Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

The latest entry in Capcom?s vs. series has been met with a mix of excitement and disappointment since it was first announced during Sony?s PlayStation Experience event last December. Things became a bit clearer when a demo for it was released a couple of months ago, and this is when the split opinions started to come full force. The biggest questions that came from fans were focused on the roster. Questions like who would be returning, who will be new to the series and how many characters total will be included this time around were some of the highlighted ones.

As a fan of the series and both companies in general, you tend to understand some of the politics that come into play when releasing games with various licenses. Marvel is notorious for its license issues when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With many fans of the game being knowledgeable about this, it became a cause for concern when it looked like the game would focus on the MCU characters for the Marvel side of the roster.

This removed many fan favorites from consideration like Wolverine, Super Skrull and Dr. Doom. With the rights for franchises like X-Men and Fantastic Four in other studio?s possession, one would wonder why Marvel or Capcom would want to alienate their roster for the sake of pushing the MCU characters. It?s a question I don?t think will get answered, along with many more that I have for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.

Before I jump into the game, I have one more gripe with the roster. For the sake of consistency, I?m not sure why if Marvel was focusing on the MCU characters, did we get designs that in no way represent them. I mean, Captain America looks like Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5. Most of the Marvel characters resemble their comic designs rather their movie counterparts.

For the Capcom side, we have the return of I guess, fan favorites Chris Redfield, Dante and Frank West. Each of these franchises have recently been rebooted or refreshed to some degree to mostly looking drastically different, which makes you wonder which versions Capcom prefers. It?s confusing to say the least, but now I?m just nitpicking.

So, the real question remains. Despite the issues with the roster, how is the actual game? Well, it can be enjoyable. To me, from day one, MvC:I felt incomplete. It?s not Marvel vs. Capcom 4 by any means. When you compare what Capcom has done with previous releases, this feels more like an Ultra, Hyper, Super, Mega Remix Ex plus A version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 than a true sequel and that alone with bother many fans.

[Note: *At the time of my review, I wasn?t successful in playing online so my review will focus on the Story Mode and we will have some feedback from my Podcast co-host and colleague Tyler on his time with the Steam version below.]

With MvC:I, we now have a fully fleshed out Story Mode in the likes of NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat and Injustice series. This was a vital part of my initial excitement since most fighting game franchises are taking this approach and gives you the ability to connect with your favorite characters. For me, this mode will be a hit or miss. For the most part, I enjoyed my time seeing all the characters from each side come together and have a unique chemistry. As a fanboy of many of these franchises, it was a dream come true to see the likes of Mega Man, Chris Redfield and Ryu share a story together.

At the core of the story mode, it does what it sets out to do fairly well. You get a sense of why all these characters are together and their goal to save both worlds. My biggest issue comes from how you play and when you play. This may make for a better experience for everyone else. Make sure to spend a little time with the Mission mode and play through the tutorial at the minimum. I say this because, even though it feels like MvC3, the inclusion of the Infinity Stones changes the gameplay mechanics and can critically alter your experience overall.

Now, let?s talk about the most important component, the gameplay. The mechanics feel very uninspired and the combo system feels like a bit of an afterthought. I?m not someone that plays these games in a competitive environment, but I like to be able to hold my own. For a good portion of my time with the game, I felt like I was button mashing when pulling off 5-10 hit combos with several characters. Maybe everything was streamlined to be accessible to more people, but it doesn?t feel like a traditional MVC game.

With most of the roster being returning characters, it should be easy to pick up and play. I didn?t feel this way because some characters have had their move set tweaked a little. On one end, it?s forces you to get re-familiar with older characters. There is enough new content outside of the roster to make the game feel fresh and new. The issue is, fans seem to want more of the opposite, similar mechanics, with a more refreshed roster.

I believe that is the core of why MvC:I isn?t the game we all hoped it to be. Mechanic and the roster are the foundations of what make a great fighting game memorable for years to come. Capcom has had many successes with the previous entries in the series, between this and Street Fighter V, there?s been a bit of a disconnect with the growth of the franchises and hope that they will listen to fan feedback and tweak where appropriate.

Capcom may be limited with whom they can add to the roster on the Marvel side, but there is so many neglected characters that have been in the series before and even some that can be introduced. It?s extremely difficult for me to speak highly of MvC:I due to its shortcomings, but if you can go in as a fan and appreciate the roster for what it is and geek out over the crazy crossovers in a decent Story mode, this may just be the game for you.

Tyler?s Steam impressions:

I went into Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite with incredibly tempered expectations. A weak starting roster, Season Pass DLC characters and some PS2 level facial animation had me more than skeptical. After an entire weekend of playing pretty much non-stop I can confidently say that despite all of that, there is a good game underneath. Sure, those issues are still there, characters are downright ugly, the roster is not the best and holding fan favorites behind a paywall is frustrating, but the actual GAME under that is borderline great. The story is interesting enough to give you an excuse to play through and it is a good vehicle to letting you learn all the characters. Each fighter gets ample enough playtime for you to feel them out and learn who you might want to focus on. While the story itself is paper thin, some fan service moments and at least one really good cutscene give you reason to get through its relatively short 3 hours.

The fighters themselves may not look great, but they all feel fantastic, and more importantly, viable. Each fighter has something that could be used to win a fight against any other. Sure, you still have pretty clearly defined tiers, but I bet you will see some serious upsets in the coming weeks with characters you never would have thought usable. Different styles of play are all perfect for one character or another. There are your glass cannons, tanks, jugglers, combo fiends and snipers. Each of these styles of play has more than one character that can be used, and typically they complement each other. The two-character style of play, coupled with the new addition, the Infinity Stones really lets you build a team customized for your particular style of play.

My wonderful colleague Benny Rose wrote the full review above, so I will not waste time and delve much more into my personal thoughts on the game. The meat and potatoes of my portion here is for the performance on the PC. I was unable to access any online games obviously, so this will be based entirely on the Story, some battles against the AI and about 6 hours of couch battles with friends. When the game ran, it ran beautifully. Framerates stayed pretty consistent, only dipping heavily when the game ran slow motion at the close of a fight or for the occasional cutscene during the story. I say ?When the game ran? because I would not be exaggerating to say that the game crashed in excess of 200 times across my 20+ hours of play on my PC. I have reached out to Capcom on this issue and they are looking into it. My assumption would be that it has something to do with the servers not being fully set prior to launch, and with MvC:I being always online, I would venture to guess that the two are related. Hopefully today with the servers being up those issues will go away. Aside from that one, pretty substantial issue, the game looked as good as it could. Environments are beautiful, fights are intense and my frames were smooth. All in all, my personal opinion would be if they have fixed the crashing issue, this is a definite must play for any fighting fans on PC.

Grade: B-