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In order to receive, you must sacrifice

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    Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    In order to receive, you must sacrifice

    Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite very much conveys the philosophy that in order to receive, you must sacrifice. The game makes some notable improvements over the last game, but at the cost of removing or worsening some aspects in the process. The problem is that this idea doesn’t really convey well to gaming. After all, there is already a give and take procedure in place. We give up our money in order to receive the product. So many games seem to have this trend where they fix some issues with a previous installment, but in the process they muck up some other things. This game is marginally better than Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but it’s still not really a great game. It is enjoyable, and pretty dang fun, but it’s flaws are too noticeable too ignore.

    The big improvement to Infinite is the inclusion of more modes. MvC 3 was really lacking in content, especially in the single-player department. The most notable addition here is an actual story mode with a narrative. Borrowing from what NRS has done with the Injustice games, Infinite’s story mode has you play as good portion of the playable roster throughout the story. I’ve really become accustomed to this idea, as it keeps the story fresh and encourages players to try out several different characters. The narrative itself is pretty epic too, with some cutscenes showing awesome battles occurring between the heroes and the forces of evil. Story mode isn’t without it’s issues, however. The story is epic, but it feels like you’re jumping into to the middle of something and it takes a while to figure things out. The other problem is that it’s kind of unbalanced in it’s challenge. One fight can be an absolute breeze, and the next will feel like it leaves almost no margin for error. It definitely could’ve been less extreme in this regard, because it can both frustrate newcomers but also bore experienced players who seek more of a challenge at times.

    Arcade mode is back, where you run through a gauntlet of enemy teams. It’s enjoyable and serviceable, but I guess Capcom was so focused on the story mode that you don’t even get ending snippets for the characters when you beat the mode. It’s not a big loss, but at the same time feels like something that could’ve been so easily implemented for added charm and style. There are also mission modes, but these are really just advanced training sessions where you try to pull off certain combos or extended movesets. The addition of a story mode is a big plus for single-player content, but overall there are still many games that offer a lot more content in the long run. It’s serviceable quantity with decent quality.

    When it comes to gameplay and mechanics, the game seems to aiming for accessibility in order to draw more players in. Pulling off combos is quite simplistic as you just have to time pressing the same button in order to pull off major combos, but there is still things like juggling and spacing to give something to more advanced players. I don’t mind the streamlining of the combo system, because it’s enjoyable without being dumbed down. The game also switches to being 2-on-2, instead of 3-on-3. I do miss the features of having 3 characters on a team but it’s not a deal breaker. What is a major disappointment is Capcom’s decision to remove tag-team attacks in exchange for it’s infinity stone mechanic. A big hook for these games is the way your characters can assist each other and even pull off super team finishers. That’s completely removed in favor of a very basic system. The Infinity Stone system works with it’s own gauge, letting you pull off quick attacks or build the build to unleash something that alters the field. The power stone increases your attack power, the reality stone deals elemental damage, etc. The problem is the idea feels like a novelty most of the time. We already have the ability to pull off super moves, and the infinity stone mechanics just don’t feel necessary. Plus, they either have almost no impact or can completely break a match. There’s not much in-between, so it feels poorly implemented. Give me the team-assist mechanics back any day.

    The roster has been a big point of criticism. No X-men are included, which is a first since this series started. No Fantastic Four are included either. There’s rumors that it may have been based off of legal disputes and rights, but even if it’s a legal issue the exclusion of these characters is a blow to the franchise. Excuses do not fill the void, they just offer explanations on why the void is there. Capcom also had a PR disaster trying to handle this, claiming that nobody would remember these excluded characters. It’s quite ironic that something they claimed wouldn’t be remembered has become one of the game’s biggest drawbacks. Instead we have characters like Spencer and Rocket Raccoon coming back to fill the gap. There’s also the fact that Capcom has intentionally hidden Black Widow as DLC, knowing how popular the character is amongst Marvel fans right now. At 30 characters the base roster is certainly solid, but it just feels subpar with a lack of familiar and classic characters, especially on the Marvel side. Legal rights can really be a pain sometimes.

    The look of the game does not feel like the upgrade to be expected when coming to a new gaming generation. The artwork and detail in stage design is done well enough, but the same cannot be said for the character models. Character designs either look about the same as before, or much sillier. Captain America, Spencer, and Thor among others must’ve gotten jealous of Hulk’s physique, because they seem to have gotten ripped on steroids. Their designs are so bulky they almost look like caricatures. Plus, the overall presentation just feels short of MvC 3’s cel-shaded approach and over-the-top visuals. Special moves still look like a marvel (no pun intended) in terms of their style, but are inferior to before. I enjoyed the soundtrack more than a lot of people, but I will concede that the orchestral compositions are mostly forgettable when you turn the game off. They do the job as background noise, but never stand out all that much. Voice acting is also a mixed bag. A lot of the voice actors must’ve either been bored or had bad direction. Some do a good job such as Chun-Li, Morrigan, Dante, and Iron Man, but then there are guys like Captain America and Thor who have the cliche deep monotone voice that lacks emotion. Ryu’s voice actor sounds like he’s barely trying, and Hagger’s voice seems like the actor was trying a bit too hard at all times. One could claim that voice-acting doesn’t matter much in a fighting game, but when you include a story mode its importance increases.

    Infinite is ultimately a fun but disappointing game that has some big improvements but also some big flaws. The game offers more single-player content, and the new story mode is flawed but an enjoyable time nonetheless. The streamlined combo system will be more enjoyable to newcomers to the series or genre, and there’s still some depth for experienced players. Unfortunately the infinity stone is a novel idea at best, and unbalanced feature at worst that should not have replaced team-based attacks. The computer AI can go from woefully easy to incredibly cheap in a heartbeat regardless of the difficulty you choose, a lot of the characters look silly, and the voice-acting is incredibly mixed. To top it off, the complete exclusion of X-men and other Marvel characters just feels like a major blow to the heart of the series despite the reasons. The game is still incredibly fun at it’s core, and perhaps slightly better than the previous game, but there is so much disappointment to be found that it comes nowhere near it’s true potential. Major fans of Marvel or Capcom might be able to look past these flaws and enjoy the game as I have, but there are better experiences to be found out there. Don’t go out of your way to buy this unless you really love these kinds of games.

    Final Score: 6/10

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