Marvel and Capcom have been tag teaming to make fighting games since the late 1990s and early 2000s. The fourth title in the series (or sixth if you include the original vs Street Fighter games) is titled Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Because it features the Infinity Stones, geddit? The game has a roster of brawlers that cover multiple IPs from both sides, giving you tons of choice. Get your super powers and fighting words ready as we take on this review.
The story in Marvel vs Capcom infinite is a little twisty, so stick with me here. Ultron Prime is busy trying to gather the Infinity Stones, which will grant him Powers Cosmic! and help him defeat his enemies: a collection of Marvel superheroes and various characters from Capcom games. The good guys plan? Steal a highly dangerous prisoner from Ultron Prime and use him to help locate the remaining Infinity Stones and in so doing, use them to defeat Ultron. The plan doesn’t quite go as …err…planned, because Ultron has at his command a virus that gives him mind control over anyone infected with it. It just gets hairier from here on in, and any further details are tantamount to spoilers.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is, when you boil away the story, a 2D fighting game. I shouldn’t have to go into the details of what makes a fighting game a fighting game, because they’ve been with us since at least the late 1970s, and was codified by games such as Street Fighter since the 1990s. Tag-team-based fighters have been with us since before Dead or Alive. The gimmick for Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is the Infinity Stone mechanic, which can drastically change the fighting landscape depending on the stone you choose.
In many ways, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is a textbook fighting game. 2D plane? Check. Health bars? Check. Roster of fighters with various movesets that have to be memorized? Check. Large-breasted women? Check. Large-breasted men? Double-check, and then some extra for Mike Haggar. The game is the epitome of something that would do pleasurably well in a traditional video arcade, minus all the cutscenes, of course. Still, pitting your skill against the AI is one thing. Going head to head with another player? That’s where all the fun is.
The game’s controls were, I found, accurate enough to get me to to pull off the combos and maneuvers that such a game requires. The tutorial (which is, bizarrely, found under “Mission Mode”) does a lot to get you the point of being a competent fighter. Button mashing is not going to cut it here. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not going to make much headway. I like that this is the approach, because games that allow you to win by button mashing never feel fair. Each character also has a diverse enough range of powers and weights, so it seldom feels like you’re playing a reskin of the same character. I liked some of the secondary attacks, for example when Rocket Raccoon summons Groot for a quick “I AM GROOT!” and a good thwacking of your opponent. It all feels satisfyingly visceral.
Graphically, the game is about what you’d expect, although some of the characters, when given a level of realism that they weren’t intended for, can get uncanny valley scary. For a great example, we need look no further than Arthur, the ghost-killing and goblin-slaying knight. His over-large eyes and tiny stature would look comical next to the more realistically proportioned Marvel heroes if it weren’t on the wrong side of freaky.
Overall, I found the game to be a capable fighting experience. The Infinity Stone mechanic added an interesting switch up, especially since each stone does something different. I still feel unconvinced by the crossover but I can understand how other people would enjoy seeing their favourite characters battle it out against those from a different universe. Is it the best fighting game out there? Not in my opinion, but it’s still a fairly decent one.