We went into Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite at E3 with little information. Sony’s showcase Monday night confirmed a few new characters such as Thanos and Bionic Commando, but beyond that, we still didn’t know much about the story mode or what the game would actually look like in action. Now that E3 has come and gone we have a few answers more questions.
First, let’s talk about the story demo available for everyone to download on PlayStation 4. Previous Versus games never cared much for carving out a story beyond the simple – heroes from different dimensions never get along at first so let’s fight—judging by Infinite’s demo these heroes all start out on the same side and you’ll simply fight wave after wave of Ultron Sigma corrupted red shirts to watch some nice looking cinematics. It got boring fairly quickly. Most of the dialogue feels generic, especially in the Chun-Li and Captain Marvel “you’re a cop? I’m a space cop!” type banter. It feels like this story is carved out based on a roster of characters the companies wanted in the game rather than selecting the roles to fill a story that would have worked better.
Infinite’s roster is also something on the verge of teetering towards stale. The Marvel side of things looks bright with fighting game debuts for Gamora, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. There’s still hope of bringing in Kamala Khan and if you don’t want to go full Wolverine, why not Old Man Logan? It’s really the Capcom side the leaves much to be desired. Certain characters like Dante from Devil May Cry lend themselves to the fighting genre, but bringing back characters from mediocre titles like Spencer from Bionic Commando don’t exactly fill you with joy. Capcom has a library of Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Onimusha, 1942 and more. Why aren’t we seeing those? There’s still much room to grow and diversify, hopefully, Capcom doesn’t beat these dead horses too much longer and announces some of their own fresh faces.
On the subject of faces. The facial expressions and victory animations still leave much to be desired, thankfully Capcom has a few months before September to polish some of those aspects. Problems which stem from the art style that looks to evolve from the cartoon/comic blend of MvC 3 into a more cinematic feel. It’s a style that definitely sets Infinite apart from other current Capcom fighters but only if the end result is fully realized and as of this moment it simply isn’t.
This past Tuesday, playing the versus mode demo on the E3 show floor highlighted the parts Capcom should let the public get their hands on. With 21 fighters to choose from in the demo, including Thanos, it definitely puts many of its cards on the table showing off just how enjoyable it can be unlike the public story mode demo. If you just want to have fun in battles against friends with slightly more experience in fighting games, MvC: Infinite has multiple ways to help you. Paramount of which is the single button combo initiator hitting light punch multiple times launches a simple 5-7 hit combo depending what character you chose. Simply hitting the square button three times initiates the action, something anyone can do. Unlike its competition this year, Infinite is a game trying to simplify for an audience that loves Marvel but doesn’t necessarily have the courage to jump into the world of fighting games.
Fanservice moments have the right level of cheese to them. When Rocket banters with Dante about using his signature Ebony & Ivory guns, it’s magic. With the wealth of possibilities in this generation of hardware, it feels like such a let down that funny moments like that aren’t translated in-game such as special dialogue sequences in battle by picking certain roster combinations.
The new infinity stones are a welcome addition. Reality, Power, Space, Time, Mind, Soul each have a unique ability that helps players in battle. For example, the space stone traps players in a box that prevents them from executing certain attacks for a limited time. Infinity Stones are easy for anyone to use but expert players will probably get the most out of them, Capcom has planned for this by balancing their effect. Meaning someone won’t be able to win a fight by activating the stones, but they will be able to give themselves a chance at a comeback. Now if someone can just explain why it is Ultron and Sigma became a threat if our heroes have access to infinity stones.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite still has much of the potential if had when first announced last year. All of the button pushing side of the game looks and feels on point. Capcom nails the most important aesthetic quirks of all the Marvel characters their using. Their growing pains reside in doing something they’ve never really attempted before; trying to tell an actual story in a fighting game. Simply put, Infinite is a great game that as of June 2017 has just arrived at good. It’s still a title we’re looking forward to, however after E3 I’m left with more reservations than before.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite launches September 19 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.