There are things that weren’t meant to stay dormant for long in the Capcom world. The Marvel Vs. Capcom series has yet to be that thing which lingers past the decade mark without a sequel. Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite returns us to the holy matrimony of two franchises, locked in a dream match of nearly epic proportions set back in the days of Reebok Pumps and the steam-rolling Chicago Bulls.
Tony Stark’s AI science experiment decides to join forces with Mega Man X’s evil villain to not only hatch a diabolical plot but to fuse together to make one ultimate villain. Ultron Sigma is born from this union, as well as a merged world, hosting Marvel and Capcom casts alike. 90 days after this horrific event has transpired, heroes and villains from both sides and universes come together to oppose Ultron Sigma and hopefully set things right. Or will they?
Aesthetically, MvC:I breaks away from Fate Of Two World’s comic book style. The game utilizes the Unreal engine, which V also runs on. Characters resemble their current runs, including Ultimate and Cinematic attire. Hawkeye is more Avengers Assemble than he was in previous games. Stages are now combinations of both sides. Xgard being Megaman and Thor’s home, Vakanda being Monster Hunter and TChalla’s stomping grounds. Nearly everything is fused, including Final Fight’s Metro City, and Marvel’s New York(this is actually impossible because New York actually exists in Street Fighter/Final Fight, but… whatever… video games!) becoming New Metro City.
Unlike its’ predecessor, MVC Infinite takes a slightly different turn. What’s old is the four button attack run, keeping highs and lows. What’s borrowed is the Marvel plot of the Infinity Gems, which was used in Marvel Super Heroes. Now, for readers who grew up in the quarter munchers, I’m talking about Capcom returning to Marvel’s Infinity Stones line, which now includes abilities to the fight, similar to SFIV’s Revenge Gauge. For instance, the Soul stone can resurrect downed opponents(which don’t disappear from the screen like they used to and allow a 2 man assault on a character, while the Space stone contracts character movement to a rectangle. The stones also possess unique skills that can be used without any cooldowns during a match that are not dependent on the gauge. A stone is locked to a team, which can change the dynamics of character meta. Stones never disappear or leave a character team who has them. Auto-combos are back, which can make any player seem more pro than they appear to be. MvC:I also reduced the team structure back to 2. Jumping Roundhouse kicks, to enter the screen, are gone. Tagging is more akin to Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom, having characters run into the opponents to start their end of the combo. Characters can be tagged in anytime minus throws.
Characters now have some old and new tricks from previous iterations of the series. Maximum Spider still exists for Spider-Man, and so does the Shinkuu Hadouken for Ryu. The game gets deeper with unique abilities per character. For instance, Morrigan’s Harmonious Spear can curse the opponent to fill Morrigan’s super meter when a Soul Fist attack landed. Too fun! Unique abilities are almost akin to V-Skill but handier than the aforementioned moves. The roster is a 30 to start, with DLC bringing out more in the future. Some newcomers do resemble other entrants, but their specials and standouts do keep things interesting.
Story mode, Online, Vs, Arcade, and Mission mode are all in this game. The latter being more akin to SFV, with the entire roster’s special attacks and combos to learn. There’s a hefty amount of things to take on in Infinite. 10 missions per character is sufficient enough. The Beginner’s leagues with the training and splits itself off of the Ranked match horde.
Not everything glitters in MvC: I unfortunately. The story mode feels more rushed than, even more, an even more cringworthy progression system. Even Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 had a better story, and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 HAD no story. All I remember was the coming and going of a large ship, fighting a 3 level boss, and a huge cast to show for it. Story Mode attempts to explain things, but gaps were left out. How we were able to get through 88 days, of both Capcom and Marvel’s worlds’ fusing, was weird. Though there are some highlights, such as the voice cast, it still feels as if there is a lack of more content. Companies seem to do this alot these days. Injustice seems to nail this one on the head of combining a narrative with a brawl system. Now, everyone and their grandmother feels compelled to attempt the same and brag about it later. Namco did this with Tekken 7, and Capcom tried this out with SFV. After Soul Calibur V’s dismal showing on this front, you’d figure there were lessons learned after their attempts at doing the basic requirement. Barely. Things feel too corny with this aspect with the plot.
The cast, though small compared to Fate of Two Worlds and New Age of Heroes, is a bit puzzling. Fan favorites are now either speculated to arrive later or not at all because of legalities. Some of these characters do appear in the story mode, however. Black Panther being one of them. Pay-locking Sigma, Ultron Sigma’s other half, seemed to feel more like a misstep. Ultron is playable, though. The lack is seen, but with the magic word to fill the gap, maybe there is hope in the next few pages or issues. Capcom was aiming for their new fighters to be e-sports ready these days, so the original charm is subtle. Personally, I wanted more utlzliation from both sides and franchises. With both libraries being vast, a variety was highly expected. Give me a Dragon’s Dogma character, or a Power Stone Vet (Wang Tang, I see you), or more Street Fighters. Heck, can we have Daredevil back? X-Men is not even visible yet, which is disappointing. It’s to a point where I’d beg for these characters like a whiny 12 yr. old playing Overwatch, harassing everyone to get a character that fits their current set.
And again, I’d go back to the charm. This isn’t the 90s anymore, so in that sense: Capcom decided to dial back this special feel on Infinite. The crapload of extras. The arcade individual endings which may or may not deal with the plot. The victory poses! The music, even though this one can be an arguable point. X-Men Vs. Street Fighter established a well-to-do track list. MSHvsSF flipped things around, yet kept Capcom’s signature 32-bit guitar rift. Clash of Heroes again did the same and picked female favorites to go hard on. New Age of Heroes went all Street Fighter III and locked the background tracks to a single genre, which infact worked really well (got jazz?). Fate of Two Worlds gave players two styles: epic hero stuff and the more electronic everything. Infinite returns to a character-locked mash, but to a certain degree: no where near Capcom’s usual sound. Morrigan’s new song is just as deadly as she is. The artwork is cool, but where are the influences via easter eggs of Fate of Two Worlds? Casually, Infinite is definitely the hardest one to love because of the lack of attention to detail in charm.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is a mixed bag. It restores Disney’s faith in Marvel’s old relationship, like that old flame you’d make out with, in a well-received competitive romp. Capcom’s second attempt, at the Infinity Stone plot, is more meaningful and tactical than the first. Even though there is a bigger player backing it, Infinite’s charm is lost through its’ shortcomings. Particularly, the very thing that Marvel captivated millions for nearly a century – the story. Outside of this, Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite may be able to sway the fighter in anyone, pending the casual true believers can lower their expectations.