‘Marvel vs Capcom Infinite’ Review: A More Casual Fighter Enters the Ring
Let me get this out of the way first — Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is fine. It’s not the best fighting game I’ve gotten my hands on, but it’s not a bad game at all.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its flaws, but Infinite did fix some of the shortcomings of its predecessor, returning to favored elements of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 while expanding its market to finally appeal to casual gamers.
I’d call that a win.
One of the most notable changes was the tweak in difficulty that appeals to less-than-proficient fighters. It’s not that Infinite was dumbed down but instead changed just enough to attract interest from casual gamers with the addition of auto-combos. Oh, don’t worry, veterans can still dominate the arena as they see fit, but simplified combos and Hyper Combos give even novice players a chance to enjoy the nuances of each character while putting up a fight in Arcade and Story Modes.
If you think you’ll just jump right into Infinite and take on gamers of all skill levels, you are sorely mistaken. The auto-combos were stricken from online play (for obvious reasons) which can make them both a welcomed benefit and an unexpected crutch. You may rely on them during single-player matches, but once you’re online, you’ll flounder if you took no time to learn how to string combos and utilize your supers.
As someone who falls closer to the novice end of the spectrum, I kept most of my time with Infinite offline, but that’s at no fault of the developer. It’s clear that the series’ combo-driven combat is still prevalent, and when I was able to string my own flurry of attacks together without the help of auto-combo, it was incredibly satisfying. The few online matches that actually went the distance were plenty fun and incredibly smooth.
For whatever reason, the roster for the MvC series continues to dwindle and, compared to New Age of Heroes, Infinite’s is relatively puny. What it lacks in quantity, though, it does try to make up for in quality. And while many of the playable characters are fun to get your hands on, most of that joy comes from Marvel’s side of the roster.
Newcomers like Gamora, Captain Marvel, and Ultron beef up an already solid Marvel lineup. On the Capcom side of things, it gets a little sillier. Chris Redfield, Dante, Frank West, and Nemesis are among the heavy hitters and feel completely out of place. While Dante and Chris were at least fun to play, Nemesis was incredibly stiff and West was, once again, a little too weird.
Though the roster could use some work, future DLC will undoubtedly fix that. Already announced fighters like Black Panther, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Venom, Sigma, and even Monster Hunter will grace the roster in future DLC. If there’s anything about that list to complain about it’s that it probably should have been a part of the main game.
Especially Monster Hunter. That sounds incredible.
Like in prior installments, you’re able to choose multiple fighters. But Infinite limits teams to only two contestants which can be switched between seamlessly during combat. The drop from three fighters does require you to be more careful in character selection, but what was once that third slot was replaced by your choice of Infinity Stone.
Each of the six stones, pulled directly from Marvel’s universe, bestow a temporary power, such as the Space Stone’s ability to temporarily trap opponents in a cell to limit movements or the Power Stone’s increase in combo ability. Admittedly, I often forgot to use the stone I had chosen, but when I did their affects were devastating to the opposing team.
The stones feature heavily in Infinite’s story mode¸ but it lazily slaps the characters and isn’t a huge loss if you happen to skip it. Painfully corny dialogue and gross visuals take away from the fun of the core game. Quite frankly, halfway through I was back to playing — and thoroughly enjoying — Arcade mode.
Infinite may not be the strongest in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, but it’s definitely a step up from Fate of Two Worlds. Suffering mostly from a lame story and unnecessarily bulky and stiff character models, the core gameplay is as solid as ever. For those of us used to watching the series from the outside, wishing we were even remotely good enough, the focus on casual newcomers is absolutely a welcome designed choice.