Marvel vs. Capcom has been a long-standing franchise. Much like Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, it is an interesting coming together of some of the fans most beloved characters. Sadly, this iteration put a majority of its characters through a blender.
To be fair, the fighter aspects of this game are absolutely wonderful. The controls are responsive and chaining combos makes you feel like a boss. The decision to include the infinity stones in place of a third character was a brilliant design choice. What hurts this game most is its character design and nearly intolerable story.
Now, I’ve been a huge Marvel fan for years before the first film came out. I’ve been a Capcom fan for even longer. So it hurt a bit to see some of my most cherished characters depicted in such a way that was beyond insulting to them. To start, Captain America and company look like a cheap knock-off group of toys. Their oddly shaped anatomy is borderline cringe-worthy.
It’s like Capcom and Marvel couldn’t decide if they wanted to make a children’s game or a recognisable successor to Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Instead what you get is a mix of the two and the result is utter garbage. Some characters received a decent treatment to their looks, most notably for me was Dante and Chris Redfield. So, at least not all the characters had bad plastic surgery. The biggest issue is the lack of a cohesive style. Some characters feel more real while others have a more stylized approach. Even characters from the same comics or universe look awkward standing next to one another.
Thor and Doctor Strange are probably the worst looking by far. To be blunt, Thor’s face is busted. On top of that, anyone wearing a cape has some serious issues. The capes shoot off the shoulders into the air, held up by pounds of glue I’m assuming, and then fall away from the characters they’re bound to, stiff as a board. I’m aware “Cape Physics” is probably an odd thing to point out but if you just watch the first 30 minutes of the story campaign you’ll see what I mean. We live in the 21st Century here people, our game consoles can handle MILLIONS of polygons at a time with no issues, how is it we can’t animate a cape?!
But I digress.. busted character models aside, the story is, to be frank once again… just shit. To add to that, the voice acting is poor as well. I’m not sure if it was the poorly written script or the voice actors weren’t paid enough but wow… it’s bad. Basically, Ultron and Sigma plan to join the two universes together by utilising the power of the Infinity Stones in hopes they will wipe out all organic life as we know it. Thanos ends up lending a helping hand in this story that is rife will plot holes and poorly woven together reasons why any of this is happening in the first place. Heads up, there’s a twist at the end, but thanks to this script that was written in crayon, you can see it coming a mile away. All of this culminates in a 4-ish hour campaign that feels like 20. Honestly, were it not for the sake of this review, I’m not sure if I would have finished it otherwise.
All of that being said, what Marvel vs Capcom utterly fails to do with its story, it more than makes up for in combat. This is hands down one of the most fun brawlers I have ever played. The punishment you can unleash on your opponents is exhilarating. You can tag your partner in any time you want, which I found to be exceptionally fun when it came to fighting another player. The grin on my face as they watched me continuously swap my characters in and out as they stood there perplexed about when I was actually going to throw a punch… but anyway.
The ability to throw in my teammate in the middle of a combo unlocked an endless number of possibilities that truly deepens the game’s mechanics and strategies. I can’t recall another brawler that so generously let me cheese commands so freely. Like using several launch attacks in one combo?? Come on now. In this area, Capcom made a huge gamble, but one that obviously pays off. I don’t think I have ever obsessed more over which characters would allow me the best combos. With the fighting mechanics, Capcom has done something that makes you think “Why hasn’t this always been a thing?”
The true accomplishment of this game though is the inclusion of the Infinity Stones. As I stated previously, the option for a third team member has been replaced by these glowing stones of power, and honestly it’s a game changing, brilliant design choice. Each stone grants your team new powers, which adds a new level of depth to character selection and team building. It makes you take into account every hero’s strengths and weaknesses, and lets you fill their flaws with the power of the stones. Or you can take an already powerful character and make them even more of a threat.
Say you have a heavy hitting character like Ryu or Thanos. Giving them the Power Stone adds significant damage to their already punishing attacks, making them a force to be reckoned with. Or if you’re facing an opponent that makes it hard to land hits, maybe whip out the Space Stone to put them in their place. The Space Stone lets you trap your enemies in a box, making it impossible for them to dodge or block your hits; alternatively, it lets you pull your opponent close to you, so you can get your fist up close and personal with their face. Even if you have a team you prefer to use every time, the Infinity Stones make playing with them different every time.
Another welcome change is the new feel of balance amidst the 30 character roster. Messing with the substantial roster has revealed no obvious weaknesses amongst them. This hopefully means the days of stacked characters and obvious winners are behind us. Sadly, the roster doesn’t include fan favorites like Wolverine, Storm and Magneto; their presence is definitely missed. While new faces like Gamora and Captain Marvel are welcome additions, its sad that of the 30 character roster, over 20 have been in previous Marvel vs. Capcom games. I feel like a bigger drive to deliver more new characters would have breathed new life into this franchise. Instead, I can’t help but feel like maybe they got lazy or complacent with the majority of their characters and in turn, felt that 6 new heroes would be enough.
Finally, training and mission modes are, overall, fun new ways to learn the move sets of your favorite characters. Training mode boasts a load of features that let you train the way you want to train, so you can hone in on landing your hits at the right times. You can also search for other players to fight through training mode as well. Mission mode, if nothing else, feels like familiar territory. This is a character based combo tutorial pretty much. I would highly recommend starting here if you feel the need to try out a new character. The way it teaches you combos is extremely beneficial to understanding the deeper inner workings of the characters offensive moves and mechanics.