There’s nothing quite like Marvel vs Capcom. Having the ability to make Spider-Man and Viewtiful Joe duke it out is what dreams are made of, though whether those dreams are good or bad comes down to the individual. Regardless, the series has a plethora of dedicated fans, myself included, who couldn’t wait for the recently shown-off Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. This was before the E3 trailer, however, which imbued a sense of skepticism in many. Is this skepticism deserved? Having tried the E3 build and the story demo, allow me to answer that.
The trailer for Infinite shown at Playstation’s press conference gave me mixed feelings. While the crazy action and fan-service were there (Rocket Raccoon using Dante’s guns), the visuals looked sloppy to say the least, while a number of the voices were just as poor. The faces of a number of characters in particular looked rather ugly, with Chun-Li and Thor looking more like sentient walls than humanoid combatants. The focus on a story mode could be fun, but the lack of gameplay created a sense of unease when combined with the rushed visuals. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, but still optimistic about the status of the game.
Then the gameplay trailer came out. While the battles looked great, certain characters had their movesets practically lifted from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, with even attack animations being seemingly recycled. This was particularly worrisome, as the roster so far has seemed incredibly “safe”, made up primarily of characters used in UmvC3. While the roster could indeed still have lots of new characters, seemingly reputable leaks have laid out plans for further recycled characters and reskins, which even if not true, present a problematic future for the base game. Having six DLC characters at launch isn’t overly reassuring either, making for a seemingly messy launch.
So what does Marvel vs Capcom Infinite have going for it? Currently, its gameplay. While the story demo didn’t do a great job at showing off the game’s muscle, largely due to the frequent character swaps and ridiculously easy A.I., the Versus mode demo I played was infinitely more convincing of the game’s quality than the trailers or demo. With a number of different playable characters, both old like Dante and new like X, the demo gave me a better feeling for the general combat system, which is actually rather different from the combat in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite‘s switch to 2v2 matches rather than 3v3 has so far proven to be a strong move. While there’s nothing wrong with 3v3 combat, both versions of Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Marvel vs Capcom 2 featured this form of combat, so returning to the 2v2 style of the original Marvel vs Capcom is actually rather refreshing. Infinite compliments this change by making the combat more grounded. Gone is the “launch” button of UmvC3 and its focus on air combos. This time around, the main focus of combat lies in single and team combos on the ground.
With active team-combos, you can switch out your characters while performing an attack, leaving your enemy open to two simultaneous attacks until your previous character finishes and leaves. This gives you some leg-room to experiment with new combos between different characters, a feature that will likely factor into team-building. This shift in style has so far been largely refreshing, and would be doubly so with a large roster of unique characters.
The slight upside to the so far otherwise disappointingly recycled characters is their familiarity. When I played as Hawkeye, a main of mine since UmvC3‘s launch, very little adjusting had to be done. Before long I felt decently well-acquainted with Hawkeye in Infinite, though this could just as easily be viewed as a negative as it could be a positive.
So overall, how should you feel about Marvel vs Capcom Infinite? While I personally feel cautiously optimistic, I can recognize that some small part of that could be a hopeful bias towards my favorite fighter. For the average fan, I would be a bit more hesitant, but I would also recommend waiting a bit longer before coming to a total conclusion. What we’ve seen has been disappointing, but what I’ve played has been thoroughly enjoyable. If the visuals and story end up being mediocre, there’s still potential for a fun fighting game, but at this point, it’s up to Capcom to decide what kind of fighting game they want this to be: a strong fighter that fixes its mistakes over time, or a rushed disappointment that joins Street Fighter X Tekken and Street Fighter V in the realm of underwhelming launches.
Marvel vs Capcom Inifinite arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 19th. For more information, keep checking out MonsterVine.com for the latest news on all things Marvel vs Capcom.