Fighting games should not be designed for players like me, yet in 2017, developers like Netherrealm went out of their way to make sure that they were. Fighting games were born in the arcade where two opponents would stand shoulder-to-shoulder determining who would have to put in a quarter to continue playing and who could keep going until they were bested. As arcades died, the arena moved to the living room and eventually online over services like PSN and XBLA until we are where we are today where games like Street Fighter V are played in tournaments where money is at stake that are sometimes even broadcasted on TV. This is just a way of saying that for people like myself who are terrified to play online and are not competitive by nature should maybe not even bother picking up a fighting game to look at the back of the box at a store. But at the same time games like Injustice 2 with its superb story mode, arcade mode complete with endings for each character and constantly rotating events are making it such that even those who don’t have the time to learn frames of animation and character hit boxes can join in on the fun.
One fighter that didn’t live up to the hype last year was Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, for while it’s the most friendly the MvC games have been since the PSOne and Dreamcast era, it wasn’t nearly as feature rich as its DC Comics themed competition nor Bandai Namco’s Tekken 7. For the first time in franchise history Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite came with a story mode for better of for worse, but it only lasts around a handful of hours and if you’re not one who wants to then jump online, all your left to really do is play through the game’s arcade mode. That’s still not really overly compelling as there’s no character specific endings to unlock, just alternate color schemes to be earned for whoever you picked to be on your team. Though of course Capcom will not officially come out and say it, reports have come out such as one from journalist Liam Robertson that Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite suffered from a severe lack of budget; Liam reported it to be around half of the amount allocated for Street Fighter V’s DLC. Problems with under funding were evident to even those not intimately following MvC: I when the demo came out during E3 2017 last year with some not great looking character models. Just because Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite has had a rocky start though doesn’t mean it cannot be saved, and nothing is as evident of that as another Capcom fighter that similarly failed to launch like it should have: Street Fighter V.
When Street Fighter V launched in early 2016, it was still a contender in the fighting game scene but it got a lot of negative press for not having things like an arcade or story mode to play through. While the game was I’m sure great for those who couldn’t be bothered with such things and wanted to hop online, the same couldn’t be said for well, people like me. I’m a casual Street Fighter fan who has enjoyed playing a round or two with friends on a similar playing field and at least from the form in which it debuted in, Street Fighter V clearly wasn’t meant for me. Since its release however, Capcom has done a lot to fix Street Fighter V, adding in things like a story mode and more recently, a new SKU of the game dubbed Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. It’s this latest take on Capcom venerable franchise that gives me hope that Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite can be elevated up to the competition and make people take a second look at it.
At a price of $49.99 CAD, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition gives you everything that has been added to the game up to this point: All the DLC characters, the story mode and what makes up the “arcade” in Arcade Edition in a series of small tournament modes ingeniously divided up. You can choose to play arcade modes in one of six eras of Street Fighter: the original game, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter Alpha and of course, Street Fighter V. Within each era you can only select from characters that were in that game, so for example a new character like Rashid won’t be found within Street Fighter Alpha’s available roster, but someone like Ryu who has been featured in every single Street Fighter can be played in each mode. Completing each arcade bracket provides a character specific ending for whatever game you selected: Ken’s ending for Street Fighter Alpha is different from his Street Fighter IV ending for example. The endings are just one page of still art with a few lines of dialogue and far from the cut-scenes found in the Tekken games but it’s at least something.
What’s great about Arcade Edition is that it’s a new game, but it isn’t really. Because Capcom knows that a lot of people already bought Street Fighter V and wouldn’t want to double-dip on the game, what’s new in Arcade Edition is added a free update to existing players. Though it has a new package and disc label, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is really just vanilla Street Fighter V: the launch icon on the PS4 is what it was originally for Street Fighter V; the extra characters need to be downloaded need to be redeemed via a code that’s in the package, even the story mode needs to downloaded from PSN so essentially what you’re getting is just Street Fighter V and the means to play catch-up.
Now imagine that, just in Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. Call it Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite II Turbo Edition or what have you, but having Arcade Edition’s brackets and endings would be something to get casual fans more interested in Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. I bought the deluxe edition of Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite the day it came out and it’s a purchase I don’t regret. I’ve said multiple times that Infinite as a fighting game feels great, but I don’t find myself playing it that much, even though I really want to, because there just isn’t that much to do in it for me. Playing through the arcade mode that’s already present is okay, but the reward of just new colors for my characters doesn’t really do it for me so it sits on my shelf of games being unplayed. Add in some endings though, however elaborate you want to make them, and it will easily find itself back into the disc tray of my PS4.
The Marvel Vs. Capcom series is no stranger to having simple endings, and it’s something that Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite sorely needs. Similarly dividing the eras of Marvel Vs. Capcom in the way that Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition does would both add extra replay value and celebrate the history of the Marvel Vs. Capcom series. Capcom doesn’t need to add the likes of Onslaught, Abyss and Galactus into Infinite (though, admittedly, that would be pretty cool), but simply just have conclusions for each era that reflect the original Marvel Vs. Capcom, 2, etc. Going through Infinite’s roster (including DLC) and replacing X for the original Mega Man and you’ve got 9 characters from the first MvC in Infinite: Spider-Man, Venom, Hulk, Captain America, Strider, Ryu, Chun-Li, Mega Man, Morrigan and if you want to, add Iron Man with a different color as that’s all War Machine was in the first Marvel Vs. Capcom and you’ve got a bracket of five matches. This is on part with the lowest tier in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, that of the original Street Fighter. A lot of MvC:I’s roster returns from Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and its Ultimate Edition and those who were in MvC 2 are holdovers from the first game in the series with the addition of Thanos.
Barely two months after launch, rumors began circulating that Capcom was planning future updates to help Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite’s image including adding characters from the X-Men camp (something that’s more than likely a possibility given that Disney is in the process of acquiring Fox’s film assets) and while that will do a lot to bring people back to Infinite, it still needs more than just new characters. For those who play solely online, new characters are great, but in order to compete with the likes of Injustice 2 and Tekken 7, Capcom needs to give players who play offline more to do. For that, they need to look no further than the just released Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, which is the version of that game that I, someone who doesn’t play fighting games competitively, threw my limited gaming budget at.