Initial Release: September 19 2017
As far as the gameplay itself goes the problem lies in its new simplicity. In a bid to attain a wider and more immediate audience its seems Infinite has cheapened itself.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is the latest culmination in two of entertainments biggest juggernauts. Capitalising on the success of Marvel’s ever popular cinematic universe and Capcom‘s ever popular fighting gameplay. But does Marvel vs Capcom Infinite live up to the hype(r combo?)…
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite does a good job at presentation. The premise alone is enough to grab almost anyone’s attention. Choose a tag team from your favourite Marvel super heroes and some of the most recognisable faces in video game history and dive head first into a story crafted intently on providing an immersive experience made for these two universes and then take your favourite characters online to kick everyone’s heads in… right? Then why is there something ever so slightly odd here?
It’s not that Infinite isn’t a good game. It functions. It plays well and the graphics are good in places. But the graphics don’t excel as they should for a game of this stature. Particle effects bring the fighting to life and there’s a very nice ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ feel to the use of the infinity stones (more on that later) but this is all very superficial. The art style is uninspired and unsure of itself as it tries to straddle the art styles of the Marvel cinematic universe and Street Fighter and as a result it ultimately falls flat.
And that’s just it, everything feels like a step back. The roster which should be one of its best features feels under utilised. A lot of the line up is just an import from Marvel vs Capcom 3 with some of the characters (Such as the X-men) completely cut from the line up. Whilst some characters (Megaman’s Zero and X) both feel like they make the other one redundant. Compared to the massive fifty player plus roster of Marvel vs Capcom 2, the roster is a lean thirty and while it is nice that they are capitalising on Marvel’s cinematic success with the cinematic replicas of Rocket and Groot, we are then treated to lumpy, gormless models such as Captain America and Thor who are trying to tie in the Street Fighter aesthetic but without as much love. As a result they look crude and rubbery. To be fair, Captain Marvel looks amazing to make things even more inconsistent. After the backlash Chun Li’s face received prior to the games launch, it’s a shame Capcom didn’t take the time to fix the majority of the rosters faces.
As far as the gameplay itself goes the problem lies in its new simplicity. In a bid to attain a wider and more immediate audience its seems Infinite has cheapened itself. The game proudly declares a devastating combo can be unleashed with just a few presses of one button and now players can tag in and out at will which adds a tactical element, although now the difference between a newcomer and an expert will be defined by the timing and exploiting of your opponents openings in their defence with counter attacks as opposed to combo knowledge. But for the most part an average player can get away with button mashing. Super moves are very easy to use and almost identical across the board, meaning you won’t have to remember new moves for new characters. A new gimmick is the use of the 6 Infinity stones. Each one gives you a new power move used by a respective trigger button. However the stones are currently unbalanced with the Soul stone offering way better perks than the Reality stone for example.
So what does Infinite get right? The fighting is fun if not simple and the roster’s appeal may be subjective however undeniably there are some questionable choices here. Lesser known characters like Firebrand’s inclusion over characters with a little more appeal will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows, Where’s the love for Asura of Asuras Wrath? or Gene of Godhand? Where is Blackheart? Or why haven’t Marvel included Daredevil or Jessica Jones to utilise the success of Marvel’s transition into Netflix?
The story is one of its main appeals now and with Injustice 2 setting a precedent for highly cinematic stories with quality cut scenes,how does Infinite do in making the transition? Especially in having the benefit of the Marvel universe at its disposal?
Well the story is ultimately… Uninspired. There are some good moments. Some genuinely laugh-ou- loud moments too but some juvenile dialogue and hokey character motives allow for a pretty standard affair. Character voices differ; Tony stark is astoundingly similar to RDJs Iron Man with brilliant authenticity whilst Morrigan’s Irish accent is an abomination and needs to be destroyed by fire and sent back to the Dark Dimension from whence it came. Another problem are the drones… Fights between regular characters are padded out by repetitive fights where you have to pummel drone after drone until they are depleted or until you have met an objective. It is a dull chore that only serves to prolong a half-conceived story which is a shame because there are moments of greatness. Devil May Cry’s Dante (original… not the remake) shines with some brilliant moments and Dead Rising‘s Frank West taking on the Mad Titan Thanos is delivered with some brilliant exchanges…But for the most part it is still flat.
Outside of the story there’s not much to do, there is local and online versus, an arcade mode and some lazy ‘mission modes’, which are little more than objective based battles. But the game does very little to introduce you to the games mechanics. There is nothing really to unlock except character colours either.
This is Infinite‘s downfall. It rests on its laurels with a recognisable but ultimately uninspired roster and a fighting system dumbed down for accessibility. It just feels lazy. It lacks the big advancements to be considered a true sequel and just feels watered down and with the obvious DLC coming down the line it feels the game has been stripped of anything that would of made it truly exceptional in order to serve it up to us later.
In an era where Injustice 2 has brought iconic superheroes and an in-depth customising system, Tekken has found glory in its ultra satisfying combat system and Street Fighter V has captivated the world with its classic and intuitive gameplay. This franchise should be held to a higher standard. In the light of its predecessors it falls into ambiguity. There really is no excuse as to why Infinite feels so… infinitely mediocre and that’s sad. Because there is potential and if the roster was just that bit larger and the character models a bit more polished it could of gone a long way.
Wait for the Game of the Year edition… in a sale…
Verdict – 6/10
We were provided a copy of the game by Capcom for review purposes.