Gameplay makes ‘Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite’ fun despite problems

“Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite” might not be the most appealing package to look at, but it’s refined gameplay and mechanics put it a step above the other installments.

“Marvel vs Capcom Infinite” is the latest installment in the beloved series of crossover fighting games by Capcom. Unlike the other entries in the series, which still see adoration from their fans, this offering was greeted with equal parts scorn and cautious optimism.

Starting with the negatives, this game has a serious lack of identity. The last game had a bold, cel-shaded style that made the characters pop out like panels in a comic book, but this game opts for a more realistic aesthetic to assumedly draw in fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This results in two problems. The first being that a few characters haven’t been redesigned to fit with this new aesthetic, so the anime-esque Mega Man X, Zero and cartoonish Arthur look out of place next to realistic characters like Chris Redfield and Captain America. The next problem is that several character models aren’t exactly pleasing to the eye, such as Morrigan’s bizarre facial proportions or Tony Stark’s nose being noticeably too large and pointed.

Outside of the graphics, the game’s roster is also questionable. Out of the 30 characters in this game only six aren’t from the previous entry, which is disappointing to many fans. There also doesn’t seem to be as many modes compared to its competitors. There’s an acceptable story campaign, a barebones arcade mode, a few online features, a local versus mode and a CPU versus mode.

Despite these negatives, the reason I still recommend this game is because, quite simply, the series has never played better. Despite many characters being recycled from the previous game, they all have either new moves or have been tweaked to be more viable. While the game has optional auto-combo features, they’re completely unnecessary because the combos executed by characters are only limited by the player’s imagination. You try moves and they just work; no ultra-specific timing, no complex inputs and no intimidating move lists that feel like homework.

The game also introduces new and innovative gameplay mechanics in the form of the Infinity stones. These can do things such as create a homing projectile, knock enemies back, resurrect a fallen comrade or lock an enemy’s range of movement. Having these options present can make older characters feel completely new, and puts a treasure trove of options in front of the player.

The game is also infinitely more balanced than previous entries, which were plagued with characters that can execute infinite combos or spam projectiles from full-screen. The “Marvel vs. Capcom” franchise is notorious for having pro-level players occupying the online modes who can punish a single wrong move with almost endless combos that wipe out players before they understand what they did wrong. Watching all three of my characters getting decimated by a single, overpowered combo was not only discouraging; it turned me off of “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” in 2011. That definitely didn’t happen this time, as even though I still don’t feel like I can contend with pro players, I at least don’t feel like a dunce for trying. I can learn, I can breathe, I can improve and that makes a world of difference.