Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite is here, after an alarmingly short trip from reveal to store shelves this fan favourite fighter is back for another outing on new generation consoles but does this entry do enough to justify a grand return? Or should this series have stayed dead and buried?
The formula remains intact, Capcom juggernaughts and Marvel legends duke it out in 2v2 matches with crazy combo hijinks and plenty of lasers the size of the screen. Where MvC:I spices things up is with its removal of assist moves. Previously in the series teams were comprised of 3 characters, with each character having a specific assist move chosen to fit the style of the team. This essentially gave you the ability to strengthen certain aspects of play or to extend combos. MvC:I however bravely challenges this and throws aside the third member of the team and the assist attacks and what is left is nothing short of fantastic.
The removal of the third teammate is remedied by giving the player access to one of the six legendary infinity stones. These stones augment your team by giving them crazy buffs. The Power Stone can be used to create an explosive wave in front of your character, causing enemy players to rebound off the wall ready for combos, alternatively, the Space Gem can pull an enemy closer to you, bridging the distance between you and your foe. These all sound cool but these are just the base use of the gems known as Infinity Surges. When you unleash the Infinity Storms, things get crazy. The Power Stone will dramatically increase your strength and in some cases allow for extended combos. The Soul Stone allows you to literally raise a fallen teammate from the dead with 20% health and the Time Stone gives you increased movement speed and the ability to combo attacks that do not usually combo.
All of this is tied together in a neat bow with the new active switch system. Active Switch replaces tagging as you can now directly tag your other teammate in the middle of combos and other attacks to cover your ass or to help lock an enemy down. On the flip side, if you are getting beaten down and have a spare two hyper meter bars, you can tag your ally in to try and break your enemies combo. This can lead to situations were nearly all characters are on screen. It is chaotic but it is exhilarating and some of the best fun the series has presented in a long time.
Combat is relatively simple, punches and kicks are broken down into light and heavy with combos being easy as each attack can lead into each other. With the addition of Infinity Stones and Active Switching the learning curve increases. Unfortunately, the tutorial doesn’t explain the mechanics in a very user-friendly way and is a very basic fighting game tutorial. For players who wish to learn more and sharpen their skills, there are the combo trials, which allow you to choose one of the 30 characters to try and perform 10 combo trials which scale in difficulty. Some of these trials are helpful and do teach how combat flows, however not all of them are viable and become more about how many different uses of the mechanics you can throw into a single combo.
Speaking of the roster the game really drops the ball. The Marvel side of the roster plays it safe, obviously the house of mouse has an agenda and the character selection reflects the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fan favourites like Wolverine, Deadpool and Doctor Doom have been dropped, obviously because Disney do not own the film rights and therefore do not want to support the characters. This is understandable, albeit disappointing, but the Capcom side of the roster is incredibly weak.
Made up of 13 returning characters and two new additions, the roster feels almost like a joke. Characters like Arthur, Firebrand, Spencer and Nemesis return to the fight, where actual fan favourites like Vergil, Captain Commando and Albert Wesker are left in the cold. Ignoring the wealth of old fighters they have to choose from Capcom have elected to not include any real new faces. Fans have been clamouring for characters like Gene from God Hand and Asura from Asura’s Wrath. The whole roster feels incredibly underwhelming, made worse by the fact that the DLC contains characters like Monster Hunter, Venom and Black Widow.
On top of an underwhelming roster, the game features a very cringe-inducing story mode. It follows the story of the Capcom and Marvel universes being merged by Ultron Sigma, a combination of Ultron and Sigma, wielding the space and reality gem. Ultron Sigma is hellbent on destroying all organic life in the galaxy. It is silly but can sometimes be fun, but ultimately two things spoil it. One is the cringe inducing dialogue, which essentially boils down to character X saying character Y’s name and vice versa. The other is the games graphic style.
Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite is not a good looking game. It can mask this in a way during combat because there is all manner of madness going on on-screen, however the moment you slow down the action and focus on the character models the visual style shows its limitations. I would like to say that not every character looks bad, some in fact look pretty good. But when the models are bad they are REALLY bad. Some more time should have been spent on these models because I am sorry I cannot take Captain America seriously because that poor bastard doesn’t have a neck.
In terms of sound the game is functional with hit effects being appropriate and voice acting being spectacularly cringey (thank you for forcing English voice tracks for Ryu and Chun-Li onto me Capcom) but where the game really struggles is with the Soundtrack. Capcoms side of the roster is a mixed bag with a focus on electro / dance music with some decent remixes and some questionable ones, but the Marvel side really suffer. Gone are the bouncy and exciting Capcom mixes of old and in their place are dull orchestral soundtracks that are very clearly inspired by the movie OST. They aren’t all bad but compared to what came before, they are a far cry from being worthy successors.
Where MvC:I really knocks it out of the park is with the online offering, which has surprisingly is not something that Capcom have shouted about. The netcode for this game is insane. It flows with little to low lag which when you take into consideration the sheer amount of carnage that is flowing around the screen is an incredible feat. The way the game flows from fight to fight is magnificent with the time between fights being shortened due to the matchmaking happening on the victory / defeat screen allowing you to zip between matches at a pace that would make Spiderman blush.
As a complete package MvC:I is rather difficult to judge, as a huge fan of fighting games and playing them in a competitive scene both online and at events, MvC:I ticks all the boxes for me albeit with a major hit to the overall presentation and weak roster. But, for a new player to the series, the limp story with dialogue that feels like it was written by the programmer’s cousin and the standard offering of modes with little to no replay value, may not be enough to keep players invested in this wild ride.
This copy of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite was purchased. Contributor Jack Gash spent many hours attempting to decide which franchise should dominate the other.