MultiVersus’ refresh feels fast, fleshed out, and fun—but has a lot to prove

MultiVersus comes back online on May 28, and I was able to get some early hands-on time with the version Player First Games has been cooking for the relaunch. And, while there are still areas that feel a bit shaky, MultiVersus feels more fun as ever. 

The MultiVersus we enjoyed from July 2022 until June 2023 was just a beta version that ended up losing its luster by the time it went offline. It went from hitting big numbers on Steam to a dwindling player count, so Player First Games made some heavy promises once it took the platform fighter back to the lab—most of which I’m happy to say the team delivered on. 

While the version of MultiVersus I played last week wasn’t the final product everyone will gain access to on May 28, I did have full access to every character in the game, including the new additions, along with the PvE mode—Rifts.

Refreshed gameplay with a visual leap

As soon as I loaded in, I was greeted with an updated tutorial that does a much better job of teaching you basic MultiVersus movement and attacks compared to the beta’s basic walkthrough. From there, I gave my old favorites a try for a few games, shaking off my Superman and LeBron James rust while getting used to the visual changes. 

A detailed look at the character size changes and cleaner battle visuals.
Character sizes and visuals have been revamped. Image via Player First Games

The game looks so much crisper than the beta thanks to the upgraded Unreal Engine 5 assets, which make all the characters, effects, and other visuals pop. It did take me a few matches to get used to the enlarged character models and how much they dominate the screen, but I had no complaints about the change once I got some practice in and learned to love the new Dash Attacks. 

I didn’t get a lot of time to play online, since I wanted to spend a decent amount of my preview time playing around in PvE, but the few matches I did play felt buttery smooth with no hiccups, even while I was connected through Wi-Fi. With how much emphasis PFG puts into its improved netcode, I expect it to perform very well—at least once we get out of the initial launch period rush. 

PvE is a refreshing addition

As for Rifts, to me, it feels like an odd variation of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light mixed with a classic fighting game arcade mode—because it uses branching paths to pit you against different challenges while still giving out nuggets of lore. You’ll have to play around various mutators, clear minigames, and beat creative boss battles. Plus, you get Gems that you can use to power up your fighters. 

A look at the first Rift in MultiVersus.
Rifts have multiple paths, difficulties, and challenges. Image via Player First Games

From my limited time with the mode, I could tell PFG put a lot of effort into setting up PvE so it meshes well with other elements of MultiVersus. Players are incentivized to play Rifts and challenge themselves to complete missions across multiple difficulties, which helps unlock more rewards—like Fighter Currency to unlock more characters. 

But unfortunately, the lack of voiceover for most of the Rift dialogue, which is instead played out through simple text boxes, does detract from the experience slightly. Also, some of the minigames can be very hit-or-miss, depending on how you vibe with them. But I’m excited to see how PFG improves the experience.

Surprising additions lead the way

By now, you’ve likely seen that Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th and Banana Guard from Adventure Time are joining the battle alongside the Joker when MultiVersus relaunches. And, while we’ll be waiting for Agent Smith and future additions, all the newcomers feel like they fit right in. 

The Joker has plenty of tricks and packs a punch with his slew of toys and dangerous pranking material. I’m a big fan of his randomized playing cards and other projectile options, which make him stand out from the rest of the roster—especially among the new additions. 

Jason plays like a slow brawler with plenty of punch, and I quite like his various options to grab opponents, whether it’s with an axe or by zipping them up in a sleeping bag and launching them across the stage. I never quite got the hang of his teleportation ability, but it seems like it will play a key role in his moveset. Banana Guard felt like the blandest of the new trio, but that might be by design. He’s very easy to handle and has straightforward moves centered mostly around his spear, but can still pack a punch or switch things up if the moment is ripe.

The user interface also feels streamlined, allowing for quick navigation to any section of the game so you can get back into the action fast. 

I can’t talk about everything I saw just yet, but overall, it feels like PFG delivered on bringing back the same game I spent over 100 hours playing with some improvements. Now, we just have to hope the live service element of this free-to-play title keeps MultiVersus rolling.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cheats Little Alchemy