Marvel vs. Capcom is a fighting game series with a surprising amount of history. For people new to the series, there have been eight games over the last 20 years, and it stands a solid fighter, that has come out at an unfortunate moment this time around, surrounded by a substantial number of great fighters.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a 2D fighting game that as you may have guessed, blends characters from Capcom games, with Marvel comics characters into a shared universe that is at worst confusing, and at best a fun mashup. This time around the Marvel roster is mostly filled with MCU characters, such as Rocket Racoon, Iron Man, and Thor, but there are others scattered in there such as Nova and Venom. This is kind of unfortunate as I would have enjoyed more non-movie universe characters getting their chances to shine.
The Capcom characters get some nice variety from Frank West, Chris Redfield, Morrigan, Strider, and Megaman. This is on top of expected fighters from the Street Fighter series, Ryu, and Chin-Li. The non-fighter style characters such as Frank West have been designed surprisingly well to make for fun or intuitive fighters to use, even King Arthur from the Ghouls and Ghosts series, being super short, cartoony looking character that is fun to use in serious battles.
If you are new to the series or returning after playing other competitors, the biggest challenge you may find is the character movement. Most fighting games allow you to move continuously even after attacking, whereas some including this game, that interrupts the movement. This is something you need to get used to, but it’s worth getting used to as the game contains some great fighting mechanics when you dig below the surface.
Getting below that surface can be a bit harder though as it has some beginner elements such as easy combos where you hit the same button repeatedly and it will do elaborate combos. This can look cool, but it does tend to consume some of your early hours as you are adjusting to the game, as opposed to forcing you to dig deeper. Fortunately, the game does use a tag team gameplay where you can switch fighters in and out as needed, which does make for more fun to experiment.
There is a big strength in the game’s tutorial which covers the basics, then some advanced elements such as stringing together combos. Taking the time to do these will make a substantial difference to your experience as combos do require getting the game’s knack, and the tutorials will give you great examples to do so, though even they aren’t easy early on. This includes many tutorials for every character which means you can learn some nuances of certain characters before you use them in a fight, and this is an uncommon but wonderful thing.
The most interesting element of the game is the use of the infinity stones. You pick one as part of your character choice mode, which will determine a special attack you can perform. As you fight, the stone’s gauge fills, which can use for occasional attacks or let build up for to let loose an Infinity Storm. An Infinity Storm changes the background, giving a strong shift to your power for a while, for instance, The Space Infinity stone captures the opponent in a box limiting their movement and ability to switch fighters for a period.
The game’s story mode involves the worlds already combined, and under attack from Ultron Sigma who is trying to get the rest of the infinity stones. There is little more to the story than that, though there seemed to be more cutscene content than fights, it seems like it’s more of an attempt to have some fun with these characters than to tell a compelling story, which at times is fun, but some of the jokes are so on the nose it gets tiring. The bulk of the fights are against generic Ultron minions which also gets boring, but there is a little variety in match types such as defeat enemies until x time, or defeat x enemies before the time runs out.
Outside of the story mode is an arcade mode, local battles, and online fights. These are as generic as they sound, fun to play, but honestly, they work as they should and there is not much more to them than you would expect. I regularly had issues getting matchmade fights online, I even had issues winning them but that’s a different story, and arcade fights are a satisfying way to get in some battles in quick succession after the Story Mode.
7.5/10 – Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a solid fighting game with some unique twists to make it different from the rest. The biggest problem is you need to dig a bit to find its true potential, and likely sit through a story that’s all over the place, but sometimes interesting.