When Capcom announced they once again had permission to make another fighting game wherein their library of characters could duke it out with Marvel’s roster of heroes and villains, fighting game fans, including myself, rejoiced. While I was never good with any of the Marvel vs. Capcom games and I can never really get the hang of all the complexities and niceties of the combat system, I just love playing the games. There’s just something about the overall craziness of the games that just gets your adrenaline pumping. And we were going to get more? Fabulous!
But, as more and more information about the game leaked out, fans, including myself again, started to have concerns. Capcom decided to forego the 3-vs-3 aspect of the last two entries that made each and every game so fast paced and bring it back to just 2-vs-2, which would remove some of the insanity that made them so fun to watch. It also came out that Wolverine, Magneto and any of the X-Men characters were not going to be in the game because Marvel wanted to focus on characters from their very own Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, the game didn’t look all that hot, even when compared to the comic book looking style of Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Everything just looked off for one reason or another.
That was then. The game has been out for a while now and, while most of the statements above came true, does that mean Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite sucks? Well, after playing for a good while now, I have some thoughts on the game and its overall quality…
The first thing to discuss would be Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s presentation, namely how it looks and sounds. Suffice to say, this isn’t a very pretty game. In fact, it’s downright ugly at times. The character models all look incredibly stiff and lifeless. They generally look like plastic action figures but not the official kind. They look more like the bootleg copy your unwitting aunts and uncles would buy you for your birthday, not knowing (or not really giving a crap) that they’re obviously of substandard quality. Some of them, like Dante’s ugly mug and Spider-Man’s awkwardly proportioned extremities, were really hit hard with the ugly stick. Thankfully, Capcom did fix Chun-Li’s face, though. She really, really looked weird during the demo!
But it’s not even just the character models. Everything about the game just looks bland. The HUD where you see the life bars and all the meters look plain and boring. The menus also get the same lifeless look. The background stages are bereft of any life and movement. Gone are the awesome comic book feel of previous entries and replaced with uninspired scrolling menu options, bereft of any color and life that previous entries had. Even the title screen looks like someone just slapped a still JPG image and called it a day.
Sound design comes off as rather shabby as well. The voice acting isn’t terrible but it isn’t great either. Some of the actors that are returning do an adequate job giving life to the 30 character roster of the game and some of them, like the guy that does the voice of Ultron/Sigma do sound great. But some of them really sound terrible. Rocket Raccoon’s scratchy voice really gets on my nerves for some reason and you’ll be hearing him a lot, especially during the first few hours of the game’s Story Mode.
Speaking of the Story Mode, it’s not really particularly interesting. The overall concept of Marvel’s Ultron and Capcom’s Sigma, both robots who are hell bent on destroying all organic life, joining forces with the plan to use the Infinity Stones to get what they want is really good. The execution and how the story is told, however, generally falls flat on its face. Dialogue come off as stilted and trite. The cutscene action scenes are incredibly yawn inducing. It’s also told in the slowest way possible. What’s worse, there are even loading screens before you get into battle. Nothing is as unexciting as watching a still image with the words “Now Loading” on the lower right-hand corner of the screen, Capcom! Nothing!
However, while the game is lacking in how it looks and sounds, it doesn’t come short when it comes to the actual meat of any fighting game: the core gameplay. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite does play incredibly fast and hectic like its predecessors but it’s probably the more accessible now that they did remove a lot of the stuff from the 2nd and 3rd entries. There are no more assists now which makes the game much more straightforward and actually feels really good once you get used to it. You can also tag in your partner at any time, even while getting hit by a long combo to save your character that’s about to die. Each character now has the ability to hit opponents that have been knocked down, which makes everyone feel like their on the same level instead of just a handful of characters that are too powerful because they were the only ones who could do that before.
The roster, while having a substantial 30 characters to choose from, does feel lacking. I have to say that I really miss the X-Men characters as they’ve been a staple in the series ever since it started. There just feels like there’s a Wolverine-sized hole in the roster since they’re missing. Also, some of the returning characters feel weird and out of place. I can understand why the likes of Ryu, Strider, Dante, Zero, Iron Man, Hulk, Dormammu and Spider-Man are making a return. But why are Frank West, Spencer and Hawkeye back? Thankfully, each returning character have a couple of new moves so it doesn’t feel like Capcom got lazy and just imported them from the previous entry. Also, most of the new characters like Gamora, Ultron and Jeddah do feel unique enough that they add something fresh to the game. That doesn’t make me miss the X-Men characters any less, though.
While Capcom reduced the number of characters in each team from 3 to 2, you do kind of get a 3rd member for your team with the Infinity Stones. You get to choose from 6 Infinity Stones, each granting your team a special ability which can either be used to enhance what they can do or to cover up certain deficiencies. For example, the Reality Stone throws a slow moving projectile that follows your opponent, which can be useful for covering you as you try to get it, making it useful for slow characters to get in. The projectile can also be used in the middle of a combo, making it also useful for quick characters and teams who are reliant on combos for their damage. Additionally, each Infinity Stone, when their meter is charged up, allows them to activate their Infinity Storm. This essentially replaces the old X-Factor comeback mechanic and can be devastating in the right hands as they all do different things. This is probably one of my favorite new additions to the game’s core mechanics as each and every Infinity Storm is useful in its own right; it’s just the matter of finding the right one for your playstyle and team. Combine the Infinity Stones mechanic to some really solid and responsive controls and you get a fighting game that’s a dream to play.
If you can get past at how terrible everything looks and sounds in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, you will be surprised with a solid fighting game that’s still incredibly hectic and crazy despite limiting the matches to 2-vs-2 fights. There’s an incredible depth to the game but somehow being one of the easiest to get into for beginners because of how everything has become streamlined here. I still suck at the game in general but at least I’m taking great joy at sucking at it.
Have you played Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!