In my initial review of the retail release of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, I bemoaned liking but not loving the game, calling its roster one of the most anemic ever for a crossover fighter and wondering if Marvel’s then current piecemeal licensing agreements (which sadly kept the X-Men and Fantastic Four out of the game) made this glorious type of free for all title a thing of the past. Time certainly has a way of making bitchy geeks eat their digital ink, and since the publication of that article Disney has purchased 20th Century Fox, thus regaining access to Marvel’s merry mutants and first family in the process. Still, that doesn’t help improve a game already on sale, especially one with a Quinjet full of MCU-centric paid DLC already in the pipeline, so it was with a somewhat heavy heart that I delved into the previously scheduled set of 2017 add-on characters, recently completed, for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite.
Bringing up the rear for me personally is Sigma, though the fact that there’s still a lot to like about this Mega Man X villain shows that a lot more care is being put into MvCI post-release than there was pre-release. Sigma stomps into the fray with the same huge, goofy Osamu Tezuka inspired boots as his Mega-Series mates, hilariously incongruous given the overall naturalistic vibe that otherwise dominates this game’s visual aesthetic. Gameplay wise Sigma brings a painstaking pace to a keepaway/rushdown style akin to Street Fighter’s Urien, with a really neat set (4 in all) of Doctor Doom / Magneto aping screen filling supers.
The other lone Capcom combatant is a female fighter from the Monster Hunter series dubbed, well, Monster Hunter. MH’s main offense centers on her massive zweihander (two handed sword) and one can’t help but dream of what similarly armed characters like SoulCalibur’s Seigfried or Guts from Berserk would fight like in this type of setting. MH’s methodical style is also peppered with quick strikes and secondary weaponry that I assume come straight from the MH games, and is fan service done right, meaning, a person who’s never touched one of the Monster Hunter games (raises hand) is intrigued enough by this character’s overall style, vibe and presence to definitely spend some time with the next one that crosses my path. Good on ya, Capcom.
The Marvel representation doubles that of Capcom’s own, with four new fighters entering the fray. Black Widow and Winter Soldier look about as MCU perfect as you can get, and both are just as fun to play as they are to look at. Widow is an acrobatic mix of martial arts and gadgets that calls to mind MvC3’s Jill Valentine, with some satisfying distance based grappling thrown in for good measure. Soldier talks the best shit in the game (that line about bullets at the top of the article is his) and splits the difference between Spencer’s bionic arm and Chris Redfield’s heavy duty arsenal, though obviously with a much more relevant and well liked character that actually deserves to be in a video game in 2017.
Utterly deathless Spider-Man villain Venom feels just like you remember him from the previous MvC titles, but faster, with big juggle and OTG combo potential for those willing to get the timing down. Ol’ Eddie (yup, that’s Brock in the costume, as it should be) is also the benefactor of Capcom’s very best work from a production design standpoint. Venom looks and sounds just about perfect, and is an absolutely awesome addition to the roster. He’s not my favorite though, that’s an honor that goes to Black Panther. As I had hoped for in my previous article, T’Challa has been given such a flippy, slashy blend of rushdown tactics and tricky mix ups that you’d think it was Logan himself under that Wakandan vibrabium armor, if not for the fantastic design, voice work and dialogue bestowed to the Panther, that is. Add in super combos as awe inspiring as they are viable and you have not only the King of Wakanda but the new King of MvCI.
MvCI was doing pretty well in the modes and stages department as it was, so the fact that only characters have been added so far isn’t much of a negative, Some of the costumes that Capcom has recently dropped are definitely a welcome addition though, especially given the thrown together nature of the initially available alternate color schemes. Superior Spider-Man, Anti-Venom, comic based Gamora and Civil War/New Avengers era Captain Marvel all look fantastic, as do the modern takes on Ultron and Thanos. And while the work done on the Capcom side isn’t quite as inspired, Strider Hein, DmC Dante and a Chun Li modeled after her classic Street Fighter II ending still look pretty great.
So that’s the Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite story so far. We’re probably days away from learning exactly how Disney’s Galactus-esque devouring of Fox effects Capcom’s current and future fighting game plans, but for right now the DLC additions to MvCI don’t quite make a good game great (pricey as they are), but they definitely preach to the converted as far as this fourth installment’s need to exist, gross imperfections and all. You may not be able to polish a turd, but you sure can Venom in it. To that end, Capcom has indeed put Venom in it.