TWO WORLDS COLLIDE…AGAIN!
Who doesn’t love a good crossover? Watching two worlds collide famously bringing their respective styles and characters brings a fantastic flavour to each individual franchise and a lot of the time makes for something so interesting and exhilarating. The likes of Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Street Fighter X Tekken and even the Kingdom Hearts series are just a few examples, and the Marvel vs Capcom series has been combining the beloved comic publisher and the famed development company in dynamic fashion since 1996 when X-Men vs Street Fighter dropped into Japanese arcades. Now with the latest entry Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite the series has begun to truly evolve and try things a little differently with a change of art style and attempting a more in depth and cinematic story while still maintaining that fast paced, team based fighting style we all know and love.
Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite’s story mode takes place when both universes come together when Marvel’s Ultron and Capcom’s Sigma combine to create one super powerful being looking to gain all 6 infinity stones with 2 already in their possession and a virus that can possess anyone to their will. Our heroes then set out to gather the remaining 4 stones in hopes to defeat their nefarious foe and return their two dimensions back to normal. Sadly, this is a swing and a miss, MvC: Infinite’s attempt at a broader story mode is admirable, but with rushed storytelling complete with a shallow monologing villain and a twist you can see coming from a million miles away, an uninspired script and the all too familiar dodgy, uncharismatic voice acting we have come to expect from Capcom (anyone for a Jill Sandwich?). But to its credit it does highlight some interesting team ups that shows there are some similarities within the two worlds, the likes of Dante and Ghost Rider as well as the awesome beat down duo of Ryu and The Hulk ensures that the 3 hours it takes to complete the story isn’t a complete errand.
Mvc’s graphics have gone through a transition since its last release 5 years ago. Infinite has some impressive destinations and back drops on display that show the best of Marvel and Capcom’s collective ethos (literally). The technicolour and majesty of Xgard and the ominousness of Knowmoon are just a couple of the locations that add a stimulating flare to each battle. But where this title falls short with its aesthetic is with the questionable character designs, Captain America looks more like several ham joints taped together with a funko pop head than a personification of the stars and stripes, Gamora has weird yellow panda bear eyes and the plethora of rigid movements and dead eyes in many of the characters along with some of the cringey one liners they come out with brings you back to reality almost instantly at times. The roster Infinite offers may not be what fans of the series are used to but still provides a verified who’s who of the two worlds. The complete lack of an X-Men all thanks to legal issues, with the royalties being held by Fox instead of Marvel and Disney, leaves a noticeable void on the character select screen with many key characters absent. However, Infinite still comes through despite this. The likes of Rocket Racoon and Frank West bring the light hearted, tongue in cheek feeling to the story mode and new additions like Gamora – A no brainer when you think about Guardians of the Galaxy’s immense popularity in the movies and delving deep into Capcom’s lore by including Firebrand from Ghosts & Goblins and Jedah from Darkstalkers shows the devs are still looking to champion the mainstream and the obscure from the decades of Capcom’s back catalogue. This combined with series mainstays like Iron Man, Spiderman and Morrigan makes for a well-rounded selection even with the deficiency of mutants (and Deadpool).
But with the lows comes the highs and this resides mostly in MvC: Infinite’s gameplay. What we have here is an incredibly solid tag team fighter, controls are responsive, each character has their own style of fighting from Dante and Chris Redfield’s long ranged gun play to Haggar’s ground and pound brawling. Combos are challenging yet satisfying to pull off and the power behind the punches and kicks really feel like a force to be reckoned with and combining that with the fast paced style of each fight makes for an excellent clash that could go either way, not to mention the hyper combos for each character which are not only extremely pleasing to unleash on your unsuspecting foe but at times are really entertaining to watch and some even featuring some awesome cameos. Along with it’s exciting online multiplayer, the single player modes show a surprising challenge which fluctuates throughout the story mode but maintains a steady curve in the arcade mode. In my opinion, this is down to the impressive AI, it just doesn’t let up and makes sure your road to victory doesn’t come easy and call me crazy but it seems that it becomes savvy to the moves you are using which pressures you to change your approach. The infinity stones are also a welcome addition to the game’s mechanics with each one having its own effect, again making you go into each bout with your strategy in mind. To top it all off there is also a training mode to help you come to terms with MvC’s style and button combinations, the collection full of artwork, movies and character files, and a mission mode that puts your skills to the test with hundreds of different challenges.