Marvel VS. Capcom: Infinite frame by frame gameplay trailer analysis: Infinity Stones, new characters, system mechanics

Capcom just unveiled a brand new gameplay trailer for Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite, our first real look at what finalized gameplay might look like. It’s nearly five straight minutes of match snippets – including all the characters that have been revealed so far – but it goes by really quickly. Of course, we had to slow it down and watch the trailer frame by frame to get you all the juicy details hidden in the frantic action. Here’s what we found.

Basic Systems

Much of the game’s core system seems similar to older Vs titles. You have two character teams that can tag in and out as they like. You have a super meter that can fill up to four stocks (as opposed to five in Marvel VS. Capcom 3). Characters seem to have a variety of level 1 super attacks and one level 3 super attack each. “Advancing guard,” otherwise known as “pushblocking,” has remained in the game and it appears as if one pushblock ends up pushing a character most of a screen’s distance away, well out of melee range. Counter-hits have also remained in the game, however it is unclear what properties they give. I’d wager a guess at increased damage and hit-stun. We routinely see characters flip out of combos, which points toward some sort of hit-stun proration or anti-infinite system. Finally MVCI matches are played in a best 2 out of 3 round system, unlike the one-and-done system of Marvel 2 and 3.

Damage

The most powerful combos in the game appear to take off only about a third of a character’s health, much less than the one-touch-deaths of Marvel 3. Character life restores when they are in reserve, just like any other VS game, though its current regeneration rate is fairly low. Combos also appear to suffer from heavy damage proration. The first few hits in any combo deal the majority of the combo’s damage, and particularly long combos appear to prorate until individual hits do almost no damage.

OTGs

Unlike Marvel vs. Capcom 3 which gave certain attacks the OTG (off the ground) hit property, nearly every attack in the game can hit a prone opponent. We see Hawkeye use a normal sweep against a downed Thor in the first few seconds of the trailer. We see Ultron OTG with a simple light kick. We see the Hulk OTG with a light kick after his very own sweep. However, we see the Hulk attack a grounded Thor again with a Gamma Charge in the same combo and it doesn’t pick him up. This points toward Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite having a one OTG attack limit per combo, similar to Skullgirls.

Infinity Stones

Each Infinity Stone gives you a basic ability that costs no meter to use. The Power Stone, for example, gives you an armored attack that causes a wall bounce. The Time Stone gives you a teleporting dash that can be used in the air. It appears as if the Time Stone can be used to give air-dashes to characters that wouldn’t otherwise have them, like Chris Redfield. The Space Stone operates similarly to Magneto’s magnetic pull in Marvel 3. It sucks characters toward you and prevents them from playing a keepaway game. This will be incredibly useful for grapplers.

Stones also come with their own two stock Infinity Meter, which is similar to the Ultra Gauge in Street Fighter 4. Players may use this meter to enter an “Infinity Storm” mode, which alters the way they play. The Power Stone increases your damage, the Time Stone increases your speed, but perhaps the most broken of them all, the Space Stone, traps your opponent in a box, preventing them from moving and forcing them to block your incoming mix-ups. Infinity Storms drain your Infinity Meter over time, and your meter needs to be at least half full in order to use it. However, your meter appears to drain even faster when you are attacking the opponent, so they only last for a few seconds when used effectively.

Tagging

A number of new tag abilities have been added to Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite and they are far less restrictive than the old tag system. The most basic sort of tag is the “active tag,” which calls in your partner, basically whenever you want. We see a situation where The Hulk super jumps over Ultron and then “active tags” Chris Redfield in to mix him up on the other side. We also see Ultron tag in Strider in the middle of executing a dashing grab, forcing the opponent to choose between getting hit or getting grabbed in a split second. Active tagging costs no meter but does get rid of your teammate’s red health, so expect this to be core to many of MVCI’s mix-ups. There is a danger of creating unblockable set-ups with how freeform this system is, but hopefully there will be a mechanic in place to prevent them.

Perhaps the most important tag, however, is the Counter Switch. In the middle of any combo, a player can spend two meter to tag in their teammate, even if they are in hit-stun. This effectively acts as a combo breaker, as the tagged in character can attack the opponent in the middle of his combo. Just be careful, because sloppy movement will allow the opponent to combo both characters at once. The existence of this mechanic will likely keep combos short, more like Tatsunoko VS. Capcom or Marvel 2 than Marvel 3.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye is largely based on his Marvel 3 build – that is, he is primarily a keepaway character. He now has a level three super which is a cinematic super that triggers off a projectile, which is relatively new for the Vs series. He can also rebound arrows off the ground, which causes them to shoot straight into the air vertically, which will likely be his primary method of anti-air attack. Otherwise, we don’t see him much in this trailer, so it’s hard to pin down exactly how he has changed.

Chris Redfield

Chris is very similar to his Marvel 3 counterpart, although he appears to have had the zoning turned down a bit. The trailer focuses on his combination punches, which appear to do much more damage but also execute slower than they did in Marvel 3. Chris also appears to have a bullet counter underneath his health bar. This probably limits his gun-shots, which might be what has toned down his zoning so much.

Thor

Thor also seems to be based on his Marvel 3 incarnation, complete with rushing hammer strikes and command grabs. We see that kara-grabbing is still alive and well, as he appears to use a sliding heavy punch against Ultron but cancels it before it hits into the command grab for a reset. He also has a brand new level 3, which also appears to be a command grab, but ends with him striking the opponent over his head with a powerful bolt of lightning.

The Hulk

The Hulk is also based on his Marvel 3 move-list but he seems to have new armored normals. This might point toward the game returning to a four button, light punch/kick, heavy punch/kick format, similar to Marvel 2. His armored fist-pound no longer causes a ground bounce but a wall bounce, making it slightly harder to combo with, but giving it quite a bit more punch. His air-combo ender appears to be a double foot stomp, which works well as an instant overhead, rather than an aerial fist pound, though he appears to still be able to use his aerial fist pound if he wants. This points toward each character having different aerial combo enders, which will open up the combo system quite a bit. Other than that, his forward Gamma Charge now appears to knock the opponent into the air rather than holding them in place, and his Gamma Tsunami can knock the opponent clear across the board, triggering a screen-scrolling effect similar to Marvel 2.

Ultron

Ultron is an interesting character that feels kind of like a mashup of other characters that we haven’t yet seen grace the roster. He has an eight way air dash, disjointed normals (his attacks utilized some sort of red energy claw swipes), a flight mode that allows him to do simple cancel combos, and he appears to be able to call in robot minions like Sentinel. He also has a lot of really weird attacks, like an air-to-ground dashing grab or a mid-air grab which causes a wall-bounce or a knockdown. His normal attacks appear to routinely reach behind his body, granting him easy cross up opportunities with his air dashes. His robot minions act very much like assists in Marvel 3, coming in to punch the opponent or throw a beam attack at them and allowing Ultron to move in the middle and set-up the opponent.  His super is the only beam super we have seen in the game so far, other than Ryu’s Shinkuu Hadoken. It fires two beams across the screen in an X formation and can be used in mid-air.

Strider

Strider appears to be a fusion of his Marvel 2 and Marvel 3 incarnations. He seems geared toward very short combos ended with a teleport mix-up. He still has his drones, which can act as combo extenders, and his special screen wide slashes and dive attacks. He also has a new super that allows him to attack the opponent with a series of blade slashes and which can be used in the air. He appears to still have his Ouroboros super and its back to a level 1 this time, but it does not appear to do chip damage, making it primarily a mix-up tool. One annoying aspect of the system is that install supers like the Ouroboros do not have their time-limit represented anywhere in the U.I., making it hard to tell when it will end for both players.

Chun-Li

If there is any character that has changed the least going into MVCI, its Chun-Li. She plays nearly identical to her Marvel 3 incarnation, right down to her launching lightning legs super. Her only new move appears to be a ground bouncing normal in the air (likely her aerial heavy kick), and her Spinning Bird Kick can now be used in mid-air.

Auto Combos and Easy Supers

Every so often the words “auto combo” appear on the screen, usually when characters are doing a very simple chain into launcher into chain progression. This points toward Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite adopting the easy combo system that games such as Under Night In-Birth, Blazblue, and Persona 4 Ultimax have. You will likely be able to execute a very basic combo simply by tapping the light punch button (or another light attack button). This will make the game far more accessible to newcomers. It does not appear as if you have to enter a special mode to use this ability and it does not appear that using it affects damage or meter gain in any way.

Characters also appear to be able to use an “Easy Hyper Combo,” which you would assume is just the normal Hyper Combo added to the end of any auto-combo. However, it appears as if players can trigger this without using an Auto-Combo. Perhaps players will be able to execute a hyper combo simply by pressing some combination of buttons without a joystick motion, like Marvel 2 and 3’s team hyper combo shortcut.

That’s all we have for you today. Did you notice anything in the new Marvel VS. Capcom Infinite gameplay trailer that we didn’t? If so, let us know in the comments!