Is MultiVersus worth it in 2024?

Ever wanted to know who would win if Superman and Shaggy fought?

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We recently got the opportunity to play an early access build of MultiVersus ahead of its full launch on May 28 which begs the question, is it worth it in 2024?

The game was already released last June 2022 as an open beta but only after about a year, was shut down again to finish development. Now, Player First Games is gearing up once again to bring the game back with visual improvements, net code fixes, and a number of balancing changes.

Since time immemorial, Super Smash Bros. has had the platform fighter subgenre on a chokehold. A number of games in the past have tried to replicate the formula but none have come close to the success and cultural impact Smash has had. Putting iconic characters from various IPs in one game sounds like an easy cheat code for a critical hit. But what a lot of competitors forget is that aside from bringing in recognizable names, you also have to take into consideration the gameplay systems that tie it all together. This is something that, in a lot of ways, MultiVersus gets right.

A lot of the game’s enjoyment comes from its very nature. The game has access to nearly all the brands under Warner Bros. This means you can match DC heroes and villains against the likes of Bugs Bunny, Rick and Morty, Anya Stark, and even the Iron Giant. And that’s just the very tip of the iceberg. There is already a huge chunk of characters available to play, many of which also have a number of alternate costumes to purchase, and there’s already promise of so much more to come in seasonal updates. In terms of voice acting though, while some of the original cast returns to voice their respective characters (which is great), there are those that really don’t hit the mark.

The fighting itself feels great. There’s a lot of visual and audio feedback that makes each hit, combo, dodge, and block so satisfying to pull off. While 1v1 matches are a tried and true experience, the 2v2 and 4-player free for all is where the game hits its peak for me. Chaotic and calculated at the same time. It’s just pure unfiltered fun to be had.

And the stages themselves look fantastic! Just imagine that iconic setting from any of the WB IPs and chances are, there’s a beautifully rendered version of it here. It’s hard to hate on MultiVersus’ colorful art style.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Rifts, the game’s attempt at a singleplayer mode. You progress through nodes which can either be a match against AI or a minigame. Occasionally you’ll hit a boss fight. The writing leaves much to be desired and the difficulty balancing is all over the place. It can either be painfully easy or the other way around. It’s a nice little addition but I imagine it could use a bit more tweaking to make it worth a look beyond the standard PvP modes.

After each match, characters gain individual experience points and level up. This progression unlocks various new rewards known as “perks,” which allow you to enhance fighters in meaningful ways. You can equip up to three perks simultaneously from three categories: utility, defensive, and offensive.

If your teammate has a matching perk, it becomes “Stacked,” providing even greater benefits. Additionally, each character has unique signature perks, which provides an exciting incentive to switch between any of them and have your playstyle change in subtle ways. Before you know it, you’re now getting to know more beyond your main picks which in turn, allows you what to do when you go up against other players.

The initial fear is that all these perks and stats will make it an unbalanced mess. Are they significant enough to shake up the playstyle? Absolutely. But they are nowhere near as disruptive as you may think. They definitely help but they are not measures of a guaranteed success.

One of the major changes that come with this new release of MultiVersus is the upgraded online infrastructure. The developers have made it a point to finetune and polish their own netcode to ensure the best connection possible.

During my early access, online play was activated. Usually, my experience with these are mixed considering that only a handful of people in the world has access to the game. So I figured it was the perfect time to see how well the online shapes up with little to no people to connect with. And from what I’ve played so far, the online PvP feels absolutely fantastic. No disconnects, delayed inputs, or laggy moment-to-moment gameplay. I only hope this continues in the final release. Crossplay is a massive factor for the game and to launch with connectivity issues would be a critical dagger for a game like this.

I’ve had an absolute blast with the time I had with MultiVersus. This game is coming out at a time that could not have been more perfect. Last year was an absolute treat for fighting game enthusiasts with the likes of Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, and Mortal Kombat 1. The hype and love for the genre has never been this high. And I’ll be the one to say it, it’s high time that Super Smash Bros. players get something new to play with. MultiVersus fits exactly that. It’s new, fresh, exciting, and extremely fun to play with. Yes, MultiVersus is definitely worth checking out in 2024.

Now all I need is Godzilla as a playable character.