To say that Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite had a rocky start would be an understatement. The removal of 3v3 battles, notable character omissions (there are no X-Men or Fantastic Four characters to be seen or heard of), some sub-par visuals and other things made fans wary of this recent release.
Thankfully, the visuals look far better in its final release (Dante, Chun-Li and Morrigan especially) and the 2v2 battles keep the hectic, fluid feeling that the series has always been known for. Whilst the final roster certainly leaves much to be desired (out of the world of Marvel superheroes and Capcom heroines, only four females made it into the launch roster), I found myself having plenty of fun with Infinite and what it has to offer — it does feel a little too Marvel Cinematic Universe-focused, though. It might not be as good overall as its outstanding predecessor, but it’s a whole lot more accessible and maintains the series’ core mechanics.
Capcom have learnt from their mistakes with Street Fighter V and have included a story mode and a variety of single player modes at launch such as Versus, Arcade and Missions. The story will run you roughly three or so hours and sees the heroes of both worlds coming together to defeat duo Ultron and Sigma, who wants to eradicate humanity and replace them with machines. Expect a bunch of one-liners and, as lead by the MCU, Iron Man and Captain America bickering over their differences. The story is fun whilst it lasts but it lacks substance, and I’m unlikely to play through it for a second time.
There are a few changes to the combat here such as battles being 2v2 rather than 3v3, but it doesn’t lose sight of its core gameplay mechanics. Another addition is auto-combos, where you can mash square to pull off a set combo, and skill inputs have been simplified. Not a fan of double quarter-circles? Have no fear, because you can tap down twice instead!
Power gems, which were originally found in the first Marvel vs Capcom game, return and provide a bunch of abilities such as causing damage, trapping your enemy in a box and reviving your ally with a little health. Some power gems will hardly be seen online due to others being vastly better, but this inclusion has made for more options in combat, and I’m happy to see them return. Its newfound accessibility is great and the core gameplay is fun, but its lacking roster is hard to overlook. Marvel vs Capcom without Wolverine is almost blasphemous, and both sides fail to tap into their expansive, rich legacies.
The genre has generally become visually awe-inspiring showcases in recent years. Infinite leaves you wondering why it doesn’t look as good as other games, especially as Capcom’s very own Street Fighter V looks pretty great. Infinite clearly went for a more realistic route to match the MCU, but it’s made for a game which looks dated at release. Only a small handful of these characters come from a world that has a realistic tone, and the more animated look of Marvel vs Capcom 3 would’ve been a better fit.
I mentioned earlier that Infinite looks better than it did during its earlier trailers, and it does. That said, its visuals aren’t particularly outstanding in anyway. Some characters such as Morrigan still look pretty iffy (her abdomen is almost entirely straight, with zero curve), and faces in general seem a little off. Infinite needed a little more time in development and it’s hard to feel otherwise when you see its lack of content compared to Marvel vs Capcom 3 and other fighting games on the market.
Infinite has a voice-cast as heroic as its roster with many familiar voices returning to reprise their roles once more. I can’t fault the voice-work here which is brimming with energy, and each voice-actor and actress are a great fit for their role. Exaggerated yells, witty one-liners and jokes, and move names (soul cannon!) make Infinite a delight to listen to. Its soundtrack features a bunch of cool remixes too, and there’s a nice mix of new and familiar songs from a variety of series’.
Infinite feels a little rushed, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had here. My worry is that it’ll quickly dwindle when the likes of Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle release due to a weak roster and tougher competition than ever before. Capcom were once the undisputed king of fighting games and whilst they still put out solid offerings, a strange series of design choices have been plaguing them since Street Fighter V.
Strong core mechanics are overshadowed by notable missing characters and content, and Infinite has only proven that Capcom have learnt from some of their mistakes, but not all of them. Whilst I assume Disney (or perhaps Marvel themselves) said no to the inclusion of certain Marvel characters for film rights reasons, that doesn’t excuse Capcom’s side also lacking. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is an enjoyable game, but it feels less like a team-up between two passionate brands and more of a product made to advertise the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whilst I’ll return to it in future, it’s not gripped me and it’s hard to shake the feeling that this was made on a tight budget, and isn’t the heroic adventure that these marvellous characters deserve.