One of my favourite Dreamcast games was Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Tons of characters in a 3 or 3 fight to the finish, with fists, claws, lasers, and cactus men flying across the screen. With over 50 team members to choose from, there were a huge number of possible combinations to play with, especially when you consider that each character had 3 different assist modes to choose from. I was even pretty good at it! At least I thought I was because I only played against the computer and friends. Once I played the HD remake on Xbox 360 I got utterly destroyed online. Still! It was a fun package with a whole lot of content.
Presented for your consideration: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. This is the latest entry in a series known, in its more recent entries, for 3-on-3 fights with a large roster of combatants. In the interest of taking the series forward, there are now fewer fighters and 2-on-2 battles that no longer have character assists. Less is more as they say. Whoever they are.
This mostly comes down to Disney and Fox throwing their toys out of the pram. Fox don’t want to share the licences they own and so Disney won’t include any characters from those licenses to avoid giving them “free advertising”. So you won’t find any X-Men at all. Nor Fantastic 4. Spiderman manages to show up at least. But this business spat means that the roster is a fair bit smaller than you may expect for a game in this series. 30 is still a reasonable number (36 once the inevitable DLC crops up, more on that later though), but coming from over 50, down to 36 (48 with DLC) then down the 30 is quite the decline. I suspect the recuction from 3-on-3 to 2-on-2 is due to this smaller roster.
The story is that Ultron and Sigma from Marvel and Mega Man have teamed up to merge the different universes for EVIL REASONS that become apparent throughout the plot. The campaign is standard comic book affair, with various simple plot twists and nice (mostly) well-voiced cutscenes featuring popular characters from both companies. I enjoyed this aspect but did find I was spending a lot more time watching than fighting. A very annoying aspect of the cutscenes though, was that you could clearly see which characters were designed for future DLC. Black Panther, Sigma (one of the main antagonists no less), and Monster Hunter all appear fully animated and voiced in cutscnes but are not playable. Want to play as them? Get ready to open your wallet. Strikes me as Capcom having crappy DLC practices once again, with characters being ready but held back behind a time/pay wall. Suppose I should be happy that they aren’t day one DLC at least.
The important part of the game though, is the fighting. And it sure is “alright I suppose”! This is a series known for fast combos and plenty of juggling, but I felt that all the attacks I was making lacked impact. Everything felt too light and floaty and lacked just a tiny bit of precision. I’m not fighting game expert, but I think I may have been spoiled by Street Fighter V and Injustice 2 having weight behind their attacks alongside the very responsive controls. This feels weak by comparison. Still, landing a solid combo into a juggle, then switching in your partner to carry it on can be very satisfying. You can also select and infinity stone to alter your gameplay. The reality stone fires an energy blast whilst the soul stone steals a little of your opponents life. They don’t feel overpowered as they take a split seond to activate so aren’t easy to spam with. You can also charge them up to use and Infinity Storm that will grant you short term powerful bonuses, such as holding your opponent in place or allowing you and your partner to fight at the same time.
The game is very easy to get started with. You can pull off an impressive looking combo just by hitting the same button a few times. This ease of access is great and allows even the most inexperienced player pull off some cool looking moves. I found myself feeling not fully in control of my character because of this from time to time (more my problem than the games!) but it’s nice to have that feature. Super/Ultra/Hyper/Whatever they call them now clso have an easy activation by simply pressing two buttons at once. I’m not sure if there is a downside to activating them this way, but again I’m glad that there are ways for newer players to get involved. In fact I’ve had more than a few games of this against my 4-year-old, and she can pull off some good looking moves with no tutorial whatsoever. She managed to figure out how to do throws long before I did.
There is a tutorial available, although it’s a little bare-bones. It allows you to learn a few basics but doesn’t really teach you the depth of the game. There was also the odity that the game teaches you how to air dash before it teaches you to jump. The mission mode is more useful for this as it trains you on each character’s abilities and combos. The training menu can either show you the name of the move or the command for it, not both for some reason.
And that’s the thing with this game all over. It could have done with another month or two of polishing. Tutorials in the wrong order, features that aren’t fully thought out, arcade mode being hidden in a sub menu rather than being one of the first things you see. This should be an excellent fighter (as previous entries had been) but it feels a little under done. I get the feeling that I’m not the only person that feels this way too, as I have yet to have an online matchmaking fight in spite of many attempts to find one with a number of different settings. Is the community for this already dead? Maybe it’s just the Xbox One version that’s unpopular. Either way, this is quite a crucial point, as if there is little to no online community, this game will likely not last too long.
Visually the game looks good. All the characters stand out well and have their own animations and moves that fit their game/comic personality. There are multiple colours to unlock through playing the arcade mode (as is fairly standard) to give each character a few different looks. Everything runs very smoothly from what I’ve noticed too, so top marks there. The sound is pretty good too. The various attacks and projectiles sound powerful (although the game doesn’t make them appear as such) and the music is good and fits the stages nicely. The voice work is mostly good. The man voicing Tony Stark is doing his best (and succeeding) to sound just like Robert Downey Jr. and Captain Marvel sounds great. Morrigan just sounds a bit silly though, and Ghost Rider’s voice is quite muffled at times making him hard to understand. A little hit and miss.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was developed and published by Capcom. I played the game on Xbox One and would recommend it in part. There’s a good (although short) story mode and the fighting is fairly entertaining, but I just don’t think this will hold my attention all that long. The lack of content and online community is a concern when there are more feature rich fighters available elsewhere. Maybe this will be the last of the series. I certainly hope it isn’t, but when you look at how content rich some of its competitors are then I think there may be a little cause for concern.