I was recently invited to try out the Closed Alpha for MultiVersus and I have thoughts. Some are good and some are bad but for a Closed Alpha, I have to say I enjoyed myself.
The game has a stylised design. Everyone is recognisable but not everyone is given their usual animation style. For example, Arya Stark is a live-action character. This is, to my knowledge, the first time she has been seen in an animated fashion. Honestly, the style works for her and not only that she is voiced by Maisie Williams who made the character iconic.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone. The worst offender of this is the combo couple Tom and Jerry who are combined into one combatant. Their design is old fashioned and reminiscent of designs from the PlayStation 2 era. It clashes with the stylistic choices that come with the DC characters like The Trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman). Some of the other characters are also less vibrant. Steven from Steven Universe looks somewhat flat as does Garnet. It’s a shame because what makes these types of games so great is when the eccentricities of the characters shine through.
Some flash, not enough smash
MultiVersus is at its core unfortunately a poor man’s Smash Bros. This is not a surprise because everyone and their mother aim for that crown and the reigning king is Smash Bros. From PlayStation All-Stars to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl there are many attempts to take the throne. However, none of these games ever seem to feel like contenders. There is a certain mania to Smash Bros. A certain magic.
With mechanics that are eerily similar to Smash Bros. MultiVersus has set itself up, potentially, for failure. The combat is simple but easy to master with easy to punch in combos and the gameplay involves knocking out your opponents. There are also several modes to avail of:
- 1 vs 1 (A simple brawl between friends)
- Teams (Two pairs of combatants ripping each other new ones)
- Co-Op vs AI (Friendships are built here as you master moves against challenging AI)
- FFA (Free For All where you and your friends battle it out for supremacy)
There are also some interesting skins for some of the characters. Not only that there are items called Perks which allow you to strengthen your favourite character and to bolster the chances of your team. What does charm me is the roster. I love Shaggy. I am genuinely surprised that he is such a fun character to play as.
From the Batcave to a Haunted Mansion
The locations that you battle in are decent but they are nowhere near as innovative or interesting as they could be. The Batcave has some fun little bat-themed hazards and the Scooby-Doo haunted mansion is full of pitfalls to turn a battle upside down. It is not enough though in my opinion. They need more and they need to go wilder.
On the technical side, MultiVersus ran smoothly for the most part. I had two games crash possibly due to the crossplay. Within seconds though I was back into the action. I actually found the whole experience intense and enjoyable.
What I feel though is that Warner Bros. Games needs to bolster this roster with some seriously wild characters. Not only that they have to add more character to the whole aesthetic. I felt the design of the game is sorely lacking and if they do not up their game in these key aspects they will lose all the promised potential.