Crossovers always have a lot of potential, especially in storytelling. When you have all of the IPs that exist between Capcom and the Marvel universe, that potential increases exponentially. Character interactions, dynamics, motivations, they can all be brought together and explored in a way that intertwines two universes in a satisfying way for fans of both. So why do I feel like the writers didn’t know this?
Infinite is the sixth in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, but it’s the first one I’ve played myself. Although I have played my fair share of fighting games, so I know not to expect too much in terms of story from any of them. That being said, going into Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite with low expectations, even I was left wondering “who wrote this crap?” on several occasions. The story can pretty much be summed up with “bad guys doing bad guy things and good guys trying to stop them”, as the forces of good and evil in both universes unite and struggle against each other to obtain 6 infinity stones, gems of infinite power. These knock off chaos emeralds come into the core gameplay as well, but we’ll get to that later.
The scenarios seem to have been put together by throwing darts at each side of the roster, and grouping the random selection of heroes and villains together in awkward cutscenes that chain together a series of plot fights with little respect for anything resembling a consistent difficulty curve. When the characters meet each other, they have the same reaction as you would bumping into a work colleague at the supermarket. We skipped the part where the universes merge and the characters meet for the first time, so apparently Mega Man and Chun-Li are just buddies with Captain America and Thor, and I guess they go golfing on weekends or whatever. They’ll exchange some cringe worthy dialogue that falls under either A: exposition or B: text book generic smart assery, and then it moves on to beating the snot out of some bad guys and sometimes each other.
Thankfully arcade mode exists, for those who are only interested in the gameplay. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite stands as one of the most fast paced and technical fighting games I’ve ever played, which is definitely what makes it so satisfying to play. Characters have movesets that chain into combos very nicely, the controls are incredibly responsive, and often the margin for error is a mere few animation frames once the fights really pick up. The tag team mechanics allow players to explore the synergy between the varying play styles of the different characters, while also adding a tactical layer to the game, as HP becomes a resource to balance between one’s fighters. Learning when to switch between characters to let them regenerate and deliver devastating combos is they key to lasting the length of the fight. Players also choose an infinity stone to assist them, with each providing unique abilities and ultimate moves. From projectiles to teleporting, lifesteal, and super armour, they can often turn the tide of a fight and provide a temporary advantage.
As for the characters themselves, I can’t help but feel that they all look a little… off. The engine definitely lends itself more to the cartoony looking characters, while the more “realistic” looking ones tend to have issues with anatomy, looking as if Rob Liefield had something to do with the character designs. There was a bit of controversy surrounding a reddit post that may offer an explanation for this, however like everything on the internet from an anonymous source, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
If you can ignore the cheesy writing and the characters looking like botched clones, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has some really great core gameplay that makes for some interesting fights. You can probably find some better written fan fiction online, but you probably don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.
Also published on Medium.