Of all the cross-over fighters, the brawls between Marvel Comics and Capcom have been my favourite (followed closely by SNK vs Capcom). However since its announcement, I have been sceptical of the latest entry of the series, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
Why was I sceptical? It was mainly thanks to the lackluster Demo given at E3, the graphics were pretty awful in comparison to other titles in the series, the controls were felt like they were set to easy-mode and a general lack of trying out the highly advertised Infinity Stones was disappointing.
Now the game is out and we got to test out the full experience, so did Capcom fix the problems?
Short answer, kind of.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is a change of form for the series in general. While it retains its flashy fast pace combat, the matches are now set for 2v2 fights which removes features like assists in favour of something more akin to Tekken Tag. Players can easily swap fighters at a press of a bumper and can easily pull of devastating combos with the right timing.
To make up for the lack of assist moves, players now have the Infinity Stones. Each stone has a helpful ability that allows players to attempt to control the battle, in quick bursts they can be used to regenerate health, knock someone across the room, or stun with a sudden grapple opening them up for a follow-up combo. Once the stone is powered up, it can be use in a game-changing move that would limit mobility, give stronger knockbacks or raise your fallen ally (with minimal health.)
What really brings the game down is the controls. If you’re someone who grew up on classic MvC2 or even the Street Fighter and Darkstalker series, the controls are going to feel extremely awkward. Without some tinkering to remove the Easy Combos settings (which are active by default) you’ll find yourself continuously launching yourself into the air chasing your opponent.
For the first time in the series, there is a full-blown story mode similar to that of Street Fighter V, giving you a reason for the fights to happen. The story for this one focuses on the merger of the Capcom and Marvel world by Ultron and Sigma from Megaman X, using two of the Infinity Stones (Space and Reality) the two merge as one calling themselves “Ultron Sigma”. This brings together the heroes of both worlds in a last attempt to save their worlds from Ultron Sigma’s virus which is turning organic beings into machines.
While the story is Shlocky at best, it works well within the joint universes. We see the Monster Hunter world mesh with Wakanda, A.I.M. and Umbrella forming AIMBrella, and other fun combinations. We’re thrown into battles with various rules and conditions which boosts strength or various abilities. The story cutscenes also features some great fan moments like Darkstalker’s Morrigan hitting on Ghost Rider or Dante handing his guns to Rocket Raccoon. It’s these moments when the game prides itself on getting these two universes to collide so well.
Although a couple of major flaws still bug me about the story in a similar fashion as Injustice 2, where some fights just happen to justify their use of the character. For example: Dormammu, Nemesis and Firebrand are only featured once throughout the story-mode just to be a nuisance and then are never seen or talked of again. Bionic Commando’s Spencer comes across as an idiot and completely useless in the story to the point that I felt sad for him, yet he still gets more screen time then Hawkeye. It feels like these roles could have given other characters more of a spotlight or even given the roster a better update.
Speaking of the roster, the amount of characters have been cut down from the previous entries in the series and MvCi both benefits and is hurt by this. One of the biggest issue is the lack of X-Men characters, a source of controversy for the game since its announcement as there doesn’t seem to be anyone from the Marvel side that can replace Wolverine, Magneto or even X-23. Their group being missing is a devastating blow to the roster for a game that featured a great variety.
Another setback is the balance of villains to heroes. Both Marvel and Capcom’s rosters is filled with heroes, leaving the villains for Ultron, Thanos, and Jedah from Darkstalkers as the driving villain force. This is especially noticeable in the story mode as you take on waves of drones in retaliation as the story tries to save the big battles for later.
While Marvel vs Capcom Infinite feels like a step in the right direction in comparison to Street Fighter 5’s launch, it is an incredibly week fighter when stacking up against its competition this year. Capcom needs to take a step back and look at why the fans love the MvC series, and fighters in general, and see what their competition is doing right.
That or stick to re-releaseing their library, that seems to be working well for them.