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Multiversus – Open Beta Reaction

If there was any company that could do a Super Smash Bros clone, it would be Warner Brothers. They have the variety and the history to pull it off. So the oddly named Multiversus should be a Space Jam-style slam dunk right?

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Like all free-to-play games, it’s not an easy question to answer. The game could be the best thing ever and if the monetization is wrong, then you’ll walk away from the experience feeling bitter. Unfortunately here, there are issues across both.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. If your attitude is “eh, it’s free, what the hell?” you’re probably the target audience here. And you’ll probably have a good time.

Unlocking Batman

If you’ve played Smash, or indeed any of the similar mascot brawler games, you’ll know more or less what to expect here. Familiar faces duking it out to knock each other off maps. Each character has their own special moves which you can use to gain the advantage, as well as normal attacks which generally don’t get much use.

It’s too early to talk specifically about balance issues, although there are a few glaring ones in the early game. But on the surface, Multiversus is great. There are a fantastic array of characters, all of whom deserve their spot. There are a few surprises, like Arya Stark, some much-appreciated mascots like Bugs Bunny and Superman, and then some genius additions like the Iron Giant. Some of these are locked when you open the game, giving you a hint at what you’ll expect from the monetization. You can unlock them with in-game currency, but it’s going to take time.

Also, whoever thought it was a good idea to make you buy Batman needs a good talking to. In this pretense where we pretend this method of accessing games is fair, the really popular characters you give for free. The variety, the “cool” characters, you put behind the paywall. Else why not just charge a small amount for your game in the first place? Nobody is not going to want Batman in their roster. Charging for him – even with in-game currency – is bad form.

The monetization in general leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. This is standard for the genre. Your mileage will obviously vary based on how much you mind.

My reaction is summed up by this: the first unlock on the Battlepass is a skin for Shaggy which allows you to play as Uncle Shagworthy. Every time you open the Battlepass to collect your latest winnings, the zillionaire stares down at you, his nose in the air. It’s funny, but also quite telling. Good luck, whales.

Rabbit Season

Get over the bad taste from all that and you’ll realise Multiversus is a pretty good game. It doesn’t have the polish of Smash, which is as smooth as butter. But it has real potential.

This is helped from having a treasure trove of iconic characters but, more than that, they haven’t skimped on the voice work. Hearing the characters interact is wonderful, and it’s something that was obviously missing from Nickleodeon’s All-Star Brawl. That was a game that felt altogether cheaper than this one.

The balance here doesn’t always feel right. I picked Taz at random, and can completely dominate the map nine times out of ten. This isn’t a brag – his spin is all-consuming and can be spammed endlessly. A good player will choose not to use it constantly, I guess. But until it’s fixed, expect to have to learn to dodge it.

But I guess, maybe optimistically, that’s why you have these betas.

I’d like to see a load more characters, hopefully who are not too difficult to get to. I’d also like to see better menus. They can be a bit finicky to get through right now, in part because of the “controller as a mouse pointer” control scheme.

Overall though, I’ve had a good time. And I look forward to spending more time with it.

Multiversus – Open Beta Reaction – Conclusion

Multiversus isn’t Smash tier, but you could do a lot worse. It’s just a shame it’s free-to-play and they’ve decided that should dominate so much. I genuinely think there’s a paying audience out there for it. Hell, if you want people coming in, try and stick it on Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.

But at the very least free-to-play means you just have to press a button to access it. My hope is it doesn’t become more egregious as more content is added. Time will tell.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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