PREVIEW / Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite (XB1)

 

At Sony’s E3 press conference on Tuesday, we learned a little more about Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, the long awaited next entry in the fighting game series that began way back in the 90s. After a new trailer, Capcom revealed that a demo would drop that night, focusing on the game’s story mode. A first for the series, one assumes it was inspired by the success of Injustice. Regardless, with the demo out in the wild, we’ve got some idea of what to expect.

 

The story itself, while interesting, is far from unique. It features a villain called Ultron Sigma, the combined form of the Avengers foe Ultron and the Mega Man X baddie Sigma. Somehow, they have combined the Marvel and Capcom worlds, and are working to snuff out all organic life in the combined universe. I see two glaring flaws in this plot, though. First, it makes no sense for all of the Capcom games represented here to be set in the same universe. Mega Man X and Ghosts and Goblins aren’t exactly compatible, for example. This may be explained in the full game, though. The second problem is that this plot borrows a lot from Midway’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which also featured combined worlds and combined villains. One good turn deserves another, I guess. In any case, the demo has a strike team breaking into a prison in the area consisting of both Asgard and X’s home city, trying to rescue Thanos so he can help them defeat Ultron Sigma.

 

There’s not much plot detail in the demo to judge, but the banter between characters is entertaining, if not a tad cheesy. I enjoy the teasing between Thor and Arthur, the friendship between Dante and Rocket, and the leadership of Captain America. It seems that this takes place late in the story, as all of the characters know each other. All of their personalities seem accurate, and most of the voice acting fits well too. Spencer’s surprisingly high pitch is the only real exception.

 

As for gameplay, the demo has a surprising number of playable characters, though only two are new to the series. Marvel characters include newcomer Captain Marvel, Thor, and Rocket. There’s more variety on the Capcom side, with newcomer X from Mega Man X, Spencer from Bionic Commando, Chris from Resident Evil, Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and Arthur from Ghosts n’ Goblins). The characters, and the game overall, play very much like the last game in the series. Combos and special moves are a bit easier than in Street Fighter, and you control multiple characters that switch back and forth. But as we were told when the game was announced, there are some changes to make the game more approachable. It seems like it’s a lot easier to chain together hits from special moves, and there’s even an auto-combo feature to prevent battles from becoming too slow. You also only choose two characters, not three. And then, of course, there are the Infinity Gems. The ones you can use in the demo let you teleport behind the opponent or push them back and break their guard, and used well they make things a lot easier.
All things considered, this demo quelled many of my fears about the game. The story is interesting, if somewhat derivative, and the characters all seem appropriate in their presentation. The gameplay, while simplified, is still what you’d expect from the series. And thanks to the new tweaks, is easier than ever for fans of these characters to battle. As long as the character roster is a good mix of old and new (I’m still holding out for Blanka or Phoenix Wright), Infinite should be a worthy successor to the MvC 3 Ultimate.

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