity and lacking in anything one could call a “style”.
Still, when it comes down to what’s most important to a fight game, I don’t think anyone could argue that being anything other than the combat engine.
It’s here where Infinite finally shows some signs of life.
Just like its predecessors, Infinite is a tag team battle but this time, instead of a 3 on 3, it’s 2 on 2. There’s also no standard button to call your assist character to perform an attack. With these two changes, I fully expected the game to be a dumbed down shell of its former self but thanks to two new factors, this was not the case.
First, the player is allowed to tag very quickly to continue the pressure or chain a combo that would otherwise be impossible. It’s a flexible system that allows for tricky set-plays and devastating combos. The tag could even be used to break my opponent’s combo on me by expanding some meter to bring my second character in while my first character was being juggled to death, saving his life and potentially opening up for a vicious counter-attack.
Not just the namesake of the game, the six Infinity stones also provides tremendous power to those that can use it correctly. For example, the Reality stone could be used to summon a homing projectile to cover the approach of slow characters who would have a tough time getting in otherwise.
The Power stone could be used as another launcher to extend combos even further, adding more damage and meter gain to fast characters that are lacking in the DPS department. When the stone’s meters were filled up, they could be activated to launch “Infinity Storm” where the true potential of the stones were unleashed.
The Soul stone which was generally activated to steal some life from the opponent could be activated in an Infinity Storm, resurrecting a dead teammate and allowing the player to control two characters on screen at once. Each of the stones had similar game changing properties and using them to either shore up the weakness of a team or reinforce their strengths brought a great level of variety to the team composition.
Even though the Infinity stones are a great addition to the series, the roster of 30 left much to be desired, as its predecessor UMvC III sported 50 playable characters. The lackluster roster issue is compounded by the fact that due to licensing issues, X-Men characters like Wolverine, Magneto, Storm and many more did not make the list and they are sorely missed.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite makes a poor first impression with its lackluster visual style and a roster of characters that are missing many fan favorites. Even though it’s impossible to completely look past the issues in the presentation, the combat engine is solid and the addition of the Infinity stones is a boon to the series as a whole. While those who only enjoy playing fighting game for the story mode can safely steer clear of this title, those interested in a deep, flexible and entertaining fighting game will find much to like here.
Fun Tidbit – My team of Dante and Ultron with Soul Stone will mess you up.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.