MultiVersus Hands-On Preview (PS5) – If Shaggy teamed up with Harley Quinn, could they both take out Steven the Universe and Bugs Bunny? Or what if you put Batman and Velma together, and had them fight Wonder Woman and Jake, who would win there?
If these are the kinds of questions that nag at your brain, then MultiVersus may just be the platform fighter you’ve wanted all your life.
Developer Player First Games and publisher WB Games were kind enough to give PSU a chance to hear from the developers before getting to play the game ourselves MultiVersus a little early, ahead of the closed alpha.
In a genre that’s been dominated by one game franchise seemingly forever, MultiVersus has a real shot at being the one to break free, and offer something new to the community.
And that’s all because of teamwork. As they say, teamwork makes the dreamwork.
MultiVersus Hands-On Preview (PS5) – Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork
What’s Up Doc?
Seeing all these characters together, feels almost strange at times. In the kind of way that it feels insane to see them all together on screen, let alone see them punch each other into the sky.
But I imagine it is partially how players felt when the very first Super Smash Bros. was being marketed, and finally released. A strange feeling, for sure, but as we know it was just too fun for it to matter.
Thankfully, I’d say Multiversus is shaping up to be just that. I’ve already seen people moan online about how “cringe” it is to see some of these characters together, and I just don’t have that reaction.
Because I’m having fun playing it, and that’s enough. Adding Arya Stark wouldn’t have been my first thought, nor Iron Giant, but the cast of characters I’ve gotten a chance to play all stack up to be fun to play, at least in their own way.
What’s probably most impressive so far though is how much these characters don’t just feel like a bunch of IP’s thrown together to make a platform fighter.
Each character’s ability and fighting style is not only reminiscent of their origin, but characters have different classes, with skills to not just help pummel your opponent, but support your teammate.
It all works to make MultiVersus unique, while keeping the addition of new characters more exciting, as there’s a deep meta game laying in wait for players to swarm in and figure it out.
I will however say that the Iron Giant, who was teased to be coming in MultiVersus’ latest trailer, is my biggest hesitation to this as his whole thing is not wanting to fight.
There are characters in MultiVersus, like Velma, who fight without any kind of physical attacks. So maybe there’s a creative way to make Iron Giant fight without actually fighting? That might sound like an odd thought, but it weirdly feels possible, given the strong focus on working with a teammate.
Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork
Chiefly important about MultiVersus team emphasis, is that its the biggest differentiator from Smash Bros., which doesn’t feature any kind of team play to this extent. Wonder Woman can call upon a ring of shields to protect herself and her teammate.
Steven the Universe can hold a bubble shield for himself and his teammate at the cost of being immobile. Velma can reduce the cooldown time for hers and teammates abilities.
What I find to be the most impressive though, is Reindog’s ability to grab a teammate that’s falling out of the ring back into the action.
Being able to work together isn’t limited to one support character plus one offensive character. Superman, who’s classified as a “Tank” can use his ice breath to not only freeze or slow down enemies, but provide a nice set of solid ice fists over your teammates hands, to make their next punch extra crisp.
There are a lot of ways you can combine your characters attacks and abilities, and there are also plenty of positive side effects for your teammate for things you wouldn’t think about.
Like how Shaggy drops some Scooby Snacks that’ll take off some damage, the only catch being for whoever picks it up first, and hopefully that’s your teammate.
There’s a fine balance to MultiVersus that already shows a lot of promise, even in just a closed alpha. Though its not without issues.
A balance exists within the main 2v2 mode, but its in 1v1 where it cracks. There are characters who clearly stand out as more than just the obvious choice, but as an almost necessary choice if you want to consistently win.
An easy way to look at it is by picking any Bruiser class fighter, you’ll have a better chance in 1v1 matches than you would had you picked a Support character.
Your own skill level can be the difference here of course, as any player who has spent even a little bit of time with a Support character like Velma can put her kit to lethal use.
But even with that knowledge, it is very common to feel at a disadvantage when fighting against certain characters. Superman for instance does what his class infers, in that he can tank more than a few hits that would otherwise devastate the rest of the roster.
If you’re not already playing as someone of Superman’s build, able to cushion those heavy blows, you start to see cracks in the gameplay. I honestly think one of the best parts about platform fighters is when they’re balanced well, each character is a viable option for any scenario.
Once you lose that, the meta breaks, and players are funneled into using the same strategies, which doesn’t make for varied and exciting gameplay.
Characters perks that are unlocked through playing can help alleviate some of this, in that you can provide offensive or defensive boosts to characters, or be able to effect their ability cooldown time.
Some are specific to each character, though many can be used across the roster. Perks can definitely be useful, but in their current state the effect they have is rarely felt.
I should point out that this is just the closed alpha, and I may be getting ahead of myself with all this, considering this is a live service title that will be updated and tweaked over the course of its life.
But these are just my early impressions of playing the 1v1 mode, one of three modes available in which you fight against other players.
Full Of Potential
Even after just a few days of MultiVersus, playing against a limited number of players before the closed alpha opens to those outside of media invitees, it is crystal clear how loaded with potential this game is.
It’s definitely the most fun I’ve had with a platform fighter since Smash Bros. Ultimate, and while seeing this mishmash of characters was admittedly, jarring at first, they feel more like a strong foundational roster for a good fighting game, rather than just IP’s thrown together to sell copies.
The characters and arenas also look great, and a forward look on the battle pass shows that Player First Games is already having a lot of fun creating new skins for these classic silhouettes.
When MultiVersus was revealed, I have to say it made me laugh at how wild it sounded, especially considering how it leaked ahead of the official reveal.
Now having played it however, even just in an alpha state, the proof is in the pudding – any fan of platform fighters should have this on their radar.
Alpha code generously provided by publisher.