Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Review
Extra Features: Online Multiplayer (2-8 players), Leaderboards, Download Content
As Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (UMvC3) continued to age and remained in bad need of a balance update, many fans cried for either a balance patch or a new game. As Marvel was acquired by Disney and Capcom lost their Marvel license many gave up hope for either. A few months back Capcom came soaring in with news of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite however. It was such a hype moment for MvC fans, just knowing that we were getting another game in the series. A lot of skepticism was up in the air once Capcom showed off the game and released a story demo however. The visuals looked subpar and the roster was very much lacking. The game had some very interesting gameplay changes however.
Now that the game has been released, most of what I expected is still present. The visuals and the roster are lacking but the gameplay is quite impressive. Before getting to the bad stuff, lets talk about the good since there is a lot of good here. Capcom has done away with teams of three and we are now back with teams of two characters on each side per battle. Assists are no more and the assists buttons have been taken out. You have one button to instantly tag in your partner and you can attack with that character the instant you tag that character in. Partners can be tagged in during attack animations and during hyper combo animations so this can lead to some very interesting combos and setups. Tagging in your partner is sort of free now since that character can attack instantly upon being tagged in but your other character will stand on the screen for a while and is open to being hit.
Thanks to the new tag system, Infinite is really a game of setups and resets. You can cross up opponents so very easily by jumping behind an opponent and tagging in your partner in a way that places the opponent in between your characters and there are several other ways to confuse opponents with the new tag system. Constant switching of your character is greatly emphasized in Infinite. In a way, you can make up your own assist in the game - basically perform a hyper combo or other move then tag in your other character and start attacking with that other character. The tag system is a great advancement in the MvC battle system and is a welcome change to what we saw repeated from MvC3. For those that think that a 2v2 setup will have less craziness and screen-filling insanity, you will be sorely mistaken since Infinite is much worse with overall eye candy compared to past games and the game is still in its beginning stages of skill!
Infinite goes back to having four attack buttons just like in MvC2. You have light attacks and heavy attacks, a tag button and a button for using one of the infinity stones. Infinity Stones take the place of the X-factor from MvC3. No longer do you have a guaranteed comeback option with X-factor - you have to work for your comeback with Infinity Stone enhancements. You can choose your Infinity Stone from the start of a battle (after choosing your character). Each Infinity Stone has its own infinity storm and infinity surge. The infinity surge is a special attack that can be performed at any time during a battle - this will perform a special attack exclusive to each infinity stone and charge the gauge for unleashing an infinity storm. The infinity storm can be unleashed once the infinity gauge is near full charge and will give your characters special powers for a few seconds - similar to X-factor. The Infinity Stone system seems to work much better with balance compared to X-factor so far. Different character combinations and match-ups can change the usefulness of some infinity surges. For instance, you can trap a character in a box with the Space Infinity Stone, but if you're playing a character that has to get close to do major damage and you trap Haggar in a box, who relies on getting close for his grabs, then you'll probably think twice about using the Space infinity surge on him.
Infinite caters more to casual fans when compared to previous games in the series. You can set the controls to where the light attacks will instantly combo into a full air combo by simply tapping the button multiple times. There is also an instant hyper combo that you can unleash by simply pressing both heavy attack buttons. All of this can be turned off through the controls menu. Speaking of hyper combos, every character now has a level 3 hyper combo. The level 3 hyper combos used to be a spectacle to behold in past MvC games, but in Infinite they pretty much are all your generic "one hit into multiple attacks" type of level 3 sadly.
All returning characters from MvC3 have been reworked so that they have at least something new about them. Haggar has a move where he can hold a barrel in front of him to give him super armor and he can toss that barrel at his opponent. Iron Man's repulsor blast has been changed to a repulsor ray that is a short range blast and his smart bomb has been changed to a smart bomb that will stay on the screen for a few seconds after being launched. The returning characters feel a lot more balanced than they were in MvC3. It can be argued that the majority of the cast for Infinite feels like an MvC3 balance patch with all the returning characters we have from that game.
Speaking of MvC3 returning characters, they encompass over half the roster. You have 24 characters returning from MvC3, 1 character from MvC2 (Thanos) and 5 new characters (X, Jedah, Ultron, Gamora, Captain Marvel). Thanos has been totally reworked from the way he was in MvC2 and feels like a new character for the most part. He has basically all new moves and hyper combos. The new characters all play unique and are a welcome addition. I especially like the way that Jedah plays since he is very faithful to his Darkstalker roots while fitting very nicely into a Versus game. Even with the new additions, the overall roster feels very flat however. There are so few new faces compared to the roster of previous games. It's like half the roster was held back for DLC while we got the base game with a free season pass (the 6 characters that are/feel new). The X-men are noticeably missing from the Marvel side and, while Jedah is a great addition, the Capcom side has too many returning MvC3 characters and there are some much better choices they could have included (Asura? Jean from God Hand? Rival School characters? Power Stone characters?)
The visuals have been argued about ever since the game was showcased. Infinite relies on a more realistic art style that rarely works in its favor. Characters like Hulk truly benefit from a realistic appearance but many of the other characters look less detailed thanks to the new style. Characters sometimes have rough edges on their character models that make them look thrown together and sometimes they just look plain weird like Morrigan. Fans that have been following the game since the demo debut will remember the Chun Li face that looked totally off from her usual design, but thankfully that has been addressed and she looks normal once again with the full release of the game. The overall visuals have been upgraded since the release of the demo, but the game still looks odd at times. The overall set of stages have a boring appearance also. All other versus games have had fun backgrounds to enjoy while watching fights but Infinite has several stages with lifeless backgrounds. The music in the game has some good tunes but it has too many tracks that sound like generic "epic" tunes. The character voices sometimes feel rough as well. The voices are still good, but there seems to be less variety in what characters say now. Some of the returning Marvel characters have the looks and a similar voice to the way they are represented in Hollywood Marvel movies, such as Hawkeye's appearance and Rocket Raccoon's voice.
Infinite is the first MvC with an actual story mode. The story mode is told through cutscenes with dialogue and fights with certain characters in between. The overall story was ok, but I would never want to play through it again. The dialogue is often boring and there are no moments that feel truly epic. It's like the story is mediocre all the way through with very little in the way of high points. I had problems with Tekken 7's story mode feeling boring from the start but then it finally started to get to some truly epic moments before it ended. In the case of Infinite, it stays mediocre all the way to its conclusion. The voice acting in story mode is fine, but watching the characters team up and hunt down infinity stones gets tiresome when there are no true high points. The only redeeming factors of story mode for me were Ultron Sigma and Thanos - they were were nearly the only excitement. The game could honestly do without a story mode and just have endings after beating arcade mode.
In the way of modes, the game has a story mode, arcade mode, mission mode and online mode. The arcade mode takes you through several stages of battling opponents until you reach the final boss. Sadly, the only reason for beating arcade mode is to unlock an extra color for your characters since there are no endings in that mode - it just goes straight to the credits once you beat it. The mission mode is similar to the way it was in MvC3. You have one set of basic missions to teach the basic mechanics of the game and each character has 10 missions with combos to perform.
The online mode includes the usual ranked and player (casual) matches. There is also a "Beginners League" where lower rank players will be matched up against each other. A Lobby mode allows 8 players to join up in a room and join one of four slots to engage in battle. The Lobby system in Infinite is rather nice since all players will be able to play with this type of setup, so long as all players in the lobby are active. You can spectate any match of your choosing before battle or simply just join a lobby just to spectate. The online seems stable and very playable for the Xbox One version if the connection speed is decent.
The game has some pretty bad loading for a fighting game. The load times can be anywhere around 30 seconds to a full minute for all modes. Having to sit through a full minute of loading before every match gets a bit tiresome no matter what mode I played. It just seems these load times could be better optimized, especially considering this game is a fighter where you definitely don't want to wait too long before your next match. When I first started the game, I went into training mode and chose my fighters and opponents then I thought the game had froze on the VS screen with how long it was taking to start the fight, but no... that was just the game loading.
There are still many loyal fans to Marvel vs Capcom 3 that kept the game alive for many years after its release and showcased at tournaments. No one can deny that the game was in bad need of balance update that it never got. If Capcom can keep MvC Infinite alive with balance updates when needed and add additional characters to the existing roster, the game will be a real pleasure to play in the long run. Even with all the bad around it, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is still a very fun game to play at it's core. The changes in gameplay and the overall character adjustments will please most MvC fans that just want to have another MvC fighter to play. I can't say I recommend paying full price for this game unless you know what to expect and will mainly be playing the game online.
+ The gameplay is a welcome improvement from MvC3
+ All returning characters have been reworked
+ Infinite Stone system is much more balanced than X-factor
+ Has more options to help out beginning players
- Long load times
- Boring roster
- Lackluster visuals and art style
- Music and sound is mediocre
Final Rating: 70% - Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is a good step forward in terms of gameplay so long as you overlook the visuals and the roster.