Author: Kenneth Tabili
Title: Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Platform: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Hours Played: 25-30
When Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite was announced, I was ecstatic. As someone who has long loved the Marvel vs Capcom series I couldn’t wait until we were finally able to get our hands on it. Now, the time is finally here. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite has finally been released, and the final product could not be any more disappointing. They seem to have stripped everything that once made the series great, in favor of accessibility and ease for newcomers. This would have been acceptable, if executed properly.
Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite plays about the same as previous games in the series, except one massive change. The game switches back to the 2v2 format, last seen in Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. This is a total game changer in every sense. They’ve done away with assists entirely, relying on you to switch characters mid combo to fully utilise the tag-team format of the game. This hurts the game in the sense that it slows down the action, and also just doesn’t feel right. In the two previous installments, calling in an assist to start or keep a combo going was smooth, and didn’t put any stop to the action. In this installment calling in my partner mid-combo stops the action for a second, which can then throw off any momentum you may have gained during that combo. While this may seem like a major issue, it’s far from the worst one I encountered in my time with the game.
Behind the change in tag format is the surprisingly stellar gameplay. In this iteration, they switched back to having both light and heavy attacks for punch and kick respectively. This is a welcome return, considering all you had to do to “launch” an opponent in Marvel vs Capcom 3 was press a single button. That made doing combos and air combos much easier to accomplish, but ruined the sense of accomplishment a similar combo made you feel in Marvel vs Capcom 2. While the return of the this button format is welcomed, there are a few issues I ran into regarding this. For one, they created a simple combo for every character, thus eliminating the need to practice and learn the nuances of the gameplay. It’s a lot less satisfying to just press light punch, heavy punch, light kick, heavy kick every time you want to combo in a launcher than it is to learn differences in each character’s combos. The second major addition I ran into with this is the addition of “auto combos” and “easy hyper combos.” By simply spamming the light punch attack multiple times in a row, not only does it do a combo on the ground, but also launches your opponent in the air and makes your character follow and keep attacking, all while you only press that one button. Although you can just turn these off, not everyone you fight online will have these options off.
The major problem with all of this though, are the endless combos. To try and rid the game of endless combos, the developers implemented a system that once a character has landed a set amount of hits, they’re no longer allowed to land any more. For the most part this works. However, in the sixty or so matches I played online, I encountered about 10 different people that had found endless combos for different characters. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if they had given us a way to either counter these, or break out entirely. I would find myself just setting my controller down in these moments, seeing as there was nothing I could do until one of my characters was fully drained of their health. I would find myself just turning the game off shortly after the fight would end, as it was too frustrating to want to keep playing.
Gone from the previous entry is the “X-Factor.” A ability that would allow someone who was losing a chance at getting back into the fight, fairly. This has been removed in favor of the “Infinity Stones.” These do everything they can to prevent you from enjoying the game. The reality stone allows you to fire a slow moving projectile one after the other. It was either that or I would encounter the soul stone, which when used can revive a downed teammate with limited health. This would have been fine had they balanced them correctly. However this is not the case, seeing as these were really the only two I encountered in online play. These could have been a great addition to the series, but they seem to be thrown in just to say they included them and not much else.
Even outside of the fighting the game doesn’t exactly shine. There are more than a few modes of play, including a Story mode, arcade mode, training mode, mission mode, and the bare bones online offering. These are all pretty standard for games of the genre in today’s day and age, and none of them make the game stand out. The game’s’ story mode is nothing more than a glorified tutorial, and a pretty boring one at that. The story itself is bland and it doesn’t help that they throw you into the middle of the plot, with no prior knowledge of why whatever is happening, is happening. It’s also infuriating when you see a few of the characters Capcom has announced as DLC make an appearance in the game’s Story mode. If they’re present in the game already, why make us pay more and wait for these characters? As for the Online modes, there’s your basic Ranked, Casual, Beginners Ladder, and Lobby modes. If you choose to fight online, you may have trouble finding others to fight against. Within a week of launch, it would sometimes take me up to three minutes just to find one match online. I don’t think the community is going to stick around very long for this game unfortunately.
Marvel vs Capcom has always been known for its larger character roster, and on paper it looks as though this game doesn’t disappoint in that area. With 30 characters available at launch, you’d think there would be a great variety in the fighters you face off against online. You would be very wrong. In the majority of my battles I would face off against the same fighters to the point that anytime I would see a character such as Dante, I would immediately know what to expect from the battle. What’s the point of having all these characters, if no one uses most of them? That could also come from the fact that they decided to not bring back a lot of fan favorites from Marvel vs Capcom 3. Not including characters such as Wolverine, Deadpool, or X-23 just doesn’t make sense considering how widely loved and used those characters were. To top this all off, the game offers 16 different stages for you to battle on. None of which are memorable or make you want to go out of your way to fight on. They get the job done and maybe that’s all we can really ask for at this point.
One area that Marvel vs Capcom 3 really shined was in its graphics. Infinite is the exact opposite of an upgrade. Gone is the look and feel of a living, breathing comic book and to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure what direction they were trying to go with this. After how gorgeous Street Fighter V was, this may be the most disappointing aspect of the game; it’s just ugly. There’s not really any single redeeming factor of the graphics in this game. The character models are almost look like they’re from a PS2 game and upscaled to current standards. The art direction essentially sums up how they approached this entire game; very, very un-enthusiastically.
If I had to sum up my time with this game it would be with two words; complete disappointment. This is a game that should have been much better than it is, considering the previous installments. They should have listened to the community after the demo was released and delayed the game to make it actually fun. What we’re stuck with is a game that doesn’t exactly know what it wants to be. It tries to please so many different types of fans, and pleases very few of them. Where Street Fighter V’s missteps were in the amount of game modes and variety in which you could play at launch, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is the exact opposite. It has the game modes we all want and enjoy but the core of the game, the fighting, takes several steps back to the point that I think I’m just going to go back to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 to get my fighting game fix.