Marvel vs. Capcom is a series that I hold closer to my heart. During my youth years, Marvel vs. Capcom and Tekken 3 were two fighting games that made me fall in love with the genre. Due to this, I have a lot of love and respect for them and while I have adored the recently released Tekken 7, I was excited to see what Capcom manages to bring over to the Marvel vs. Capcom series starting with the latest entry.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is Capcom’s latest attempt to bring back this franchise and while it might not be exactly without its flaws, it is a pretty good game judging solely on the gameplay front. It has some negatives particularly with some of the bizarre artistic choices for the character designs, or the flawed and cheesy story mode and the lackluster launch roster, but the experience beneath it all shows that it is a well made game that still carries the Marvel vs. Capcom DNA. It might not be as pretty to look at, neither it offers the kind of visual leap that most fans were expecting from a current generation release, but it is hard to fault the gameplay here which is solid to its core.
I was excited to hear about the inclusion of Story Mode in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. This has never been a part of any of the previous game and for the most part, Capcom only had Arcade mode with a final boss battle to go with it. This has changed with the release of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite where Capcom appears to aim at the same level of story design as seen in the recently released Injustice 2. Unfortunately, the effort here feels rather lackluster and while the story mode campaign offers some nice fan service moments, the gameplay portion of it is rather bland where you fight just the same enemy for the umpteenth time with minor story related tweaks to differentiate each battle. It gets repetitive by the end of the game and while some of the boss battles are rather well executed, majority of the main story campaign screams for missed potential.
The story in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite deals with a new enemy, a fusion of Ultron with Sigma from Megaman series. He remains the main villain of the campaign and has an army of drones that he controls. You will be fighting these clones during many of the cinematic moments and due to the nature of their AI, it is easy to get tired of their repetitiveness. Thankfully drones and the random NPCs are not the only thing you will be fighting in the story mode, there are also boss battles with both sides of Marvel and Capcom characters. These boss battles are all neatly integrated into the story which deals with locating the 4 Infinity Gems. You will have to find these stones before Ultron Sigma can find them while he already controls the power of 2 out of the 6 gems as the game begins. The opening feels rather abrupt because if you have played the demo, it is right from the start of the demo where our heroes are in a battle of life and death with Ultron Sigma. There is no explanation or proper story exposition set here which was a disappointment to me coming off from the demo.
Leaving aside the story mode, the actual gameplay manages to be surprisingly fun once you learn the basic mechanics for it. It is important to mention that the game has auto combos and easy supers enabled by default, which might be an effort by Capcom to get more people to enjoy it, but if you have more than enough knowledge of the basics, you should disable it as it doesn’t offer you much control. The combat still retains the basic charm of the combo system that has been a part of the series since the first game. A combination of light punch, light kick, heavy punch and heavy kick is used to start a combo then further action can be performed by juggling the opponent in the air. You can also cancel out of some of the attacks to perform specials or execute super moves and all of this aspect is well executed here.
In the previous Marvel vs. Capcom games, you had a party of 3 characters where 2 of them acted as support. This has been dropped in favor of just 2 vs. 2 battles. You can now switch out to the other character even in the middle of a combo or super and it is all seamless. It works surprisingly great so that if you master the combat, it should be technically possible to perform a set of combos by juggling the two characters. I consider my skills fairly good but not exactly at an expert level so I wasn’t able to utilize this switch mechanic, but I did recognize its full potential for the competitive scene.
One of the new mechanic in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is centered on the Infinity Gems. These are the 6 power gems that can be selected before battle and each carries its own distinct advantage in battle. You can either use a low profile attack with the L1 button that depends on the power of the Infinity gem, or you can fully unleash its power. The Time gem for example lets you basically combo your attacks to oblivion but since the Infinity powers are time limited, you will have to activate these gems depending on your need during the battle. It should be interesting to see how the fighting game community uses these gems during some of the competitive matches.
I don’t think it is fair to criticize the game for its visuals. They are mostly an issue during the story mode and it will be hard to notice them during the actual combat. That said, the lack of character roster is indeed a disappointment and even if the game launches with just 30 characters, it is missing some crucial characters like the X-Men cast or even just Wolverine as a whole. They could have made for a nice addition to the game considering how Wolverine has been a part of almost every one of the past Marvel games.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a fighting video game developed and published by Capcom. It is the sixth main entry in the Marvel vs. Capcom series of crossover games and is also the first Marvel game not to be published by Disney Interactive Studios since its shutdown in May 2016.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite lacks on the story front with a short campaign full of fan service moments, but it does provide a deep and satisfying gameplay. The lack of 3 vs. 3 battles is somewhat forgiven in the light of the more focused battles and the Infinity Gems add an interesting layer of strategy to the overall combat system.