Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite (from now on MVCI) is is the most recent in the series of games that mash up the Marvel and Capcom universes to answer a bunch of burning questions about who'd win in a fight:

  • A weirdly short and gargoylish knight or Thor, the God of Thunder?
  • A wartime photographer turned latter-day zombie slayer or Thanos, The Mad Titan?
  • A musclebound mayor or The Incredible Hulk?

For me the first issue with the game is that there's an incredible tonal and aesthetic mismatch between the Capcom and Marvel characters. It doesn't feel right that Arthur belongs in the same game as Ryu, let alone Spider-Man. Most of the Capcom characters are such ridiculous caricatures that they look extremely weird next to their Marvel counterparts, but even they are beefed up more than usual in this game; Spider-Man looks much more stacked than we're used to him being for instance. 

Adding to this mismatch is the fact that the graphical style here is very plastic and artificial looking, but without the charm of comic-book cel-shaded graphics which made Marvel Vs Capcom 3 (MVC3) work so much better, visually, than this game does. While Arthur will never seem like an acceptable character in a fighting game to me, I found him much less irriating in the previous game, perhaps because he's forced on you by the single player storyline in Infinite rather than just being one character of many.

Speaking of many characters, the roster available in this game is terrible. You buy the game for full price (Around £50) and get 30 characters. There's a DLC expected to drop soon that adds another mighty six (count 'em, SIX!) characters to the game, and the developers are charging £24.99 for the privilege. That's over £4 a character and most of them aren't particularly inspiring.

The 30 characters you get with the game are:

Marvel Characters: 

Thor, Spider-Man, Thanos, Iron Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Dormammu, Gamora, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Hulk, Nova, Rocket Raccoon, and Ultron.

Capcom Characters:

Arthur, X (From Megaman X), Ryu, Chris Redfield, Chun Li, Dante, Firebrand, Frank West, Jedah Domah, Mike Haggar, Morrigan Aensland, Nemesis, Nathan Spencer, Strider Hiryu, and Zero.

The six DLC characters announced are Black Panther, Black Widow, Venom, and Winter Soldier from the Marvel ranks, and Monster Hunter and Sigma for Capcom.

The biggest question on my mind is, where the hell is Deadpool? He was one of the most entertaining characters from MVC3 and his absence is a travesty here.  The alleged reason for this is also pretty shocking given that Deadpool's recent movie was a major success; according to GameSpot, Capcom's director of production had this to say on the subject: 

"We talked with Marvel very closely about their future roadmap, about what's gonna be happening. Your modern Marvel fan, maybe they don't even remember some of the X-Men characters, but they know some of the Guardians characters or Black Panther. You know what I mean?"

Well, chimichangas, mi amigos.

Okay, so, let's get back to talking about the game itself.

Single Player Campaign

There's a single-player campaign this time round, obviously attempting to do for this series what Netherrealms did for InjusticeInjustice 2 and Mortal Kombat X. It doesn't do it anywhere as well as those games did, but at least it tries! The story doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but honestly it's still pretty fun. 

I found myself playing through the whole thing in a single sitting despite my annoyances with the game as a whole, but I was complaining the whole way through. I don't know who decided it's a good idea to have you fight multiple opponents in a 2D fighting game while also dealing with random attacks from the scenery, but it really isn't.

The main villain is a gestalt entity, the components of which are everyone's favourite megalomaniacal AI, Ultron, and the Sigma virus from the Megaman X games. Imaginatively, this gestalt is referred to throughout the game as Ultron Sigma, which makes me wonder why Sigma lost the debate as to whose name went first.

Ultron Sigma is planning to obtain the Infinity Stones to gain absolute power over the combined universe formed when the Marvel and Capcom smashed into each other, turning everything into pure, uncorruptable machine beings. Honestly, it's just a vehicle for making every character fight pretty much every other character and I guess it does that well enough.

The Inifnity Stones (I'm sure deliberately inserted in this as a bit of a teaser for The Avengers: Infinity War) play an important role in the game mechanics too... by which I mean they're an unbalanced mess that can turn any fight into a trivial matter once you figure out how they work (as the game does a poor job of explaining this through the single player campaign). 

The end boss fight in particular (against Ultron Omega, Ultron Sigma's final form which, by the way looks really silly) was really frustratingly difficult until I realised the full effects of the Soul Stone, after which it was a matter of spamming that at the boss and his subsidiary minions until they all died while I regenerated all the while. It made the fight trivially easy. 

The most annoying thing about the Infinity Stones is that every time you use one, your character shouts out the name of the stone like they're a character in a shounen anime. Get both players using them regularly (which they will, because they're damn useful) and it sounds absolutely ridiculous.

Combat Mechanics

The basic combat mechanics are fairly easy to wrap your head around; probably simpler than Injustice 2. You've got your standard light and heavy punch and kick buttons, and the trigger buttons are combinations of two other buttons. The sort of things you have to do to pull off simple special moves will be familiar to anyone who's played a Capcom fighting game (e.g. down, diagonal down, right, punch for Hadouken). Tapping a bumper unleases a short surge of power from your equipped Infinity Stone, and tapping both bumpers when the Ininity Metre is fully charged fires up the more powerful Infinity Storm mode.

The tag team fighting is pretty fun, and you can tag in and out with combo manoeuvres whenever you want to. 

The worst mechanical decision they made is the auto combo system. Keep tapping X and your character pulls off a fast and difficult to block series of moves that can easily win the day.

I'd finished playing the single player storyline before the first time I challeneged a mate to a versus match, and he'd never played at all. I beat him easily the first few matches, but then despite his lack of experience and to my considerable surprise, he busted out a sequence of moves that I just couldn't block or counter. It turned out all he'd done was start repeatedly mashing X.

I decided to fight fire with fire and started doing the same thing, which I found massively improved my performance. After a bit of back and forth we realised that whoever started hitting X second usually won the bout due to the way the auto combos interacted with each other.

Online Multiplayer

My efforts at testing out the local versus multiplayer soured me on the game, so I never went in and tried the online multiplayer. Sorry.

Conclusions

I enjoyed the single player campaign for the most part, even though I whinged all the way through it. However, the lacking roster, annoying sound, unimpressive graphics and visual aesthetic, crappy boss fight design, auto combo problem, and power of Infinity Stone spamming mean I doubt I'll ever choose to bust this out to play with my mates when I have them over for a game night. Most of the Capcom characters left me cold (except Dante, sigh, you handsome rogue, you) and even the Marvel characters have some weird choices. All of the style and humorous panache of MVC3 are absent, and in general this was a solid 'meh' of a game.

It might be worth picking up if you're a huge fan of Capcom style fighting games and this series in particular, but otherwise I'd give it a miss until it inevitably plummets in price and throws in more characters out of the box.