Marvel and Capcom is truly an unlikely meeting of two worlds. Since its inception in 1996, the Marvel vs. Capcom has arguably become the most prolific cross over game series of all time.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, the long-awaited seventh instalment in the Marvel vs. Capcom series released on September 19th, 2017. It had big shoes to fill and a lot of negative coverage prior to release, how did it do? Read on to find out!
First, I’d like to address the elephant in the room. Despite being the foundation upon which Marvel vs. Capcom was built, there is not a single X-Men character included in this game. Their presence is missed. Dearly.
Infinite features a total of 30 playable characters, just 5 of whom are entirely new. They are: Gamora, Ultron, Captain Marvel, Megaman X and Jedah.
This is not only the smallest roster of characters since Marvel vs. Capcom 1, Infinite also features the fewest number of brand new characters in the ENTIRE franchise history.
Aesthetically the game is inconsistent across the board. For example; character models are a mixed bag. Some, like Ultron and Megaman X look absolutely fine. Others, like Rocket Raccoon and Captain America look hideous. The story mode cutscenes are noticeably uglier than the in-game matches, and character renders often look nothing like their in-game counterparts.
The art style itself isn’t necessarily bad, but bland. When compared with the impressive visual presence that MvC2, and MvC3 had, Infinite looks stagnant, almost lifeless. The game’s overall menu and sound design also come across as lazy and uninspired compared with its predecessors. Most of the Capcom characters themes are remixed directly from older titles, while Marvel’s are more in line with much of the Marvel Cinematic Universes unimaginative orchestral soundtracks.
The Stark-Light Library is a nice addition. Here you can find an array of interesting tidbits. Included are features such as: a model viewer, a jukebox, character voice samples and character concept art. Though to my confusion, nearly the entire Capcom cast is missing from the concept art section.
Unlike every prior Marvel vs. Capcom game, Infinite features a dedicated story mode. All of the game’s initial 30 playable characters, as well as some of the upcoming DLC characters, have at least a minor role in the story.
Without delving into spoilers, the general plot is of Marvel and Capcom’s heroes banding together to prevent the coalition of Ultron-Sigma from destroying the Earth. Unfortunately the mode is marred by lazy writing and generally poor execution. Though truthfully, we get to see some cool character interactions. There are genuine moments of brilliance, particularly scenes featuring the likes of Chris Redfield, Frank West and Spiderman. We are also treated to some fun battle sequences, though they are not enough to save the mode from ultimately falling flat of providing a compelling story narrative. Capcom’s decision to market the game based on the weak story was a gross error.
Also missing from the game are dedicated individual Arcade endings, as featured in most previous Marvel vs. Capcom games (aside from MvC2). Their absence make the game’s arcade mode feel redundant, and adds to the air of laziness and lack of content that plagues every orifice.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite has traded its trademark 3vs3 style for a more traditional 2vs2. While I can’t say I actively prefer 2vs2, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it has been implemented. While assists were an active part of former games, more often than not the assist would outshine the characters actively fighting. They had become less of a tool, and more of the defining focus, ultimately leading to touch-of-death combos.
The game now sports a unique ‘active switch’ feature in place of assists or tagging. The active switch is fantastic. It feels perfectly fluid, and centres the game more on the characters you’re using. Your team feels more close-knit than ever before. Active switch defines Infinite, not only from MvC3, but from every other fighting game on the market. Though it must be said that is not necessarily ‘beginner friendly’.
While the roster contains 25 characters from previous MvC games, the vast majority of them have been radically altered. Some characters have new moves, some even have brand new movesets entirely. It makes the characters feel refreshing to an extent, though it will cause longtime fans some aggregation relearning their favourite characters.
Perhaps the most radical change from prior games is the almost-complete abandonment of dragon punch inputs. Iconic moves like Spiderman’s Spider-Sting, and Morrigan’s Shadow Blade now have down, down inputs. Unnecessary changes like these make the game beginner unfriendly.
Thankfully the game is equipped to help seasoned players get accustomed to these changes thanks to the comprehensive Training Mode. Training Mode contains a number of helpful features, including a frame delay to help practice for online matches if lag is a concern. Though from my experience the Online servers are practically flawless. Mission Mode is also helpful. It contains combo missions for all 30 playable characters, as well as a basic tutorial on how to play the game.
Infinite also makes an effort to tackle some of its predecessor’s issues. The Infinity Stones are Infinite’s answer to MvC3‘s X-Factor. The Infinity Stones add an extra mechanic to each match, and there are a variety to choose from. While they are still technically a comeback mechanic, they are not anywhere near as powerful or influential as X-Factor was. Though they are fairly unbalanced amongst themselves. The Reality and Soul Stones are the most useful by a wide margin.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is a flawed game, but at its heart provides long-time fans with enough to sink their teeth into. I first played Infinite with very low expectations. I fully expected to hate this game. Those expectations were beyond shattered.
While the poor visuals and dubious roster are hard to ignore, the gameplay mechanics are so impressive that those issues hardly matter. I haven’t enjoyed simply playing a fighting game to this extent for many, many years.
When you scratch beyond the surface, there’s so much more to this game than meets the eye. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite simultaneously manages to be perhaps the best and the worst fighting game of the past decade.
|Incredible Gameplay Mechanics||Small Roster|
|Great Online||Bland Art Style|
|Lazy/Poorly Written Story|