It’s a lot of fun seeing the heroes and villains of the Marvel universe and Capcom clash together in frantic tag-team battles, but that doesn’t cover up the mess of problems within Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. Continuing the popular Versus series between the two companies, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite mixes up many of the series’ staple gameplay mechanics, while nearly ignoring equally important parts of the experience. A newly updated roster of popular characters will make fans happy to dive into battles quickly, however the blunt absence of many fan favorites synonymous with the series can’t be ignored. The fighting is incredibly fast and chaotic, but the overall presentation, mediocre story mode, and extra content is ultimately underwhelming.
The story mode in Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is a quick, yet disappointing footnote as to why the two worlds of Marvel and Capcom are blending together once again. While the plot revolves around the fabled Infinity Stones from Marvel Comics, as both a major part of the story and the gameplay, it doesn’t feel as fleshed out or interesting as previous Capcom fighting games. It’s great seeing some loose narrative tying together characters like Chun-Li, Rocket Raccoon, and Mega Man X into the same story; but the haphazard nature of the story is all too apparent.
Paired with a lack of any nods or fan-service to some of the Marvel characters we see (where are the other Guardians of the Galaxy?), and you have a story mode that feels very rushed. It doesn’t help that the all-too-obvious wipe of the X-Men looms over everything, leaving one to wonder why they are absent. Issues like this could’ve been easily solved with a single line of dialogue, or a quick mention in passing from one character to another. By the time you reach its conclusion, you will forget most, if not everything, that happened in story mode.
However, the overall presentation of Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite isn’t among earth’s mightiest. There’s a heavily stylized design for the entire roster, with some characters looking a little better than others. Unfortunately, some fighters have a very dead-eyed and basic look to their faces in most cutscenes during story mode that is impossible to look pass. Moreover, some of the voices to a few characters are terrible and don’t match up well to their design or previous incarnations. It becomes incredibly distracting and annoying hearing a terrible voice for a character that speaks a lot during battle, let alone during cutscenes in the story mode.
The different stages to fight on are interesting, mainly because they take the idea of the cross-over to an extreme. Locations from both the Marvel and Capcom universes get blended together to create new areas, even though some of the names are a bit too silly. A combination of the maverick city from Mega Man X and Marvel’s Asgard doesn’t sound as interesting when it’s simply known as XGard.
There isn’t a whole lot happening in the background of these stages, despite a few visual nods to classic Capcom games and other aspects of the Marvel comics. There could have been more stages included for a better variety of Marvel and Capcom locations, but there is enough to keep things from feeling too repetitive.
Marvel Vs. Capcom has always been more about the gameplay than anything else, despite featuring an ensemble of comic book characters. In that regard, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite delivers in a very good way. Unlike the past few games in the series, things are dialed back and limited to just two characters to select for a team. Instead of a third character, you have a choice of which Infinity Stone to bring with you into the battle, opening up new abilities and strategies for any combination of fighters.
You can use an Infinity Surge in battle that is a unique ability to a given stone, as well as an Infinity Storm ability that fully takes advantage of the stone’s power. The addition of the Infinity Stones doesn’t take away the focus on dashing and launching opponents for big combos however, but rather adds another layer of depth to the flow of combat and makes battles more flashy and exciting.
The real joy of playing a game like Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is taking your skills online against other players. There are Ranked Battles, Lobbies, and friendly player matches you can engage in that tie into your fighter profile online. However, match connections can be a wide range of great or utterly terrible, with the latter happening more frequently. In the best case scenario, playing Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite online can be as smooth as if you were playing locally offline. But more often you’ll find yourself in matches with other players that become unplayable with immense slow down and dropped inputs. With a game as fast and Marvel Vs. Capcom, any impact on the speed of the match or your connection to the other player can have significant consequences.
Besides story mode and online multiplayer, you still have a traditional Arcade Mode to play through, as well as local multiplayer and Mission Mode to learn how to play with every character. Finishing the arcade mode however doesn’t offer much in terms of extras, since you only get an extra color for each character you chose at the start when you complete it. There are no extra splash pages or endings for characters like in other Capcom fighters for finishing the arcade.
The slim offerings in the Collection menu are disappointing, with only some artwork and character profiles to go alongside the cutscenes that you watch from the story mode. The complete soundtrack of the game is included here, but the character themes are not as interesting to listen to compared to other Capcom fighting games.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is great for those looking to be competitive, but is ultimately disappointing as a total package. The changes to the fighting system are interesting and make for some fast paced gameplay with a lot of depth, but the short story mode, stylized presentation, and meager extras aren’t impressive. Those willing to look pass the shortcomings will get caught up in the spectacle of tag-team fighting the series is known for. But those hoping for something more to compliment the spectacle of the cross-over, you won’t find anything amazing or spectacular beyond that.
This review was based on a digital review code for Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite for the PlayStation 4, provided by Capcom.