There are many challengers who challenged Super Smash Bros on his land, without ever managing to dethrone him. MultiVersus arrives with its shimmering licenses stamped with the seal of Warner Bros. and its Free to Play model. Can this multiplayer fighting game overshadow the master of the genre?
A scenario in a fighting game? The idea may seem absurd, even totally irrelevant, yet some studios have made it their specialty. NetherRealm with Mortal Kombat, Bandai Namco with Tekken or even Arc System Works with Guilty Gear have managed to build a scripted campaign worthy of interest and above all fun to explore. Player Fist Games studios have taken a diametrically opposite direction. MultiVersus has no narrative mode, or even no single player mode… or almost. The presence of Looney Tunes, but also members of the Justice League, is never justified. What’s the point, you say? You would probably be right.
To put it simply, the lore of MultiVersus, if we can talk about lore, can be summed up in… the biggest stars of the Warner Bros. catalog. are teleported in spite of themselves into closed arenas to put themselves on their faces in joy and good humor. Intrigue lovers will find it “too” light, it’s a fact, but this starting point goes to the essentials, and doesn’t bother with any embellishment… which is not to displease us. Then the American publisher is trying to seduce fans of Game of Thrones, but also of the Dark Knight, and could well achieve this by integrating several voices of the original actors. Maisie Williams is reprising the role that made her famous… Arya Stark… by lending her voice. The same goes for Kevin Conroy. This dubbing actor known for his performance in the 1992 anime Batman: The Animated Series becomes Gotham’s vigilante once again for this crossover Warner Bros.
It is never easy to take licenses as varied and disparate as Game of Thrones, DC Comics, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo or even Steven Universe and integrate them into a single game. In terms of graphics, it can quickly become a real headache. It is enough to mention Jump Force, which had offered itself for the occasion of renowned sagas such as Bleach, Dragon ball, One Piece, Naruto and My Hero Academia, and its semi-realistic visuals to revive some painful memories among fans. of manga. However, in the case of Jump Force, the works cited were aesthetically close enough to find a compromise without having to reinvent everything.
MultiVersus has the luxury of redefining the character designs of the entire cast – or almost – in order to obtain a visual unity that is as surprising as it is satisfying. The artistic direction “Cartoon 3D” imagined by the artists of Player First Games highlights the different fighters, preserves their specificities and skilfully underlines their differences. Thus, pop-culture icons such as Batman, Bugs Bunny, Arya Stark and The Iron Giant can rub shoulders without it clashing on the screen. A great feat on the part of the studios that should be duly welcomed.
From a purely technical point of view, the title of Warner Bros. assures. Whether on PC, new consoles, but also old generations, MultiVersus runs smoothly and guarantees fluidity at all times…which for a fighting game is a sine qua non to get the most out of the experience. Furthermore, matchmaking works damn well, and quickly find players of your level. It does not take more than ten seconds on average to start a new game. The netcode is also robust and holds up against the massive influx of players due to the opening of the Beta.
A fighting game is judged once the gloves are on and in the arena, and therefore on its fights. MultiVersus takes up the fundamentals put in place and refined by the Super Smash Bros. saga. It retains the Platform Fighter rules as well as the main game mechanics, but tries to stand out from the competition. Let’s go back a bit, especially for the uninitiated, to the principle of this sub-genre of fighting. Several players, here from 2 to 4, compete in closed 2D arenas and seek to eject the others by inflicting damage. The more damage accumulates, the easier the ejection.
MultiVersus ultimately turns out more accessible than its illustrious model, and this from the first rounds, by reducing the range of moves available per character. Even better, the fights are immediately fun, nervous without sacrificing the technical dimension so dear to seasoned players, but remain a bit messy. The Player First Games title relies on its cooperative dimension to make a name. Teamwork is at the heart of an experience designed to create synergies between the different fighters available. Between rescue, renewed life and temporary boosts, each member of the roster has specific “moves” likely to help the partner.
MultiVersus also seeks to retain players with an “RPG” overlay. We are talking here about a progression system for the player as well as for each character. Fighting and completing various objectives earns you XP and levels up. Members of the roster thus unlock cosmetic items as well as Perks. These are passive bonuses that improve their attributes sometimes at the risk of unbalancing the clashes, even if in fact the game remains pleasant. As far as players are concerned, leveling up their profile results in monetary and cosmetic rewards. Patience, we will dissect the economic model in a few minutes.
How to compete with a competitor who lines up no less than 89 fighters? And yes, of course I mean Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Warner Bros. has many characters in stock, all from strong licenses, and could hold a candle to the master of the genre, provided you work hard. During this Open Beta phase, only 17 fighters make up the MultiVersus roster, but have their own style and 100% unique attacks. We must also recognize the diversity of this cast which should delight young and old. The varied roster of fighters drawn from Warner Bros. franchises. draws from multiple universes ranging from DC to Looney Tunes via Games of Thrones, Scooby-Doo, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Iron Giant and Space Jam.
Players can choose from Batman, Harley Quinn, Superman, Wonder Woman, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Taz, Arya Stark, Sammy, Vera, Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, Garnet, Steven Universe, The Iron Giant, Lebron James and Chien-Renne. If you don’t know the last fighter mentioned, that’s normal. Chien-Renne is an original creation born from the imagination of the Player First Games studios. Certainly eclectic, the cast of MultiVersus is still too limited, and it’s not the skins, as classy as they are, that change the game. However, two new characters will enter the arena in August. This is Rick and Morty from the series of the same name. Then Warner Bros. would still have fighters in reserve. The 30 “character tickets” included in the Premium Founder’s Pack and allowing you to unlock the roster suggest that some nice surprises are to come in the coming months.
Between the Batcave, the haunted Mansion of Scooby-Doo, the TROPHY ROOM, the Lab or even the House Tree… level arenas, nothing to complain about. The 7 offered during the Open Beta change the approach to combat a bit with their destructible elements and their level designs which differ according to the chosen environment. Finally, and we would have guessed, MultiVersus focuses on multiplayer and more specifically online multiplayer. Level game modes, the title is therefore in the classic, but effective with its 1v1, Free for All, 2v2 and Co-op vs AI, available online. The first 3 are also playable locally with friends on the same machine, just to compete in joy and good humor.
MultiVersus therefore abandons the solo dimension which basically boils down to several tutorials, the Lab for training and a “versus IA” option, just to enjoy the various multiplayer modes alone. The absence of a real single player mode is to be deplored and could upset some players, but it must be recognized that the heart of the title is in its multiplayer. Warner Bros. teams. have also thought of integrating two often requested online features, namely Cross Play and Cross Save. MultiVersus allows the transfer of saves and allows confrontations between players from the PC, PlayStation and Xbox ecosystems.
The Free to Play approach of MultiVersus has caused much ink to flow and is the source of many questions, the main one being: Is MultiVersus Pay to Win? The answer is in one word. NOPE. Microtransactions are present in game, but are optional, except for unlockable fighters. The principle is simple. The more you play, the more you are rewarded. Players collect items and virtual currency to spend mainly to obtain new characters. In summary, you don’t have to put your hands in your pocket to enjoy the game of Player First Games, provided you have time to spend in the arenas. Only the rotation of fighters from week to week could annoy players, especially if your favorite character is locked overnight.
The Battle Pass is the heart of the MultiVersus business model. Players are invited to take on challenges, called here “seasonal levels”, and to climb the 50 levels of the Battle Pass with rewards as the key. Of course, there are two Battle Passes, one free and another Premium. The paid version comes with its share of more interesting items and above all new skins for your favorite characters. These fighter variants do not affect gameplay in any way and are purely cosmetic. Players cashing out one way or another make their life a little easier, but have no advantage once they get into the thick of the fray. MultiVersus is Free to Play which should open the doors of the Platform Fighter to as many people as possible hoping that fighting enthusiasts are not discouraged by the economic model.
MultiVersus hits hard and connects the Hits Combos without managing to knock out the competition. The title is solid on its support and fun from the first moments, but still lacks character in every sense of the word to win the champion’s belt.