WB Games is looking to throw its hat into the fighting game crossover ring with MultiVersus, a platform fighter that brings properties like DC, Game of Thrones, and Cartoon Network together under one chaotic roof. Ahead of the launch later this year, WB invited us to play an early Closed Alpha for MultiVersus, where we got to go hands-on with different members of the roster and battle it out online.
MultiVersus follows the standard platform fighter model of having players trying to knock each other off-screen. Instead of trying to deplete stocks or survive a timer, players need to achieve a certain number of “Ringouts” in order to win a match. The spin here is that the game’s roster is composed of popular characters from the Warner Bros. pantheon. From Shaggy and Velma to Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and Jake the Dog, it’s a cast of characters that we don’t typically see in the gaming spotlight.
After spending several hours in the Closed Alpha, it was clear that there was a lot of detail to each and every character. In addition to a suite of neutral and special abilities, there are a lot of different combos to be strung together. I spent half of my time in “The Lab,” just figuring out the best combos to pull off with my favorite fighters.
Each fighter can be equipped with Perks that provide their team with a boost during matches. These are unlocked by playing as a character and progressing through their Mastery, which is effectively a mini Battle Pass. Perks include a boost to melee damage, a larger window for dodge invulnerability, and many others. While several Perks are exclusive to certain characters, there is a mechanic that lets you acquire and assign Perks learned by other members of the roster.
As a platform fighter that crosses over multiple entertainment properties, it’s easy to draw parallels between MultiVersus and the Smash Bros. franchise. However, MultiVerus is able to carve its own path in its 2v2 format. The game is designed to be played in that format, and it’s reflected in the different abilities each character has. For example, Wonder Woman’s ability to shield and lasso allies, or Reindog’s Power Crystal, which gives allies an electric buff.
Playing online, I would often coordinate my character selection after seeing who my teammate selected. It’s an extra layer of strategy dynamics that just aren’t really present in similar games. It also makes me excited to see how the competitive scene adapts to this and what metas come from the co-op aspect.
The Closed Alpha also gave me a glimpse at how Player First Games and WB are making the characters of MultiVersus feel true to their original selves. They’re all full voice-acted, usually by characters that portrayed them in past iterations. Beyond that, there are unique voice lines based on their interactions with other characters. After winning a game as Bugs Bunny alongside Wonder Woman, Bugs exclaimed “the Amazon lady always delivers!” Shaggy informed Harley Quinn that she’s a terrible doctor after she blasted him with her mallet.
MultiVersus classifies characters into one of four styles: Bruiser, Tank, Support, and Mage. As a Bruiser, Batman is best suited for up close physical combat. Tom and Jerry on the other hand is a two-in-one Mage character that can conjure up a variety of different traps and weapons. When building a team, it’s usually good not to double up on classes, as you can help it.
Although it’s built for 2v2, MultiVersus does feature a 1v1 mode. It’s incredibly intense, as players only need to score two Ringouts in order to win a match. After a game, players are given the option to rematch their competitor. If a rematch is initiated, the game automatically becomes a best-of-three set.
MultiVerus is shaping up to be a formidable entry in the platform fighting genre. With a roster of deep characters and robust 2v2 mode, I look forward to seeing how the full thing comes together when MultiVersus brings its free-to-play crossplay action later this year.
This preview is based on the MultiVersus Closed Alpha, provided by the publisher. MultiVersus is set for launch later this year as a free-to-play game for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, and PS5.
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, MultiVersus finds brilliance in its 2v2 format
Looks like it could be fun. How much do the unlockable perks mess with balance?
Saw a video that showed some of the perks. The one where it refreshes your jumps after you knock someone out seems really strong since you can recover after making an aggressive kill confirm off stage. Unlocking sounds pretty fast so I assume people will min/max the best perks per character pretty quickly.
I got in today and the game is fun played a couple random 1v1 and 2v2. I never really got technical with smash, but if my son likes the game I can see myself playing a bunch with him. Been using Jake and in random 2v2 at low level where nobody knows wtf and it's been a blast. For a closed alpha there's so many features, tutorials, advanced tutorials, training room, 1v1, 2v2, vs both humans and bots.
Also, the netcode is really good.
Perks feel like they're going to be a big factor. I wouldn't be surprised if the ranked mode scraps perks or something
Thank you for sharing!