There have been many challengers who have challenged the master of the multiplayer fighting game or Platform Fighter over the years. In 2022, a new competitor enters the arena with a cast from the Warner Bros. universe. and a Free to Play formula. Can MultiVersus dethrone Super Smash Bros?
Warner Bros. Multiverse
Fighting games rarely shine with their script. The franchises Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Guilty Gear are all exceptions that confirm the rule, but in general the video game fight struggles to offer scripted campaigns worthy of the name. MultiVersus, aware of this, made a radical choice… to purely and simply abandon this aspect to focus 100% on a multiplayer experience that is both competitive and cooperative. The game developed by Player First Games still offers a context, in the absence of a real “lore” to justify the presence of all these fictional characters.
For a mysterious reason that will remain so, several iconic figures from the main licenses of Warner Bros. are invited to compete after being transported to common arenas. Nothing more comes to enrich a multiverse serving above all as justification for fierce combat. MultiVersus literally offers itself an intergenerational cast for its launch with no less than 17 fighters including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn (DC Comics), Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, and Taz (Looney Tunes), Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), Sammy and Vera (Scooby-Doo), Garnet and Steven (Steven Universe), Finn the Human and Jake the Dog (Adventure Time), The Iron Giant and finally Lebron James version Space Jam. Player Fist Games even imagined an original character named Chien-Reindeer. Note that two other fighters will arrive during the month of August… Rick and Morty from the eponymous series.
The clashes necessarily take place in the iconic places of the various sagas mentioned above. During the Open Beta, 7 arenas are available, starting with the Batcave, the Haunted Scooby Mansion, the TROPHY ROOM, the Lab, the House Tree, etc. Warner Bros. does not do things by halves and relies above all on fan service to please the different communities. The actress Maisie Williams thus lends her voice to the character of Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), and the same goes for Kevin Conroy, interpreter of the Dark Knight in the legendary animated series Batman: The Animated Series of 1992.
Ensuring that the entire roster is perfectly represented within a common artistic direction is not easy. The artists of the Player First Games studios nevertheless manage to merge all the franchises by offering extremely neat “3D cartoon” visuals that highlight the specificities of the fighters. These icons of pop culture are thus honored and enjoy for some a second youth, which should delight fans. Then MultiVersus remains fluid in all circumstances, regardless of the machine, which is essential for a fighting game.
The art of versus
MultiVersus is a multiplayer fighting game heavily inspired by the master… Super Smash Bros. Player First Games studios have taken over the formula of the perfect Platform Fighter and kept its essence. The concept is as simple as it is effective. Several players compete in a 2D arena and seek to eject from it by increasing the damage gauge which facilitates ejection. The game from Warner Bros. however, tries to stand out from the competition by making some adjustments and novelties without ever touching the main principles inherent in this sub-genre.
The regulars will not be very disoriented by the game mechanics which assimilate very quickly in order to make the gameplay accessible to as many people as possible. It emerges from the fights an immediate fun made of chained attacks, dodges and calculated risk-taking. MultiVersus relies mainly on nervous games, sometimes chaotic, and a cooperative dimension to seduce players. Cooperation is central here, and can make the difference between victory and defeat at a high level. All the characters, with a fairly small number of moves, are thus designed to create synergies with the others, which changes the approach to combat by encouraging players to be strategic.
Although deprived of a scripted campaign, MultiVersus offers several game modes, all online, to satisfy fight lovers. Cooperation is unsurprisingly highlighted with 2v2 and Coop vs AI, to which are added the timeless 1v1 and Everyone for Yourself intended for purists as well as the Lab which serves as a training area. The only Solo option is to face bots in the modes mentioned above. The latest Warner Bros. production. also has the same local multiplayer modes for 2 to 4 players, with the exception of Coop vs IA, which will speak to lovers of versus between friends.
Good news never comes alone, MultiVersus is cross play and cross save. It is therefore possible to face PC, PlayStation and Xbox players without distinction, and to transfer your progress from one machine to another. Fortunately, moreover, because the Light-RPG dimension integrated by the developers pushes to play with a particular character in order to increase his level of mastery and thus unlock passive bonuses called Assets. Having to “farm” this increase in power on each machine was simply unthinkable and Warner Bros. understood it well. However, it must be recognized that these abilities give their users a definite advantage once in the arena without ever becoming prohibitive. Players also earn XP, and therefore levels, with the sole purpose of unlocking cosmetic rewards and virtual currency.
Free to fight
MultiVersus is a Free to Play, understand here that the game published by Warner Bros. is available for free. Nevertheless, this business model involves in-app purchases and an entire environment that encourages spending. Two virtual currencies – Gold and Gleamium – allow you to obtain character choices, Assets or even XP boosts in order to unlock characters more quickly and even to buy the Battle Pass for the current period. Note that the fighters made available for free undergo a weekly rotation every Tuesday. An available character may therefore be inaccessible later, unless you have already “purchased” it.
A great classic of modern Free to Play, the Battle Pass invites players to complete a long series of “level” challenges in order to cross the different levels one by one (50 in number). The end goal comes down to earning rewards, often cosmetic, with the Holy Grail being new variants for fighters. There are actually two Battle Passes with their own rewards… one free and another Premium and therefore paying which offers much more interesting items and above all new skins. All these features will speak above all to players who want to unlock everything in order to enjoy 100% of MultiVersus. However, the experience concocted by Player First Games is pleasant without even paying a penny. The Free to Play approach allows anyone to try their hand at fighting games…a philosophy that should be welcomed.
- The artistic direction “Cartoon 3D”
- Nervous, fun and accessible fights
- Cooperation at the heart of the gameplay (except in 1v1)
- Online and local game modes (1v1, 2v2, Everyone for Yourself, Co-op vs AI)
- The varied roster of fighters drawn from Warner Bros. franchises.
- The voices of the original actors (Batman and Arya Stark – only in English)
- A cross play and cross save game
- Optional in-app purchases
- Sometimes messy clashes
- The lack of a true Solo mode
- A cast still too limited (17 – end of July 2022)
- The “Assets” likely to unbalance matchmaking
MultiVersus, currently in Beta but already available, enters the ring with a gameplay accessible to all, a bit technical and immediately fun. It provides the show with its five-star cast and colorful artistic direction. The number of characters is still low and the clashes are sometimes rough, yet this does not prevent the title of Player First Games from doing well. The Free to Play economic model could well put off some fighting game aficionados while by being a ready-made gateway for neophytes wishing to discover the genre.
Give your opinion on the game!