‘Infinite’ rather limited

%27Infinite%27+rather+limited

Photo provided by Playstation

Robert Pierce, rpierce@lmcexperience.com

The sixth installment in Capcom’s acclaimed “Vs.” series, “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite” is… a fighting game. As a ‘fighting’ game, it’s absolutely excellent, with the flashy combos, frenetic action and fast pace that makes the “Vs.” series distinct. As a ‘game,’ however… it’s presentation and overall content package leave a lot to be desired.

The story mode – seemingly the biggest selling point of the game – follows heroes from both worlds teaming up to collect the Infinity Stones (the same ones central to the plot of the upcoming “Averngers: Infinity War Part 1”). The heroes use the Infinity Stones to defeat Ultron-Sigma, a fusion of Ultron from the “Avengers” comics/movies and Sigma from the “Mega Man X” game series.

The mode lasts roughly four hours and is genuinely entertaining. Despite some shortcomings, the plot feels rushed along at some points, not well fleshed out and a good chunk of the writing feels awkwardly forced. Several of the Capcom characters are portrayed rather out-of-character if you know their backstories, but even with all of its baggage, there are enough genuinely impressive moments and one-liners that it never overstays its welcome.

It’s not a particularly deep or fulfilling story however, it’s definitely a fun ride. The ending resolves the situation with a creative plot twist that fleshes out the world the game has created and potentially allows room for DLC characters to have their own story content.

Of course, after bringing up DLC, the roster has to be addressed. The game ‘boasts’ a roster of only 30 characters, 25 of them ported over from the previous installment “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” – a game that had 50 characters. The fact that “Infinite” has a roster that is over 80 percent re-used assets from the previous game and yet still has less characters than the previous game, is baffling. The lack of effort is both obvious and frustrating, especially since Capcom is likely going to charge an arm and a leg for DLC containing the characters people actually want to play – for example, there isn’t anyone from the “X-Men” franchise in the game whatsoever.

The roster is the biggest single disappointment, but there’s so many small nitpicks to be had, it doesn’t even feel like a finished product at some points – the UI in all the menus is boring, most of the music is subpar, the replay viewer has no fast forward or rewind, arcade mode ends with a screen saying ‘Congratulations!’ and features no unique endings… and that’s without even mentioning the graphics, which have been criticized by many.

In motion, the game looks fine, but any time the majority of the cast gets a close up – including the post-match win screen – their facial models look absolutely horrid, and the art style in general never does anything striking with the characters or their powers.

Of course, despite all this, the one thing the game has going for it is the actual gameplay, as a match in “Infinite” is incredibly fun and the various systems and mechanics have tons of depth to them. And while the fast-paced “Vs.” series has never been very beginner friendly, there is a fairly robust tutorial to cover concepts like movement and combo structure for newer players, as a well as a mechanic (that you can turn off) that lets you mash one button for a full combo.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of fighting games, “Infinite” is still a great purchase for its fighting system alone – but then again, if you are hardcore, you probably already bought it on day one.

For more casual players who didn’t pre-order and are still on the fence about “Infinite,” the game has its perks, for sure. But the overall package and value for the consumer are so underwhelming, you’d probably be better off waiting for a sale or a ‘Complete Edition’, or just buying “Tekken 7” or “Injustice 2” instead.

The story mode is fun, but it’s not enough to carry the game, and if fighting games in general don’t appeal to you, this one just doesn’t have enough going on to hold your interest for very long.