So, after six long years in the making I finally got to play Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. I also bought it new near launch, something I don’t really do anymore. However, Street Fighter V passed the Xbox One by, and I wasn’t going to miss the fourth iteration of my favorite Capcom brawler. It’s hard to believe MVC 3 came out back in 2011. Despite the 11 year wait from MVC 2, MVC 3 was just as crazy as its predecessor, with crazy 3 on 3 character fights, ridiculous air combos, screen filling super specials, and a simply wonderful stylized look to the levels that payed homage to both Capcom and Marvel’s rich heritage. That’s certainly a lot to live up to… so how’d it go this time?
Not too well. In fact, not well at all. Of the four features I just listed that made MVC my fighter of choice, only one of those things made it into this game: the super specials. To be fair, Street Fighter or even Mortal Kombat has super specials, so that alone is not going to save this game. I suppose at this point Capcom expects that I should be thankful that Ryu can still fire a large hadoken. Sorry, I’m not.
So, to go point by point here, let’s talk about the 3 on 3 fights. Whoops, I forgot… there are no 3 on 3 fights anymore. Instead, they’ve gone back to something that hasn’t been in a MVC game since the first one in 1998. I’ll merely remind you that’s nearly 20 years ago when the N64 and PS1 were in their prime. Imagine if Street fighter V just took their mechanics back to Street Fighter 1 in 1987 so as to not “frustrate new players.” It’s clearly an attempt to just make this a game for casuals as dictated by Disney. We don’t want the Angry Birds crowd to feel left out, now would we?
Ah, and now about those air combos… oh, damn my poor memory. Shucks, they’re gone too. At least half of the fun of MVC 2 and 3 was finding a creative and natural flowing way you could knock your opponent in the air, bounce him around, and keep him there. It was an art of sorts. Now in Infinite you can barely get the guy in the air to do a few meager moves on him, which I guess makes sense now. You don’t want to hurt him too much… there’s only two characters left after all, right? There are a few air combos I’ve seen done online, but pretty much all of them boil down to just getting one guy in a corner and trapping him. This has simply been called “cornering” since the days of Street Fighter 2 and it’s just a really lazy strategy, even if it’s effective.
Then we actually have the look of the game. Well, at least there are actual graphics on my television I guess, as opposed to a black screen. Progress? Of course, there is the issue as to whether the in-game graphics make me want to duct tape my eyes shut. The answer is yes, yes they do. Apparently, Capcom decided to go with the Unreal engine for the character models and levels this time… and good God do they look hideous. The characters look like lifeless mannequins, especially any character that’s even slightly stylized. Mega Man X and Zero for instance look like their blank doll eyes are going to steal your soul. Who the hell thought that anime-like characters such as these and others, would be best served by the engine that runs Gears of War? Someone’s doing bumps of cocaine at either Capcom or Disney… Hell, maybe they’re all going at it like Tony Montana in Scarface. Also, to be brief, the stages look completely bland, and they’re almost entirely focused on the Marvel universe. Boring.
Let’s also talk about the infinity stones. First off, it’s obvious, but I do feel the need to say that the only reason this game was finally allowed to be made, was because Disney thought it would make a nice advertisement for their new Avengers: Infinity War movie. This is also why Disney refused to use any Marvel characters used in Fox movies, such as all the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Deadpool. To not at least have Wolverine in here is just shameful.
So, what exactly do the infinity stones actually do in this game? Well, in theory they attempt to make up for a lack of a third character by giving you one of six different colored stones with various abilities. It actually sounds compelling on paper… until you realize when you go online that only one stone really matters: the soul stone. When the soul stone is powered up it can actually bring a downed character back to life. In addition, you can actually control them both simultaneously against the poor soul who is about to have a train run on him. I once had a guy who revived his dead partner not one, but two times. It’s like playing whack-a-mole.