There are very few fighting games that capture the look and feel of the Marvel vs Capcom series. What started off as a simple all-in-one collection of sprites from Capcom’s Marvel and Street Fighter fighting games soon evolved into its own hyper fighting game genre. After the mixed response of Ultimate, Capcom returns to give fans a proper sequel with a story mode and continued mod support. Does it fail? Not really. In fact Infinite manages to be a solid entry into the franchise
Aside from your typical online and arcade modes, Capcom finally followed suit with a story mode involving Mega Man X’s villain, Sigma, to fuse with Marvel’s Ultron. I have to admit it’s a neat idea and helps explain why Capcom and Marvel characters are fighting each other (not that it needed an explanation in the first place). While it tries its best to creat a “captivating narrative” the story mode falls short thanks to some pretty awful writing. I mean, okay, some jokes were kind of decent in a very campy way but the majority are just lazy one-liners that don’t add substance. The stuff I did like were the odd universes clash to form something like A.I.M.U.M.B.R.E.L.L.A.
Adding insult to injury is the awful presentation. For a series known for its colorful and eye-popping visuals, Infinite falls well below expectations. Most notably are the character’s faces which appear too small in proposition to their giant bodies. Captain America and Spider-Man are the biggest offenders which just appear plain blocky and ridiculous. To their credit, Capcom did fix some things such as Chun-li’s face. But others like Dante still look laughably bad. And it doesn’t stop at the character models either. The menu, music, and overall feel is just drab and uninspiring. For a series known for its upbeat soundtrack and dynamic presentation, Infinite sticks out like a sore thumb.
Thankfully the actual gameplay is pretty solid and somewhat makes up for the lack of presentation. Infinite is probably the most accessibly fighting game I played in years and people who generally suck at combos and landing supers will be delighted with Infinite’s intuitive layout. A simple button press of square or x (depending on your controller) will initiate an auto combo which helps a lot. Air combos in particular were known to take a lot of effort to pull off but here it’s just as easy as mashing a button. Now some might cry foul and say this gimps the game but I honestly think it helps in removing the distraction. MvC are fast paced fighters and remembering combos aren’t as important as connecting them with supers or dodging. You constantly have to be on your toes thinking of when to attack and when to dodge or jump is the core of MvC. That being said the option can be disabled and I would still vouch that veteran players can take out button mashers.
But even if you decide to kick it old school and remove the auto combo, the Inifinity stones help add an extra layer of strategy not found in other MvC games. Each stone possess a certain attribute and ability that builds up during the match. Some cause the opponent to be trapped in their place while others increase your attributes and damage. It’s a wild card ability and knowing when to use it will make the difference between winning and losing.
The roster is a hit or miss. I mean we do get Mega Man (finally), Zero, Dr. Strange, and Captain America but then we have Spencer from the poorly received and forgotten Bionic Commando reboot. I mean really no one wanted Spencer and he just feels like he was added as filler. Meanwhile we have upcoming characters like the Hunter from Monster Hunter and Black Panther (which can be seen in the single player mode) being setup for DLC. I guess that’s just to be expected in this day and age. Not that I agree with it. At all.
And yes we must talk about the elephant in the room, the lack of X-Men characters. These were the most iconic characters in the franchise and it’s sad they’ve been relegated out due to licensing issues. I just hope they eventually get added-in.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is decent entry but one can’t help but look at it and feel that it could have been so much more. Thanks to Nether Realm studios, the fighting game genre has taken a huge leap forward and Capcom still feels like they’re playing catch-up. With its poor presentation but fun gameplay it certainly manages to hit close to the mark at least.