Marvel VS Capcom Infinite Review
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
A review by Ryan Holt
Marvel VS Capcom is a franchise that fighting game fans love, for various reasons. Be it the huge cast, the blistering fast gameplay, the crazy combos, or, of course, because it’s MAHVEL BABY. Marvel VS Capcom Infinite (MvCI), is the first main iteration of the series released since The Avengers hit theaters. The MCU’s presence is felt even in the gaming world. Earlier games were dominated by characters like Sentinel, Storm, Dr. Doom and Magneto, yet none of these staples are even referenced in MvCI. While this might turn off some lapsed Marvel fans, the gameplay in Marvel VS Capcom Infinite is the best in the series.
The biggest change is the shift from a three hero team down to a two hero team. Controls changed from the simple Light, Medium, Heavy, and Launcher attacks into the more Street Fighter-like Light Punch, Heavy Punch, Light Kick, Heavy Kick layout. This means that while a lot of the roster comes over from Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, every character has new tricks. Iron Man is faster than his previous counterpart; Ryu plays more like he does in Street Fighter; Hulk packs some new punches. While moving to 2v2 might seem like a downgrade, the addition of the Infinity Stones from Marvel lore mean there is a lot of meat to salvage from the thin roster.
After picking your two characters, you get to pick an Infinity Stone for added strength. Each one comes with a lesser power, and a screen filling greater power. Right off the bat, some of these seem more situational than others, but all of them bring interesting mechanics to the Marvel VS Capcom Infinite gameplay. For example, a team of Zero and Gamora using the Space Stone will have different priorities and advantages than Zero and Gamora with the Time Stone. This additional option will definitely make the pro-scene and meta of Marvel VS Capcom interesting to watch, as some of these stones seem to counter each other, while others provide a crutch for players to fall back on.
There are two other mechanics added to the actual fighting part of the game to help new players tackle what seems like a daunting and complex fighter. By pressing light punch six to eight times in succession, characters will start what is known as an Auto Combo. This is usually a quick 10-15 hit combo that launches your opponent into the air and back down again, without all of the complication of memorizing and executing a complex string of moves. The second addition is that of Easy Hypers, which lets players perform a hyper combo by simply hitting both heavy attack buttons at once. I did end up testing this system with a friend who is not very into fighting games, and we found an enjoyable time for both of us. Neither one of us came out on top more than the other.
Unfortunately, the game is riddled with technical issues. After picking a stage, your two characters, and your Infinity Stone, you are often greeted with a 15-30 second load screen, stopping all of the fun of a fighting game dead in its tracks. These load screens are non-existent if you opt for a rematch after each round, but part of the fun of a fighting game with such a fun cast of characters is switching out and finding that golden combination of characters that works for you. A marathon session of 40 matches against friends lasted almost 3 hours, which is quite a long time considering each match is often less than 99 seconds.
On the single player side of things, Marvel VS Capcom Infinite has a first for the series: story mode. It is as goofy and thin as you would imagine, with characters like Rocket and X exchanging one-liners instead of actually focusing on character development, but there is a lot of ground to cover in the 3 hours or so that the story unfolds. It is nowhere near the quality of Injustice 2, which had a fantastic story mode, but it isn’t a huge waste of time. If anything it is a good way to get out of your comfort zone and play characters you normally don’t gravitate towards, and it is over before it overstays its welcome.
There are some weird characterization choices, especially on the Marvel side of things, but most of these moments are over before you really have a chance to digest that it is Captain America opting to free Thanos, not Iron Man. Two DLC characters, Black Panther and Monster Hunter, are even featured in story mode cutscenes for… some reason?
Unless you are a super fan, wait for all of the DLC to be released before buying Marvel VS Capcom Infinite. The roster as it stands is fine, but there are only 5 new characters as of now. The 2017 DLC list has been revealed, so hopefully that means there will be 2018 DLC in the future too. That will only expand the roster further. As it stands, Marvel VS Capcom Infinite is a great time, but it still feels incomplete because of its thin roster and glaring technical issues.