As you’d hope for a game that features the likes of Batman, Bugs Bunny, and Velma, the biggest strength of MultiVersus is in its cast of characters. In how they’re represented as individuals and in how they play, MultiVersus manages to do justice for every single character on the roster.
Things started off strong when MultiVersus first launched with every launch character pitch perfect. As its first season comes to a close, things have only gotten better, with each of the six new characters added to the game feeling distinct not only from one another, but from anyone else in the cast.
Since August, we’ve had six characters added to the game – LeBron James, Morty, Gizmo, Rick, Stripe, and Black Adam. That’s a solid amount of new fighters over four months, especially when you consider that out of the whole roster, it’s arguably these six who are the most complicated of all. That may have bothered some players, but I think complex characters are a core part of what makes these characters so compelling to learn.
Things started off appropriately strangely with the addition of NBA superstar and, more importantly for the whole strange vibe I just mentioned, real-life human LeBron James. This was made all the stranger by the fact the Space Jam star was not voiced by himself, but by entirely different real-life human John Eric Bentley. It was an odd opening gambit.
In hindsight, adding LeBron first was a clear marketing ploy to promote Space Jam: A New Legacy, although it was months too late for that. Still, having something so out of left field was certainly a memorable way to kick things off. As I wrote about at the time, LeBron is one of the most unique characters on the roster, using his basketball as both a projectile and a key part of his melee attacks that he can also lose at any time and essentially have replaced with a whole new moveset.
Although I loved LeBron when he first released, he’s one of the fighters I play as the least a few months on. Revisiting him for this lookback reminded me just how unique he is, even if I’d lost the trickshot skill I’d had back in September. Maybe realistic characters aren’t so bad after all.
Things picked up more with Rick and Morty, who were the clear stars of the season. Morty made his appearance first as the second new character added to the game and, despite his obvious misclassification as a Brawler instead of a Mage, his grenade-based moveset was a total blast (pun intended), which combined with some surprisingly decent close-range capabilities thanks to Armothy. Morty is definitely in my top five characters in the whole game, and one that I like to come back to every once in a while, even if it’s just to hear him scream when he dodges.
Then, several delays later came Rick, who made up for his tardiness by being unarguably the best character of the season, and one of the best in the whole game. Just like in his show, Rick has ungodly power, able to debuff, zone, and tank with ease. It’s made all the better that you’re using a dick laser for such huge damage.
It’s just a shame that both Rick and Morty had no unique voicelines whatsoever, with all their voice clips being taken from the show. Hearing the pair randomly quote episodes instead of calling out Batman for being such a prick is a shame, but I’ll give the team credit for how surprisingly well it works. That being, it only makes me a little sad instead of depressed.
On the opposite end of the popularity curve are Gizmo and Stripe, two fighters who don’t seem to have gained much traction so far. That’s not too surprising considering the competition is an NBA star, and the two most popular cartoon characters of the generation, but it doesn’t stop them from both being great characters in their own right.
Out of the two, Gizmo is the more interesting thanks to being the supportiest Support out there thanks to his ability to turn into a backpack for teammates. That support focus means he hasn’t got too much power himself, which is probably why he’s not as popular as the rest, but he’s a great palette cleanser.
Stripe, on the other hand, is exactly what you’d expect and is full-on aggression, with a lock-on revolver and chainsaw that’s perfect for closing distances horizontally. Once again, as much as I don’t like the class system, both feel like they’ve been characterised perfectly here in terms of what moves they have, so I’m hoping the Gremlins fans like me appreciate them if Joey Netflix doesn’t recognise how well they’ve been implemented.
That brings us to the final character of the season and the one that’s ready to change the hierarchy… yeah, that joke’s been done. It’s Black Adam. If there was one character I wanted to skip, it was him – MultiVersus is already stuffed with DC representation, and I’ve never found the anti-Shazam to be all that interesting as a character, even less so when it’s clearly just marketing bait for the movie.
With that in mind, I was surprised to find that Black Adam doesn’t just play like Superman with lightning, and instead feels like a very strange mix of classes that adds up to one pretty great fighter. Ironically, I don’t think he’s very powerful and can be tough to get to grips with, but it would have been so easy to just make him a projectile tank and instead Player First Games went the extra mile and made him his own beast.
Unless the team pulls a fast one on players and adds a new character in the next few days, that's it for the first season of MultiVersus fighters. Although not every character that was added fits my own personal playstyle, they’re all so unique and well-crafted that I can’t see them as anything other than worthy additions. Let’s just hope Season 2 can live up to this strong start.
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