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MultiVersus is great, but a few small changes could make it great

After a $100k tournament on Evo, reaching 20 million players, and the release of a Rick-less Morty, it’s impossible to say that Multi Versus has lost some of its momentum since its release. Smash Bros. makes it look easy, but it really isn’t. Unlike other platform fighters, particularly those that contain so many IPs (looking at you, Nickelodeon), Multi Versus has made great strides in making sure you don’t lose the bag now or in the distant future. Although this game is far from the L that it was street fighter 5‘s release, that doesn’t mean the shit is all sweet. Multi Versus it has some issues that anyone who has played fighting games for years can instantly see. In fact, the game’s strongest points are found everywhere except in the gameplay.

The keys to success

Multi Versus is a free competitive fighting game. Like other games under this umbrella, this means that the title is under a lot of pressure to keep up with its audience and be able to earn money for support and future updates. This may seem like a simple task for a game with as many crossover characters as Multi Versus (and more on the way), but it’s not simply inevitable.

What Multi Versus Game director Tony Huynh, with the development team at Player First Games, has turned the lemonade into a much tastier pink lemonade. The developers took an idea that was meant to work, especially in a media age obsessed with multiverses and crossovers, and built on it to make it even better. The game is free to play, with innovative and fair monetary practices for the genre; sports tons of fan service and familiar faces; it’s constantly being updated (with even bigger updates to come), and unlike many fighting game developers, the developer stays on top of communication with its player base. I would go so far as to say Multi Versus has had one of the strongest fighting game launches and online presence in a long time, thanks to the money advantage of Warner Bros. and a team that cares.

Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games

mechanical pains

While everything about the game is near perfect, the issues with Multi Versus come from the gameplay within the package. The formula is simple, made so that all audiences can jump in and play, just like its predecessor Smash. However, playing for a long period of time will show that some of Multi VersusThe balance decisions may not be the most mechanically sound for this game or the platform fighting genre in general.

One problem is the lack of attack moves. characters in Multi Versus have access to fewer attacks than fighters in games like Super Smash Bros Ultimate and even Nickelodeon Brawl Stars. While this may not seem like a big deal, it does add up to an attack decay mechanic. This means that a move weakens after a specific number of consecutive uses. For example, if you constantly attack from the air, that move will be less effective.

Attack decay is also present in titles like Smash Bros Ultimatebut the relatively small group of movements in Multi Versus makes it a problem. Less effective movement choice equals more movement stagnation. Smash Bros. not only has more moves, but his attack drop tray is bigger. In the case of Multi Versusthe layup seems to be around an attack queue of 4 or 5, versus smash‘s 9. This was implemented to discourage players from ignoring character movesets and focusing on using their most powerful attacks, but it backfires with so few attacks to choose from.

Batman, Harley Quinn, Jake the Dog, and Arya Stark battle it out in a MultiVersus screenshot

Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games

Another theme that comes up in the battle system is dodging. This mechanic serves as a mobility tool, giving characters a way to escape pressure, as well as access to techniques like wave landing and air racing. But unlike a game like Smash Bros., the players of Multi Versus he can act almost instantly after taking advantage of the dodge and invincibility frames it grants. These invincibility frames also last long after dodging, making it quite a chore for the other side’s player to read and punish this great escape option, especially on top of how fast and visually heavy this game already is. The strength and lack of effective cooldown of this mechanic becomes especially apparent in 1v1 matches where both players are literally running from everything. Because, yes, you can literally dodge all including the standard combo jab ropes.

Two Batman characters face off in MultiVersus lab training mode

Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games via Polygon

Speaking of cooldown, let’s bring the last big issue up front. While move cooldowns are acceptable in the world of Multi Versus, its visual implementation might need a bit of work. Looking at the reviews above, you’ll see a list of things to watch out for in an average game of Multi Versus: What movements are stuck? Did my opponent dodge? Is my dodge on cooldown? Is my opponent’s dodge on cooldown? Not to mention, you’ll need to see your partner, your opponent’s characters, your character, and all the crazy items on the screen. Not easy to deal with seeing multiple cooldown meters on top of all that. It also doesn’t help that it’s not the easiest to see the little cooldown meters in the UI.

Since the release of Multi Versus, other players have noticed similar issues. Common recommendations include getting rid of cooldowns and bringing a stamina bar tied to specials and the dodge, giving players only one meter to see on top of her attack drop. The only thing I’m sure of is that Multi Versus is just a few mechanical glitches away from becoming a fighting game experience unlike any other on all sides of the multiverse.

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