Fighting games are the staple diet of many a gamer. From Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat, to the popular Killer Instinct games, punching people in the face has long been an enjoyable aspect of video gaming.

At the forefront of this has been Capcom, who have had varied success with the Street Fighter series, depending on which release you choose. But their recent joint venture, combining a collection of Marvel characters with the likes of Chun Li and Ryu, sets the bar a little lower than we’re used to.

Thor looks okay but his character is a little wooden.

I should start off with the good news: Marvel v Capcom: Infinite isn’t terrible. It’s actually a lot of fun, which is kind of the point of a video game – for it to be enjoyable. But when you look at the more overt elements of the game outside of the core arcade-style fighting mode a lot of flaws kick their way into view, and it’s a tad unsightly.

In terms of gameplay and the controls it’s really accessible. Having not played a fighting game for a while I was expecting a steep learning curve, but in just five minutes I was cracking out special moves like there was no tomorrow. And it’s the same for all of the characters. And therein lies the first issue. There isn’t a vast library of characters to choose from. There’s quite a few, for a regular game. But as Marvel v Capcom: Infinite uses a tag team (2v2) approach to each fight, it means you quickly run through the basic roster of 30 characters.

But the positive here is it could have been much worse had it used the 3v3 approach from the previous games. It could definitely have done with at least a hundred characters, with the option to unlock more as you progress. Much like Forza does with cars. Fortunately, though, there is DLC on the way, with more characters to choose from.

Even Doctor Strange couldn’t magic up enough characters

The second issue is with the story. Fighting games aren’t known for their prolific use of gripping drama, but even so I’d expect any story to be a competent addition, even in a fighting game. It’s simplistic, and that’s fine, but it’s also woefully underwhelming, with no option to skip the cut scenes. Ultimately it comes across as a tad corny, with a side order of cringe. It’s flat and unrewarding.

The third issue is with the art. The backdrops during the fighting are actually quite impressive. In fact, I’d quite happily have them as the wallpaper on my PC, but the characters are far less attractive. I’d even go as far to say that some of them look misshapen, Chun Li being one example. Her face and legs look just plain odd. Not at all like her legendary features of old. And she’s not the only one.

In terms of pure gameplay, it’s not a bad effort. It’s fun and easy to play. And if you’re a Capcom fanatic and hardcore fighting fan you’ll most likely master everything there is in the game. But I prefer my titles to be a complete package, where everything works, and works well, whether I use it or not. And that includes art, story and the character roster. If the DLC is free that would certainly help.

Out of a possible 5 stars, I give Marvel v Capcom: Infinite

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