Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite

REVIEWWith such a vibrant history in the fighting genre, and considering the fact that superhero movies now flood the movie industry to the point of oversaturation, one might think MVC: Infinite would be an instant hit with the fighting game community. That's what the developers were hoping for, anyway. The old school Marvel Vs. games are legendary for their heart, fan service, and timeless gameplay systems that lasted well beyond their "expiration date" competitively. Sadly, MVC: Infinite feels a bit "empty" when compared to the prequels and most 2017-2018 fighting games. And we must compare. This is the reason reviews exist, after all. Brace yourselves, because I'm not pulling any punches on this one.

Let's be real... the majority of content in MVC: Infinite looks rehashed and dated from the start. I think the character roster has disappointed even the most lenient fans. Let's count. Out of the entire launch roster, 24 out of the 30 launch characters were cut & pasted from MVC3, more or less. (I knew something was up when I only had to create like 6 new TFG character profiles for this game at launch.) In some fighting games, this format of bringing back many series veterans works. Some franchises also have smaller universes to work with, so many returning characters must come back... however, we're dealing with MARVEL and CAPCOM here, two companies with colorful backlogs of so many iconic characters. Apples and oranges. Whether or not MVCI's returning characters are "updated enough" is arguable, especially considering how they look visually and their actual... "function"... in gameplay. Worst of all is that most of the "new" characters (AKA the more appealing ones) are locked behind paid DLC. Yet again, Capcom made some major mistakes with handling character DLC.

MVCI's Character Select Screen as of Dec. 2017... and yes, it's lopsided... F#!% my OCD.

MVC: Infinite got a pretty bad rap by the fighting game community from the start.... and it wasn't just one thing. There was Chun-Li's horrifying face in the E3 '17 trailer, Dante's "this is your face on drugs" meme, Rocket Racoon's nightmarish eyes & mangy fur, Chris Redfield and Frank West's painfully generic white dude syndrome, and the list goes on. Right along with the roster itself, the overall graphics and character renders are bland and uninspiring. It doesn't take a genius to see that Infinite could pass as a smartphone game.

There's a major visual flaw with how characters and backgrounds mesh together. The characters don't quite pop or take visual precedence, and sometimes are hard to see against some backgrounds - which seem weirdly rendered at the same resolution and vibrancy as the characters. Back in the day, Capcom's artists made sure that the 2D sprites stood out against backgrounds and looked amazing in every frame. This can be done in fully-3D games as well, as seen in the incredibly visually innovative Dragon Ball FighterZ. Also worth pointing out are generic-looking "2D elements" in MVCI's 3D backgrounds. The panther statue in Black panther's stage? The Asgardian soldier statues in Thor's stage? They are nothing but flat 2D sprites. They don't look terrible per se, but I haven't seen that level of "cutting corners" tech since the early PS2 days.

The blandness continues on the menus and the game's soundtrack. I can't remember a recent fighting game with such an uninspired, bare bones, cookie-cutter visual presentation. Is there a bright side? If you look for it. The best parts of the visuals are how some of the special move effects are animated. All of Jedah's attacks and his twirling blade projectiles look great, for example. Venom's dynamic attacks and specials are also animated particularly well. Sadly, great-looking characters like Jedah & Venom only make the other 80% of the roster look even more uninspired. Certain characters have some pretty unsightly, stiff animations that seem dated. Also, I can't tell if the "slowmo effect" during a K.O. is intentional or actual in-game slowdown, because the way the framerate stutters makes it look like the system can't keep up with the graphics (which is ridiculous). Story mode cutscenes are also locked at 30fps. Yuck.

We get a revamped Thanos... and a painfully rehashed Spencer. Good God, his face...

The Vs. Series has experimented with a wide variety of mechanics and formats over the years, including: 1-VS-1, 2-VS-2 and 3-VS-3 battles. The prior 3 installments of the series were known for their frantic 3-VS-3 gameplay. However, Infinite returns to the classic 2-vs-2 format - a formula that defined X-Men VS Street Fighter through Marvel VS Capcom (1)

MVC: Infinite's only saving grace is that the game is actually playable. The overhauled "Active Switch" tag system allows for a "quick tag" to your partner at any time for a continued combo, but no partner assist attacks. The game's combo trials mode has 10 combos to practice with each character, which definitely helps you learn the starting point of each character's combo potential. While the flow and speed of the game feels right, not having partner assist attacks makes Infinite feel like a different game... and not exactly the "Marvel" I've known and loved over the years. Dashing speeds for certain characters also feel a bit too heavily nerfed for my tastes. 

Returning from 1995's Marvel Super Heroes, "Infinity Stones" are back and play a huge role in gameplay. Players now choose one of the 6 Infinity Stones after selecting their team. Each stone grants additional strengths and techniques that fighters can utilize. Power Stone unleashes a strong attack that bounces the opponent of the wall, creating an opening for a combo or super move. Mind Stone's ability throws the opponent, rendering them immobile and open for attack. Soul Stone leeches vitality from the opponent. If the player's teammate is dead upon activating Soul Infinity Storm, the player's teammate will be revived with 20% Health bar. Time Stone enables teleport and repeatable / chainable moves on all normals and specials during Infinity Storm. Reality Stone launches a homing projectile attack and adds elemental attacks assigned to each button. Space Stone pulls opponents closer in, and during Infinity Storm will trap them inside of a box, unable to tag their partner in (unless they connect a crouching HP launcher).

One can make the case that Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite is a good fighting game in terms of gameplay... and I would listen (with my arms folded). Yeah, the core mechanics feel solid, and I'll admit there are some fun combo & team possibilities. However, I attribute a large part of the "fun" aspect of fighting games to the character roster. As fun as the gameplay may be, I would rather be using so many other Capcom and Marvel characters. This front line of overdone Marvel movie characters and overused Capcom characters just doesn't do it for me. In past Vs. Series games, I've always enjoyed the more obscure personalities, the underdogs if you will. There really aren't any characters like that in MVCI.


At least some characters look good. 

Offline modes for MVC: Infinite include: Story, Arcade, Mission, Training, Versus, Versus CPU, and Collection. Online modes and features include: Ranked Match, Casual Match, Beginners League, Lobby, Rankings, and Replay Settings. Story serves as a basics Tutorial, which is always smart design for a fighting game story mode. If you remember correctly, back in 2011, Capcom promised an "epic story mode" for MVC3... but it never happened. Six years late and all, but we finally have a story mode in an MvC game. But judging by the forced interactions in MVC: Infinite's story mode, it all seems too little too late. Hollywood superhero movies have been yawn-fests this past couple of years, so it's not like I had high hopes for Infinite's story mode or anything. But damn, I was expecting better than this. The characters lack energy, personality, and the plot is so boring. Shoot the robots and say each other's names. Add in some cheap one-liners designed to make 6 year-olds laugh. It's bad. These characters should've settled their differences in MVC3, because most of the match-ups aren't "new" anymore. The story mode trying to "force" excitement just makes it that much less appealing.

In Story, characters also act like they've "known each other for years". Well, I guess that makes sense... since most characters were indeed plucked from MVC3. However, this makes for very weak storytelling and stale onscreen interactions. The generic cinematography & camera angles don't help either... but hey, it's a story mode in a Marvel VS Capcom game. It's what every mall scrub in 2001 said that they wanted while eternally waiting on the sidelines to play MVC2. Are they happy now? I doubt it. I couldn't help but notice many characters in story scenes are awkwardly standing around... and don't seem to know why they're even there. Fun Fact: I made up better dialogue scenes with my Marvel action figures when I was 6 years old (1989). Long story short: Injustice 2, TEKKEN 7, and Dragon Ball FighterZ all did a much better job with their respective story modes (among other things).

Page Updated: March 6th, 2018
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Michael Evans        (producer)
Peter Rosas
             (associate producer)
Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date(s): September 19th, 2017 
Characters Ryu, Mega Man X, Iron Man, Captain America, Morrigan, Captain Marvel, Thor, Chun-Li, Strider Hiryu, Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, Hawkeye, Chris Redfield, Nathan Spencer, Nova, Dante, Dr. Strange, Arthur, Zero, Thanos, Jedah, Spider-Man, Frank West, Haggar, Nemesis, Firebrand, Ghost Rider, Dormammu, Gamora, Ultron, Black Panther, Sigma, Venom, Monster Hunter, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Ultron Sigma, Ultron Omega

Featured Video:

Related Games: Ultimate MVC3, Marvel VS Capcom 3, Marvel VS Capcom 2, Marvel VS Capcom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter, Tatsunoko VS Capcom, Tatsunoko VS Capcom: UAS, Capcom VS SNK, Capcom VS SNK 2, Street Fighter 5, Darkstalkers, Injustice 2, Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Fighting EX Layer

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  5.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  5.5 / 10
Animation  6.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  4.5 / 10
Innovation  4.0 / 10
Art Direction  3.0 / 10
Customization  4.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.5 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10


 5.9 / 10

 Review based on PS4 Pro version 


Final Words: As a consistent Marvel fan since the late 80's... I'm sad to say that I'm completely uninterested in MVC: Infinite. It was sad enough that I decided to rent and not buy this game (because I was rightfully skeptical). The game that could've been called "MVC3: Part 3" looks very commercialized and Americanized. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, but the poor decisions with the roster, visuals, and overall experience ruined any chance for MVCI to truly shine in 2017-2018. 

Just compare this game with the excitement-level and vibrancy of X-Men VS Street Fighter, or the dynamic roster and limitless gameplay possibilities of MvC or MvC2. There is no comparison. MVC: Infinite is stale. Even when compared with MvC3 - another game that disappointed me. - MvC: Infinite is a clear downgrade in more ways than one. Infinite actually makes MvC3 look pretty damn good, and that's saying a lot.

Analogy Time. If you follow UFC at all, you might remember when Ronda Roussey started getting super cocky, was when she started loosing... bad. In retrospect, one could say it was her karma catching up with her. Sometimes "group karma" can be a thing, too. When's Mahvel. What started as an acceptable joke and meme quickly spiraled into a catalyst for bad etiquette online and at tournaments. Of course I'm referring MVC3 bandwagoners who held up "When's Mahvel" signs during tournament finals for other fighting games - and the stream monsters of course. (Welp. To answer their question now, we can confirm that Mahvel is not at EVO 2018.)

If you laughed at such jokes or spread around memes during the MVC3 days, you're just as guilty as the players who were holding up the signs. Nobody and nothing stays on top forever, which is why one should be humble when times are good. (For the record, I'm not basing this opinion on heresy. I attended major fighting game tournaments and witnessed disrespect from the MVC3 community towards other fighting games, including the one I was playing. I'm just saying what goes around comes around.)

Of course, MVC: Infinite's flop is not actually the fault of the players or fans... but karma works in mysterious ways. And sometimes we all suffer because of it. I know mass marketing when I see it. I also know "assumed customer interest" and lack of effort when I see it. MVC: Infinite is a perfect example of pushing out a product, and hoping that it sells well based on name recognition and the "basic ingredients" that made it successful in the past. Well, I'm not someone who enjoys basic ingredients. After 30-something years, I have a refined palette for fighting games... and I want something with dynamic flavors. Thankfully for me, there are many more fighting games to choose from in 2018. I feel lucky. However, if there weren't as many fighting games to choose from in 2018... I still wouldn't play MVC: Infinite.

For the ninth time, Infinite's roster is weak. Maybe the 09'ers or the newer fighting game players don't understand. But the old MVC rosters had "impact". They were exciting. They offered characters that hadn't been seen before. You wanted to play more characters and teams than you possibly could. MVC Infinite's roster clearly isn't made for fighting game players, first and foremost. The roster is made for suckers who annually waste 100's of dollars in theaters to see superhero movies. The roster is made for kids who sucker their parents into buying overpriced and superhero movie toys at Wal-Mart. Ironically, MVC: Infinite doesn't even seem like the type of game that "casual" gamers would buy or even play for more than 5 minutes. And judging by MVC: Infinite's poor sales, I was right. A fighting game should be made for fighting game players, first and foremost... and so many elements of MVC: Infinite are clearly directed towards a different audience.

Seriously. Why bring back characters like Chris Redfield (still in his 2009 RE5 attire) and Nathan Spencer (also in his 2009 Bionic Commando reboot attire)? I mean, really. Their inclusions in MVC3 made sense, given their respective games were new-ish back then, but this is 2017-2018. Nobody wanted these characters to return, not looking like that anyway. All MVC players that I know wanted throwbacks to older MVC games, the return of classic characters, or something completely new. In any case, they definitely didn't want something lazily recycled from 2009. Ohh, and everybody wanted X-Men. Everybody. This game should've been delayed until Capcom could've gotten the rights to X-Men characters again. And sadly, I think it might even be too late for Capcom to hit the emergency X-Men DLC button.

MVC: Infinite is visually uninspiring, but graphics could easily be overlooked if the roster or gameplay was something great. From its best angle, the gameplay is "decent"... but it doesn't draw me in or offer anything that I can't get in other similar games. The fact that over 75% of the roster is recycled, and the more appealing characters are locked behind paid DLC is just something unforgivable. I've forgiven Capcom's slip-ups in the recent past... but this one's a bridge too far. I think they should just "take the L" on this one and start working on MvC4... and do it right this time. So when's Dragon Bahl? 
~TFG Webmaster

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