MultiVersus Review: Fun Game, Cynical Pass

A game that should’ve just been $60 without the store. (code provided for review)

This was originally going to be a video review, but due a recent bout of Covid I won’t be doing any narrated content for the near future.

I wish MultiVersus wasn’t a free to play game. It’s not a bad game, hell it’s even pretty good. But after playing through it off and on since the open beta started I’ve been finding myself more burned out by the sheer cynicism of its presentation. Especially when I have games like Smash Ultimate to quench my thirst whenever I want to play a brawler game. Sure I can’t play as Steven Universe and beat the crap out of Super Man or utterly dunk on Garnet as LeBron (The Bron for you English speakers) James, but you know what else Smash Bros. doesn’t put me through? Everything else.

Let’s talk about the positives of MultiVersus before we get into the negatives. On a conceptual level, MultiVersus is a pretty cool idea. You have Warner Bros. flexing their massive pool of intellectual properties to bring together characters from various universes into one brawler. It’s a thing we’ve seen happy a dozen times before to varying levels of success, with Marvel Vs. Capcom on the higher end and PlayStation All Stars on the lower tier.

One way that MultiVersus really sets itself apart is in how diverse each character’s move set is and how they feel unique to that character. Tom and Jerry is one of the more complicated characters to play as, with many of the moves centered around the duo chasing each other around and harming the other player in the commotion. Characters are grouped into distinct classes including bruiser, tank, support, and mage, and their moves and stats are collected to match their status. Bruisers are better at full-on fighting and support do more to pull friendlies, buff teammates, debuff enemies, and work from the sidelines to an extent.

It’s truly impressive how charming and accurate each character’s movesets appear to match their personality and the shows that they come from. In many fighting games each character has a general set of shared basic punches and kicks that vary slightly from person to person, and you can mostly grab a new character and perform at a basic level. In MultiVersus every character has their own thing going on, their own expected style of play, and their own vastly differentiated movesets, proper strategies, and styles. Velma for example can collect evidence and eventually just call the cops on her enemies.

It’s not inaccurate for me to say that you’ll need to spend some time in the training room with each character or you’ll probably have no clue what you’re doing. The game also has mechanics to try and prevent move-spam by adding in attack decay where the more an attack is used it’ll decay and be less effective.

MultiVersus also makes the unique and, dare I say bold, attempt at cutting itself off from the pack by centering the game around the premiere 2v2 team mode. This is where team composition comes in hard and where many of you might be turned off of the game’s online multiplayer altogether. A properly mixed team with offense and defense can do a lot to shift the tide of battle, and arguably greatly widen the skill gap between new players and veterans over the already complicated nature of every character. Throw together a team of brawlers and a relatively skilled teamup of a brawler and a support might just be able to outlast you by sheer determination.

There does exist a 1v1 mode as well as a four player free for all, but those are vestigial and I don’t think Warner Bros. would try to convince anyone that it’s actually balanced for those modes. As a support character, Velma can theoretically go head to head against a Batman type solo, but given equal skills the bruiser is always going to have the upper-hand. It’s clear that those modes were put in as an afterthought, with the bulk of the goodness going into the 2v2, and you know what? It’s pretty fun.

MultiVersus lets you play online and, thankfully for me, in matches against bots. My only problem with the bot mode is that for the matches to count toward rewards, they have to be played online, and you aren’t able to choose your opponent or what their level is.

Okay now let’s get into the negatives. MultiVersus shouldn’t have been a free to play game, and it sucks the life out of you with its cynicism from the moment you really start getting into it. I’ve become jaded enough by the free to play MMO industry that $15 skins doesn’t really phase me anymore, and the abject nickel and diming for things like announcers and whatnot doesn’t really kill my vibe. Unlocking characters doesn’t take a massive time investment for each one.

I really hate MultiVersus’ battle pass. I’m mostly okay with battle passes at this point, although I’d like to see more developers adopt the policy that once you have a pass you have infinite amount of time to unlock the things on it like we’ve seen with Halo: Infinite and Dauntless. I’ve put more money than I’d like to think in buying Fortnite battle passes these past few years, and I still buy passes occasionally for games here and there.

The MultiVerse battle pass sucks, it got all the wrong lessons from Halo: Infinite’s pass by forcing you to complete slow, often asinine daily and seasonal challenges in order to unlock levels. You get six daily challenges and a set of seasonal challenges, and those seasonal challenges are random to each player so you might get an easy set or a difficult set by chance. The current battle pass is kind of a slog and it’s only fifteen levels, so I’m really not looking forward to how the game is going to be at a

MultiVersus is pretty darn fun, even if it takes a good amount of learnin’ to be proficient in. I’m going to be playing more of this to keep up to date with the battle pass stuff at least while I have the free tokens with the founders’ packs. As a free to play game, you literally have nothing to lose trying this out.

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