MultiVersus has snuck up the inside track to nestle in as one of my favourite games of the year. It's extremely early days, of course. I liked it enough during the closed beta, but the open beta has fully got its claws in me. It's only been a couple of days, and the open beta doesn't even fully open for another week because video games are silly sometimes, but MultiVersus has my attention. Stray was one of my most anticipated titles of the year, and I've carved out enough time to get about halfway through it, but it's MultiVersus that keeps pulling me back in. My interest could fade away, but I'm not expecting it to. After the disaster of Nick Brawl, MultiVersus feels like a breath of fresh air, and a huge part of what's keeping me invested is Velma Dinkley.
Velma was not one of the characters I expected to like in MutiVersus. I watched Scooby-Doo as a kid, but it didn't have a particularly nostalgic hold over me. It was fine. But Harley Quinn is one of my favourite characters of all time, and I love Looney Tunes, DC, and despite how it ended, Game of Thrones. I expected Velma to be middle of the pack, or even lower. I tried her in the closed beta and bounced off, so I thought that was me done with her. How wrong I was.
During the original beta, I was a Harley main, but I wasn't above a little bit of Taz cheese too. Reindog was fun, along with Wonder Woman, but I was expecting to just stick with Harley. After picking up the Founders Pack and having a bit of spare currency, I was looking forward to splashing the cash on some fancy outfits, but was found wanting. Harley comes only with her Batman: The Animated Series outfit which is a little predictable, as cool as it is. Leaks suggest Task Force X is coming next, which again, is pretty predictable. For all the creativity in the game, the outfits are a little lacking. Velma, however, comes with the sort of outfit I'd expect from a game like MultiVersus – Velma has a luau outfit.
I'm not sure where in the Scooby-Doo canon it comes from, but it's funky and the sort of customisation I was expecting MultiVersus to be built upon. It's modest, as is fitting for Velma, but it also offers her a new slice of personality. This was the first thing that got me to try Velma out again, but now that I'm playing as her, she has quickly emerged as the best character in the game. She can attack from a distance with her standard attacks and control the game from a distance with her specials, while she has surprisingly good vertical attacks considering how cleanly most fighters are split between vertical and horizontal styles. I haven't tried out all of the characters yet (nor am I, in truth, good enough at fighting games to define the meta), but Velma stands out far and away as the best fighter in MultiVersus for casual enjoyment.
Velma has even shook me out of my Taz phase. Taz is still kind of broken, and I admit he is fun to spam with, but I've never lost against a Taz with Velma. Taz definitely still needs to be fixed, but as satisfying as it is to launch into spin attacks over and over again, it's even more satisfying to stand at the other end of the stage and either scoop Taz up or take him out with Velma's megaphone attack. She's a brilliant character on her own, but that she can disrupt the game's most irritating fighter makes her even better.
It's fitting that my main has been a surprise pick, given how much MultiVersus itself has surprised me. It's a gimmicky attempt to cramp Smash's style with some IP soup, but I think I love it, just a little bit. And now I love Velma too.
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