Review: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (PS4)

Review: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (48.47 GB)
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has had a roller coaster of public reaction. Hype was high on the announcement at PSX 2016 but it slowly turned to fear and eventually disdain as more was revealed. Nine months later Infinite is releasing to, at least from what I’ve seen, generally unfavorable expectations.

The game lands somewhere in the middle though. Many popular misgivings with the game are warranted but some of the parts that are less obvious from trailers and pre-release materials are actually pretty solid. The end result is a conflicted game that has a few saving graces but also doesn’t fully live up to the MvC legacy.

Gameplay:
This game is, for those stuck under a Hulk-thrown boulder, a fighting game mashing up the Marvel universe and a variety of Capcom properties. Characters like Ryu from Street Fighter and Frank West from Dead Rising duke it out with Marvel heroes like Captain America and Iron Man.

However, the roster is easily one of the early sticking points for many fans. Infinite offers up a selection of thirty characters, fifteen from either side but some favorites like Wolverine are missing here, perhaps due to the Disney/Marvel movie-fueled feud with Fox and Universal. Disney doesn’t own movie rights to the X-Men and a few other characters and seems to be snubbing them from the media they do control them for.

The character list does offer up some new unique characters. Captain Marvel is one of the headlining newcomers for Marvel and Jedah finally gets to tussle on the Capcom side. Still, a huge chunk of the characters were in past games, which is a little disappointing considering the rich veins available on both sides.

A host of the most unique new characters are unfortunately locked away behind a DLC season pass, even though a few crop up in the game’s story mode. Its sad to see a cool looking character like Monster Hunter in cutscenes only to realize you’ll have to plunk down a few more Bison Bucks to play as her. Full disclosure: Capcom also sent a code for the Season Pass of characters.

Though the base roster feels familiar, the gameplay actually does a lot to set itself apart from Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The most obvious change is the switch from a three vs three format to a two vs two format. Though the game is played only by one player against another, each has a team of two characters they can swap out during the fight.

However, in addition to picking two characters, players also pick from one of six Infinity Stones which augment their team’s abilities. These stones are actually a very cool addition to the game and add a unique strategic element. For example, the Soul Stone can revive a downed ally character which can change the dynamics of a glass cannon archetype character.

Another big change from MvC3 is the inability to call in allies for a single assist attack. Instead, Infinite focuses a lot more on actively tagging in their allied character. You can now swap much more freely, both offensively and defensively.

I’ve actually been a fan of the recent fighting game trend of having an auto-combo feature and it’s seen here too. Fighting games are hard to get into and something like auto-combo can lower the bar of entry. Infinite actually goes two steps further: it has a couple other crutches that can help out newer players and it offers the ability to turn these things off.

The nice thing is that, despite these changes, this still feels like an MvC game. The gameplay is concrete, providing that fast and frenetic gameplay the series is known for but with new Stark-approved changes. It’s maybe not quite as crazy over the top as MvC3 but I appreciate that it’s not as focused on one-touch-kill combos.

Content wise, the game is decent, at least compared to Capcom’s own recent Street Fighter V. There’s a story mode, an arcade mode, and a good handful of missions both to teach game systems and to learn some combos with each of characters. Online and versus play are still a big part here, but it’s good to see some content for the isolated Wakandans out there.

Said story mode is a nice but inconsequential few hour time sink. The actual narrative is cheesy and silly, inspired a lot by the MCU films. But the mode offers some small twists on the gameplay, such as beating on bots before they can fly off or giving permanent access to Dante’s powered up mode.

Another surprise is that there are a number of unlocks in the single player content. Story mode drops some new stages and art while other modes can give some alternate character colors or player titles. There’s still a lot chopped up for DLC and bonuses and crap but at least there’s some incentive within the game.

Visuals:
Obviously the visuals are one of the largest sticking points. The early trailers showed some rather ugly character models that set the internet ablaze. The faces especially looked kinda… off and didn’t compare well either to the character’s source material or previous Marvel vs. Capcom games.

The final game’s day one patch makes the characters look a little bit better. Still not great, but better. Infinite trades the comic book inspired look for a style more based on the movies, which makes it feel a little less unique than its predecessor.

Outside the characters, the game looks fine. The combat is fluid and flashy with all the crazy involved screen-covering fights and I never had any issues seeing characters or attacks. The stages in the game are decent, each mashing up some aspects of either universe, like Dr. Light hanging out in Avengers Tower.

Audio:
Here as well, the game tries to take its cues from the recent Marvel movies for the soundtrack and it makes things sound a little generic. As much as I love the MCU films, they don’t have particularly memorable music outside the main Avengers theme and Infinite ends up with the same bland music problem.

The rest of the sound design is similarly fine but not particularly noteworthy. Again, some of the Marvel side characters sound like the voice actors for the game were told to imitate the movie version of their character which can be a little weird when it’s clearly not the actors from the movies doing the voices.

Online/Multiplayer:
If there’s one thing any fighting game needs to get right, it’s online. Infinite nails that aspect. The online matches I played were all great, with little or no perceivable lag. From what I’ve been hearing from some of the higher level players, it uses a pretty good form of netcode.

There are a few different online modes, the ones you’d usually see in a fighting game: ranked, unranked, and player matches. There’s also a beginner league, which is only accessible to players who haven’t ranked up yet which should be nice for new players to jump in without getting their butts kicked like Guts Man against the Hyper Bomb powerup.

The player matches are rooms for up to eight players and can have several simultaneous matches being played, which is a feature I’m glad Capcom has borrowed from other fighters.

Conclusion:
The base of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is incredibly solid. The game plays well and offers some decent changes while still feeling like it belongs in the series. Unfortunately, it’s pulled down by most of its presentation. The Marvel Cinematic Universe may be a big thing but it doesn’t mean it needs to seep into every aspect of Marvel.

I do fear for the future of this game and that makes it a little hard to recommend. Already I’ve had trouble finding matches online, especially in the beginner league and unranked modes. Still, with the actual gameplay aspects being good, I wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to give it a try. I’ve certainly enjoyed the time I’ve spent with it and I do hope that future updates see Capcom able to turn the game into something that doesn’t look and sound so… blah.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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