A general aspect of fighting games is that mechanics like inputs and frame buffers are consistent no matter who you’re playing or what you’re playing on, but maybe it doesn’t need to be that way anymore .
After playing a decent round of MultiVersus’ Closed Alpha test, we came away impressed with the title’s controller and customization options, and other fighting game developers should pay attention to what Player First Games is doing.
MultiVersus’ default control scheme is admittedly atypical of what we typically see in the genre with attacks mapped to triggers on the pad, but these can obviously be remapped to whatever feels most comfortable.
This obviously isn’t new, although it’s nice that players can assign up to 2 buttons for those who want 2 jumps like Super Smash Bros. or a way to quickly switch between normal attacks and specials without moving your thumb.
What really started to impress me, however, was the ability to swap out your neutral and side attack options, which is something you might want to look into, especially if you’re coming from Smash.
I spent most of my playing time with Harley Quinn and kept mistaking which antennae I was using because I felt her big hammer blow would work better as a side attack.
A single click on an option, and I was able to change that and immediately improve my game. I will warn you though that I encountered what appeared to be a bug after selecting those options which reverted my controls back to default , but restarting the game solved this problem.
It’s an absolute breath of fresh air that control of the feel of the game is put in the hands of the players themselves, and that’s not even the most interesting part.
What ended up impressing us the most were the more nuanced and technical options that we hadn’t really seen before in the genre.
Players can adjust the dead zone on their sticks both vertically and horizontally if the directions feel too loose or tight for your liking and possibly mess up your inputs.
The ability to change input buffer frames as well as having buffered inputs only output on hold is potentially the most intriguing customization option we’ve seen in a fighter in recent years as well.
For years, we’ve seen players complain about input buffering taking too long in games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Guilty Gear Strive, which can lead to unwanted attacks or dodges after getting hit or performing certain actions.
MultiVersus allows users to make the game more precise in any way they want, and it shakes up a bit what we’ve known and what we expect from fighters.
These kinds of control specs have been available for years and years in other competitive genres like shooters, so why wouldn’t fighting games offer the same?
Obviously, not everything MultiVersus offers would apply to more traditional fighters like Street Fighter and Tekken, but there are still lessons to be learned and how they could let players perform inputs and moves in a way slightly different.
The concern with this would be that a particular option might be objectively better to choose for a serious game, although none of MultiVersus’ customizations seem to give an inherent advantage over another.
In an age where fighting game players play on a huge range of controller options, from official pads like the DualShock 4 or GameCube to arcade sticks and Hit Box-like controllers, controlling them can feel completely different. between them.
MultiVersus’ Deadzone and Input Buffer tweaks open the doors to an age where the experience can be adjusted to your own preferences up to a point instead of being forced to fight in the bubble by fault.
However, it also brings up the issue of playing on different setups, like an offline tournament, where you can’t just change those aspects of a game for everyone, so you can always try to stick with the defaults if you plan to do so. Doing this.
It would be nice if we saw those kinds of options available for individual player profiles and that’s something that shouldn’t be too hard to achieve either.
A free-to-play fighting game that’s not even officially released, but it offers better control options and innovations than pretty much any other title out there right now, and the devs really need to take note if they’re going to follow the direction things.
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