MultiVersus Review – A Punch Pack

Warner Bros. gave new studio Player First Games some of its most popular characters to carve out a place for itself in the IP-crossover-fighter genre dominated by Smash Bros. MultiVersus succeeds where others have failed, but it still has a long way to go.

Although LeBron James appears on the list thanks to his starring role in Space Jam: A New Legacy, the WB roster in MultiVersus doesn’t seem as gross as the roster in this movie. Each character is treated with reverence, creating a world where you end up not noticing the fact that Arya Stark from game of thrones stabs Bugs Bunny.

Tight Smash-like controls deftly convey the mighty, heavy Iron Giant as well as the fast, dimwitted Finn of adventure time. Just when I thought I had found my main character, I created another character and was always surprised at how unique and interesting they were to learn.

Although Free-For-All 1v1 and 4 player are included, it’s all built around 2v2 gameplay. Character classes tell traits at a glance and indicate how teams might gel. For example, Velma can hang back and cover herself in projectiles and buffs/debuffs, while Superman charges in to pound everyone. You can pair characters that enhance strengths and cover weaknesses, or just go all-in with two rushed characters; all options are feasible in the right hands.

The perk system plays directly into this area. Leveling up characters unlocks boosts to speed, dodge, jump, and more. It’s a good idea to match advantages with your partner for a stacking bonus. Superman and Velma both have ice attacks, for example, so you can combo to increase that debuff. Unique signature perks also showcase character strengths. Even in this early state, the team/perk combos are staggering and kept me constantly experimenting.

Despite the strength of the current core modes, the lack of variety needs to be addressed (and apparently soon will be with an arcade and ranked mode). The limited number of cards cover the standard size and layout requirements, but none of them match the creativity and detail of a good Smash Bros. level. It’s fine to fly enemies out of a Batmobile in the Batcave, but stages like a generic, empty coliseum and a grassy lot with a waterfall left me wanting more.

Online play is fantastic thanks to the restore netcode and a huge cross-platform player base. I never had to wait for matches or deal with delays. Reindog – a new character created for the game – has gone invisible several times, but that’s about the extent of my technical issues.

MultiVersus is free on almost all consoles and PCs, making it easy to access. However, it also triggers microtransaction anxieties. Fortunately, the fair economy offers a lot to players who don’t want to pay. Wonder Woman is free-to-play alongside a rotating roster of four characters. An early influx of gold pays for another character, so you’re settled with 6 out of 17 in the roster in no time. The remaining grind is much slower, but not too intimidating. And all characters are playable in a training area. Paid content is mostly limited to cosmetics, instant character unlocks, and the premium Battle Pass tier.

The current free and paid mini Battle Passes and daily quests have kept me busy throughout my time with MultiVersus. While I enjoyed unlocking content, the need to weed out repetitive bot matches to hit certain numbers in a reasonable amount of time can be tedious work. Completed Seasonal Objectives weren’t clear to me, so I had to dig through the menus and walk past a page of greyed-out items to constantly check my progress.

Living games have the potential to go in frustrating directions, but MultiVersus has a solid foundation. If it can deploy content in a meaningful way and smooth out its rough edges, it could become a new crossover obsession for years to come.

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Raymond I. Langston