Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

Fighting games are not my thing. Try as I might, I am not good at them. Combos, watching for frames and caring about the screen refresh rate to get the best experience etc etc, it just isn’t my bag and I’m not natural to it. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a love for certain series’ within the genre. Particularly Marvel vs Capcom.

The hours I spent playing Marvel vs Capcom 2 on my Dreamcast probably outweigh most games I’ve ever played. Honestly, I played it with anyone and everyone. One day saw myself and my good friend Adz (who bought me Infinite, too. Cheers dude!) play for hours on end, bleeding thumbs, the lot.

So, I’m not got at it, but boy do I love it.

Getting the latest instalment for PS4 for Christmas means I get to unlock characters and dive back into the weird combined worlds of Marvel and Capcom!

Note: This game doesn’t want me to take screenshots of anything in the story mode, which is a total bummer because I’m having quite a bit of fun in it……

 

Story time

Fighters (in my limited experience) aren’t exactly known for their epic stories and overarching narratives. It tends to be, pick a fighter, fight in the tournament, see an end clip. Repeat with another character.

This isn’t really an issue, it is what it is. The mechanics, the fluidity and the fun are the key in a fighter, right?

Sure, the Naruto games and Smash Bro’s games have adventure modes and Naruto in particular as the rich story to pull from thanks to the universe that’s been pre-created. So it isn’t unheard of to have a story mode and loads to do, but a straight-up fighter like Marvel vs Capcom, Tekken, Street Fighter etc, tend not to.

So, I was pretty surprised to see the effort to bring a story into Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. I’ve found myself understanding how these two seperate worlds of characters have come to be together. I’m helping them work to undo it, and there’s a full-on story that involves everyone.

Never thought I’d be impressed at a story mode in a fighting game!

Mixing in the (now) well-known elements of the Infinity Stones, Ultron and Thanos works particularly well and gives the whole game a purpose and, well, a reason to be. Cool!

All the “good” guys are fighting against well know “bad” guys from both Marvel and Capcom franchises, and working together to achieve their goal. I love the fact that everyone has been blended into one big story.

 

Roster

The main draw to this series is the diverse roster of fighters. Pulled from loads of different franchises in both the Capcom, and the Marvel universes (that’s a lot of potential characters!).

Noticeable new additions are Rocket Raccoon (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame), Gamorrah (again, Guardians of the Galaxy), Captain Marvel and Nova. All of whom fit the series wonderfully.

Each character looks and acts the part and I’ve sat and used about 75% of them for the sake of seeing how they work.

30 fighters in total, with additional being added via DLC (need to get that at some point!).

A noteable absence is Wolverine. A series mainstay and personal favourite. Perhaps a licencing issue? Or maybe just a freshening up of the game?

I’ve found that Dante from Devil May Cry has been a very accessible fighter, and then the classics like Spiderman and Stryder are as good now as they’ve ever been.

Loads of different play-styles and plenty of variety. I imagine the way I play really limits the whole experience to be honest. No doubt there are more competent players that get whole new layers of depth out of teaming fighters up and unleashing combos at will.

All I know is that I have plenty of choice, and I can scrape through with some, better than I can others. The game is accessible enough to let you feel like you’re not awful and you can really play about with the roster, and easily find a level of comfort with specific characters.

 

Sights and Sounds

I’ll be the first to admit that I kind of miss the 2D sprites from Marvel vs Capcom 2. It’s a style that works so well for these kinds of games. Not so much for 4K TV’s and High Dynamic Range, I suppose?

The almost 3D characters look great, with over-proportioned muscle mass and a good solid “feel”. Sure it isn’t going to win awards for re-designing the genre or these well know characters, but it looks decent enough.

Beyond that, all the cutscenes are good, not triple-A title good, but more than enough for a current generation fighting game. The locales are fine, with plenty going on in the background to really help bolster the on-screen action.

Animations during fights are slick and excellent. No doubt people know what frames have split-second invulnerability in specific moves and transitions. I do not. Nor do I need to. Hopefully it services the professional scene adequately?

Music is fine, keeping the fights pumping along, but I’ve not noticed anything that really stands-out to me like that “Sex and the City-esque” piano (samba?) that you could get in Marvel vs Capcom 2. However, I’ve not played much “VS” mode yet, so I might be missing out on stage-specific themes.

The one thing that really stands out is the voice acting. I don’t mean this too negatively. I mean, it’s serviceable, and arguably the best delivery of some cheesy dialogue, that anyone could muster. Sometimes the lines fall flat. Other times the spacing between people talking leaves very long gaps and there’s not much flow in conversations. Perhaps it’s direction or editing, more than delivery?

The dialogue is a little naff, however it does plenty to keep you involved and understanding. I noticed that it took the time to literally make sure each character was named by another when introduced to us, the player. Not necessary for me personally, but a nice touch.

At the end of the day, it’s a fighting game. Story and acting aren’t the primary focus, and what it delivers is pretty damn good all in all.

 

Feels great

It might look shinier and have some different fighters, but it feels just right to me. I could be executing the same moves in the same way on the Dreamcast.

I have about 3 go-to moves, all of which are more luck than judgement. But if I can web-swing with Spidey, Hadouken with Ryu and fire beams from Iron Man, I’m happy. The easy-input combos and specials make you feel capable and like you’re achieving something. Complete satisfaction!

Input is slick with no noticeable delay to my laymen eyes, and everything moves at blistering pace.

Beyond that, I’ve not seen any framerate dip when the action really picks-up. Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is fluid and executed with the smoothness that a fighter like this requires.

The addition of the Infinity Stones is interesting. Allowing you to select one of the 6, you’re imbued with an additional ability throughout a fight, which can charge and do a more powerful, scene-changing move. I’ve worked out that I can kind of teleport with one of them, and from what I can tell, each stone provides different perks like higher attack power etc. It isn’t something that I’m au fait with, but I’ve used them to my advantage on occasion.

Will the Infinity Stones have a massive impact on the overall game and switch-up the dynamic a little? Possibly so! Looking forward to spending time just learning how best to capitalise on these little added bonuses.

I’m sure people who are good at fighters, and spend a lot of time with them, would have some arguments about these things. To a novice like me that just likes to dip in and out, and fight friends and siblings. This is a great evolution of the series.

 

Overall

Full disclosure: I was very disappointed in Marvel vs Capcom 3. My hopes were high and it just felt all wrong. It’s been years, and I couldn’t explain why, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Approaching Infinite meant trepidation and frankly, low expectations. So far, I’ve been met with nothing but great gameplay, a decent story mode (nearly finished!) and a decent hit of nostalgia.

It’s really hitting all the right buttons for me (no pun intended), not only as a novice fighter, but as a fan of the series. I’m not sure what the professional circuit looks like around this game, and I don’t particularly have a need to understand the “meta” (a term I loathe….).

I’ll be reading-up and watching a bit online. But as it stands, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is more than providing what I wanted (perhaps needed?) from it.

A total joy to play, a really solid fighter with a cast of characters that I’ve grown to love, even if I don’t quite understand all of their backgrounds
(why is Morgan a vampire girl that fires rockets?) . This is undoubtedly the first “exceptional” of 2019 for me.

The story is nearly finished, I’m unlikely to make any headway online, but I’m desperate to fight my old rivals from Marvel vs Capcom 2. Adz, are you ready?

If it’s fun, it feels great and I know I’m going to keep it to play with people locally from time-to-time, that’s a good sign, isn’t it?

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