Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
As a longtime Marvel fan who rarely plays fighting games, I wondered if Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s story mode was exactly what I needed to get back into this high-flying series. Unfortunately, I walked away from the story mode wanting something more: stuipd fun.
I’m not a complete newcomer to the series. I played a decent amount of MvC 2 on the Dreamcast when it first released, but I’ve never been a huge fighting game fan, so when Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds released in 2011, it passed me by. However, as a giant Marvel Comics fan I really want to like these games.
At the same time, NetherRealm has done some amazing work on rival comic fighter Injustice. Not only are Injustice 1 & 2 solid fighting games, but NetherRealm created a couple bonkers story modes full of over-the-top action and silly character moments that helped drawn in comic fans who rarely pick up a fight stick. I hoped that this new story mode for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite would be Capcom’s answer to Injustice, but this early taste didn’t leave me wanting more.
The basic story setup is that some kind of reality-destroying event has caused the Marvel and Capcom universes to collide. During this event, the evil robots Ultron and Sigma fuse together, creating an even eviler robot cleverly named Ultron Sigma. Thankfully, heroes such as Mega Man, Rocket Raccoon, Dante, Ryu, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Bionic Commando’s Rad Spencer were on hand to take down Ultron Sigma’s army of robots and corrupted Asgardians.
As far as narratives go, it’s not high art. In fact, I had a little trouble understanding exactly what was going on in this new world. The demo feels like it's missing important narrative chunks, because the story doesn’t flow naturally from one moment to the next. However, as Injustice has shown, fighting games don’t have to tell emotionally-driven narratives; they just have to be entertaining, and that’s the biggest thing lacking from Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s story mode.
Aside from a few easy “fan fiction moments” – such as seeing Mega Man holding Captain America’s shield or watching Rocket Raccoon fire Dante’s pistols – Infinite feels devoid of creative moments. The between fight cutscenes wiz by as each character throws out a few forgettable one-liners and then lineup for their next fight.
Another big problem is that the battles are incredibly repetitive. I played the first 30 minutes of the game, but all my battles were against the same two enemy types: Ultron drones and Sigma-corrupted Asgardians. One of the biggest draws of a game like this is the ability to create dream matchups with your favorite heroes. Fans love to imagine how a fight between Iron Man and Mega Man would play out, or dream about the hellfire Dante and Doctor Strange would exchange, or see how Nathan Spencer would fare against…actually no one wants to see Nathan Spencer fight anyone. Unfortunately, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s story mode doesn’t take advantage of these dream matchups in any meaningful way. Of course, this could change later in the story, but the early portion of the game feels like a missed opportunity.
Thankfully, Infinite is an incredibly competent fighting game with a lot of splashy action, so if you’re just looking for some colorful multiplayer fights then Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite might be just what you’re looking for.
But, you don’t take my word for it. You can play the demo for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s story mode for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One right now. Or, for a more technical breakdown of the game’s mechanics, read Suriel’s recent hands-on impressions.