Okay, so starting from day -8 we’re looking at one month of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite to soak in. Going over my notes here, I see a crazy amount to cover. Well, that much hasn’t changed with Marvel. So strap in, get your snacks ready and punch in your cheat codes. For what it’s worth this is my Infinite experience on current events, the potential future, my assessment on the features and more… like to hear it here it goes.
Might as well start at the very beginning, boot up the game and… no intro scene. I got greeted by the logo and ‘Press Any Button’, alright let’s jump in. As far as the features go, it’s a carryover from Vanilla 3, but there’s no sizzle. It’s very straightforward with the modes with minimal bells & whistles. Suffice to say, we got ourselves a poor grade in the presentation department. Combine that with the well-documented & much criticized issues with the game, this is yet another sore thumb.
I might as well get the literal ugly stuff out of the way. We all know the complaints; it rolls off the tongue like a jingle now. Say it with me: the graphics, roster and Crapcom. I threw myself off with that last one, I apologize. What I mean is the corporate & public relations side of Capcom and, by extension, the level of quality that they've had in recent years. The rhetoric has become tiresome so instead of repeating it, I’m bringing a new variable to the equation. My biggest gripe with MVCI by far is the soundtrack.
This OST is an example of how things can go wrong if Marvel gets too much control. Why in the hell is everyone’s theme on Marvel’s side background movie music… and not the good kind. It’s real generic to the point I thought Captain America & Hulk’s were the same theme. Then you look at the Capcom side and, for whatever reason, the overall direction is dub step & bad EDM. So the former is changed completely and goes nowhere while the latter got butchered. UMVC3’s OST was alright for me, but after hearing MVCI, it twinkles like a platinum record. Apparently, Capcom called back the guy that did Laura Matsuda’s theme (search & listen at your own peril) to be the director. It’s unfortunate, but bad remixes are possible however, Marvel is outright disrespectful & blasphemous. The heritage such as Captain America & Spiderman got replaced then demoted to credits music while the modern fire like Ghost Rider & Nova’s tracks received a sad follow up. I will say though, to be fair, some of the tracks aren’t bad. Captain Marvel, Chris and Gamora (just to name a few) are decent and for some reason I like Firebrand & Haggar’s themes. One track to rule them all, at least for me, that gave me false hope for this OST is what I have dubbed ‘Fetus of EDM.’
After digging into game and seeing what it has to offer barring online -- which I’ve been hearing is smooth for the most part -- I’m seeing that it was Marvel that mandated this particular art style that’s been taking all the heat. I don’t dislike it because the game looks fine in motion, but it can be better. It’s not enough to disparage the DBFZ comparisons and it’ll only get worse once it launches. I have to say though, these comparisons are off-base and unfair to begin with. First off, there is a minority that does like the art direction of MVCI, so just like that it became a subjective topic. Second of all, no one is forcing you to pick one over the other. Thirdly, the mechanics are different and MVCI feels creative with its freeform Active Switches & Infinity Stone selection. It has a Skullgirls handle to it which, in turn, is old school Marvel. I might be out of touch since I dropped UMVC3 early, but I feel like this game is more anime in its inputs. Where I’m going with this is the outcry of what’s lacking is definitely warranted, but if you have the foundation in the fun gameplay… everyone’s got to lay off a bit and give the devil his due.
Circling back to the single player modes; Arcade is your standard Marvel run with seven fights including a sub-boss & big, ugly MF final boss. I want to thank God that Ultron Omega is nowhere near as ugly as I seen him in some leaked footage… it’s still faces only a mother can love, but it’s all good. Arcade Mode gets the job done, but nothing to write home about. The collective intrigue/ire is saved for Story Mode. How does Marvel vs. Capcom's first ever canon storyline stack up? It kept me entertained, that’s for sure. The tricky thing with crossovers is that it’s under the assumption that the fans know the references already. It’s acceptable for a crossover between two or more brands that are vastly popular but still, the games that go the extra mile for exposition leave an impression. We do have Stark’s library to serve that purpose and it does cover the merged world around our cast, albeit with only general information. For example, I heard of A.I.M. in passing so I’m fuzzy on it. I checked the library on AIMBrella and got a Captain Obvious explanation on it being a fusion of A.I.M. and Umbrella. Ask a silly question, right?
Off the bat, they just throw you right in the fray on Xgard. The situation, although abrupt, is easy to grasp… almost cliché. The respective realms are fused in an abomination of Ultron Sigma’s vision and it’s up to our remaining heroes to combat him & his cohorts. The first chapter was the heavily panned story demo and going off of memory I think there were some slight improvements. That’s not saying much, however, since throughout the playthrough, the voice lines are choppy & the animation sync is off at times. It doesn’t kill the experience, it’s moreso occasional hiccups. After you get past the demo stuff, we jump into the Thanos prison break all the while fighting off waves of literal AI bots to get your feet wet with the gameplay. The CPU difficulty doesn’t go up much from this; this is one of the scenic, lax story modes. I will say one thing I really enjoyed from Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the option to pick your team amongst the group that was present. Sure, you ran the gauntlet against armies of bots, but it’s nice to be the master of your domain, you know?
The rest I can summarize as a poor man’s Project X Zone. The difference is the characters are about 3 months into the ‘Convergence’, so they’re familiar with each other and are dealing with the circumstances they’re in as opposed to getting dropped in and mixed in the pot with little explanation. Other than that, it’s the same premise. The plot has them seeking Thanos’ help to retrieve the other Infinity Stones spread across combined landmarks. They fight, gather the stones, shoe-in an unnecessary civil war skirmish, avoid catastrophe after catastrophe, band together and take down the big bad. The interactions have moments & a few zingers, but I’m left wanting more.
Specifically for me… I noticed that Thor, Cap. America and Ghost Rider made references to the lives lost because of the Convergence. Thor, of course, was talking about the Sigma infected Asgardians, Rider implies there was a lot more souls lost and Cap makes it a point to remind everyone to honor the dead. Given the small roster and some characters that are pretty much a lock for not making it into this game, it would add a lot of emotional depth if some of these characters name dropped some friends that they lost. Imagine Ryu/Chun-Li saying Ken/Guile didn’t survive the Convergence, or even getting traction out of a negative like Iron Man debriefing everyone on how when this all started, Ultron Sigma made a move to exterminate mutants and succeeded. It makes it personal, it gets your feelings involved. It wouldn’t and didn’t happen because they have a line of DLC in the pipeline, so to confirm deaths would be giving too much away. Speaking of, even if it’s not true, the rumor of having Monster Hunter & Black Panther ready for launch, but cut them for DLC is a black eye that desperately needs to be avoided.
What we did get was some good chemistry in spurts. Particularly, I liked how Ryu & Hulk got along and patented the Shoryuken Cannonball Special. The sarcastic characters separated themselves from the bunch for obvious reasons. Be it as it may, while everyone else kind of had a professional demeanor, Rocket Raccoon, Dante, Ironman, Spiderman and Frank West broke the ice. I appreciated the banter, Haggar basically being the Capcom Hulk, Morrigan being herself, Jedah on his usual megalomaniac angle and the standoff turned scuffle with Thanos & Ultron Sigma. The dialogue benefits more when they get into the characters themselves and they share amongst the others, if the spurts of development were long stretches, then we would have a bona-fide storyline with substance. The ending where the new MvC world stays in place & the cliffhanger with Thanos piqued my interest, I wonder if Capcom is looking to add onto the story in the form of DLC or just setting up for the next game.
All in all, I give story mode a B-. No pre-determined setting helped it as opposed to the established lore hurting SF5 when it didn’t deliver on the payoffs. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t entertained, so that’s my verdict on the matter. It also debunked some supposed leaks ‘from the inside’ of Marvel railroading Capcom… maybe in the aforementioned instances, but not here in story mode. That about does it for MVCI as a packaged game, but never mind my bottom line, I’ll give you my younger sibling’s review which will be known as ‘Savage Sis’.
Now Savage Sis doesn’t keep up with FG news, but she loves fighters like Skullgirls, Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Smash Bros. and I taught her how to use a joystick. So 4-5 days before the game dropped, she comes into my room for small talk. I saw a clip of MVCI on my newsfeed, ask her if she seen the new MvC game then showed her. As she’s watching she goes “Wait, is this the one with Chun-Li’s face?” I told her they fixed it, but it’s not really saying much. “Yeah, this looks like a fan made game.” I said yeah it looks like a mobile game. With the sternness of my mother, she says “No. This looks like a fan made it.” Almost a week later and some Neosporin application after that burn, she pays me another visit. She asks to see the game so I run her through the mechanics, the roster, do a versus CPU match as a display. “It looks a little better, like it went from a fan made game to a beta. The action’s there though, wanna play later?” That right there is probably the most genuine review of this game I’ll hear.
I’m not gonna sell anyone on this game that's adamantly against it for all the lack of quality, it’s justified and I understand completely. I’m only saying if you can look past all that, there’s fun gameplay to be had and you will enjoy yourself, which I am doing currently. I have my characters and I’m looking to make them sharp enough to have a legit rotation of teams just like the old days. The foundation is here, the fun is here and the issues are fixable. Stay tuned for part 2 when I’ll give my take on the community, current & potential meta of this game… prepare yourselves.