Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite marks the return of a celebrated crossover fighting franchise – does it still have what it takes to win gamers over after all this time?
I suppose the Marvel vs. Capcom series actually started out with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, but it didn’t really gain prominence for me personally until Marvel vs Capcom 2 on the Playstation 2. Sadly, by the time the original game had come out there was no longer a videogame arcade in sight and I never owned a Dreamcast or Playstation 1 – hence the delayed start that I got.
I played a ton of Marvel vs Capcom 2 on my Playstation 2, and picked up number 3 when that came out as well – playing it on Xbox 360 as well as on my Playstation Vita. It has been a long time since those came out though, and we’ve already had a few excellent fighters this year with Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 – with Injustice being a good example that crossover fighters aren’t just Marvel vs. Capcom’s domain anymore.
Let’s start by looking at Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s roster though – since that’s always an important element for fans of either franchise. From the Marvel side it looks like the development team focused on the recent Hollywood success of the Avengers, Thor and Captain America franchises – which means that the X-Men were sorely missed. No Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm or Magneto here – they might be planned for a future DLC update, but that just makes me think I would have been better off waiting for an Ultimate Edition or something like that.
The Capcom side does a better job at representing a wide array of Capcom franchises – ranging from Strider to Resident Evil and Mega Man to Final Fight. I always feel like Street Fighter should have more characters represented, but that’s probably a lot of fighting game nostalgia talking. All in all there are about 30 characters available at launch, and although that’s a good number I can’t help but shake the feeling that several essential characters were intentionally left out.
Getting past my initial disappointment with the roster, I had a lot of fun with Infinite. I’m not the most skilled fighting game player out there, and the fact that I don’t put too much time into perfecting my strategies and combos really hurts my ability to play games like Tekken properly. Marvel vs. Capcom has always been more accessible, and Infinite feel like it takes that concept one step further. Super attacks are easy to do, combos flow almost automatically and just a little bit of old school button mashing can get you a long way.
Tagging between your chosen heroes adds another dimension to this, and once you become more skilled you learn how to use this ability effectively to string together longer and longer attacks – alternating between heroes even in the middle of a combo. I’m sure this is the area where the really seasoned players will wipe the floor with me, but it was great to play in single player and even more so in local multiplayer. Adding even more diversity are the game’s Infinity Stones, which give you extra abilities.
The majority of my time was spent playing the game’s story mode, which is forgettable but entertaining while it lasts – with plenty of cutscenes to liven up the action in between fights. The writing’s not great, but it’s a decent enough story if you’re looking to mash a wide cast of character together. In addition, you can also play a traditional arcade mode, play local multiplayer or try your luck online.
The audiovisual presentation presents a step up from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but retains a similar look and feel. This makes some of the characters feel a little too cartoon-like for my liking, but perhaps that’s personal preference. Taste aside, Injustice 2 is a better-looking game that also has a more cinematic delivery, but that doesn’t make Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite a bad-looking title.
I doubt that my experience with Infinite will be as memorable in 10 years as my time with Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was. Nevertheless, I’m having fun with Capcom’s latest mashup and intend to keep playing it. The fighting is solid, it’s fun and accessible even to newcomers – which makes for great local multiplayer. Now can I have my X-Men characters, please?