Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite is a crossover fighting game developed by Capcom and features an assortment of characters from both companies. It changes the formula that has become a standard in the franchise and has now become a two versus two fighting game with Infinity stones. This is a fighting game we did not expect to get when the Marvel license expired for Capcom but now that it’s here, let’s see how it turned out.
Release date: September 19, 2017
Approximate Size: 37.09 GB
Genre: Fighting Game
Developed by Capcom
Published by Capcom
Reviewed on Xbox One; also available on Playstation 4 and PC.
After the backlash received from Street Fighter V, due to lack of content and a proper story mode, Capcom made sure not to make the same mistake again with its newest fighting game. Where NetherRealm has thrived with its story modes in its fighting games, proving fighting games can have a well detailed plot that captivates the players and gives them a reason to experience it, Capcom, unfortunately, continues to fall short. Even though we forget that they are sort of new to this, our expectations on the potential story modes in fighting games have risen to new heights as games like Injustice and Tekken 7 display some of the best experiences with renown characters.
The story starts off by throwing the player into the midst of the chaos with no explanation on what exactly is going on. I understand why they chose to go this route but it didn’t allow me to feel invested in the story or the characters. The character models only pulled me away even more but we’ll discuss that a little later.
As the story progress, everything unfolds and things begin to make sense but there is never a sense of urgency and I believe this is what hurts the story most. I never felt I was placed in a situation where there would actually be consequences if I failed and I feel if they would have started the story off with something substantial, maybe a death or two from the cast that didn’t make it to the playable roster, I would have felt some investment into the plot. Unfortunately, this is not the case and with the exception of a few scenes, Hulk and Ryu and anything with Thanos, everything fell flat and uninspired. The decision to implement a story mode must have been from the backlash and not something born out of a desire to tell a comic book style story.
Another jarring element to the story is that apparently everyone knows one another. Now, if we are to assume that they all know each other because of prior games, then why is this never brought up? It’s nothing that hurts the story, at least nothing that upset me nor affected my experience playing the story, it’s just odd that it’s never explained and everyone knows one another and gets along. If I was writing the story, I would have opted to keep the collision of two realms but I wouldn’t have made them all know one another.
There would have been an interesting opportunity to have these characters team up against one another because they believe they are invading one another’s universe. It would have solved the story’s problem of feeling as if it forced two people to team up. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that Ryu is a researcher? It would have also gotten rid of all the various filler fights that are in to simply extend the story’s length. Too often you fight a team of goons that are way too easy to beat and offer no pay off when it’s done.
Ultimately, Capcom is years off to ever reaching the pristine heights in story telling like their rivals at NetherRealm. I applaud that they tried and there are enjoyable moments in the story. However, most will only play it once and it only serves the purpose to scratch someone’s curiosity when speculating how Capcom would write a story with Marvel characters. With a few more touches of polish, a restructured story, and explanation behind how everyone knows one another and the combining of corporations, this could have had actual potential.
This is where this game shines the most. The actual fighting in this game is superb and in many ways the best the series has had. The biggest departure this entry takes from its predecessors is the decision to go back to two versus two as opposed to the three versus three that the series is now known for. Truth be told, this departure is actually a return to the series beginnings and it’s the most welcomed change to the iconic formula. That was one of the biggest issues when Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was at its peak that everyone noticed that, yes, it was three versus three but eventually it became a fighter with a lot of assists support. Also, some characters upon entry had the touch of death and the X-factor mechanic was used for everything except for what it was originally intended. To prevent that from happening again and to further their commitment to esports and the competitive scene, some changes needed to be made and each one was for the better.
In this version, two versus two is the best version of tag team fighting since Mortal Kombat 9. Instead of having characters jump in or summoned to launch a quick attack to give you an advantage, you can swap characters on the fly with no issues. This is amazing as its fluid and you can extend combos. The game managed this without dropping a single frame (I had no issues whatsoever) and there are times where all four characters are on screen fighting independently and its jaw dropping and chaotic. This is how this game should have been advertised. You run into scenarios where these strong characters are acting exactly as you would picture them to act and it’s like reading a comic.
Your third character is replaced with the infinity stones. At first I was unsure how they could implement them without ruining the balance of the game and I’m surprised to say that they nailed it. There was never a time that I felt someone had an unfair advantage because of a stone they had equipped. The stones have two modes of use. You can either use them throughout the match, for example the Time Stone allows you to zip across the screen and is good for getting behind opponents, or once their meter has extended passed fifty percent you can use the Stone Surge ability, for example the Soul Stone can revive a fallen character and you use both to attack your opponent. All of this and the cast offers a variety to the gameplay that prior entries could not offer, especially at this level.
Speaking of the roster, well, this is its best and its worse. Some questionable characters returned while others did not. I mean, why would they bring Chris and Nemesis back but leave out Jill and Wesker? Or why not bring all new Resident Evil representatives like one of the twisted Bakers from RE7 or Leon from RE4 and RE6? The biggest omissions that everyone knew about since before the launch was the lack of the X-Men. These are characters we all love and grew up watching, characters who helped cultivate our creative minds, characters all over Hollywood with new film releases, and characters that define the series as much as the characters from Street Fighter. I mean part 3 was revealed with Ryu and Wolverine and its sad that we had to sacrifice them for another new entry into the series. There is still hope for DLC but they could have easily taken spots from other characters that were brought over to only satisfy Marvel’s cinematic universe. Hawkeye could have easily been sacrificed for Wolverine.
Despite all of this, the game is extremely fun. As someone who has played nearly every entry and other Capcom versus series (my favorite being Tatsunoko vs. Capcom on Wii) I can honestly say that this is the most fun fighting game produced by them. For someone who has never played a fighting game they will be able to jump in and pull of combos and look and feel cool as they do so. For the more experience, they will be able to discover the intricate functions buried in the chaos of awesomeness that is the game and really show the competitive beauty of the game.
No one will jump in and feel out of place and everyone will find enjoyment of the game. This is one of the best fighting games out now, regardless of the graphics and other areas it falls short and I look forward to playing it throughout its life cycle.
There is an arcade mode where you play through a gauntlet of about ten matches with a final boss at the end. My only issue with the arcade is that there is no story content of any kind and thus no reason to actually play through it. Hopefully this is something they can add later down the road because I vividly remember playing SFIV arcade mode and loving the comic style endings with voice overs. There is a missed opportunity there and I hope they can do something nice with it.
There is really no reason for the arcade mode as it is now with a Vs. CPU mode available. If anything, this mode is superior because you can change your characters and can choose who you want to fight and change difficulty after every round. This is the perfect mode to track your progress with the game, to see how good you are getting, with the CPU difficulty.
Every fighting game needs a training mode to practice combos and see how characters mesh together. Thankfully this game has it and like all Capcom fighting game training modes, it is executed well. It has everything you would need and it’s the perfect place to hone your skills to take online.
Like Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, this game has a mode where it truly teaches you the mechanics and has you learn every character. The tutorial section has you learning the basic mechanics that every character has to their disposal. Once you master that, you have the option of doing ten missions for every character for a total of about 300. There is everything from simple combos to ultimate finishes and even though they are difficult to pull off, there is fewer things as satisfying.
All in all, the game doesn’t lack content like SFV did when it launched and there is something for everyone. I know there are some people who only buy games if there is content to justify the price tag and believe me this game has more than enough.
Vs. Player 2
Like every good fighting game, and an essential requirement, this is where you fight against another player locally and on the couch. This game is so much fun that I’ve been able to play with family and friends that haven’t been too keen on playing fighting games, or games in general, and have enjoyed themselves.
That’s pretty amazing and a testament to how well-crafted this game is and how much fun it is. it even brought a competitive side to usually passive members of my family. Well done, Capcom, well done.
When it comes to online fighting games, connection and net code are paramount to a great experience. Over time games have been getting better with the stability of their online infrastructure but a lot of them are far from perfect. This game has some of the best online connection on the market. Games with four to five bars are identical to offline play and it blows my mind at how fluid and perfect it runs. I’m talking no lag, no input delay, nothing. In many cases it’s better than offline play because the A.I. can only do so much in terms of competitively out maneuvering the player but it lacks the randomness that the human mind is capable. Now in no way am I an avid online player but even I found myself having a flawless experience that was amazingly fun.
Online offers a healthy selection of modes. New players (like me) can jump into beginner’s league where everyone battles against each other at the beginners level. My fear at first was that high ranked players would infiltrate and destroy the newer players but, thankfully, Capcom eliminates that. When you reach a certain level the mode is locked out and unless you open a new account or delete your data, there is no going back and this is good. It’s a nice edition and something I feel other games could and should adopt in the future. There is also a lobby mode (similar to Tekken 7’s tournament mode) but what I love about this version is that more than one match can take place at once. That’s awesome. Spectating is fun and all but fighting is what this game was made for.
The main modes, and where you spend most of your time, are Casual and Ranked. We all know what these are and with the fluid online play, they are only better. For those new to online play, Casual is where you go to play for fun. Ranked where the game matches you up with people of similar skill based on rank and its mostly accurate. Some little touches this game adds that should have been in online gaming since it first began, especially when you’re playing ranked, make the experience even more enjoyable.
Capcom has opted for a cleaner, streamlined, approach with less menus and faster design to get right back into fighting. For example, when you click rematch instead of going back to a character select screen you go straight back into battle. It’s fast and it gives you a quick opportunity to either defend your victory or avenge your loss. After you and an opponent have a best of three series, you are separated and given the option to search for another player. Instead of sending you to another menu, it instantly searches right there and with the healthy online community, you quickly find another fight.
When it comes to gameplay, whether its online or offline, this game is at its best in this area. This is one of, if not, the most fun fighting games I’ve ever had the privilege of playing and I was not expecting that. I don’t think anyone was. This is where that old phrase of “Never judge a book by its cover” rings loud and true. With a robust online community, the promise of treating this like a platform with healthy updates and content, and a ranking system I am excited to continue to enjoy this for years to come.
Where do I start? I honestly don’t know where they went wrong or why they didn’t just opt to delay the game to upgrade the graphics and this is coming from someone who doesn’t hold graphics to the high standards as everyone else. Knowing that, you must ask why I feel this way about the graphics. Honestly, because I know the ugly duckling that this is will affect its sales and it’s a shame because as much as it does wrong, it does a lot more right.
The stages in this game are well done and none of them looked ugly or out of place. They all offer their own flare and areas that draw your attention to. That being said, there are some stages that look better than others because of the location and color palette used. Two in particular that are my personal favorite to fight at are both versions of the Dark Kingdom and Valkanda. In some fighting games, stages are often forgotten as your focusing on the combat and they could have easily done the bare minimal for them but they didn’t and that shows that they didn’t intend to deliver these unsatisfying visuals.
Character models are where things get less satisfying and they are all over the place. Somewhere along the line during development the team must have gotten amnesia when it comes to human anatomy because some of these proportions are extraordinarily odd. I’m not talking about Chun-Li’s thighs that we always give a pass to. Captain America’s body is overexaggerated to the point that it looks bad, I mean he has no neck and it doesn’t look natural. Chris Redfield has lifeless eyes and comes across as a cheap plastic knockoff to the original character and I honestly don’t know what’s up with Morrigan and Dante’s faces. I can honestly say I would have rather them sacrificed the story mode and used that budget to increase production on the characters because they are the most important aspect to fighting games.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (Vanilla and Ultimate) looks leaps and bounds better than this sequel and I didn’t understand why at first but now I know it’s because that game had a much better art style. That’s not to say they chose a bad style for this one, opting to closer resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it seems like a half-hearted effort. Motion capture and facial scanning would have been ideal but with as bad as the game looks now, it’s not going to hold any better over time. Our only hope is that since they have said they will treat this like a platform (much like SFV and Killer Instinct), there is an opportunity to upgrade the visuals much like KI did.
Another area in which this game is hit or miss is with the sound. Some characters sound great (like Dante and Chris) and others have changed which makes them sound weird because we are not used to them sounding this way (Morrigan and Ghost Rider). The cringe worthy dialogue that is written for these characters only makes things worse, when it comes to the story mode. It’s nothing that’ll turn you off from the game’s story but it is enough to have you scratch your head wondering what it was they were thinking to greenlight certain pieces of dialogue.
Thanos is an exception as his voice actor is perfect for the character and his lines are delivered spectacularly. None of this is an issue when you are actually fighting. Their voices either go unnoticed as your fighting or you notice that these sections of dialogue actually have personality and emotion.
The music of this game I actually liked. Some characters have remixed themes of their old themes and during battle all the music only enhanced the gameplay. That’s the thing about Capcom and their fighting game music, they always nail it. the sound effects of punching and kicking and all the other impact moves are as satisfying sounding as prior entries and that’s odd. It’s odd that something so important that isn’t noticeable was left without the time and dedication it deserves to the point that it becomes noticeable. New players may not notice the difference but the hardcore returning fans of the versus series will.
Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite is a fantastic game with tons of unlockables; everything from new colors for outfits, character artwork and designs, soundtracks and voice work. The gameplay is phenomenal and spectacular and it’s unpleasant graphics and weak sound cannot hold it back from how great it is. Some odd omissions need to be rectified with added content and some updates should be applied to raise this game to the level it deserves, and demands, to be at. I love this game and have not been able to put it down. If you were to actually think about it, these characters are not just functions. They are not just doing things. What they are, are iconic characters that represent generations of people and have a rabid fanbase that love them. The X-Men reminded fans of the old 90’s comics and cartoons and, yes, Magento did have an eight-way dash but he also had an intimidating presence and represented for the Marvel brand what M. Bison represents to the Street Fighter franchise.
This game has the potential to look great but it already plays great and with treating this like a platform, it can only get better. I wholeheartedly recommend this game and really do believe you will enjoy it. I can only hope that it sells well enough to get the support that is planned and we get characters that deserve to be here.