The latest Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game may be fun to play, but one can’t help but notice that there’s a lack polish in the rest of the title. Sure, we get to see great 2v2 action from pro gamers like Justin Wong and Xian, but it’s clear as day that there isn’t much love infused in this title compared to past MvC titles and even Street Fighter V to an extent.
Just look at the menu transition and character select screen in MvC3 here…
…and compare it to the one in MvCI. You can clearly see that it’s missing a LOT of that Capcom polish & flair on the aesthetics.
To make sure that this isn’t a one-sided editorial rant on the game, I brought along Marvel vs. Capcom community representative and one of the top 8 MvCI South East Asia Major 2017 tournament players Cleon “VGD” Wong to help me out with this writeup since he’s played this way more seriously than I have. This here is SPOUT 360’s breakdown of MvCI after almost a month since its release.
On The Game: How Is It?
MvCI has the most hectic, all-over-the-place-styled combat we’ve ever seen out of a Versus series, and that is saying a lot from a series that revels in chaos. In MvC3, you’ll commonly see up to 4 characters on-screen at any one time; however, they usually appear only for a brief moment as they come out to do their assists.
In Infinite, plenty of times, you’ll have people tagging/counter-switching to continue their own and disrupt the opponents combos, so there’s often a huge amount of action going on at any one time. Hard to keep track of, yes, and even harder for spectators to understand what is happening, but it definitely makes for a very good show and eye candy.
The cutting of the third character in place of the Infinity Stones mechanic was sad to hear initially, but the developers stated they couldn’t quite get a grasp on how a 3v3 combat would work with this kind of rapid-tagging system in place. This made us wonder if the game would be any better or worse if they kept the old 3v3 tagging, but with just the Infinity Stone mechanic added in.
As a player myself, having to mentally keep track and control 2 characters near-simultaneously is already a strenuous effort. I felt it was a good decision on Capcom’s part.
Is This Entry Enough To Convert UMVC3 Fans?
To be perfectly frank, no. Many former UMVC3 fans, especially of the more casual variety, have not jumped over due to the lack of “functions” in the game.
Many of the characters players have grown attached to in the Marvel vs. series are either not present or “mutated”, pun intended, to other characters.
Here are the main differences between UMvC3 and MvCI:
- The former is 3v3 combat, while the latter is 2v2 plus 1 assist in a form of one of the Infinity Stone.
- Freeform tagging in MvCI, instead of having to DHC or do very unsafe hard-tags.
- There are no more alpha counters in MvCI. You are unable to snap in and ‘confirm’ kill a character. This is for the better, as there are only 2 characters per team, which would make this mechanic too strong.
- An actual story mode that’s not just in a standalone comic book, albeit not a very good one. There’s very bad writing spoken with cheesy voice acting. If one treats it like a terrible C-grade movie, then it could get somewhat entertaining.
The Pros and Cons of MvCI’s New Fighting System
Very offensive-type players (or reckless players if we’re being blunt) can make use of the new tag system well to constantly push and force their turn on the other player. This is something not really seen as much, or is as possible, in most other fighting games before this. Any unsafe move that would normally be very disadvantageous when blocked can be instantly made to a safe move just by throwing it out and tagging.
The Infinity Stones definitely allow for varied playstyles among players that play the same set of characters. Case in point, the top 8 of this year’s South East Asia Major MvCI tournament had three Zero/Dante players. However, each player used a different stone (Power, Space, Reality), and utilized it in different ways while complementing the playstyles and strengths of the same characters.
2v2 can initially feel like a let-down, coming from the past 2 games of 3v3. However, with the current constant tagging game mechanic, trying to work in 3 characters at once might be a bit “too much”.
On The Best Teams/Characters
It’s been a month since the game is out, so some good and reliable archetypes and team compositions have surfaced. I’ll split it into two categories.
Those that have proven to be top tier so far are Ultron, Dante, Dormammu, Nova, Zero, Jedah (in no particular order). These characters have easy and effective confirms from anywhere on the screen that leads into either resets or tricky setups.
They also have great movement options such as 8-way airdashes, teleports, and flight. Some of them like Dormammu and Dante have more than one of these traits.
Let’s cite down more examples: Ultron’s jumping HP and half of Dante’s moveset have extremely strong buttons in the neutral game. Jedah’s pinwheels, Dormammu’s “black holes” and “rose garden”, and Dante’s, well, everything, are able to open setups for themselves or their partners to approach parts of the playing field safely. These characters are also great partners for anyone in the cast to use with and add great support value.
As for characters with uncovered/hidden potential to be top tier, they happen to be Firebrand, Spencer, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Chun Li, Morrigan, and Spiderman. Same reasons as the above tier, but these characters either have limitations in their neutral game, or have hit-confirms that are iffy in various situations. Most of them also have a technical/execution barrier that has to be surpassed before being able to bring out their potential.
Lastly, there’s a special category called “strong tournament characters”. Though not necessarily top tier, they are easy to use and can do well within a tournament setting. These include Gamora, Captain Marvel, and Thanos.
These characters have easy to do/learn combos, at least ones that are optimal enough for tournament use such as Thanos’s Palmbreaker loops or Gamora’s gunshot loops. Their neutral game is very straightforward and comes with low risk and moderate reward.
How Capcom Can Improve Upon MvCI
Stop with the outrageous DLC practices, firstly. Releasing a 45 dollar costume pack not a month after release is not even trying to hide the fact they want to nickel and dime its customers.
Release some costumes for free to placate the ever-growing anger and frustration within the community. Or even better, release certain characters for free. If paid games like Overwatch can do this, why not MvCI?
Outside of that elephant in the room, Capcom can balance and patch the game on a regular basis. Removing the Spiderman/Reality stone infinite was a good step. UMVC3’s ‘downfall’ was the lockout of support from Capcom due to Marvel’s licensing issues, causing no more updates after the first one.
Lastly, Capcom should add long-overdue and most-requested characters that the community has cried out for since MvC3’s announcement. For example, characters from neglected franchises and games such as the Power Stone series, God Hand, the Rival Schools series, and Asura’s Wrath. Heck, even characters from Dragon’s Dogma or Remember Me can fit well in this game’s engine and context.
On MvCI’s Questionable Music Remixes
A suitable analogy would be this: for every iconic character theme of the previous game, they simply removed 5-6 seconds of what made it so memorable.
They then remixed it with either a generic/forgettable orchestral theme for the Marvel side or uninspired dubstep for the Capcom side. Chun Li’s theme even has a typical dubstep bass drop somewhere inside. Ugh.
Long story short: Capcom, your game seems great, and maybe you can just stop there and rest on your laurels. But you guys have done way better in the other departments. Please sort yourself out with this game, because if this keeps up, you’ll make your newbies and casual fans lose interest and you won’t see any long-term growth in your current Versus title.
And if we’re talking new DLC characters, the current ones that are leaked are lacking that, ahem, “X-Factor”.