MultiVersus review: Better than Smash Bros?

Hey, and we’re back with another new game, and today, I will be doing MultiVersus review  Now, this is just a quick review, as I have been playing it for a couple of days now.

So, what this is, it’s a free-to-play action fighting game based on Warner Bros. properties, you know, from old Looney Tunes to DC characters to “Game of Thrones” and “Adventure Time,” and LeBron.

MultiVersus Review

This is a two-dimensional chaotic battler with free-for-all and team modes and all kinds of wacky moves and taunts, and yeah, it is a “Super Smash Bros.” type of thing, but with Warner Bros.’s portfolio.

And gameplay-wise, I don’t quite know if I love it yet, but it ain’t half bad, at least after diving in casually for a few days.

It’s free to play, though,  And it is technically an open beta, so a lot comes with that, specifically the free-to-play stuff. If you don’t like that model, it is very much here, and it’s gonna get in the way of some of the fun, depending on your preferences.

With it being in open beta, the game is clearly unfinished in spots at the moment with a pretty small roster of just a couple of fighters, five stages, and only three different game modes to choose from.

But when it comes to a fighting game, The thing that matters most is the core fighting, and from what we’ve seen so far, all of that seems somewhat promising.

Now, unfortunately, when you start up and jump in, you’re forced to make a Warner Bros. Account, but from there, of the total characters in the game right now, you can start playing as five.

Characters

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There’s Superman, Finn from “Adventure Time,” Garnet from “Steven Universe,” and Reindog, who’s an original character from this game’s universe, from the developers, and Wonder Woman, Who you unlock after playing the tutorial.

Then, for the rest of the game, there’s Batman, Taz, Finn, Arya Stark, Harley Quinn, LeBron James, ’cause he was in “Space Jam,” the Iron Giant, Steven Universe, Velma, Bugs Bunny, and Tom and Jerry as a group, kind of like the “Duck Hunt” dog.

Now, to get these guys, you’ll have to either earn gold from playing matches or spend the in-game currency called Gleamium to unlock them.

At first, you’ll be rolling in the gold, So it’s not too hard to unlock your first character or two, but as usual with these games, we’re a little skeptical.

The gold spigot might slow down after a while. You know, it’s not as bad as many other free-to-play games we’ve seen here, but it’s never great.

Upcoming Characters

Now, those are just the characters you can get now. They’ve already announced Rick and Morty are joining at some point, so it looks like the game is using everything from the Warner Bros. catalog.

And there is a lot of potentials there. If you were like me and you did sit through “Space Jam 2,” You know that Warner Bros. technically has a lot of stuff they can flex, and they have some exciting stuff deep in their vault, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else can come from this, especially over time.

Now, while your starting selection is pretty limited, one nice feature is that you can use any character you want in the Lab, which is basically the game’s practice mode arena.

So if you want to see what a character can do before committing to them, you’re able to do so. That freedom of choice is kind of good.

Now, there’s a lot of charm in the character animations, the voice acting, and the soundtrack of the game.

They really deserve props for preserving some cool, classic cartoon stuff that I strongly feel is dying out. It’s nice to see it represented properly here.

Maps

Unfortunately, where do I drop off the maps? As we said, there aren’t many right now. Again, the beta, but still, the ones we do have are pretty lame and super disappointing from a layout standpoint.

They all feel pretty close to the same. But also from a creativity standpoint. Now, the Batcave is fine. Of course, it’s got the Batman music.

That’s cool. The haunted house is quirky but really cramped. And the rest, I just completely forgot. They’re that dull.

That’s really one of my bigger cons. Gameplay-wise, it plays pretty much how you’d expect.

MultiVersus review: Game Mechanics

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There’s a button for attacking, which is generally basic and can change, depending on what direction you press on the D-pad, and a special attack button, which can also change, depending on whether you’re pressing up, down, Horizontal, or neutral, a jump button, and a dodge button. Now, combat starts simple.

Game Modes

It’s easy to understand, and it works. The amount of modes on offer is pretty small, with just three main options: 1v1, 2v2, and co-op versus AI, with 2v2 being the way the game is clearly designed or meant to be played.

A lot of the game’s mechanics seem built around the 2v2, which while limited in terms of variety, does at least give this game its own kind of thing.

Characters are all pretty out there, though. They can do a lot of weird things You need to kind of experiment with, slowly season players with salt and pepper to turn them into chicken or pull out random throwable gadgets, or more weird stuff I won’t spoil.

Attack Modes

Now, many attacks for many characters have an optional charged wind-up, like a punch, but hold that punch to charge it up and do a bigger hit.

A lot of this feels really satisfying, especially when you couple it with some of the more unique special attacks.

There’s a lot of emphasis on the dodging, too. There’s a neutral dodge, dodges to the side, or dodges in the air, and it leads to a great kind of give and takes here and there, especially during 1v1.

Now, in a way, some people I think can argue that it’s all somewhat simplified compared to what you get in “Smash,” but right away, the combat does feel satisfying and chunky, really, but still responsive in good ways, depending on who you’re playing as.

I don’t know if it’s the most perfect thing in the world. Sometimes it manages to feel a little stiff In certain instances, but otherwise pretty damn good and not cheap feeling.

Now, of course, instead of having lived, the standard match just has whichever team knocks out two opponents first wins.

Damage Mechanics

Damage works basically the same as “Smash Bros.” where hitting someone causes a number to build up over that character, and the higher the number, the more they get knocked back from attacks, and the more likely they are to get knocked off a ledge or into the edge of the map, which counts as a knockout.

Along with that, there are a lot more status effects You can build up on characters as I mentioned earlier, turning them into chicken or freezing them, enraging characters, and slowing them down. There’s a lot going on.

Character Classes

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Now, another kind of different feeling thing here, characters actually have different classes in this. So there’s the Bruiser, which is your basic combat-focused class, the Tank, who usually has some kind of ability to grant armor to allies and themselves, Assassins, who are fast and do good damage but take more damage as a result, And Support, which is usually a little more complex and can grant different buffs and de-buffs, and they usually have some other beneficial moves like Reindog’s ability to rescue allies from a deadly fall.

And there are a couple of characters that are just really kind of based on casting and creating throw balls and gadgets. Now, yes, as I said, some characters with certain abilities or gadgets can link and pull teammates.

So while sometimes, you can tether yourself to an enemy and yank yourself towards them, some characters, And if you have a high enough skill level and you don’t suck, you can actually whip your teammates back to you, which is great for, say, jumping far out to kick a character off the screen and then have your teammate pull you back to safety because your second jump doesn’t quite make it.

And I’m not gonna lie. That’s pretty cool. The game shows it to you right in the tutorial, and you might not be pulling it off left and right, but it is a slick addition.

Now, there is another aspect where teamwork comes into play. If both players have the same perk equipped, Then that perk gets boosted, and it’s better for both players.

It’s one of those things that are there just to get players to work together, but if you’re too low-level with a character and don’t have the necessary perks unlocked, then you’re at an obvious disadvantage.

The emphasis on teamwork is a nice move, though. Even if the meta is still developing, the nuances might help it really stand out as a good 2v2 thing.

Pretty much every character has something else to them that makes them more interesting. There’s more depth to these guys than you’d expect, and it’s pretty much essential to take some time and get into the Lab to fully understand them all.

Perks

Oh yeah. So I did mention perks. So speaking of perks, if there’s one aspect of the game we’re not too sure about, it’s the progression system.

Every character starts off at zero and as you rank them up, you unlock perks, which you can equip before a match.

These give you bonuses like increased damage on specific attacks, additional defense, and other improvements, you know, perk stuff.

They’re basically flat upgrades. And while some of them don’t make a huge difference in battle, some of these things are character-specific and pretty big, and I’m pretty sure some of these will be considered absolutely essential if you’re playing and you really care.

How to unlock characters in MultiVersus

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Now, unlocking characters, as we said, isn’t too difficult as long as you dedicate some time to it. But let’s talk about the rest of the free-to-play elements. For one thing, while the game is free, you can get a few different Founder’s Editions right now.

One is 40 bucks, the second is 60 bucks, And the most expensive one is 100. Now, these are, the first one’s pretty weak.

It gives you a banner, character tickets, and 300 of the currency Gleamium, which isn’t even enough to unlock one character.

They’re really only giving you enough to unlock the pre-season pass, not a full character, and it’s not even the full-season pass thing.

The $60 option gets you a lot more, but it’s still a lot to ask for considering what you’re actually getting. You only get 1,000 Gleamium, It’s still kind of crummy, Considering that it only amounts to 10 bucks worth of stuff.

Gleamium prices break down

And here’s how Gleamium prices break down. You get 450 for five bucks, you get 1,000 for 10, 2,200 for 20, and 6,000 for 50. It’s a standard pricing scheme.

At least you can unlock characters with in-game currency, but if you want most of the alternate costumes and stuff, that’s gonna cost you.

Now, according to an article from Video Games Chronicle, it costs around 250 bucks to get everything in the game that can’t be unlocked with gold, which is a lot better than something like “Diablo Immortal,” Sure, but it isn’t great.

If you want to just unlock all the characters without grinding for gold, then that’s expensive, too: 70 bucks just to unlock everyone that’s in the game currently.

Now, I know it’s not a fair comparison but there are tons and tons of fighters in the original roster for “Smash Ultimate,” and that was 60 bucks retail.

Again, apples and oranges, comparing full-price to free-to-play ones, but this stuff is aggressive, and it just makes us wish That “MultiVersus” was a game you could just go out and buy, instead of it being free to play.

Every time I talk about this stuff, like all the stuff I just explained to you, how it’s all broken down, my eyes glaze over. I hate this stuff.

It’s intentionally convoluted. It clutters the in-game interface. It’s absolutely ugly when you fire up the game.

All of it just kind of aggravates me. I’m not a rage gamer, but I’m not into this stuff. I don’t want to give them any money for this. Now, if you can get past all that Or you just don’t care about the free-to-play aspect, then there is a lot to like here.

Conclusion: MultiVersus Review

The most important thing, at the end of the day, is the fighting, and that’s solid. Online play, the net code, everything so far has also seemed to be pretty great.

Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more modes, characters, and especially stages, man, to really round things out.

If the player base manages to hold even a fraction of the numbers it has now because the game has been blowing up a lot…

We’ve seen it on Twitch, really popping off everywhere, if it does continue to hold that momentum, we expect to see it stick around, at least for some people, for quite a long time.

But who knows where it’s gonna go? You never know what this stuff is, how players take to it, how the meta takes to it.

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