I didn't have high hopes for the MultiVersus relaunch but brand-new PvE missions and a silly banana guy with a spear are changing my mind

The Joker in MultiVersus
(Image credit: Player First Games)

I'll be real, when servers for MultiVersus went down in June last year with the promise of a 2024 comeback, I was apprehensive as to whether it would even resurface. Pulling your game offline for a whole-ass year is a bold move. While I'm still not convinced that MultiVersus will be able to rein back in its initial momentum, after having some hands-on time with the new version earlier this month, I have to commend Player First Games for bouncing back with a genuinely massively improved experience.

MultiVersus 2.0 (not what they're calling it, for the record) feels tighter, weightier and a hell of a lot easier on the eyes to play. While it's still mired by a dizzying array of microtransactions, daily missions and add-ons—which I feel have gotten worse since the original version—there's plenty more to do here that I feel will keep veterans happy and get new players on board.

(Image credit: Player First Games)

My favourite addition to the relaunch is easily the introduction of PvE missions, called Rifts. They give me vague World of Light vibes from Smash Ultimate, with a bunch of challenges that have me either facing off against CPU-controlled opponents or diving into some cleverly constructed minigames. Each mission has its own set of sub-goals, like clearing it with a certain character or bringing a friend along to coop it with. 

It was a nice way to get me experimenting with the roster's different characters—like trying out the Joker or being peeled away from Banana Guard to clear a goal that requires me to use a human character. It's worth noting that I had access to the full roster free of charge—something that won't be the case in the full release—which made clearing these side missions a lot easier. I can imagine it might become a frustrating roadblock for frugal completionists.

Sometimes instead of throwing hands with other folk, a mission would have me do something like hopping on a cannon to shoot targets instead. It's a nice way to break up the constant fighting and made jumping from mission to mission feel a little less monotonous as a result. 

Crossover episode

Really, the ultimate benefit of doing these PvE missions was having a way for me to get stuck into its new-and-improved combat without having to get my ass kicked in online play straight off the bat. In my original MultiVersus review I pointed out how floaty the combat felt, but this relaunch has seen a few kilograms tied onto the combat. It feels tons better, with hits carrying more weight and movement feeling significantly less feathery. It's not quite Smash levels of snappiness, but I think that's a good thing. The 2v2 format lends itself to a little bit of necessary lightness, and I think Player First Games has struck the balance this time round.

(Image credit: Player First Games)

The new camerawork is a blessing too, pulling right into the combat when it's one-on-one and allowing for much better visual clarity. All of this is even further helped by the fact that the cast have had some resizing done, with character models being bigger and much easier to see among the chaos now. I was finding it much easier to keep up with what was happening moment to moment, something I struggled with a touch in the initial release.

It was all the perfect storm for me to wreak havoc with Banana Guard, one of three new additions to the roster, and one that hasn't had the warmest reception from fans. I had an absolute blast with him during my time with the preview though. His spear gives him great range, being able to poke from all angles, and he can also use it as a makeshift helicopter to gain some air. As a serial crier, I can severely relate to the move that has him drop to his knees and begin wailing, and I will undoubtedly be spamming it far too much when the full game releases.

It's been mostly a pretty good time with MultiVersus, though I still ultimately take issue with how rife it is with microtransactions. Gleamium remains king, being the primary currency required to buy fighters. There's a free currency alternative, but it was unclear how reliable an income it would be in the long run. On top of that, I was bombarded with tons of daily missions, event-specific missions and battle pass missions, which left me disoriented trying to navigate the game's menus. It was all a bit much at times, and I found myself frequently getting lost trying to work out what bit of information or wallet-tempting advert was being thrown at me at any one moment. It's the most off-putting part about MultiVersus, and I hope that either the UI becomes a little clearer or Player First Games reels in the noisy info dump.

(Image credit: Player First Games)

There's also still a ton of perk and ability stuff that can feel mighty overwhelming at first, but Player First Games has at least taken the liberty of offering pre-made sets now, allowing me to easily pick a loadout and mostly ignore trying to custom-build each fighter. I'm sure as the meta adapts, a little tweaking will be needed, but for ploughing through PvE missions the presets worked just fine.

After a few hours tinkering around in MultiVersus, I came away surprisingly excited for its re-release. I had largely resigned the game to a quiet re-release which would taper off within months, if not weeks, but I think Player First Games is deadly serious about giving this game a second chance. It's in a much better state now, and definitely worth giving it a rematch when it launches on May 28.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.