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MultiVersus | First impressions

Player First Games' free brawler is about to become one of the most promising free games of the year

Almost two years ago, with the help of Player First Games, a large part of the fighting game community had the opportunity to try MultiVersus during its closed beta, this being its own version of Super Smash Bros, but which takes full advantage of the immense number of Warner Bros. Discovery intellectual properties that are part of popular culture.

Now, after almost a year since the open beta ended, Warner Bros. Games Latin America allowed us to test this installment in advance, which will have an official launch this May 28 on PlayStation, Xbox and PC consoles. These are our first impressions of MultiVersus.

The wait for MultiVersus was worth every second

I am not going to lie. Despite not being skilled at fighting games, much less with brawlers like MultiVersus, I had the opportunity to play the closed beta for MONTHS, and when its completion was announced I felt my heart crack like the rest of the community, where Some took it in a better or worse way, since some even invested a considerable sum of money in skins and other things within the game.

Added to this, that feeling that “something is missing” increased when at the time it was unknown exactly when Player First Games would announce the official launch of the game, just at the moment where various Warner departments began to undergo changes after the merger with Discovery.

However, when I learned that the same CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, would have assured that “they would continue to develop games as a service, cross-platform and FREE”, I was confident that MultiVersus was still alive, and it was.

In March of this year, The news that many were waiting for has arrived, but with the surprise that the game would now run on Unreal Engine 5 and with a large number of changes suggested by the feedback of those who participated in the beta and last week I finally had my first contact with this new MultiVersus.

How much has changed since then?

Although the official launch of MultiVersus will not make an extreme change to the gameplay that we learned about in the beta, Unreal Engine 5 plays a leading role not only in the obvious graphical improvement of the game, but also in the functionality of its mechanics and the how the characters are built from the depths of their code and collisions.

If you are an experienced player of fighting titles, you will know that the so-called “hitboxes” have an extremely important role, because they can define the result of a game. One of the most noticeable changes for me was how they work not only with basic or special hits, but also with throwing objects and environmental reaction.

The game will arrive with 27 characters (23 from the beta and 4 new ones like the Joker, Banana Guard, Jason Voorhees and Agent Smith), and during my game session I was able to fight with almost all of the characters, where each one maintains their personality that so characterizes it in the environment from which it comes.

Beyond the gameplay, not much has changed, since the default sets of improvements are still maintained and the ones that you unlock more as you level up with a specific character to exchange them according to your play style or to counteract the improvements or skills of your rival.

The arrival of Rollback Netcode

One of the indispensable standards for fighting games today is Rollback Netcode, and now MultiVersus also has it. Previously, the game matched through the latency of both players, causing people to often match up with opponents in nearby regions. Now, with this implementation, players will be able to compete against others regardless of the region where they live.

I won't go into much detail about what Rollback Netcode is, so you can learn what it is from Player First Games. through this link.

During the exclusive test session for members of the press and influencers related to MultiVersus, I had a good number of successful matchups against other people who were clearly not from my region, even though finding matches was a bit late (understandable due to the reduced number of users in the session). However, I had occasional encounters where characters teleported due to connection problems that were not caused by my ISP.

At this point I don't know if they were simple server problems or my rival's connection, but I could bet that at launch it will not be constant after the servers stop being saturated with the arrival of the wave of users to MultiVersus at its launch.

Same game modes, but with an important addition… The Fissures

I already mentioned that MultiVersus hasn't changed its gameplay much. As an example, the game still has the same game modes that were present during the beta, these being modes such as 1V1, 2V2, custom, local and training games and ranked games (which will arrive later).

But what I want to highlight here is what I previously knew as the “arcade” mode is now called “The Fissures”, this being the new PvE that will allow players to cooperate to obtain exclusive rewards in a series “multiverse lines” that tell stories related to a new character in each of the fissures.

Each fissure will have a series of nodes where AI-controlled enemies will have mutations adding some characteristics such as infinite jumps, gravity variations, increased damage, among other things.

There are also really creative “challenges” that serve as a break for the player to do something different from time to time by challenging their skills, destroying objects, hitting targets, or dodging projectiles.

Going into the fissures is interesting. Although, the “story” that directs this PvE mode is far from being something really interesting, beyond seeing interactions between the Joker and… I don't know, Fin the Human?, typical of a cartoon; They extend the experience within MultiVersus by offering new challenges that vary in difficulty and that encourage the player to enter with a friend to obtain extra rewards and unlock exclusive cosmetics for said fissure.

In the best case, the rifts will receive constant updates with new hilarious stories (and I hope they are better) that make the most of this immense crossover.

Progression in MultiVersus

In these types of games, and especially free to play games, they expect the player to spend many hours grinding while watching an experience bar fill up to receive a little serotonin and at the same time a slight feeling of achievement after meeting a goal. Personally, I don't consider it to be bad practice in all cases, although there are certainly exceptions.

In the case of MultiVersus, this will clearly happen and even more so at launch it will have 27 characters where each one has its own level bar that, as you gain experience with a specific character, will allow you to unlock different rewards such as new sets of improvements and coins of the game.

However, in fighting games, the player will always have an adaptation process where they will try each character until they find one or more that adapt to their playing style. During this process, the player will have unlocked different currencies to unlock other upgrades and other characters.

A new monetization system without Pay to Win

On May 21, Player First Games published an article in su Blog which details the changes to its monetization structure explaining that the new economic system will feature a new series of currencies: fighter currency (used to unlock new characters), perk currency (used to unlock character perks), prestige currency (which is awarded to players for all the items and cosmetics they collect, and which can be spent on rare Prestige cosmetics) and the Gleamium (this being the premium in-game currency that can be acquired through events, pass battle or with real money).

Previously, Gleamium could only be obtained by spending real money, which frustrated players because some of the best character skins could only be purchased with Gleamium (some cost the equivalent of between $15 and $20).

During the beta there were only two currencies, these being Gleamium and gold. The final version of the game will no longer have gold and returning players will receive exclusive “commemorative cosmetics” depending on the amount of gold they have earned during the Open Beta period.

My experience allowed me to notice that, unlike the Open Beta, it is easier to acquire fighter coins and coins for perks. Both are easily acquired by playing a few games.

As for the battle pass, I have to confirm that it does not have any “Pay To Win” tokens. As in other games, the battle pass has a series of unlockable items ranging from skins and other cosmetic items, as well as currencies, including Gleamium for those who do not have the Premium Battle Pass.

Minor details (a little personal)

At the moment, the biggest negative point I see with the mission system is the lack of a tracking system or “push notifications” during games.

Although at the end of each confrontation a summary is shown of the missions where you have made some progress, for people who are a little forgetful, it is tedious to return to the missions or events tab before each new game to remember what other missions you have available and you haven't completed... especially when there are MANY, MANY missions to complete.

While this is NOTHING a complaint, I'm sure I won't be the only one feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of both time-limited and permanent objectives. The developers could work a little on the quality of life in this section after launch.

Yes… I see a future in MultiVersus (conclusion)

MultiVersus is the result of what seems to be a tangible bet on the part of Player First Games, who, as its name says, players come first (if we don't look for its literal translation, of course).

As for its future, my first safe bet would be the inclusion of new content such as game as a service, adding more and more franchises that feel appropriate to be part of MultiVersus, but, as the industry is currently, all that will depend how profitable it is.

And the second would be to the electronic sports scene. As a low-skilled player and addicted to the euphoria generated by competitive fighting games, it seems that unlike Nintendo, who do everything possible to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate should not be taken as a competitive game, it seems that Player First Games and Warner Bros. Games plan to make this brawler seek to position itself among the other fighting games that make life in the competitive scene, thanks to its easy accessibility for being a free game and for having a strong presence in the most regions including Latin America.

This first look at MultiVersus was made on PC thanks to the code provided by Warner Bros. Games Latin America. MultiVersus will arrive on May 28 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC through Steam and Epic Games Store.

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Javier Martich
General Coordinator of | Videogame lover for as long as I can remember, indie, RPG, Roguelikes, City Builders lover and of course, a lifelong Star Wars fan.

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