MultiVersus Closed Alpha Preview: A Looney Triumph

MultiVersus (PC) Closed Alpha Preview: Beyond Your Typical Fighting Game 1

CGMagazine was given the opportunity to check out the new, upcoming game from WB Games Interactive, MultiVersus. The game was announced to be a 2-D side-scrolling fighting game in the style of the Super Smash Bros. games. The character list advertised various icons from the worlds of The Looney Tunes, Game of Thrones, DC Comics and more! I would never have thought I’d see Arya Stark fighting against Wonder Woman in my lifetime.

I had to look up the voice cast to see if WB Games had the cojones to bring back some original voices, and I was impressed. Most of the MultiVersus voice cast had voiced the characters in one iteration of the character before, while some were just reprising their original, titular roles. Here was the character list of all the voice actors with their respective playable characters from the Closed Alpha:

  • Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy)
  • Superman (voiced by George Newbern)
  • Wonder Woman (voiced by Abby Trott)
  • Harley Quinn (voiced by Tara Strong)
  • Shaggy (voiced by Matthew Lillard)
  • Bugs Bunny (voiced by Eric Bauza)
  • Tom and Jerry (also voiced by Eric Bauza)
  • Arya Stark (voiced by Maisie Williams)
  • Jake the Dog (voiced by John DiMaggio)
  • Finn the Human (voiced by Jeremy Shada)
  • Steven Universe (voiced by Daniel DiVenere)
  • Garnet (voiced by Estelle)
  • Reindog (voiced by Andrew Frankel)
  • Tazmanian Devil (voiced by Jim Cummings)
  • Velma Dinkley (voiced by Kate Micucci)
  • Iron Giant (voiced by Jonathan Lipow)

It was awesome to see Lillard (Good Girls, Scream) reprising his role of Shaggy again, after a long hiatus from the character since the release of Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. After the arguably questionable series finale of Game of Thrones, it was also great to see Maisie Williams lending her acting chops and wielding her infamous smallsword, Needle, again as her iconic character, Arya Stark. Player First Games also shcharacters,owed they could be adding more original characters such as Reindog—a cute, fluffy green animal.

Multiversus Closed Alpha Preview: Not A Typical Fighting Game 2

The voice lines themselves were mixed with some cheesy competitive lines, but some were a bit savage. One example of a savage line came from Garnet to Batman, “You’re just a rich man in a suit”. The trash-talking in this game was real—and there was not even a voice chat. Other than the savagery, there was also camaraderie, like when Velma said to Batman, “Let’s solve the case, Batman!” The fun elements were evident in the voice acting booth and were fresh enough for adults and kids with non-cheesy or lame voice lines. To add to the chaos, yes, all four players could play as Harley Quinn or any four of the same character.

MultiVersus was not just a Super Smash-inspired game, it went beyond that to blend in other games as well. ‘

The roles of characters could be compared to other competitive games like Overwatch or Valorant. MultiVersus had the usual roles of Tanks, Assassins, Bruisers, Supports and Mages. I thought the roles were less relevant in a game designed like this, but it did help to understand the general capabilities each character brought in their kits. I saw Support characters clapping the cheeks of Tanks and Bruisers, so it could come down to skill as well.

MultiVersus was not just a Super Smash-inspired game, it went beyond that to blend in other games as well. It kept to what most fighting games have done with its 4-player maximum layout that enabled 2v2 team matches, 1v1 singles matches and free-for-all matches—ranked versions of these match types were teased in the menu. There was also the co-op option to face bots available too, for those learning the mechanics of the fighting game genre, or players who want a break from being tilted on consecutive losses.

The menu and animation style were very Fortnite­-like, badges to flex previous match history records like in Apex Legends, the moves/combo list was like a classic Mortal Kombat or Tekken game and the perks one could earn in the Battle Pass and the levelling of the characters reminded me of Star Wars: Battlefront II, the list of similarities were endless.

Multiversus Closed Alpha Preview: Not A Typical Fighting Game 3

While it blended the distinct characteristics of its predecessor competitive/fighting games, it brought a different class of its own with consideration to the addition of earning perks players could equip prior to matches that would provide them with slight performance boosts—broken down into three categories: attack, defence and utility (sort of similar to rune pages in League of Legends). For example, one perk could have a third additional jump, or another could be a 5% attack boost for using projectiles. The combinations were abundant. The name of the game in 2v2 matches was teamwork and learning the synergies that meshed well.

The great thing about the perks was they could be stacked in 2v2 team fights, so it could be possible to get an additional fourth jump and a 10% attack boost for using projectiles. And when players get their character to level eight, they can equip a signature perk that would provide an even bigger impact bonus. For my main, Velma (I called it already), I would get an additional clue page at the start of the round versus starting without a free clue. For context, I could use those clues to charge up a big attack.

While the perks were shown to be earned through playing more and levelling each character, I was a bit worried about premium Battle Pass owners having a slight edge in terms of XP boosts, but I carefully examined the premium Battle Pass and premium players would only be getting five additional boosts to the three boosts provided from the basic Battle Pass. So, there were signs of some consideration avoiding pay-to-win tactics that were exploited in some older competitive games.  

Multiversus Closed Alpha Preview: Not A Typical Fighting Game 7

On top of the perk strategies, I really loved the abilities each character was given. I felt like the abilities reflected the characters in a sensible way, while other attacks were very loony and wacky. One of the highly technical characters included Tom and Jerry. Tom and Jerry were designed where they technically hurt the enemy while they were trying to hurt each other (so if Tom was swinging a tennis racquet, Jerry would dodge and the racquet would hit the enemy, as a melee attack).

Additionally, it was surprising to discover how some characters that could cast elemental damage like Ice and Fire could be stacked between partners in 2v2 team fights. For example, Superman’s Ice Breath could be used on the hands of Brawlers like Batman or Tazmanian Devil who would temporarily stack the Ice damage to the enemies they hit while their fists were covered in ice—this ability could be reapplied almost instantly.

Like most fighting games, the various maps were known to set the stage for how good the game would be. And like most of those fighting games, MultiVersus had some maps that were well-balanced and some a bit lacklustre. While the game only had seven maps available (two of the maps had two iterations), I felt there was already a preference that grew in my mind the more I played.

The coolest map was Scooby’s Haunted Mansion, which contained platforms that could be raised or lowered by players during the match, adding dynamic, changing gameplay on-the-fly from a standard flat map to a map with holes in between. Personally, I hate these kinds of maps most likely because I get rung out on them.

Multiversus Closed Alpha Preview: Not A Typical Fighting Game 4

There were a lot of hidden attack combos and abilities that could proc off each other with various combinations such as the ones described above. Uncovering the combos and shared abilities was a clever addition that I think many fighting game enthusiasts would appreciate, since it was built on the team synergy aspect. I thought that was another characteristic I enjoyed, along with the many zany quips and moves MultiVersus had to offer. While the game was in its Alpha state, this game felt like it was already in its second or third stage of Fortnite’s development when it was in open beta…is that game technically still in open beta?

Overall, I had a great time playing MultiVersus with my brother, and we had a belly-aching time with many laugh-out-loud moments and much applauded holy cannoli fights. I appreciated the cross-play function, so I could school some kids on console with little to no lag—there was one case where the game spazzed out after a player on the other team disconnected, but the game did not crash, it just sent us back to the main menu. I can confidently say this was not a rip-off of the Smash games but paved its own road into the fighting games genre.

I believe many people will love this game because of its unlimited potential to bring in hundreds, if not, thousands of WB-owned IPs into the mix. More characters have already been teased such as the Iron Giant, along with some rumoured information about the Joker, Rick and Morty, Godzilla, LeBron James (from Space Jam 2), Gizmo, Stripe and Marvin the Martian—again, the possibilities may give Fortnite a run for their money with collaboration warfare.

Multiversus Closed Alpha Preview: Not A Typical Fighting Game 6

MultiVersus will be slated for a July Open Beta release date and will be free-to-play on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Steam (PC). If you are a fan of fighting games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Injustice, this would be the game to try—plus it will be free.

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