When not perusing the Internet for dank memes or disturbing YouTube videos, I can be found still glued to my monitor screen in search of the elusive chicken dinner. One day, lads, one day.
It’s a turbulent time for Capcom. Following the Street Fighter V launch, reception wasn’t flattering as fans were left feeling the content department was none other than a colossal letdown. The announcement of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite serves as an opportunity for redemption, and demonstrate the publisher was more than capable of producing quality titles — an injection of life to the genre.
Upon release, the demo rang alarm bells of an impending disaster waiting to unravel. Even with the fixes, the latest installment of the Marvel vs Capcom series is ridden with flaws difficult to look past despite its entertaining gameplay experience. Admittedly, Infinite plays fantastically. Although the game is dumbed down in comparison to Marvel vs Capcom 3 to encourage casual audiences participation, there is plenty of love for veterans who are willing to take risks and execute those 75-hit combos thanks to the nouvelle Infinity Stone mechanic.
But where Infinite excels in bare bones gameplay, it falls short with its abysmal attempt at presentation.
From its inception, Capcom were aware trumping the success of Marvel vs Capcom 2 and 3 was nothing short of a feat. The publishers were far off from generating hype after upsetting the playerbase for its roster selection. Due to Fox owning move rights, X-Men characters were omitted. The absence of beloved mutants Wolverine and Magneto was met with the introduction of Captain Marvel, Spencer and Gamora. Needless to say, this direction didn’t sit well with fans.
With official rosters to one side, the in-game models kicked up a fuss for the already riled up fans. The infamous Chun -Li face received widespread criticism forcing Capcom to give Interpol officer’s model a much-needed makeover. Dante was another character fans could see the next in line for an update. His face looked uncomfortably off, baring resemblance similar to a troubled young adult braving a battle with illicit substance abuse – a far cry from his characteristic – apathetic, almost sleepy-like expression. The lack of neck between Captain America’s shoulders is another chink in the Capcom armour, highlighting subpar art direction by the publisher.
There is nothing more thrilling than the perfect sound track before an intense round of fighting. The Guilty Gear and Tekken franchises are spectacular in building up suspense and hype to create a sense of urgency to confrontations between characters. Years later, Tekken 3’s Jin Kazama soundtrack holds up as one of the fighting genre’s most memorable tunes. Older Capcom titles, notably the Marvel vs Capcom opening theme is easily recognisable and appreciated by long-time fans of the franchise. However, Infinite’s compositions lack oomph and their orchestral performances, albeit mediocre lack of inspiration and are forgettable despite countless hours of gameplay.
Coupled with character development, Capcom has failed to impress this time round. Many characters sound off, particularly X, who should reflect youth and a life hardened by battle, pain and loss. Instead, Dr. Light’s creation sounds juvenile and more like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Dialogue between characters is unnerving to listen. To be fair, Capcom has never shied away from its formula of cheesy dialogue, but even the line delivery and reactions of certain characters fail to convincing or believable when presented with an imminent threat. There are instances this is more evident, especially when Captain America orders the crew to run away or Chris Redfield sounding uninterested and quasi-bored when threatening the looming threat of Ultron Sigma.
Making matters worse, the story mode is far from average. The plot is littered with plot holes and inconsistencies from the onset of Ultron and Sigma’s plan to fuse universes with the Infinity Stones and wreak impending doom to all life. Although fighting games are known for excellent narratives, Namco Bandai and NetherRealm Studios are proving the genre is capable of presenting engaging stories and character development with fine cinematics. It’s been many years since the last Marvel vs Capcom title but the exclusion of proper endings from the Arcade Mode emphasises the lack of care Capcom had for presentation and immersion.
In summary, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is without a doubt extremely enjoyable to play through but the abysmal presentation could cripple its future, especially with the hype around Dragon Ball FighterZ in recent months.