Emma Withington with some first impressions of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite…
It’s easy to look at Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and focus on its apparent blemishes in such a saturated market, particularly if you are a veteran of the fighter genre. It carries a much smaller roster than its predecessors, with only a handful of new heroes added to the series; aspects of the visual style have been considered a little off (sure, you may think you’re playing FIFA before you realise – hey! That’s Captain America, not Shrek-like Wayne Rooney) and it has reduced its signature 3-on-3 battle system (first introduced in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes) back to 2-on-2 fights.
I grew up with an unrelenting obsession for the fighter game, but dipped out some years ago due to its repetitive nature, and has primarily become a social activity; if i’m in a gaming bar or visiting friends. Nothing has tugged at me enough to make me part with my cash and take a copy home. At this point you’re probably thinking, ‘then why are you bothering with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite?’ Aside from its flaws, it has reignited that fighter lovin’ spark within me. So, what i’m really looking at here, underneath the fighter genre’s consistent blueprint, is: What does Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite bring to the heavily saturated fighter table? How did it reel me back in? Is it a genuinely enjoyable experience?
First up, let’s have a look at that new feature: Infinity Stones. What do they do? After you’ve chosen your two fighters, you then need to select an infinity stone to aid you in combat; if you are playing against the AI, you also choose what will be used against you. Time for some strategic thinking! Each stone comes with two juicy boons: Infinity Surge and Infinity Storm. The Infinity Surge is a quick attack you can actively use during the fight as part of your combat system and the Infinity Storm is a powerful ‘ultimate’ move, akin to Hyper Combos. The Infinity Storm can be activated once the corresponding Infinity Stone meter has been filled.
- Space (SPAAACE!): Infinity Surge: Draws the enemy toward you. Infinity Storm: Seals the enemy in a force cage, restricting their movement.
- Mind (Stop! Hammertime): Infinity Surge: Throw attack that renders the enemy immobile. Infinity Storm: Hyper gauge rises continuously.
- Time (The Speed Demon): Infinity Surge: Move a set distance at super speed. Infinity Storm: Enables quick comboing into other attacks when you land a hit. Raises active switch speed.
- Power (The Damage Dealer): Infinity Surge: Powerful attack that launches the enemy backward. Infinity Storm: Raises attack power, and every hit will smash the enemy backward.
- Reality (Imma Firin’ ma Lazooor!): Infinity Surge: Launches an energy burst that hones in on the enemy. Infinity Storm: Unleashes a different elemental attack, depending on the button pressed.
- Soul (The Sucker): Infinity Surge: Far reaching attack that leeches the enemy’s vitality. Infinity Storm: Revive a fallen partner and rush the opponent, fighting as one. I have to admit, I used this the most – it’s crazy overpowered. And I love it.
So, after checking out Thanos’ Stones, we had a number of modes to choose from to get stuck in: Story, Battle (Online, Arcade, Vs Player 2, or Vs CPU), Training, and Mission Mode – which is a standard series of challenges. Story mode is a good way to get to know your roster of characters, before you become too attached to two particular fighters and never branch out – guilty as charged, here. The fresh faces you can expect to see in the launch roster include: Black Panther (DLC), Sigma (DLC), Captain Marvel, Gamora, Jedah Dohma, Mega Man X, Thanos (that’s gotta be cheating), and Ultron. I couldn’t hear the dialogue much, as we were rockin’ out to Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol.2, but you get the gist; Marvel and Capcom characters are banding together to put a stop to Ultron Sigma’s nefarious schemes, and…Fight! I got through roughly thirty minutes of gameplay, which consisted of 2-on-2 battles, bosses, and waves of enemies in various different conglomerate arenas:
- XGard – Bifrost Bridge
- XGard – Throne Room
- Avengers Tower – Briefing Room
- Dark Kingdom – Heart of Chaos
- Valkanda – Plains
- Knowmoon – Gravitron Core
- New Metro City -Downtown
- New Metro City – Crossroads
The return to 2-on-2 battles is an irksome move for some, but this does make battles swift and encourages room for a little more strategy – particularly when it comes to character and Infinity Stone selection. Character switching is smooth, not at all jarring and is instantaneous, much like another fighter on the horizon: Dragon Ball Fighter Z. Where Dragon Ball Fighter Z is more likely to appeal to the veteran, with more sophisticated controls and an in-depth combo system, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite hones in on visual spectacle, well paced battles, and accessibility; setting itself up as a solid entry point for anyone that is new to the genre, franchise, or those who may have dropped out of fighting games over the years – like myself. What are considered the most popular characters reflect this ideal, such as Spider-Man, Dante, and Rocket Raccoon, who you can get to grips with in a matter of moments. There are basic ‘Easy Hyper Combos’ to get you into the rhythm of things and other settings alongside this that enable you to put the training wheels on, so to speak.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite brings accessibility, well paced battles, and the brand new mechanic: Infinity Stones. Sure, it’s flawed and may not be up to speed with its predecessors or contemporaries at the moment, but there’s something to be said for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s choice to appeal to all levels of gamer, by scaling itself back to its arcade roots. There’s something for everyone here and is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Who doesn’t want to be able to feel awesome as they ‘shot web’ as Spider-Man or fire at will with Rocket Raccoon; dominate as Dormammu or Jedah Dohma?
All of the action in MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE takes place in new but familiar settings, as famous locations from the Marvel and Capcom universes fuse together as part of Ultron Sigma’s nefarious plot. Imagined and created through a shared vision between the two companies, the game will feature free-form 2v2 team battles and the ability to harness the power of one of six game-changing Infinity Stones, further deepening the customized gameplay by allowing players to equip and unleash elemental in-game powers during battle.
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