Fighting games are brilliant aren’t they? From as far back as Street Fighter 2 on the SNES to Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 you can pick up an play a good fighter and spend time with the nuances to master a great one. I bought my Ps2 just to play Capcom Vs SNK 2, a GameCube to play the Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen series and a Wii to play Tatsunoko Vs Capcom so I like to think I know a fair bit about the genre. I wasn’t too impressed with Injustice 2 (see here) or Street Fighter V, so let’s see how the latest Marvel Vs Capcom game fares.
So mechanically a fair amount has changed from Marvel Vs Capcom 3. Gone is the indie fighter arcade feeling A,B,C,D attack system and in its place is a more Mortal Kombat/Tekken LP, HP, LK, HK akin to the MVC roots. Out with 3vs3 in with 2vs2 and a stone. The stones are pretty interesting with each power unique to one of six, essentially adding an augment to your team and even have their own super effect depending on the stone.
So let’s get the biggest problem out of the way first. The voice acting…. oh god it’s so bad. I prefer some dubs to their original for anime and games but this is one of those horror anime dubs, Yes I realise these are the original voices recorded for the game but given they mouth a line with almost every move it gets old. Fast.
The art style is a mess with various highs but plenty of lows. Amazing 2D work and background designs ruined by terrible 3D models. The scales of the characters are just ‘wrong’ even in an exaggerated style they’re still lacking constancy all over. The body’s are Poundland action figure wrong with tiny legs for huge torsos and necks that don’t exist due to back muscle. Cool characters look terrible, terrible characters look worse. The best looking ones are either DLC (Monster Hunter) or extras for other fighters (Groot).
The roster is not great. Too many generic guys from every free to play Capcom and Marvel game of the last few years. Jedah and Gamora are nice additions but there is a definite issue with too much sausage here, where’s Jill? Tron? Jean? Storm? She-Hulk? As for tying into MCU? Nope. Rocket literally goes to pick up the infinity stones bare handed a few times, Gamora is more comic book assassin than ever and Strange is old stuffy strange which makes no sense as even in the comics he’s been a lot more chill of late (impressive really given the events occurring). Cheap bosses, cheap moments and that’s the crux of the problem with MVCI in it’s modes and presentation, it feels cheap and the fact that story mode characters are DLC unlockable later doesn’t help this.
No seriously I can’t stress this enough, Oh my god the voices are soooo baaad, no seriously, god damn awful. Ryu now shouts his Hadokens like each and every one scratched his car, Ironman’s photon canon is just another chore and Rocket has had one too many cigars. The less said about Morrigan’s Irish but not Irish accent the better. The avenger characters that the MCU are supposed to be from have no excuse for this lack lustre performance when even Lego animations can do a better job. Seriously though, the voice acting is Silent Hill 2&3 HD remastered levels of terrible cringe. What. A. Mess.
So injustice has a Story mode so I suppose we get one here to. I’m ok with the Saturday morning cross over event but they really scrape the barrel here. oh cutscene, my go now? No another cutscene. Oh and no screenshots allowed?! That’s just not on Capcom. To the point where trophies pop up with the error “cannot take screenshots now”. Still the story could make up for this right? Unfortunately the story itself is garbage. It seems Marvel can’t get a handle of any cross over events these days…
The main let down for the story isn’t even the tale itself, the dialogue is almost worse than the voice acting. “so much for the stealth approach”, they say whilst walking through the main hall. Literally wandering around. With fights that are totally pointless. A prime example is an early fight of Captain America vs Ironman, What could go wrong there? Nothing referenced just a case of suck it up and carry on after. Which I felt like the writers kept doing, Even the pay off isn’t worth it. Spoilers but the ending is the worst I’ve seen in years. It’s literally a case of BLAM and the world is saved, nobody even checks the corpse (we don’t even see a smashed up Ultron Omega), not one quip from a single character wondering where Thanos or anyone else who wasn’t around for the final attack. Although the after credits cutscene explains Thanos it’s really the only part that’s close to reaching a unique idea of this what if event. Still did anyone use the dialogue moments or even reference the MCU? Nope let’s just have cookie cutter dialogue about friendship that makes no sense. Literally the only redeeming feature is X being given some spotlight moments and even that’s a little hamfisted in the delivery.
Oh and the generic minions being given wolverine and X-23 moves is just insulting.
Ah bliss ARCADE MODE! It seems not only that but fight requests with options to! Seems they have learnt from sf5 a little at least. It works and the ability to switch stones between each fight is a nice feature as some are just pointless and don’t work against the super final boss. It’s nice that you can unlock color palettes from just playing (you don’t even have to complete it) but again it’s a shame there are only 4 of them (so far – I’m calling it now, colours/costume dlc in future).
So enough bashing about the wrapper. What is the core of this fighter like? It’s a solid fighting game. The move set is really good. I quite like the easy combo system. Simple but build able. Shame about the infinite loops. The balance is all over the place, A lot more attacks that are ranged with characters like strange and ghost rider are now crazy overkill. There are a few balance issues with even a simpleton like me noticing some characters are vastly overpowered to others and hit boxes not being quite right (being hit by attacks that don’t feel like they should). The game still has the “touch of death” feel about it’s flow, ie you get hit and they will combo until you die but now it seems a little tied back and it’s better for it.
Some of the supers are not really super anymore. Just a little particle nonsense. Oh wait Doctor Strange’s specials looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g. As does Novas super nova. Still unfortunately some of the classics are lacking polish. So a real mixed bag. You can get them to combo together nicely but the effects are a lot less wow this time around. This could be due to limiting the graphics to get a stable framerate but MVC3 managed it previous generation so it just feels a little lack luster sometimes. More annoyingly accidentally setting off a “Simple” super by pressing two heavy buttons can be very annoying.
The music is amazing. Shockingly so. Surprised at how well it’s made, epic to epic properly. Works well for all stages and feels wasted here. Checked out some of the remixes of classic tracks for X and Dante, they are superb. The actual sounds and shots, zaps, crunches are suitably arcade and fit nicely. Even the announcer does a good job of making the game feel suitably over the top.
Net code, what about the netcode? Chances are if you wanted to play this online you would within days of launch regardless of reviews. For what it’s worth, it holds up really well. Even on a middle connection it was playable and the Beginners league was a good call for people like me that get wrecked by people who have learnt every nuance by day 3 of release. Lobbys, ranked, causal, all the usual trimmings. Although don’t expect to level up any time soon the grind is very real this time around. Oh and feels redundant to mention but local multiplayer is as sweet as always.
Marvel what are you doing? Seriously, do we need a talk? Do you still think inclusion is a problem? Why not let Capcom play with your comics? Ms Marvel would fit this game like a glove! And Capcom, you’ve done this before! Remember Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and the Ultimate edition that was essentially the full game with all the content but still lacking decent netcode? Your both so frustrating sometimes, I love your characters and games so much but this is for your own good.
7/10 – Ideally just wait for the ULTIMATE edition.
Pps. google the limited infinity stone edition, remember how I said the game felt cheap?