A few hours in the lab with the latest cast members has me excited.
Some people are mad at Capcom right now over the launch state of Street Fighter 5, but when you push past all that for a moment, I think Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite looks pretty damn good. I’m pumped for it. The return to a two-character team and the addition of Infinity Stones is exciting and no less crazy. By allowing tags at almost any time, the potential for enormous, flashy combos is ridiculous. I can’t wait to see what the meta for this game looks like by EVO next year.
Over the last few months I’ve previewed the first build of MVC:I and conducted a lengthy interview with the brains behind the game. Earlier this week I got to play a new build of the game for hours. I basically sat the lab, as they say, with Infinite – and my thinking remains steadfastly the same. Yeah – some visuals are iffy and I’m unsure about the UI, but it runs crisply and has some very enticing mechanics. I’m hopeful that Capcom can smooth out the issues between now and September and deliver a strong suite of single-player and tutorial content, as the foundation is strong.
The preview was really to show off the newly announced additions to the Marvel vs. Capcom Infinte character roster – Spider-Man, Nemesis, Frank West and Metro City Mayor Mike Haggar. Other newly-announced characters like Gamora and Thanos were also playable. I played all of these, but I also toyed with the game in general. Here’s what I learned…
The Mind Gem is the latest Infinity Stone – and it is ridiculous
The Mind Gem is the latest addition to Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite’s range of Infinity Gems. If you don’t know, the gem is the third thing you pick alongside your characters, and each has two unique functions. One function (the Infinity Surge) can be done as often as you like with a single button press, while the other (an Infinity Storm) is tied to a bar that charges as you take damage, making it something of a revenge mechanic.
The Mind Gem is new for this build.
- The Mind Gem Infinity Surge allows you to throw an opponent, and after the throw they’ll be forced into a Street Fighter style stun state where your enemy can like up an attack for free. You need to be very close to trigger the throw, however, but it works in the air or on the ground, and seems to explain why regular air throws were nerfed quite so much to begin with.
- The Mind Gem Infinity Storm makes your hyper combo meter charge endlessly for the duration of the stone, and it does so ridiculously quickly. If you have characters with easily chainable hyper combos this could allow for some serious damage or some strong late-game comebacks.
Here’s what the other four announced gems so far do, if you’ve forgotten:
- Time Gem: Surge lets you dash, also passing through projectiles & enemies. Storm removes recovery time from moves, allowing for custom combos.
- Power Gem: Surge does an attack which can cause wall bounce and boost combos, Surge greatly increases your strength and damage output.
- Space Gem: Surge lets you draw an opponent closer to you, Storm traps the opponent in a smaller area of the screen, restricting movement.
- Reality Gem: Surge sends out a homing projectile, Storm adds elemental attacks to your character
The Soul gem sill remains, though all speculation seems to think this one will return a downed character to life…
Spider-Man is still his classic VS series self
Spidey is a versus series staple, and he’s pretty similar in this game to Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Those of you worried about the Marvel Movie influence remain calm: Spidey features a classic comic book suit design rather than something inspired by the Stark-designed MCU suit or even by the upcoming new Spider-Man game suit, which is nice for fans of a classic-look Spidey.
Spider-Man is really all about being mobile, best personified in how you can press two punches in mid-air to web swing across the stage. He can still trap opponents in his webs, and remains a mobile character who isn’t the strongest but can dish out damage by being like a bug the enemy just can’t shake – which is a very Spider-Man thing to do, I suppose.
He’s still plenty chatty and has some great voice line call-outs for tagging in various allies – the appropriate Spidey attitude is intact. Oh, and – he has a sweet new level 3 hyper combo where the Green Goblin attacks him. Spidey dodges the incoming goblin projectiles deftly, but then they slam into his opponent instead to deal massive damage.
Mike Haggar’s grappling seems to benefit from Infinite’s new tag system
Final Fight’s Haggar seemed to be the character who was the most similar to his MVC3 incarnation, since while everyone else had significant new moves that changed their movement and gameplay up quite a bit Haggar remained fairly loyal to his old self – he still has the great lead pipe heavy, still has his grapples, and still has the super that begins with a lunging gut-punch forwards.
Haggar is pretty slow in this game, but he makes up for it with longer-range punches and command grabs. He seems like he might benefit in particular from Infinite’s new systems – the new ability in Infinite to tag mid-super to keep an opponent locked down seems like it’ll give him even more chances to get in quickly, and he’s a natural fit for the Space infinity stone, which controls opponent movement and can draw them closer to you.
Terrifyingly, Haggar also gains a projectile of sorts for Infinite – a barrel. Very Final Fight. The barrel can be knocked out of his hands or out of the air, though. When broken either through being tossed as a weapon or knocked away the barrel drops apples, which like in Final Fight can be picked up and eaten to recover a small amount of health.
Nemesis can apply terrifying pressure
Resident Evil’s Nemesis was added to MVC3 in the Ultimate release, but honestly I thought he was pretty crap. In Infinite that seems to have been remedied a fair amount – he has by far the most health in the game and an immense damage output, but there’s another side to him: armor.
Armor moves are those that can take a hit while they’re winding up, and Nemesis (along with Thanos) seems to have loads of them this time around, meaning you can really apply the pressure with him, attacking and taking hits all at once. A ‘big lad’ team of Thanos and Nemesis was armor central and felt somewhat impenetrable at times. He also has some rocket launcher attacks that I simply cannot believe juggle, but they do and it’s bad ass.
Nemesis’ level 3 turns him into the beastly final boss form from Resident Evil 3, by the way. It spews bile all over the KO screen and looks amazing.
Frank West is his classic self – and that goes for the design and voice too
After the blacklash over changes to Frank West in Dead Rising 4, fans will be pleased to hear that Infinite has a ‘classic Frank’, with a face, costume and voice more in line with the original. His move-set is still inspired by the whole series, and he still features the same unique mechanic he had in MVC3 – the ability to take photos of combos to level up. Like in Dead Rising, when he levels up he becomes more powerful. Frank also retains the moves where he uses zombies to stop or distract his opponent.
This means that what might be a Sink Plunger at level 1 might turn into a Chainsaw or a combo weapon at Level 5, with the damage scaling up appropriately. Frank’s moves begin a match stubby and weak, but if you can take good photos and level him up he’ll become one of the best characters in the game. Frank has a game-changing new move compared to MVC3, too – the ability to put down a camera tripod with a timer. This means Frank can in some cases snap photos after a tag and can lead to way more set ups – and you can still take photos manually, too. Some new normals mean he might stand more of a chance at getting in than MVC3 in general, too – in that game he relied heavily on assists, but he might not need them as much here.
Frank’s all-new level 3 super combo is Dead Rising 4 inspired, and ends with Frank taking a selfie while his opponent is ravaged by zombies behind him, complete with the Dead Rising photo scoring UI. It looks amazing.
The latest mash-up stage is A.I.M.brella, and features M.O.D.O.K.
Each of the stages in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite features a Capcom location and a Marvel location meeting, two worlds colliding. The first stage we saw for the game was a combination of the city from Mega Man X and Thor’s Asgard, and newly announced is A.I.M.brella, a combination of a lab from the mad scientists of Resident Evil and the lab of Advanced Idea Mechanics, aka A.I.M. in Marvel Comics.
The stage features what you’d expect – test tubes with human and undead-looking test subjects and nods to both locations. It appears to be overseen by equally mad scientist Marvel villain M.O.D.O.K. He’s in the background of the stage – and that means you shouldn’t expect him for the game at least initially despite him having been playable in MVC3.
Thanos is an absolute beast
While he’s not new to this build (he was in the game at EVO), I feel compelled to talk a little about Thanos – he’s awesome. I don’t usually go for big, burly characters in games, but Thanos feels like a more active, less sluggish big character who makes up for a slower move speed with a great teleport move and a range of projectile attacks.
All this is backed up with some great powerful normals for when you do get in close, plus a dash style move that sends him catapulting forwards head-first across the stage in a charging headbutt. This can go through projectiles and looks like it’ll make for a very powerful way to close the gap without teleporting or work well as a combo-extender.
Gamora is versatile and exciting, too
Gamora is more the style of character I typically play in fighters, and she seems like a strong and diverse character thanks to how she has a range of projectiles and up-close attacks. Her specials are divided between the punch and kick buttons, with one set firing her guns so she can perform ranged attacks while the other attacks up close and personal with her sword.
I don’t know much about the Guardians comics but this seems to fit well with the version of the character I know from the movies. Her gun attacks have a range of different iterations, from straight shots to leaping shots that fire downwards at the enemy, while she has some great anti-air and launcher attacks with her sword.
She’s also got a bad-ass Hyper Combo where she creates a second version of herself that follows up all attacks with the same one again a moment later, allowing for extended combos and the like. I can easily see her being one of my mains.
In the right circumstances, Ryu can become Evil Ryu
One of the coolest things I discovered in this build was that under the right circumstances, Ryu can very briefly become Evil Ryu. It’s all to do with his level 3 super and how and when you do it, as far as I can tell – though I didn’t have the time to fully work out the exact circumstances, I was able to trigger this twice.
Basically, when you perform Ryu’s level 3 super when Ryu is at critical health and possibly the last character standing on your team, you’ll see him briefly go all Evil Ryu and succumb to the Satsui no Hado in the level 3 hyper combo animation. There’s a voice line from him as his eyes redden, but then he regains control of himself and reverts to his normal self before completing the move. This doesn’t happen if you drop a level 3 while Ryu is in good health, so this is a super cool little Easter egg – and the sort of thing I love most about these fanservice-driven cross-over games.