Marvel’s latest game has released this week, and for the most part, it’s closer in quality to Guardians of the Galaxy, and less Marvel’s Avengers.
When it was first announced, Marvel’s Midnight Suns didn’t exactly light the world alight, with many fans complaining a variety of things, from the design choices and looks of the characters, to the mishmash of characters and teams, and much more besides. Whilst a card battling AAA video game wasnt on many people’s list for the Christmas period, it seems that for the most part developer Firaxis have stuck the landing and filled the Marvel video game void until Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 next year.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Marvel’s Midnight Suns borrows a little from a lot of different Marvel properties, from the Midnight Sons comics, to the MCU, and even Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man franchise; the voice of Spider-Man being the familiar and well-loved Yuri Lowenthal, from the aforementioned Insomniac Spider-Man game.
You’ll spend your time as The Hunter, a new creation of Firaxis Games, in that you’re the potential saviour of the universe against the antagonist Lilith and her demonic plans to take over the world and its inhabitants. Unfortunately The Hunter is a little bereft of any real personality, no matter what dialogue choices you pick, and he’s left a little wanting compared to the other superheroes in the game. That said, it was always going to be difficult to overcome the already established characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man.
Some of the best moments in the game come in the downtimes, when you can take the time to talk to your new friends and get to know them. From planning ill-advised surprise birthday parties to matchmaking between two unlikely heroes, you’ll find the almost soap opera mechanics endearing, if a little contrived at times. As well as the random chats you can have, maintaining and building friendships with the other heroes has actual benefits, from unlocking abilities to passive upgrades during battle, there is some actual use in these quieter moments.
When you’re not spending your time discussing multiversal shenanigans with Strange or the newest tech creations with Stark, you can spend a little (or a lot) of time in the pocket dimension’s Abbey Grounds, which itself is filled with mysteries to solve, ingredients to find and collectibles to unearth. Unlike most games, these collectibles actually do a great job of filling in the blanks of an already thin story, fleshing it out to make it a little more interesting.
The story is a simple one, and a regularly regurgitated one in comic books and films. You, The Hunter, have been resurrected to take down the latest big bad of the Marvel universe, Lilith. Awakened by Hydra, Lilith controls as army of beings known as the Lilin, and has the powers to corrupt and controls others at will, including some of the already dangerous villains like Venom, Crossbones and more. Lilith also happens to be your mother, whom you vanquished centuries past, but what’s a little family quarrel every few years?
The main chunk of your time with Marvel’s Midnight Suns will be spent deployed on missions with a variety of objectives, from stopping a crazed Venom destroying the Sanctum, to more simple things like recovering artifacts from Hydra hands. It’s hard to explain the gameplay of the card battling system in a few words, but between character-based abilities, hero combos, environmental attacks and more, the game nails it most of the time, with no one battle feeling too easy or too hard, and the need to plan our your moves during your turn will keep you on your toes. A few times I found myself throwing away a near certain win because I’d wasted a card play (of which you get three per turn), or moving to the wrong part of the map at the wrong time.
As a whole Marvel’s Midnight Suns is worth the money, with Firaxis drawing heavy inspiration from their flagship title XCOM, which thankfully keeps the card battler feeling fresh right up till the end. The story is pretty thin but functional, and the characters all have their own charms, even in some cases where their depiction is a far cry from what we may be used to. Unfortunately, the game does have some drawbacks. Whilst the battle sequences and characters in costumes look fantastic, the base character models look a generation or two old, and in the case of The Hunter especially, it can be distracting and hard to ignore at the best of times, completely immersion-breaking at others.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns was played and reviewed on a code supplied by PremierComms.