Marvel vs Capcom Infinite (PS4)

In Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, a journalist can fight – and beat – Thor and Hulk. This is an amazing thing.

The mayhem in this corporate cross-over is sufficiently aboil, enough to plow through a turgid story concerning the all-powerful Infinity Stones. Think Lord of the Rings’ nineteen rings, but fewer in number and color coded. Regardless of where the Infinity Stones concept came from, they need a more sensible conclusion. All that’s missing before the credit roll is a pop font saying “Next Issue!” given there’s a super villain still running about – and he has the stones.

This used to be dead pop culture, both Marvel and Capcom fighting games. Now they’re both mainstream, with a deluge of Funko Pops and kids merchandise at unheard of levels. (Try to find a Doctor Strange costume for your kid’s Halloween bash in 1996.) With the popularity comes the inevitable junk food, like Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. It’s so ridiculous and flooded with fan service, even the lighter side of Marvel’s cinema, say Ant-Man, doesn’t approach this level of wacky. With a focus on ease of use and vibrant laser beams, Infinite elicits a sense of near parody.

Everyone hits hard and noise (visual and audible) is prevalent. There’s shouting. A few grunt through their battles; whatever works if you’re Hulk. It’s all about the dazzling special effects, not unlike the film properties, and action, not unlike the videogames. In that sense, Infinite provides. The constant stream of energy filtering in makes it hard to notice the technique. That’s what escapism does, even if Infinite never comes down from a state of over activity. It’s a series of screens cluttered with commotion, overdressed and overdelivering without stopping. That’s fine, but also tiring. There’s only so much fuel and so many times to watch bazookas blow up a journalist before the whole thing rots away.


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