With the substantial esports hubbub that surrounds the likes of Street Fighter V and even more recently Tekken 7, those efforts can seem off-putting to those for whom fighting games holds an appeal, but the notion of spending hundreds of hours learning their mountain of frame counting intricacies does not. So it is then that Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, with its dogged focus on accessibility, stands as a great introduction, a fine gateway drug if you will, to the high-level play that so often is associated with Capcom and Bandai Namco’s premier fighting franchises.
In a way, it feels like Capcom have somehow managed to leverage the power of the Infinity Time stone themselves, as Marvel vs Capcom Infinite arguably showcases a game that has wound back the clock and taken stock from the series earlier instalments in an effort to better ingratiate it with beginners. To that end, the primary component behind Infinite’s strong push towards all-encompassing accessibility is arguably the pared back, universal template that each member of its 30-strong roster adheres to.
Such a template now ensures that players can easily trigger combos from simple light/heavy variants of both punches and kicks, while the absence of a bespoke button for launching foes into the air for a cheeky juggle combo and the total removal of partner assists, make it clear that the game is more clearly geared towards streamlining its fighting elements as seen in the much older Marvel vs. Capcom 2, rather than bloating them outward as other sequels so often manage to do.
In a further tip of the hat to the past, Infinite ditches the 3 on 3 format of its most immediate predecessor, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and instead elects for the 2 vs 2 approach that was pioneered in the much earlier Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Superheroes. Ultimately, the direct result of such a reductionist approach is that new players are almost obsessively catered for and can get stuck straight into the action, unleashing screen-shaking 100-hit combos and generally feeling much more satisfyingly empowered than they would do with another fighting game.
Despite the overtures that Marvel vs Capcom Infinite makes to the uninitiated and the less skilled, there’s no mistaking the fact that the game on its own merits is still high-level tournament material; eliciting all the competitive drama and white-knuckle spectacle one would expect to see from elite players, and nowhere is this more obvious than the events chronicled on Capcom’s own official Twitch tournament channel.
Indeed, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is certainly not lacking in depth. From the overhauled tagging system which doubles up as an attack in its own right, to the adjusted juggling mechanic and the drastically affecting Infinity Stone system which serve to augment play styles even further, folk shouldn’t be surprised to see Infinite possess long-term legs of its own as the game proliferates across other popular, high level tournament scenes.
Ultimately though, in the interest of expanding the fighting game loving crowd, isn’t something like this, with its array of welcoming systems and big, colourful menagerie of Capcom and Marvel characters just what the doctor ordered? With one eye on the past and another on the future, you’re doing alright Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, you’re doing alright.
Read our review of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.