There was always these two arcade cabinets that I found myself constantly putting all of my quarters into as a kid if I found them, one was House Of The Dead and the other was Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. The Marvel Vs. Capcom series of games will always hold a special place in my heart when it comes to fighters — even though I’m a low-class warrior in every sense of the word when it comes to competitive fighting games when compared to my friends who are deep into the scene. But with Marvel Vs. Capcom, it’s a bit different mostly for the fact that as a kid, I never knew crossovers as massive as this could exist. You had Jill Valentine facing Iron Man, Mega Man vs Cyclops, Wolverine vs Ryu, etc. etc. As a kid, this was like a strange nerd heaven. So decades later, I’m glad it’s still ongoing with the latest entry into the long running series, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. But is it as good as the previous entries or does it suffer from baffling exclusions?
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is almost a return to basics for the series, stripping away the overly complicated controls for a more simpler set up featuring weak and strong punch and kick buttons and auto combos/specials that can be instantly pulled off at any time. Also gone is the frantic 3 vs 3 aspect and instead a tighter 2 vs 2 gameplay is left in it’s place. Returning for the first time since Marvel Super Heroes in the 90’s is the six Infinity Stones which can cause significant boosts in fights depending on whichever the player picks. Like the Soul Stone can zap life from your opponent and revitalize your own characters or if used as a desperation move, can revive a downed character on your team. It’s very much a call back to simpler times in the series, before it got too much for itself in later sequels with infinity combos and what not. The combat is relatively balanced with everyone having a pro or con that can be heightened or fixed with an Infinity Stone combination added in. Will this last, that depends since the metagame hasn’t truly been developed yet — the game’s only been out a few days as of this writing.
One of the major selling points to the game, besides the new tag team fighting mechanics with the included Infinity Stones, is the additional 5 hour or so cinematic Story Mode which features the heroes of both Marvel and Capcom universes tangling it up with the villains of their own universes in a desperate bid to stop the big bad, Ultron Sigma — a combination of Mega Man X villain, Sigma and Avengers villain, Ultron — from collecting the six Infinity Stones and wiping out all of existence in the process. There are some slight twist and turns in the story, but nothing to overly complicated and noteworthy. If you’re a fan of either universes, and especially for both, then you’ll love the story being told. However, if you barely follow either company, then the story won’t be that enticing to go through and you’ll be better off sticking to the strictly battles included in both Arcade and Online modes.
Arcade is your typical run of the mill mode that you see in every fighter under the sun. Fight in progressively intense matches against the CPU. In online mode, you can join lobbies of up to 8 players and go against each other — I didn’t have much luck in this mode on launch day. There is also a 1p vs 2p mode and the typical 1p vs CPU one match mode, if you just so happen to fancy that. Other modes included are Training and Mission mode — where you can do a brief tutorial as preset characters or pick a character and master their move set; think like how the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games do it.
The game does have unlockables, but it’s not hidden characters, just concept art and the cinematic cutscenes that you get from story.
Roster wise, this is one of the smallest compared to previous entries like Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and/or 3. There are notable omissions from the game in the form of the Fantastic Four and X-Men due to Fox and Disney — Marvel’s parent company — not playing nice to each other due to licensing issues. This severally limits players who grew up playing as Wolverine, Storm, Magneto, Dr. Doom, etc in this series having to find replacements to play as in the forms of Nova, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, etc. So in short this is pretty much the Marvel Cinematic Universe vs Capcom, not the actual comic book universe vs the much loved gaming company. However, on the flip side, Capcom’s side feels nicely flushed out with at least two representatives for most of Capcom’s major games, like X and Zero from Mega Man X, Chris and Nemesis from Resident Evil, etc. The Capcom side, has most of the personality while the Marvel side has more of the familiarity to them. Hopefully with future updates and DLC we can get more characters included or even in the future unlock a few hidden ones like in the original Marvel Vs. Capcom with Orange Venom etc. One can wish.
So should you be playing Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, yes and also no. If you’re a die hard fan of the fighting game series, then it’s a definite, “yes” but if you more of someone who loved the older games and it’s vast depth of characters to choose from then a, “no” and you are better off waiting for the Ultimate Edition that’s coming down the line — if Capcom ever will release it, but they may take a Street Fighter V approach and never do it this time. Infinite may also be a hard pass if you’re more of the old school, pre-DLC era of gamer, who loves to unlock stages, characters and other cool things post game like in Marvel Vs Capcom 2 and even Mortal Kombat 9, this game has nothing of the sort! Also if you’re planning to pick this up thinking you can do tag team co-op together with a friend against two other friends like in Street Fighter X Tekken or Mortal Kombat 9, you can’t. This is strictly a one on one affair.
While Infinite is a solid entry in the Marvel Vs Capcom franchise, there are some head scratching choices that Capcom made in order to get the series back to basics. I recommend not buying this at full price and instead picking it up at a discounted price either by a future sale or used. However, if you can look past this all, you’ll find an enjoyable fighter to play with friends like the good old days.