The original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 released back in 2011 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, so to say that this follow-up has been overdue, is an understatement. So finally in 2017, we finally have that new game in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. But with being so many years in the waiting, has this release been worth the wait? Well in short, yes and no. At its core, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite brings enjoyable, refined gameplay at such an addictive pace and level, that you could lose many an hour to alone. However, with its skittish story campaign, lack of characters and poor online experience, this is a game that should have been so much better then we got.
Let’s begin with that story mode, because to be honest, this is something that the fans have been calling for, especially as this never featured in MvC3 and with fighting games from NetherRealm setting a story telling standard for this genre, Capcom had a lot to bring up to the plate to compete in that respect. Yes, it could be argued that as a story mode was something that we never initially got, some could argue that we should be grateful that we’ve got this mode at all and in many respects, that would be true.
Sadly with such high standards being set elsewhere, many of the fans (including myself) wanted something that would at least come in at a close second to NetheRealms offering, as difficult as a task that might prove. Of course this is just my humble opinion, but while MvC Infinite’s story could have been much worse, it could have and should have been so much better. For starters, the character animation isn’t all that great and many of the facial animations look like a result of a botched Botox injection consultation (just have a look at Chun-Li’s lips in the previously released trailers). Also I know many Super heroes are supposed to be big and strong, but some such as Captain America looks like he eats, sleeps and eats steroids for fun and just because, he also looks like he’s wearing about 10 layers of clothing under his spandex. But overall aside from a few minor visual mishaps, the game is beautiful to look at, especially when you activate a characters super and considering the pace the game plays at, it holds a very steady framerate all things considered.
So jacked and juiced up characters aside, quite possible the biggest issue that I have with the story mode is that its pacing is all over the place. The basics of the story go as followed. Merging to universes as one with the goal of destroying all organic life, Ultron from the Marvel Universe and Sigma from Capcom’s universe (who for some reason looks like he’s attending a fancy dress party as Buzz Lightyear) join forces to infuse as one to achieve their goal of domination by manipulating the powers of the Infinity Stones to control (and destroy) all life as we know it.
I’ll give it one benefit of the doubt, out of all the genres, the fighting genre is possibly one of the hardest genres to tell a worthwhile story, which just shows how much of a great job NetherRealm has done. So in-between the fights, it is ever so important that you maximise the storytelling potential of each and every cut-scene as humanly possible. But it just feels like that each of the characters story as each embark on their own mission to get the Infinity Stones, is all over the place. Jumping from one scene to the most, most of the time with little explanation other then the mission basics. After about an hour had passed, I’d pretty much stopped caring about the story that Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite was trying to tell.
Dare I say it, it’s almost as if perhaps some cut-scenes were ‘cut’ out from the story to ensure that the game reached its release date on time. This is of course nothing more than pure speculation on my part, but it just feels that in my opinion, the story lacks any continuity in its pacing and just feels rather rushed. Another reason that I lost interest in its story was due to its characters. Ultron is fine, he’s an uncompassionate badass and makes for a great bad guy, but Sigma, from Mega Man X, really? Out of all the characters that Capcom could have picked from their deep and vast franchises, they picked…Sigma.
It’s easy to throw-in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 character roster as a basis of argument (especially with an RRP of £19.99 on PS4 & Xbox One), but that’s perhaps unfair in some ways as it includes all previously released DLC, bumping the roster up to 48. However, the initial release of Marvel vs Capcom 3 features 38 playable characters, which is a fairer comparison to Infinite’s roster of 30 at launch. But having 8 less characters isn’t the real issue for me, it’s the choice of characters that’s the problem. Out of all the 30 characters included in the base game, only 4 of which are female. This includes Gamora, Captain Marvel, Chun-Li and Morrigan Aensland, in comparison to 26 male characters.
Now I’m not about to go on a knight of shining armour rant, because that’s not who I am, but only having 4 female characters from the insanely vast Marvel and Capcom universes is just insanity. Just picking out a few names from the MvC3 hat, missing are Trish from Devil May Cry, Phoenix, Storm and X-23 (which by the way, Infinite features no X-Men characters what so ever), Jill Valentine and Crimson Viper to name but a few. In terms of series debutats, we could have had Claire Redfield, Sherry Birkin (the older Sherry of course), Lisa Trevor just from Resident Evil.
Then Cammy, Laura Matsuda and Karin Kanzuki from Street Fighter, and that’s just two of Capcom’s franchises that has a vast array of female characters to pick from. Not to mention that we have no Deadpool, Wolverine, Starlord and more, hell, how awesome would it be if we had Jack and Marguerite Baker from Resident Evil 7. I would have loved to have also seen Sonya Hart and Paula Morton from the Dino Crisis series. I need to stop, because I’m just torturing myself here, my point is, much like the story mode, the character roster, could have and should have been so much better.
Thankfully we Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite does shine, in arguably its most important aspect, is the gameplay. Keeping to the traditional of the 3v3 formula, the pure gameplay of MvC Infinite, is fast, frantic, addictive and all-out fun. I’d go as far as saying, that just judging from a pure gameplay perspective, you’d struggle to find a game that plays and feels better then Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite in this competitive genre, it’s just a pity that almost everything else falls short of the high octane gameplay that is on offer here. The special moves have even been simplified, which may irritate some of the hardcore fan base, but it certainly makes the game more accessible to all. Thankfully despite simplifying some of the gameplay aspects, there is still much to learn and master, I’d say just as much as before. So in that respect, the developers have done a great job in catering for both the hardcore and newcomer fan base alike.
Speaking of fun and addictive gameplay, possibly nothing is more fun than playing a fighting game against a friend and that remains true here also. Sadly if multiplayer is something that you’ll be looking forward to with MvC Infinite, unless you have friends to regularly come round to play, then you’re going to be in trouble, because in my experience, you cannot rely on the shoddy online service that is on offer here. After some patience, I was able to find an online opponent to fight against, although I did keep getting paired with the same opponent, which says a lot about the lack of online player base in MvC Infinite. My best hope of finding a different opponent was to set the connection of an opponent to 1+, which is a piss poor experience and I would not recommend anyone doing that, as it’s laggy as hell. But even that was difficult to find an opponent with, and that was also at launch.
However, upon trying to play an online match more recently, I was unable to find one. I set the region from more local to worldwide, tried the connection setting from 1 to 5 (good luck if you want to ever find an opponent with a 5 rated connection), but no matter what settings I choose, after nearly 40 minutes of trying, I gave up on finding an online opponent. To think that the Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite online community is potentially dead a few short weeks after the game released, is a shame, the franchise deserves better, but that is Capcom’s responsibility to uphold and give the potential player base to invest in their product and then keep them interested.
This in comparison to the likes of Injustice 2, where the developers have regular events to keep their players entertained and you should find little issue in finding an online opponent. It just shows the level of standards that both companies have, one is far more dedicated then the other. Even Mortal Kombat X still has a vibrant online community and that game released more than two years ago, yet its online player base is far, far more vibrant than Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. This shouldn’t be the case, because MvC Infinite should still be at its peak, but given how the game is seemingly already dying a slow painful online death, why in the hell should players invest a further £25 in its Character Pass?
In conclusion, I hate to be so critical of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, because this is a game that I’ve waited years for, I love the series, I love the genre and I know I’m not along in saying that. If I was to score the game purely from a gameplay perspective, it would pass with high scores and party poppers an all, but as an overall package and almost dead upon arrival online community, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is not only a huge missed opportunity, especially with the introduction of the highly anticipated story mode, but it will go down as one of this year’s biggest disappointments and that whole heartedly saddens me to say, as this should have been a standout game of 2017.
+ Fast, frantic and fun gameplay
+ Caters for both hardcore and newcomer fan base
+ For the most part, it’s a beautiful looking game
- Story modes pacing struggles to keep me interested
- Facial animation could have been better
- Online player base is dead already
- Not enough male and female character variety in base game