Title: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Official Site: https://marvelvscapcominfinite.com/
Release Date: September 17, 2017
Where to Buy: Steam, PS4 Store, Xbox Store
The Marvel vs. Capcom series has always thrived on chaos. Huge combos, outrageous special moves, and broken strategies dominate the day. Many fighting games have an extremely high skill ceiling, and the Marvel series has often been one where a single mistake can open you up to an instant loss. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has tried to lower the bar of entry a bit, but still leaves plenty of room to grow into a complex fighting experience with a ton of fun characters.
There is a story mode to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, and it is completely goofy and nonsensical. Sigma (the big bad of the Megaman X series) and Ultron (the Avengers villain) have created a virus that eliminates organic life, and have merged the Marvel and Capcom universes together in order to become overlords of both. Yes, this implies that the Capcom universe is one place, so the worlds of Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Megaman, and many others apparently all take place in the same shared universe.
The story mode of any fighting game is usually just there to get a variety of characters together to lock horns, and that’s exactly what we have here. The Capcom side is represented by characters from a number of their most popular IPs: in addition to the three mentioned above, Darkstalkers, Dead Rising, Devil May Cry, and characters from many other games all make appearances. Mainstream characters like Ryu and Chris Redfield, as well as more obscure like Firebrand and Richard Spencer are all part of the roster.
The Marvel side of things is mostly drawn from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which leaves some large gaps in their side of the roster. Mostly of the “mutant” variety. The X-Men who have been synonymous with the Versus series, like Storm, Wolverine, and Magneto, are nowhere to be found. However, there are still plenty of heavy hitters here: Thanos, Ultron, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and Ghost Rider are among the comic characters represented here. Between both sides, you should be able to find characters you like who match your play style, all while laughing at the absurdity of it all. Take Frank West into battle and snap pictures of the Hulk before pummeling him with a shopping cart to see what I mean.
The roster is solid, but it leans a bit heavily on characters who we saw in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There are only a handful of new characters (although most have been reworked in some ways), unless you are willing to pony up the $30 for the first DLC character pack. That will unlock much requested characters like Venom, Sigma, and Winter Soldier.
One of the frustrating aspects of the game, which also plagued Street Fighter V, is that the DLC seems like it could have been included to begin with, rather than tacking the extra cost on there. Especially in a game that emphasizes competition and eSports, you practically have to buy these characters in order to study them and remain competitive. It seems like price gauging that drives an already $60 game to near triple digits just to have all the content.
Luckily, the combat system in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is top notch. The assist system, which made certain characters like Doctor Doom near necessities in previous iterations, has been eliminated. Players choose only two characters now, instead of three, and they can be tagged in and out nearly at will. This, coupled with the new infinity stone system, makes combos much more free form and creative. It is not uncommon to unleash a simple combo, only to start to realize that you can extend it longer and longer by chaining tags, hyper combos, and Infinity Stone usage. It favors experimentation and rewards precision, while still allowing newbies to unleash some impressive looking combos.
The vast majority of time spent with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite will be spent in online battles. Luckily, the netcode for the game seems to be pretty on point. I only noticed a few stutters in dozens of online matches, although finding a match sometimes took a little longer than expected. It’s still a bit early, but I also ran into far too many Captain Marvels, and her rushdown strategy seems to be the dominant method of attack in the early metagame.
The elephant in the room for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is the way it looks. The character design is strange; characters like X and Jedah feature the cartoonish appearance from their games, while many of the MCU characters are shooting for a more realistic approach. This can be jarring when they appear on screen with one another and interact. In addition, many of the characters suffer from a severe case of “derp face,” despite Capcom releasing a patch to fix up some of the uglier visuals. Dead-eyed stares and janky teeth are the name of the game, making the already goofy story mode even more laughable.
The overall presentation is a bit lacking as well. Gone are the hyper-stylized menus, and no one is going to “take you for a ride.” It seems as if Capcom has gone full eSports with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, and have sacrificed a great deal of style in order to keep the presentation as clean and viewer-friendly as possible. That’s not to say it looks bad, it is just lacking in the over the top style that the series is known for.
None of these issues are deal breakers, as the core systems in place are very good and the fighting is fluid and rewards skill. However, a $60 major release that lacks style, polish, and seems a bit unfinished (although it is in a much better state than Street Fighter V was at launch) looks a bit lackluster.
VERDICT: The fighting system in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is impressive. It is accessible to beginners, allowing for easy, lengthy combos and screen filling supers within just a few minutes of learning the game. It has a high skill ceiling, however, making you work to learn character nuances and maximize damage. It lacks a bit in style, and the character models can be a bit jarring, but fighting game fans have a deep, intense battle ahead of them.
- System allows for lots of creativity and viable strategies
- Infinity Stones are much more interesting than X Factor
- The new tag function is a huge improvement over the assist system
- Accessible, but with a high skill ceiling
- Strange character models
- Seems a bit tame
- Story mode is goofy and bizarre
- DLC is a bit excessive