There have been many pretenders to Super Smash Bros’ crown, but very few have stuck the landing. MultiVersus, a live service-style interpretation of Nintendo’s flagship fighting mash up, is the latest adaptation, featuring characters from Warner Bros brands like DC Comics, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, and many more. It borders on the absolutely bizarre at times, and with a co-op focus to its main mode, we thought we’d tackle this review of the open beta as a twosome. Onwards!
Sammy: I guess we should start by saying that, while we’re reviewing MultiVersus as it exists right now, this is a live service game. That means that things are going to improve, expand, and adapt over time. I mean, LeBron James is getting added as an extra character today, and, full-disclosure, I haven’t tested him out yet. I can’t wait to dig in to his move set, though!
Stephen: Isn’t it mad how this game has LeBron James now?! I think we really need to talk about how utterly bizarre the roster is. Warner Bros obviously has a lot to draw from across a wide range of media, and that's represented well in the fighters so far. There are characters here dating back to the 1930s mingling with far more modern creations; seeing Tom & Jerry go toe-to-toe with Iron Giant, Steven Universe, and Game of Thrones' Arya Stark is odd, but definitely entertaining.
Sammy: Y’know, the thing that’s really impressed me is just how differently all of the characters play. So, one of my personal favourite comic book characters is Harley Quinn, so I mostly started out with her, and she skips around the stage joyfully using her mallet to deliver damage. But then I started to gravitate towards Superman, who’s a bit slower but has this move where he can catch enemies in the air and toss them out of the ring. It’s tough to execute, but when you successfully pull it off, it’s just so bad ass.
Stephen: You can tell each fighter has been made with care as their move sets really lean into who they are, as you say. Finn gathers coins as he smacks opponents with his sword, able to spend them on quick upgrades. Playing as Bugs Bunny allows you to briefly burrow beneath the ground and wield a variety of props and weapons. I also really like Wonder Woman who uses her shield and other abilities for more defensive moves. Overall I'd say the game is relatively well balanced and all the characters are fun to toy with, although Taz is currently a nightmare thanks to one seriously cheap, overpowered attack.
Sammy: Oh, I absolutely hate anyone who plays as Taz right now. But yeah, assuming they sort that out, it’s definitely got that Super Smash Bros thing where every single character feels completely unique. I’ve recently got into playing as Velma, for example, and there’s so much going on there. Basically, you launch projectiles from her megaphone, which will sometimes knock evidence out of your opponent. Once you’ve collected enough evidence, you can call the police, who’ll proceed to arrest the culprit and drive them off the stage! It’s so blissfully weird!
Stephen: What's also great is how each character has some way of helping their ally. The game's main mode is 2vs2, and this is built into the roster. I mentioned Wonder Woman before – she can dash to her teammate and give both players a protective shield, good for stopping the damage and knockback of the next hit. Another great example is Reindog (so far the game's only original character) who can tether themselves to their ally and reel them back in, letting the other player take bigger risks. Each character has a little something like this that emphasises co-op play. Perks expand on this as well – before a match you can equip these passive buffs, and they apply to your teammate, too. If you both pick the same Perk, its effects are increased, giving you something extra to think about when playing with a pal.
Sammy: It’s impressive how much depth there is to the gameplay, but I think it’s probably fair to say MultiVersus is quite barebones overall right now. As I said at the start of the review, it’s clearly going to be expanded on – there are even options in the main menu which are currently greyed out. That said, I think playing Free for All is really chaotic and fun as an alternative to the main mode, and I actually enjoy the 1vs1 option because it forces you to be a little more thoughtful with your moves – it’s much more like Street Fighter! It’s worth mentioning that you can play against bots, even in a co-op mode, which is a nice touch.
Stephen: It all feels pretty well polished, too. While the UI can be quite busy in the menus, I think generally the presentation is strong. The developer has done a great job of unifying the look of all the characters while keeping them recognisable. It's also pretty easy to read the battlefield with the default settings, though some might prefer to switch off things like outlines and team colours. The maps are hit and miss; some are just a little bland, but others are better, like Scooby's Haunted Mansion. In terms of audio, the soundscape is surprisingly clean; you can tell which hits connect, when you pull off successful dodges, and all that. The music isn't half bad, though we could go for more tunes brought in from the shows and movies present.
Sammy: I think we’ve got to mention the netcode as well, because that’s one of the big issues with Super Smash Bros, isn’t it? Like, playing online in that game is not good. But speaking personally, I can honestly say I’ve had no issues with lag in the 100 or so matches I’ve played. Like, not at all. Now your mileage may vary, of course, but hand-on-heart I can honestly say that every single match I’ve played has felt like local multiplayer. And, y’know, with the crossplay it takes about two or three seconds to find an opponent. To be fair, the wait is a little longer for modes like Free for All, but not by much. It’s really impressive stuff!
Stephen: I've had a very similar experience so far, which has made it really easy to play match after match. Speaking of which, progression is largely geared towards the Battle Pass. Completing rounds results in points that build the meter to the next tier, with each level rewarding you with cosmetics, in-game currency, and other bits and bobs. There are some great items to earn, especially on the Premium Battle Pass, but progression feels glacial at the moment. Daily and Seasonal missions give you a big boost when you meet their requirements, but in terms of general play, it'll take dozens, maybe hundreds of matches to max it out. Obviously this is the open beta, which features a pre-season Pass, so it's possible the economy will be retuned in the future. We hope so, because for now, progression feels very slow.
Sammy: I completely agree, and to be honest, I think the game will probably attract criticism for its monetisation – although it’s important to remember it is still ultimately a free game with pretty high production values. So, it looks like they’re going to rotate through a selection of free characters, and then you’ll need to unlock them with the Gold you earn. Right now, you earn this quite slowly, so the prices of between 1,500 Gold to 3,000 Gold per character does seem a little steep. You can, of course, use premium currency called Gleamium to unlock almost everything, and it’s more convenient to do so. I think some of the items, like different skins, are priced a little outrageously right now. We’ll need to see how this shakes out, though – to be honest, I think you’re probably best off putting a small amount of money into it, as it’s easier to earn Gold if you own a handful of different characters. But I get it – not everyone will want to do that. I think it’s possible to play the game without spending, and everything is balanced so there’s no pay-to-win, but yeah – I think ultimately you’re probably going to want to cough up a small amount to get started.
Stephen: Even with its shortcomings, though, I think MultiVersus enters the world in a pretty good place. There's a clear path forward for Player First Games, expanding the game with more characters, maps, and modes, and there's lots in the Warner Bros archives for the team to work with. We're still just at the beginning, but it feels like this is already popular enough that it'll have a long life. I think provided the studio can keep on top of balancing and ensure its economy is fair, the future seems bright. The fundamentals are strong, so now it just needs to prove it's worth sticking with for the long haul.
Sammy: I genuinely can’t wait for Harry Potter to be added!
Even in open beta, MultiVersus is a worthy competitor to Super Smash Bros. While it may not be able to quite match the scope and production values of Nintendo’s flagship platform fighter, its gameplay goes toe-to-toe with its incredibly established rival – and its excellent netcode completely outshines it. The most exciting thing is that this release is guaranteed to grow over time, and with the Warner Bros vaults practically bursting with iconic IP, this is one live service that looks to have a lot of life in it.
Any questions, be sure to tag @Quintumply or myself in.
Loved the closed beta when it was live a few months back.
Had hours of fun and these type of brawlers are not something I’m usually into, but the prospect of WB IP is very tantalising. One to keep an eye on for sure.
Interesting write up, its clear you have found a lot to like, and having both of you giving your impressions is very welcome.
Whilst it seems clear that this is a well produced title, its also expensive right from the start with high prices for cosmetics. Experience would suggest that the in game economy is unlikly to improve significantly, and we should expect some characters to held behind a paywall, once the reviews are done!
At least they have the basics right for those that support this model, and if characters remain being earnable through free play, then this could be big!
I hope for the best, but fear the worst 😁
Haha - I wondered when I would see Taz mentioned! Been using him from the start and his spin triangle attack is way too powerful - loving the game so far though. Came out the blue for me!
Reading this review just reminds me why I'm so sceptical of live service and free to start games.
I just think this would be more appealing if you just bought it like a normal game. These "battle passes" and premium currencies just seem grubby to me.
If it was just a finished game with no microtransactions or battle passes etc, I’d consider buying it. But no. Definitely not like this.
@PenguinLtd The positive to this is that the game can grow in the way a traditional release can't.
@get2sammyb Super Smash Bros. Ultimate shows how you can grow a game like this and keep it going with paid DLC instead.
@PenguinLtd But it's not growing anymore. You could argue it's still popular and should be.
@PenguinLtd I have to disagree. If you buy the standard "battle pass", you're essentially buying it like a normal game.
I wish Sony did this with PS All Stars - I really think they could of had a huge success on their hands with that.
Looking forward to digging into this one tho!
I don’t care about mtx if this is close enough to smash from gameplay. I will definitely play this a lot.
I’m here for gameplay, cosmetics are just a bonus.
N.i.c.e.Shaggy vs batman haha 😄. I remember playing taz video games on sega genesis it was cool.haha word up son
@tatsumi Pretty sure it is a lot like Smash but with a clear focus on the 2v2 mode. Support characters, moves that buff the other player and stuff.
Definitely looks fun, will have to try it out. Now who to main? 🤔
They definitely did good with this one.
Going to play it after work.
@get2sammyb @Quintumply So is this really a "next gen" exclusive, it's only on PS5, not PS4? Don't see anything the PS4 couldn't run.🤷
Edit: ok so after reading PS5 at the top of the page:
System PlayStation 5
Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer Player First
Google says PS4 as well. Don't know why you guys need to be so freaking obtuse all the time about cross-gen games.😝
Google can't seem to find if you can use PS4 controllers on PS5 so I'll go check that out myself and get back to you on that. Can't recall a PS5 controller ever working on PS4, maybe I'll go Google that later. End edit.
And that is important b/c if it has couch co-op and 2v2 ain't nobody has 4 PS5 controllers laying around for that. We've played several multiplayer PS4 games on PS5 using PS4 controllers, Knack 2 and Sack boy Adventure, so I know they can work with the console, but Sony doesn't let them work with PS5 games probably just to get you to buy more PS5 controllers.🤑
As for the game itself, pick up and play for my wife or do you need to have experience in fighter games? All of these types of games always can be mastered if you play them long enough but some are harder than others to get started.
I got the founders pack. I love super smash all the way back to n64. I beat ultimate and played all the dlc. This is fantastic in its own right. I feel like the characters are all unique. Hoping for a short campaign for each character.
Downloaded it and looking forward to playing it for a few hours then shelving it until there’s a campaign mode. Looks like a lot of fun
@rjejr We reviewed it on PS5 but it's on PS4 as well, yes. As far as I know, you can use PS4 controllers on PS5, but only to play PS4 games. So if you wanted to play MultiVersus on PS5 and use your DualShock 4s, you'd need to nab the PS4 version.
I'd say it's pretty easy to pick up and play for most people, controls are fairly simple (very similar to Smash) but there's plenty of depth too.
@Quintumply Thank you, that's everything I needed to know. 👍
It is weird to have multiple versions of games on my PS5, there are several, but I only have 2 each of the PS4 and PS5 controllers and my kid has 1 PS5 controller hooked up to the PC at all times, they're playing Destiny 2 a lot and despite all the many controllers we have for PC use they've decided PS5 is the best so...
Best f2p I've played.
9.5 (free to play standards)
If you really complaining about battle passes or it being live service ( aka the new word for “online only” ) then chances are you’re just biased against any game that isn’t a single-player only experience . It’s a free game …..
Yah solid NO for me based on the battlepass monetization scheme alone.
I simply cannot support this nor half-baked remasters with my purchasing power. It not what I want to endorse for gaming now and its future.
Looking forward to trying it out. I like the artstyle like Fortnite but at least it's not Battle Royale I take it.
The gameplay and fighting are fantastic, no faults there and the roster so far is great as well but my god the monetisation is bad, like i'm maining Harley and really want her Mad Love look but it would require me spending £16 to get it what is just too much. Finally the menus are a mess.
7/10 from though if i based it purely on the gameplay its an 8.
I've been enjoying it in the, admittedly brief, time I've played it... feels slightly different to smash (not in a bad way), trying to pin down the nuance between characters. Definitely not as polished, in terms of presentation and audio, BGM etc. But so far matchmaking has been surprisingly swift and I haven't experienced any lag. Looking forward to crossplaying this with some mates 👍
@Titntin managed to buy batman to play as (2000 points) after about 30 mins of online play. I'm sure it'll get harder/ take longer once the daily challenges aren't flooding through, but for the time being, seems feasible that you could grab most the characters you're keen to try in a week or so...
It’s “LeJon Brames”
I won't be touching this game until they add a story mode.
This game has its problems for sure, sadly if they get to bad it can ruin the game, however the game is boat of fun, and wile unlocking characters can be less grindy, we are in beta so I believe they have a lot of time to fix these issues, so far for me 8/10.
@J2theEzzo Thats good news, thanks for sharing that!
Hopefully they dont change it too significantly and we can grind for the characters we want without feeling the need for mtx😀
It’s a fun game, now bring back Gotham City Imposters
@Titntin Hope so!
Calling it a rival to smash might harm the game more , better to just enjoy it for what it is
@rjejr Im sorry, but some of us do have 4 controllers laying around (I have 2 ps5 and two controllers for each)
I'll admit few will be in that position, so your point is very valid, but its not true to state no one will have four controllers! 😀
Im a little over run with controllers to be honest. I've 3 for the series x (cant stand to hold the standard one, so bought two forza special editions), I have two wired xbox style ones and a wireless logitech one for PC (which is uneeded as I tend to plug in a ps5 one now for gaming on pc). Ive just recommissioned my old PS3 and we have 3 of them controllers and two guitar controllers for that, and ive just picked up an old ps2 with another two contollers and a wired guitar as we want to play tge early GH games.
I think I need to have a clear out! 😂
@Titntin If you have 2 PS5 and 4 controllers you only have 2 controllers for each PS5 so I guess I'll have to modify that to nobody w/ 1 PS5 has 4 controllers. 😂
While I only have 2 each for the 1 each PS4 and PS5 we own, my basement is cluttered w/ controllers going back to the PS1 days. I have 2 DDR mats. Nobody has 2 DDR mats. Not even people w/ 2 PS1. 😉 Oh and 4 Dreamcast controllers and the fishing rod controller, Sega Marine Fishing is still far and away the best ever fishing game. 👍
What would really be nice, is to see Sony bring back the Playstation All Stars Battle and do this kind of addition. All Stars could definitely have improved if it wasn't given up so quickly, and Sony had enough IP's to keep it going, and I'm sure if they would have, other companies would have wanted to get into it as well (just like they do with Smash). As for this game, I just downloaded it and I'll look into it soon. I'd rather have one that doesn't have to be connected to the internet, because let's face it, eventually, it goes down and you lose everything. Still though, will definitely give this one a go to. I liked Lego Dimension too, granted it wasn't a fighter, but, just like what this game will do, it will become just as expensive with buying new characters and probably more (I'm sure levels and more will be added to buy). That's one thing I hate, is paying a lot for a game and then paying just as much for expansions and more.
@rjejr Don't say nobody has 2 DDR mats...I have two for the PS3 and also 2 for the Wii. Both are stored right now with other controllers that were only used for just one or two games. It's the Rock Revolution drum kit and the Guitar Hero Guitars that are taking up the most room, and the stupid Nintendo Labo Cardboard pieces.
@JLPick Wow, I didn't even know the PS3 HAD DDR mats!! That is some collection, I think you win. 😉 I only have 1 guitar for PS2 and no drums, well unless you include the Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Bongos but those are kind of small. Labo is the biggest space hog though, it's why I never bought the robot. Well I bought it for my godson, but not for me, it's my sister's problem now, I ran out of room after the 3D gun. 😂
@rjejr Now im jealous of your ddr mats... I used to have one.
Never had the fishing controller either, but I suddenley want one!
So much for rationalising, I just cant do it!
@nomither6 "you’re just biased against any game that isn’t a single-player only experience"
Conflating live service with MP is terrible logic. You can have MP games without it being live service or having battle passes. It use to be the case that all MP games weren't like this. And plenty of indie and AA MP titles still skip the model.
@Richnj MP games were always live service , you can’t play them (online) if there’s no service right ? They were actually worse back then because of the amount of times you had to buy individual DLCs that directly affected gameplay by dividing the player base so , battle passes are definitely better because the important parts of the game are now free like maps & new characters . sure you gotta grind for characters , but we have options now .
& idk what you’re talking about with “indie” and “AA” , you mean like fall guys and rocket league ? you can’t be serious …..
battle passes make it so you can either pay upfront for what you want , or grind for free . DLCs back in the day didn’t give you choices so where’s this disapproval of battle passes coming from…
@nomither6 I didn't mention Fall Guys or Rocket League. You have a serious issue with putting words in to people's mouths.
Is 'It Takes Two' a live service game?
@Richnj i never said you did but , those are indie/AA , so i mentioned them as examples .
And does take two need to connect to an online service to play with someone else online ?
@nomither6 You also said "you can't be serious?" as if I had, or as if these were the only type of indie/AA games.
'It Takes Two' does connect to an online service to play online, but it doesn't have a battle pass, and absolutely no one else would classify it as a live service game.
@Richnj yeah , that’s called an unsure expression ; i didn’t imply anything on to you . i just listed two examples , and wanted to be sure if those we’re the type of indies you mean because , we are talking about multiplayer games , as in PvP .
& it takes two technically is a live service ; a portion of the game can be shut down if it’s live service is discontinued, it doesn’t have to have a battle pass . the game has online and it receives patch-notes and updates in real time … “live service” is literally just a new buzzword that’s forbidden here .
@nomither6 "it doesn’t have to have a battle pass"
This would contradict what you said before, when you said that anyone complaining about battle passes and live service are just biased towards single player games.
"“live service” is literally just a new buzzword that’s forbidden here"
It's not. Live service is a game that uses the live service business model. The term was created and used to differentiate between 'online mp titles' as you use the term, and games that have a microtransaction monetisation model, and continuously updated content to fuel that monetisation.
And it's not forbidden. People just hate them because of the quality of the services and the predatory nature of the monetisation. It's one of the reasons people wanted a new word to describe these games.
"we are talking about multiplayer games , as in PvP"
This is the issue of using the terms incorrectly. If you used them correctly, then people would understand what type of game you mean without you needing to clarify.
Pushsquare themselves have a different definition than you and tried to argue that live service meant any game that recieved new content post launch. Even offline single player games, like Bioshock. People obviously hit back, because that's not how it's used. And broadening the definition, dilutes the definition, to the point it just means anything and nothing.
Just going off by "if it has online and PvP, it's live service" would mean that Elden Ring is a live service, and again, no one would agree with that either.
“ Live service is a game that uses the live service business model.”
“ The term was created and used to differentiate between 'online mp titles”
“ games that have a microtransaction monetisation model, and continuously updated content to fuel that monetisation.”
“ And it's not forbidden. People just hate them because of the quality of the services and the predatory nature of the monetisation. “
“ This is the issue of using the terms incorrectly. If you used them correctly, then people would understand what type of game you mean without you needing to clarify. “
“ broadening the definition, dilutes the definition, to the point it just means anything and nothing. “
“ Just going off by "if it has online and PvP, it's live service" would mean that Elden Ring is a live service, and again, no one would agree with that either. “
Elden ring is a live-service & i just want to say that absolutely nothings wrong with a game being live service . nobody wants to play a game where it’s just content on disc without any updates, expansions , improvements i.e online connectivity anymore , not even the solo purists ; it’s not enough anymore .
@Titntin Before Wiimotes and PS Move controllers that Dreamcast fishing controller was very cool. Dreamcast had it all, VMUs, peripherals, web browser, all it didn't have was a competent company behind it.😢
@rjejr I remember the dreamcast very well! It was a fantastic machine and I loved having it. I still play emulated dreamcast games on my pc from time to time.
If you are interested in the tech, you may wish to check out NX gamer who has posted tech overviews called 'Sega dreamcast vs Neon 250' in two episides in the last couple of weeks on his you tube channel (Michael also does tech tear downs for IGN).
It is techy, but if you were a techy at the time, as I was, its a fantastic watch. 😀
@Titntin Thanks, might look into it, but not a big Youtube guy.
@nomither6 You know you could try googling anything you've said and see how you are wrong?
Litterally the opening line on the wiki page;
"In the video game industry, games as a service (GaaS) represents providing video games or game content on a continuing revenue model, similar to software as a service. Games as a service are ways to monetize video games either after their initial sale, or to support a free-to-play model. Games released under the GaaS model typically receive a long or indefinite stream of monetized new content over time to encourage players to continue paying to support the game. This often leads to games that work under a GaaS model to be called "living games", "live games", or "live service games" since they continually change with these updates. "
@Richnj it’s the same thing , why are you trying to make it complicated , when it’s the exact same ***** games have been doing but just on a greater scale ? NBA2k could be live service TODAY , & the only difference would be that you don’t have to keep buying the same game every year . did you even read my previous response ? if not then let me know & save me the frustration . it’s no point in going on after this .
@Titntin Just saw the news about the new Muppets show "Electric Mayhem" on Disney+ and thought of you b/c of your avatar. 👍
@rjejr Lol! Cheers mate, I wasnt aware of this so I'll make sure to catch it.
Ive got to stay up to date with what my twin brother is doing! 😂
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