Capcom’s popular MvC, or Marvel Vs Capcom, franchise has made a return with MvC: Infinite, featuring thirty characters at launch (fifteen from each universe). Matches are 2v2, supporting local and online play, a (short) story mode (a first for the series), and the use of Infinity Stones that were first introduced in Clash of Super Heroes. A Missions mode for each character and the ability to Active Switch between your two fighters at will make MvC one of the most frantic and addictive in the series; let’s have a closer look.
My history with this franchise is not particularly deep, in its heyday I was purely a PC gamer, but in the years since I have played this series on Saturn, PSX, and a little bit on PS3. I was provided a review copy of Infinite for the Xbox One, which took a very long time to install on my Xbox One S. The 37GB download wasn’t the problem as much as just the installation was in terms of the time it took, but the game was playable pretty early on during the download, and gave me access to all the characters, the training room, and Mission mode, while Story and Online took much longer to get to — but when they did, they worked, and worked well.
Speaking of characters, the series is known for a colorful and interesting roster, and what we have at launch is a good representation of that. Classics like Ryu, Chun-Li, Spider-Man, and Hulk are here, but noticeably absent, at least at launch is Wolverine, and the other X-Men for that matter. Other characters that are present include Dormammu, Firebrand, Dante (from the old DMC games who is blast to use (pun intended), Chris and Nemesis from RE, Nova (never heard of him, but he’s cool), Hawkeye, Thanos (plays a huge part in the story), X (from Mega Man), Frank West (Dead Rising), Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider. All of these are available to go right away. I was familiar with about 3/4s of the roster, but playing the Mission Mode for each of these is a great way to get familiar with their skill sets. The diversity amongst these characters, from their reach, unique abilities, speeds, and so forth, makes for a lot of kickass team combinations. You can also save three pre-set teams for easier selection during character select as well.
So I’m one of those that really likes and appreciates fighting games, but the newest arcade stick controller I have is for the Saturn. I just don’t invest the time nor money into the fighting games, although I look forward to every Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, MvC, Injustice, King of Fighters, and several others that come out (and more recently the Guilty Gear franchise has greatly impressed me). I’m not consistently good at doing half-circle special moves, I struggle to chain long combos, and I probably rely on jump kicks too much, and many games’ mechanics (the power meters and so forth) I never get around to learning. I feared the same with MvC: I, but was pleasantly surprised at the hand-holding the tutorial mode offers, beginning, literally, with basic movement. Pressing down, then up, instead of just up, gives your player their super jump for example, which I didn’t know before hand but am glad I do now. Blocking in a crouched position or Active Blocking are still difficult sometimes, but the tutorial does a good job of walking you through these, and if you complete twenty out of the 25 or so tutorials, you get an Achievement anyway.
During the Tutorials, you will learn about Infinity Stones, which are a huge part of MvC: I because they put that extra spin, that x-factor, into each battle. You can select one type of Stone during character select, and their use is based upon the Infinity Gauge, which can fill up four times during a battle. When the Gauge is maxed out (filled four times without being used), the player can use an Infinity Storm. Prior to that, you can do an Infinity Surge. I won’t go into all of the details of these as a better, easier reference guide can be found online in many places, but I’ll provide a few examples. The Reality Stone ‘s Surge attack will shoot out a red orb at your opponent; it’s slow, but homes in and while it doesn’t guarantee a hit, the other player will have to be pretty good to get away from it. The Storm mode makes the main attack buttons — light punch, heavy punch, light kick, heavy kick — emit an elemental attack for additional reach and damage. The Space Stone has a Surge move that can bring an enemy closer to you or push them away, at your discretion, great for closing the gap or making one. Its Storm power puts a blue rectangular box, acting as a cage, around the enemy, keeping them from getting around. The combinations of teams and these Stones makes for a lot of customization and opens the door to experimenting.
MvC: I has a lot going for it, but part of where it struggles to continually impress is in its presentation. From the boring menus to the good, but not great, character animations, it’s a little underwhelming in this regard, but still fun and I have not experienced any framerate issues. These gripes aside, I’m having a lot of fun with the game and it feels like a more accessible entry than others in the series. The inclusion of a Story mode, while fairly brief (around 3 hours), is a welcomed change, too. With six other characters available already as (paid) DLC and plans to support the game for sometime (expect an Ultimate Edition within a year probably), it’s a pretty exciting time to jump into the franchise if you haven’t already.