By Miguel Acuna
Basketball fans have their March Madness, football fans have the Super Bowl, and soccer fans have the World Cup. For those who share the love of fighting games, we have the Evolution Championship Series.
At the Playstation Experience last year, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite was announced and many devotees of the series have been faithfully awaiting more information at this year’s Evo. What we got was both a triumph of what we can expect and a bit of letdown in the presentation. Being the biggest event for the fighting game community, it was guaranteed that more details about MVC:I would be announced. What wasn’t guaranteed was what additional information would be divulged. As the pre-order bonuses have been announced, a release date confirmed, and some DLC revealed, the focus shifted to what other characters would be joining the battle. Would we get a greatly missed fan favorite like Venom, guaranteed characters like Akuma or would we get more brand new characters? As the Ultimate MVC 3 Grand Finals concluded (Congratulations to Ryan LV!), two gods of the fighting game community came out for an exhibition match. Filipino Champ and Combo Fiend came out and it was evident that they would be showing off some gameplay for MVC: I. However, there was no introduction of a trailer or more of a formal lead up, instead, they went straight into the match. This was definitely unorthodox due to the fact that Evo is the place for new trailers and character debuts, but I do believe this change was worth it.
As the Guardians of the Galaxy are major players in the MCU, there was no way that we wouldn’t get more Guardians in MVC: I. It was only a matter of time before we got either Starlord or Gamora. We did get a glimpse of Gamora in the story mode trailer shown off at the PlayStation Experience last month, so she was the much more likely candidate. Sure enough, once Filipino Champ and Combo Fiend got settled and unpaused their exhibition match, we finally got to see Gamora in her full gameplay glory. The downside to this exhibition match style of an announcement, as opposed to full trailer, is that her actual gameplay was limited and we didn’t get to see many of her full meter super attacks. The character stayed true to the comic book roots and showed off her talents such as being adept at various weapons and her speed. Her main attacks are focused on Deadpool-like angled shooting from her guns and her “totally not a lightsaber” sword. Gamora also showed off her fighting technique and how quickly she goes back and forth from different weapons. She definitely has many different possibilities and may become a new fan favorite. Her design is a white and black space battle suit (similar to Mass Effect N7 Armor or the plug suits worn in Evangelion). The biggest downside to this reveal was the fact that it was live during an actual match, which meant a lot of tagging in and out and other moves (including her supers) get blocked or canceled out. This match further fueled the excitement for Gamora but it felt very rushed and didn’t give Gamora the attention she deserved.
After the first two matches were over, the crowd (and Filipino Champ) were surprised when Combo Fiend took us back to the player select screen. While Gamora was expected due to her previously mini-reveal, we were treated to the TRUE surprise of Jedah as a new combatant! Jedah first appeared in Darkstalkers 3 and has been a highly requested character for fans of the Darkstalker franchise. There’s been very little influence from Darkstalkers in any of the MVC games, so any characters are welcomed. The last time we saw Jedah was in Capcom Fighting Evolution in 2004 (just about 13 years ago). Jedah came out strong with a ton of his familiar attacks and distinct fighting style. Jedah also has speed but as a vampire-esque demon, he can summon his blood to create stabbing blades and alter his form. In MVC:I the “blood” attacks were now changed to more of a purple goop but his scythe and spinning blade attacks remained the same and looked gorgeous. The crowd (and Filipino Champ) went wild and no one could believe this highly unexpected surprise. Again, Jedah would have benefited the most from a full character reveal trailer as opposed to a live match but to me, it felt more like a tease to whet the appetite.
The biggest disappointment that fans suffer is when you see a character trailer for a fighting game, but the end result is NOTHING like the actual gameplay or final product. While a featured character trailer would have provided more information and a better breakdown of the character, as this was an in-game preview; both characters are much more likely to be exactly as we have seen at Evo. In either case, I’m much more excited for MVC:I than I was before, which is the point of these kinds of previews and trailers. If nothing else, the new characters leave the door wide open to see what else can be done with other highly requested characters. Gamora’s guns and sword gameplay definitely imply that Deadpool may make a return and Jedah’s blood and body manipulation are only a few steps away from Venom and other symbiotes joining the game. And if Venom returns, I will explode. Simply, explode. Or, just buy a ton more Venom merch, whichever comes first. To check out the full video, click here!
So until next time, and there will be a next time, here comes a new challenger!