One general aspect of fighting games is that mechanics like inputs and frame buffers are consistent no matter who or what you’re playing, but you probably don’t need to be that way anymore.
After playing a decent portion of MultiVersus’s Closed Alpha test, we came away impressed with the title’s control and customization options, and other fighting game developers need to pay attention to what Player First Games is doing.
Admittedly, MultiVersus’ default control scheme is atypical from what we generally see in this genre with certain attacks to the on-pad triggers, but it can obviously be reset to what is more comfortable.
Obviously this is nothing new although it is nice that players can assign inputs to up to two buttons for those who want two jumps like Super Smash Bros. Or a way to quickly switch between normal attacks and specials without moving your thumb.
However, what really started to impress me was the ability to switch neutral and lateral attack options, something you might want to look into especially if you’re coming from Smash.
I spent most of my playing time with the Harley Quinn and kept finding myself screwing up any antennas I had because I felt that her big hammer swing would work better as a side attack.
One simple click on an option, and I was able to change that and make an immediate improvement to my play. I’ll warn you though I ran into what seemed to be an error after selecting those options that changed my controls to default, but restarting the game fixed this issue.
It’s the same absolute fresh air that controls the feel of the game in the hands of the players themselves, and that’s not even the most interesting part.
What impressed us the most were the more subtle and technical options we hadn’t really seen before in this 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 with your input.
The ability to change the input buffer frames as well as make the stored input only hold is probably the most awesome customization option we’ve seen in a fighter in recent years as well.
For years now, we’ve seen players complain that input buffering is too long in games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Guilty Gear Strive, which can lead to unwanted attacks or dodges after being hit or performing certain actions.
MultiVersus allows users to make the game feel more accurate basically any way they want them to, and it rocks what we know and expect for fighters.
These kinds of control specs have been available for years and years in other competitive genres like shooting games, so why shouldn’t fighting games offer the same?
Obviously not everything that MultiVersus has to offer applies to more traditional fighters like Street Fighter and Tekken, but there are still lessons to be learned from them and how they can allow players to shape inputs and moves in slightly different ways.
The concern might be that a particular option could be objectively better to choose for serious gameplay although none of the MultiVersus customization seems to give an inherent advantage over the other.
In an era where combat gamers play on a wide range of console options from official platforms like the DualShock 4 or GameCube to arcade sticks and Hit Box consoles, controlling them in reality can be quite different among them.
The MultiVersus dead zone and input buffer mods open the doors to an era where the experience can be tuned to your own preferences to a point rather than having to fight in the virtual bubble.
However, this also raises the issue of playing on different settings such as an offline course where you simply can’t change those aspects of the game for anyone else, so you may still want to try to stick with the default settings if you ever plan to do so.
It would be great if we could see these kinds of options available for single player profiles which shouldn’t be too hard to achieve either.
A free fighting game that hasn’t been officially released yet has better control options and innovations than any other game out there right now, and the developers really need to take notes if they want to keep up with what things might be headed.