Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review – Infinitely Cinematic

The Marvel Cinematic Universe dictates the very finite nature of Infinite.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Format: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Released: September 19, 2017
Copy provided by publisher

As someone who has been following Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite since it was announced, it’d be fair to say I’ve been a little dubious of it. The character models in preview footage looked very middle of the road, there were some major lacking spots in early roster reveals, and I’ve ended up coming to the game wanting to be impressed by a game I was at least a little worried about.

While neither of those aspects ended up ruining the core of the game, MVC Infinite does feel oddly subpar compared to previous series entries. New mechanical additions help keep the formula alive, but it’s hard to ignore the weird downgrades that consistently exist at the surface.

Let’s start with what works. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite switches back to a true 2V2 tag fighting system, where you pick two fully fledged fighters and can switch between them at any time. You can tag out mid-air, you can tag out mid-attack as a form of animation canceling, you can quickly tag out your characters instantaneously in most situations which adds a really frantic element to combat.

At a moments notice you might have to switch up your playstyle mid combo, and that sense of constant change really helps to keep an already fast paced fighting game feeling incredibly pacey.

Moving to a six button fighting system, MVCI feels surprisingly at home on a gamepad. Your four face buttons act as light and heavy punches and kicks, with the only other two buttons being character tagging and activating infinity stones which we will get to a bit later.

Much like previous MVC entries, much of the focus is on stringing juggle combos using dashes, launchers, air dashes, and now smart use of partner tagging to keep a combo going as long as possible. I have to give Infinite credit for how accessible it has made those core fundamentals, primarily through the use of easy beginner combos and a universal combo system.

Any character can repeatedly press light punch for a basic combo, ending in a launcher, allowing them to start the combo juggle chain that is the basis of most of the gameplay. If any character wants to do a screen filling hyper combo, it’s just heavy punch and heavy kick pressed together.

There are several other combos that are, while more complex to learn, still universal across characters. This means that if you manage to learn a combo as your favourite character, you’re instantly opened up to a world of other characters you can jump in and be competent with. It’s a really nice way of making higher end gameplay more accessible to new players

While this may sound to longtime fans like a dumbing down of the formula, I personally disagree. The more time I sink in, the more thankful I am for the change. Making entry level combos easier to learn has raised the level of challenge posed by my non gamer friends, and forced me to up my game when using top end techniques. A rising tide raises all ships, and this entry simplification has pushed me to get better at the nitty gritty of the system.

The biggest change to combat, and one I’ve been really enjoying, is the addition of Infinity Stones to the character selection setup.

Alongside picking your pair of fighters, before a match you’ll need to pick one of six powerups which offer both a unique standard attack and special attack themed around a specific Stone. The Power stone offers a strong launcher, or with a full meter drastically raises your attack power and causes every attack to have knockback.

Space draws the opponent nearer to you or can drastically restrict enemy movement, while Time either allows for an impossibly fast warp dash or a significant increase in player speed.

Due to the naming conventions involved, it’s easy to remember the functions of each Stone at a glance during character selection, and Stones themselves add a really nice mix up to the fighting game formula. The decision between picking a Stone that detracts from your character’s weaknesses, or exaggerating their existing strengths, is a constant balancing act of confidence as a player, and I’ve really enjoyed finding that balance.

Currently no pairing of character and Stone seems obviously overpowered, but combinations are bound to pop up over time that are more effective than others. Only time will tell if that’ll be handled when it arises.

Also, the stage designs are gorgeous, smashing Marvel and Capcom properties together in beautifully twisted ways. The stage designs do successfully capitalise on the charm of these two behemoths.

Right, now it’s time for the other foot to drop.

Firstly, the art in MVCI is a real undeniable step down from past entries. Every character has this weird uniform look that seems to be slightly too realistic for its own good. Every character ends up uncanny, slightly plastic, and way too gruff and chiseled. My suspicion is that this is a result of trying to accurately recreate MCU movie actors in game, but it just doesn’t land. Considering how gorgeous previous MVC games were, it’s a real downgrade.

It doesn’t look terrible, but it’s looking noticeably worse than past entries. The hit sparks are nice and shiny, but that hardly makes up for the issue.

Another area that feels notably worse than previous entries is the character roster, which has dropped drastically over time. Past MVC games have featured nearly 60 character rosters, but Infinite only features 30, which is not very infinite in my book.

The Capcom side of the roster is almost entirely returning fighters with very few surprises. There are maybe 5 new fighters across both Marvel and Capcom’s sides combined.

The Marvel side of the roster is where the issues are most notable, and where the reason for this drastic cutback probably lies. The Marvel side of the roster is exclusively Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, either existing or upcoming, based on their movie portrayals. I get that this was likely a part of the agreement that led to this game existing, but it also feels like the root of a lot of the game’s problems.

Due to this adherence to MCU fighters only, many of MVC’s most iconic fighters are missing. No Dr Doom, no Wolverine, no Venom, no X-Men, a huge number of fighters just not present. I highly suspect the reason we have a 30 character roster is that there were only 15 MCU characters available to add to the game, and they wanted to keep both sides of the roster equal in size. It also seems to be the reason for the weird visual style, which to me suggests it caused a lot of my complaints.

At launch, Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite features an arcade mode, but it’s simply a number of fights in a row with no narrative context attached. Story mode is 3-4 hours of silly and campy fun, more coherent than the plot of Tekken 7 but less polished than that of Injustice 2.

Online play seems stable, with a very standard expected set of modes and features that neither disappoint or hugely impress.

Overall, the core of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is there, but it feels significantly held back by its adherence to only use MCU marvel characters. It hampered the roster and character design, two constant elements of the experience, and it’s hard to overlook those and see the strong fighting system underneath.

7/10
Good

The7thDraconian
Member

The whole “being as accurate to the MCU” thing is odd considering they still portray some characters like Dormammu in their more traditional looks instead of how they look in the movie. Well, doesn’t matter to me that much simply because the fact that X-23 isn’t part of the roster objectively makes this game a 0/10.

Chris Topher
Member
Garbage. Actually i only played the demo but as a long time fan who even owns a Saturn and MvC1 I was horrified by this trash. It’s so much worse than MvC3 (which bloody version!!!) or even 2…def not a scratch on 2. So yes my opinion is it looks like garbage…you know ..hot trash…left overs…crap…though of course some garbage can be put to good use as I’m sure some people will put MvC:I to use but for me garbage. Also it plays like trash. Not even hot trash…more like warm rubbish which a raccoon has been through. Tune in… Read more »
Sperium3000
Member

I’m surprised you gave it as high as a 7 considering you’re not as much into the murky depths of the competitive side of fighting games, Laura. The gameplay of Infinite is perfection, unfortunately everything else brings it down.

Also I’m gladI’ve been hearing the netcode in this game is actually pretty great, and the online matchmaking is better than any other capcom game so far. Which is good, the gameplay always comes first in my book, and if the online works, that’s wonderful.

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott
Interesting review Laura. Like I said elsewhere, it’s sad that the story mode for this game is sub par and has made a lot of elitist feel like they were right with SFV, that fighting games didn’t need single player content and “true fans” only care about online, training and tournaments. Like no, fighting game do need them, just that they need to be done well and when compared to what Neatherrealm provides or the BlazBlue devs, a 2 hour story (that you NEED to play the demo story to understand what’s happening in this story) and an arcade mode… Read more »
drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Which MCU movie has Squirrel Girl appeared in?

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

None, but she’s about to appear in the MCU show New Warriors.

Xion Eternum
Member
Xion Eternum
Wait… Who exactly owns Marvel; Disney or Fox? *Googles; reads a bit; stares blankly* For those who don’t want to fall into this rabbit hole with me; it’s Disney. Before Disney acquired Marvel however, Marvel was licensing out its characters to other studios. Due to whatever BS legalese they were agreeing to, Marvel was effectively licensing out EXCLUSIVE rights to the characters for the terms of the licenses. Their license with Fox for the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool characters got muddied with multiple license agreements and conflicting arrangements that have created a legal tightrope between Fox and Disney for… Read more »
drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer
Disney buying Marvel was quite well known. Fox & Sony own the movie rights to the particular characters they rights to those characters will only revert back to Disney/Marvel if those properties are not used hence why the Spiderman reboots after the Sam Raimi trilogy. However after the most recent Spiderman film before Homecoming bombed Sony entered into a deal with Disney about use of Spiderman in the MCU. The second option seems most likely as Disney have done things to prevent advertisement of comic titles for characters they don’t own the film rights to. They shelved Fantastic Four for… Read more »
Xion Eternum
Member
Xion Eternum
I’m not keeping tabs on the comic book aspect of things; they never interested me. I do know how licensing works though and they are for limited duration; never indefinite. They will expire eventually. And I was unaware of the Disney acquisition of Marvel Studios. I don’t follow this crap because typically it’s meaningless to me until I feel I need to know to formulate a point or an opinion. This is one such case. Also it is unlikely Disney had a care in the world whether or not Capcom also sourced the external licenses. The only time they ever… Read more »
UncleKrakken
Member
UncleKrakken
Yeah, the rights do expire; no, they don’t expire on a set date . If Sony/Fox goes long enough without working on or releasing movies using the characters, it reverts back to Marvel. That’s the deal they made, that’s been widely discussed and reported on for years now, that Marvel regrets now that they successfully make their own films. Sony in particular has had execs mention in interviews and comments that they’d take advantage of that deal and fire off a Spider-Man movie any time they needed to, for no other reason than to keep Marvel from getting the rights… Read more »
sillyskeleton
Member
sillyskeleton

Oh, it’s really not hard to see exactly why MvCI has a smaller roster than previous entries. Why deliver a complete package, when you can charge full price and sell half the game as DLC?

Jonas King
Member

Is it just one ending for the story mode or are there multiple?

Jonas King
Member

Great review, Laura.

Jack Trevor
Member
Jack Trevor

There is a reason why there are only Disney-friendly characters in MVCI:

Disney has a fued with Fox over the Marvel license and basically has made it so that their creators are forbidden from using anything with the X-Men and Fantastic Four to deny Fox any form of publicity.

Yep, the only reason key characters are gone is corporate pettiness.

It’s a shame because the Deadpool movie and Logan brought new life to those characters.

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Even then though it feels light like where is Ms Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Gwenpool (who |Fox don’t own), She-Hulk, Warmachine, Medusa, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Mysterio or Punisher? The cast seems oddly weak?

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Several of those have not been in the MCU yet and I wouldn’t have ever expected any of the Netflix MCU characters to appear.

Justin Giangiuli
Member

I’m really enjoying Jim’s new video format for reviews. That being said it’s very exciting to hit the site and see Laura’s work in written format from time to time. Thank you both for your hard work – Great review Laura!

MuddyScarecrow
Member

The MCUification is even more obvious when you consider that Rocket Raccoon had a Scottish accent and a space pirate uniform in the last game and now is voiced by an obvious Bradley Cooper stand in and is of course wearing his movie costume. But that’s probably just a coincidence right?!

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Although oddly the screenshot of Thor above is very definitely a comic book outfit and not entirely how he has looked in the films.

SadOldGuy
Member

Laura, now that you actually take weekends off you seem to be more comfortable in your skin and getting more work done than before. I am glad.

Matrim
Member
Matrim

No Storm? No Wolverine? No Juggernaut? No, thank you.

TheEdIsNotAmused
Member
The lack of X-men and F4 characters is the dealbreaker for me. Doom, Magneto, Storm, Wolverine and Sentinel have been staples of the Mahvel competitive scene for decades, and omitting them to further the Marvel/Disney war with Fox over the X-men and F4 film rights is just asinine. ComboFiend trying to rationalize this by calling them “Functions” was approaching Pitchford levels of bullshit. Between this and SFV, Capcom has been really shitting the bed of late with its flagship fighting games. Thank the gods that other companies Arc System works, Namco and SNK are picking up the slack. I’d also… Read more »
Jack Trevor
Member
Jack Trevor

Look up “5 Games Purposely Made Worst By Dickish Developers” on Larry Bundy Jr.’s channel. MVCI takes the #1 slot and provides a pretty good explanation on the omission of certain characters.

TheEdIsNotAmused
Member

Yep, saw that a bit ago, and he’s 100% correct. The level of corporate pettiness involved with the Fox v Disney debacle is just pathetic.

Spassbremse
Member
Spassbremse
I played a bit on a friend’s game, and I find the combo linking /very/ difficult given the miniscule input window. Down inputs combo directly into Forward inputs and the game interprets that as a quarter-circle forward about 50% of the time. Maybe it’s just me, but buffering moves was almost impossible when I played the game. Also Capcom is holding 6 characters back as paid DLC (including Venom), and with a roster as emaciated as this, that’s a shame. It also reeks of a cashgrab considering Capcom already said the characters are done and will debut later this year.… Read more »
BlargleWargle
Member
BlargleWargle

This is a real shame, because even as someone who is only *okay* at fighting games, I always enjoyed MvC3 with friends.

The fact that it’s all MCU is…disappointing, but we can thank resident terrible person Ike Perlmutter for that. As for Capcom, I wish the Monster Hunter was just available from the start, but I’ll likely wind up getting this game down the line on sale or something.

Darkseid 200
Member
Darkseid 200

This is the only time I’ve ever hoped a fighting game will have extensive dlc. There is no reason that I know of for any of the Marvel characters to not appear.
Even though I knew the game was only launching with MCU Marvel characters I’m still gutted by this.
The fact that I’ve just started playing the excellent Injustice 2 doesn’t help.
Regardless, I know I’ll end up buying this eventually. Whether it’s sooner or later depends entirely on how things pan out with the dlc.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

Well it’s looking likely that any character wose film rights are owned by someone other than Marvel won’t be making an appearence (AKA the X Men, Dr Doom etc) especially given Capcom’s awkward excuses for their absence, claiming that “players might not even remember who the X Men are” and “people liked Magneto because he had an eight-way dash, so they’ll just play as Captain Marvel instead” in a Gamespot interview awhile back.

Darkseid 200
Member
Darkseid 200

5 minutes play time of any of the previous MVC games has reminded me what an essential staple those characters were to the game. So I’m afraid if Infinite ends up being this half baked for no good reason I wont be buying it.
Considering the sale of the movie rights of those characters stopped Marvel from going bankrupt, it’s a shame to see Marvel being so asinine about the whole subject now.

machine_dirty
Member

Yes, especially since it’s their own damn fault they went bankrupt in the first place, they made just about every wrong decision they could possibly make in the 90s, it’s a miracle they survived.

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

Nothing a few bits bit of paid DLC couldn’t fix though, amirite guis?? 😉 😛

I appreciate that last screenshot there. Very Laura-esque frame.

machine_dirty
Member

The reason for the lack of X-Men and Fantastic Four characters is due to Trump supporter and Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter, who is overly paranoid about giving FOX any free publicity(since they own movie rights to those characters, ole Ike even went so far as to outright cancel the Fantastic Four comic, talk about a dick move). I first heard about this on an episode of Fact Hunt(a video game research show done by Larry Bundy Jr, i’d highly recommend people check it out).

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Not seeing the relevance of the Trump Supporter part.

machine_dirty
Member

Justin below already explained it.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

No, he offered his own viewpoints and provided further points about the other parts of your statement not why you thought it was relevant to explain that. As only you can provide that explanation.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

I should add though i don’t believe Michael’s post is off-topic and part of the discussion occurring here as a result of the review is why certain Marvel characters don’t appear. I don’t see the relevance of the point about him being a Trump supporter as it doesn’t add anything and it isn’t explained why it is relevant to the rest of the post.

As far as I’m aware Marvel pulled something similar regarding the use of Fantastic Four characters in MVC3.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

A very “videogames” response from Ike, there – why make some of the money if we can’t make ALL of the money?

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS

Justin, I’d like you to remove this political post. It has almost nothing to do with the review outside of the fact he mentions the game Laura reviewed.

Justin McDaniel
Admin
Hoo boy, where to begin with this… Ok, this isn’t a political post. I know people can be on edge about what counts as politics, but simply saying TrumpleDoltSkin’s name in a post doesn’t make it politics. In this instance, what machine_dirty is referring to is the fact that Ike Perlmutter, who is a notorious hermit who hides from camera’s like they’re trying to take his soul, had only one picture sneakily taken of him in recent years, and that involved him meeting with Trump. Why does this matter to the topic? Because it says a lot about the character… Read more »
machine_dirty
Member
Thanks Justin, I know I made some mistakes on this site in the past, but i’m trying my best to move forward and it seems like certain users(I.E. Chris) just cannot let go of the past and go out of their way to dig through my old history and constantly pester me about it even when i’m talking about something completely unrelated and trying to actually contribute to the conversation. It is a real shame that a company that’s made as many strides towards being progressive as Marvel has a chairman who has polar opposite and incredibly backwards viewpoints to… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

I love TrumpleDoltSkin
Such a perfect name, I have a friend in law enforcement who was calling him Senior Cheeto, but this.. this is so much better!

machine_dirty
Member

I like Agent Orange myself.

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