MultiVersus lets us kick left and right with our favourite Warner characters
We've spent a couple of days fighting in the closed Alpha and now we're ready to share our impressions.
The fighting game genre is one of the most demanding ones. While players have to be precise when executing the movements and hits during combat, developers must offer a good power balance between every playable character available. That's why I can't even imagine how Players First Games has created their new title MultiVersus, but one thing is clear to me: the game is awfully fun (but don't take it too seriously).
MultiVersus is a brawler fighting game (where up to four fighters battle each other to launch the rest off the stage) where we will control some of the most iconic characters under the Warner Bros. hallmark. The selection couldn't be more varied: we have Arya Stark representing Game of Thrones, with her loyal Needle in her hands. DC brings us Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Harley Quinn. Cartoon Network contributes to the fighter group with the incorporation of Shaggy and Velma from Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry (which fight as one), Jake and Finn from Adventure Time, and Garnet and Steven from Steven's Universe. The Looney Tunes have also sent Bugs Bunny and Taz the Tasmanian Devil, as representatives. Finally, MultiVersus has introduced its first original fighter, Reindog, a quite adorable half dog half deer creature, which however has its violent side.
With such a mix of styles and characters it's quite difficult to get an idea of how it will work before taking the controller. I had some doubts about Shaggy and Velma, characters clearly not aggressive in their original universe (they were even cowards for me), but this image quickly dissolves when the tutorial starts and you have to use as a trial subject Scooby's inseparable friend. In the practice session you learn the characters' basic controls, as all share a similar set: a standard attack and a special one that could modify the damage and break the rival's defence depending on where you attack them. An attack with an R button (using a controller) moves the rival but doesn't do a lot of damage, and a button for doing combo attacks in the team duels.
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This last part was the one that caught my attention the most, as it means a change that could completely modify the individualistic perception adopted when participating in the brawler, and it is an innovative aspect that will take time for the players to internalise. This is obvious as during this closed alpha version I couldn't pair up with an ally to perform the combo, but we rather faced the enemy fighters individually. The combo attack should be done with a little synchronisation, but the chaotic nature of this genre and the lack of communication between partners makes it quite difficult for the moment. Maybe adding any kind of sign or gesture to tell your partner to get ready could be a solution to be implemented in the beta version.
Another aspect to highlight is that, the more you learn to control a character and win battles with it, the stronger it will become. That's possible thanks to a level progression system that allows you to unlock abilities you could equip yourself with (or not) to obtain passive skills. For example, Steven Universe can be equipped with an upgrade making the enemies' damage counter become higher when they fall from a platform to the ground or when they hit a wall. Other skills increase the defence of team members, and if both team fighters are equipped with the same ability, they can unlock an additional passive that doesn't work individually. You could also unlock skins for your character, but it seems that this part will be reserved for the launch service.
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Being Free to Play, it is normal that some parts of its content haven't been revealed yet. For now, there are only 4 fighting scenarios that are really different from each other (the Batcave, Adventure Time's Tree Fort, Scooby-Doo's haunted house and Trophy's E.DG.E.'s 2, set at Wonder Woman's home island). There are also different variants of them, with more or less platforms for the characters to move.
MultiVersus is a fun game, but it doesn't seem to dare to look in the eyes of the giant of the genre Super Smash Bros: Ultimate. But maybe thanks to that and to the novelties it plans to bring to the genre, it could be able to find its place in the fighting games scene. That doesn't tarnish the fact that MultiVersus' main goal is widely fulfilled. The game is entertaining and pretty crazy, with characters jumping and kicking left and right at a frantic pace as they try not to fall while smashing combo buttons.
I've enjoyed fighting with Harley Quinn, to the point that I've won several times with her, and I can only wonder who the new fighters will be. Maybe they have a good look at their intellectual properties and give us some surprises. How well could Buffy The Vampire Slayer manage against Bugs Bunny? It may be crazy, but all is possible in MultiVersus.