Warner tries to get into fighting games with Multiversus, but he does so by imitating in his own way a series that is nothing short of consolidated as Super Smash Bros ..
Possible future evolutions of fighting games have been discussed for years. On paper, the genre would have all the credentials to break through the network and produce gigantic communities, but the general complexity of the mechanics, combined with a rather classic sales model, has always limited its exponents to more or less substantial niches, with a few rare exceptions capable of becoming a bat phenomenon.
To date, the primary discussion seems to focus on monetization: given that the vast majority of titles of this type now make use of season passes with extra characters to keep the community active and constantly renew the offer, there are not a few who consider it potentially beneficial. a passage to the structure free to play. On the other hand, eliminating the monetary barrier to entry and betting everything on updates and on obtaining the characters seems almost a natural step, mostly blocked by the weight of some historical names, however, still able to move the market (such as Tekken or Street Fighter), and by the justified distrust of titles with an internal shop of a good slice of gamers.
Various developers and publishers have predictably moved to experiment in this field, with Riot for example grappling with the promising Project L, and a number of smaller teams trying to get noticed without much luck. But now he is also trying Warner Bros. and not superficially. Thanks to its countless licenses, in fact, the entertainment giant has decided to pull Multiversus out of the hat: a fighting game with an exceptional roster, which boasts characters of the caliber of Batman, Bugs Bunny, Finn and Jake, Steven Universe and Shaggy .
The central idea? Not only allow anyone to play it for free, but also be inspired by one of the most successful series of fighting games ever: Super Smash Bros. We have tested in preview Multiversus and, in all honesty, we expected something much more derivative. We see.
A pure gold roster
As already mentioned above, the main strength of Multiversus lies in its roster of fighters, on the other hand, the licenses of Warner Bros. guarantee to field characters of enormous popularity. It is almost impossible that there is not (or will arrive in the future) at least one that is really interesting for this or that other player.
However, the various fighters are not just smoke and mirrors: the developers have tried to give each one a set of moves unique and iconic, with a marked diversification as much as that seen in the best characters of Smash Ultimate. Basically every choice belongs to some sort of subclass – tank for the most defensive, hitter for the most offensive, and others more peculiar as a healer or assassin – and follows the classic Smash directional move pattern, for both normal and special hits.
Unlike Sakurai’s titles, however, here every normal attack outside of multi-hit combo is loadable as a Smash attack, and many of the special moves require some rechargeable resources over time or with the activation of some skill. A Bugs Bunny expert will therefore have to decide when to use his Acme missiles (which return to the ground after being launched as a trap), where anyone who uses Batman will have to take into account the batarangs launched and the explosives used.
The uniqueness of the system does not depend only on these characteristics. Firstly, in fact, Multiversus is completely balanced around the clashes two against twocomplete with already named support classes designed primarily to offer upgrades to companions or give them an advantage in battle.
Apart from the more aggressive ones, almost every fighter then has at least one available “helping” ability, which allows him to offer bonuses to his partner, to catch him on the fly, or even to retrieve him while he is flying below (yes, the elimination of enemies is always based on the launch off the screen and on the percentages of damage). The fact that these abilities often don’t translate as well into one-on-one – while usually retaining utility of some kind – clearly leads to that modality being less exhilarating and refined.
The other feature of the game that markedly sets it apart from Smash is the impressive air mobility of the characters. Multiple maneuvers in the air can be used, including double dodges, jumps, and recovery or move moves one after the other, for overall agility far superior to that seen in the Nintendo series. According to the developers, the thing was calculated to avoid the frustration of falls after a move that went wrong, but at the same time it is a choice that makes battles much more chaotic on the sides of the arenas, because the only way to eliminate an opponent first of time is hitting it to perfection with a so-called spikethat is a move capable of throwing it down immediately without canceling of any kind.
All in all? The gameplay it amused us. The defense is entirely based on dodging, with times of invulnerability that progressively decrease and constant movements that make everything very adrenaline. The only thing that has not convinced us completely is the general management of the movement: Multiversus undoubtedly requires a good general command of the systems and a precise calculation of distances, yet at the same time the movements of the characters seemed drier and less intuitive to manage than to the fluid and technical movement of Smash Ultimate. However, we appreciate the fact that Warner has given his little boy a bit of personality without putting in a simple imitation.
Battle Pass, see you again
Also to technical level the game convinced us enough, even if it didn’t completely capture us from an artistic point of view. The legibility of the moves is after all excellent, the remarkable and accurate animations and the cartoonish style with very bright colors do nothing but help the eye to better follow the action (which is very useful in a title that focuses on a mode like the two against two, which is often not easy to keep up with). The stylized design of the characters, however, did not fully capture us and, although they marry very well with some of them – mainly the superheroes, who very closely resemble a modernization of their look in the cartoons that saw them as protagonists in the 90s – it does not appear. equally adequate to others. The arenas, in turn, do not boast who knows what personality and perhaps it would have been good to risk more in style.
Nothing to say about the netcode: the games made have always been very stable and fluid, and the rollback used by the game seemed to us to be of an excellent level (even if its solidity still needs to be tested with the masses of players of the first days of launch). Being a game focused almost only on competitive online, this is a very important factor to manage properly, and it is therefore a good thing that direct evidence has not disappointed us.
And the monetization? Well, it doesn’t look particularly predatory at the moment. There is an almost inevitable Battle Pass, which seems to be giving out rewards in a fairly honest way, and it starts with a handful of fighters that can be unlocked with the in-game currency without necessarily having to massacre games. Thus, to the eye, the gain seems therefore mostly linked to alternative costumes for the characters (very accurate, it must be said), and to the willingness of the players to immediately obtain any new entries without having to farm currency. A system that in all likelihood represents the most functional one for free to play of this type. Of course, a little more currency to level up wouldn’t hurt, and the fear of characters gradually becoming more and more difficult to unlock in the future is present, however it is useless to bandage your head ahead of time.
Featuring solid gameplay and less derivative than expected, Multiversus turned out to be a more fun fighting game than we expected, and backed up by a respectable netcode. Even with some mechanical elements unable to completely convince us, and a cooler and simplistic art direction than we would have liked, the title seems to have the potential to conquer a respectable community, as long as we do not give in excessively to the dark voices of monetization. predatory.
- Solid and fun gameplay, especially two-on-two
- Varied roster, with names that are nothing short of iconic
- Remarkable netcode
- The game is clearly not balanced around single encounters
- The movement does not fully convince us
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