The Marvel universe has exploded in popularity since the release of Iron Man back in 2008, and while Marvel video games have been around for longer than I can remember, they too, benefited from the beginning of the MCU, but they’ve all been fairly similar in terms of style and generally focus on the main characters from the films, often running parallel to existing stories, but in a universe as big as Marvel, it’s not exactly an easy task to craft something unique.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is Firaxis Games’ own version of the Inferno comic series, and it starts with a book. A spooky book. The ultimate spooky book. Also known as the Book of the Damned, or the Book of Sins, The Darkhold has the ability to grant your every desire in exchange for your soul. All you have to do is read it, and somehow, Hydra got their tentacles on it.
They awaken Lilith, Mother of Demons, from her centuries-long slumber, and even in her drowsy state, she is just as powerful as any Omega-level supervillain you can think of, and with the power to corrupt any being with naught but a touch, no matter how strong their will, she soon amasses an army and doesn’t hesitate to attack the Avengers in their seats of power – The Avengers Tower and The Sanctum Sanctorum.
Whisking the handful of heroes to The Abbey, a supernatural sanctuary tucked away in a pocket dimension of Salem, Massachusetts, Dr. Strange Enlists the help of the Midnight Sons, and with their combined mystic energies, they awaken The Hunter…
Marvel’s Midnight Suns plays in a couple of different ways, with the bulk of gameplay taking place in turn-based strategic combat. Unlike XCOM, where the randomness comes from player units potentially hitting or missing their shots, Marvel’s Midnight Suns focuses on ability cards, and players are randomly given five cards per turn to choose from.
They wanted to give a more realistic experience of being a superhero, and as such, you won’t be missing attacks and you’ll know how much damage you’ll be doing. The cards can be anything from ability cards, which can buff allies or debuff enemies, right through to Heroic attacks, causing devastating damage to the enemies.
Each character can take eight cards into battle, allowing you to play the characters in whatever way you see fit. You can create powerful combat monsters, dedicated supports, or tanky defensives. Certain cards will earn you Heroism, unlocking the ability to unleash the Heroic attacks, but also allowing you to use the battlefield environments to your advantage.
Characters can pick up and throw slabs of concrete, launch themselves over crates, or pull down lamp posts to crush the corrupted agents of Hydra, so even if you can’t play a car, you’ll still be able to deal some damage.
In between missions, you explore the Abbey through 3rd-person gameplay, the hidden home of the Midnight Sons. It’s here that the game takes on a more RPG-like element, with Tony Stark and Dr. Strange offering upgraded equipment, Blade offering training sessions, and having the chance to develop friendships with the other heroes. You can also explore the Abbey grounds, discover hidden locations, find secret items, and unlock more of the Hunter’s history.
The Abbey itself is a beautiful location to explore, brimming with displaced superheroes eager to take the fight to Lilith. The grounds are full of detailed locations, with rooms to decorate with the various paintings you can find. The characters are beautifully crafted, drawing inspiration from the MCU as well as their comics, and their animations perfectly match their personalities.
During missions, the environments are a little more basic, though still packed with detail. Character models have fluid movements and their abilities have some incredibly devastating animations. Enemy units are a little more cut and paste, though this is kind of expected when facing the insignificant soldiers of Hydra.
Lilith’s more dedicated followers on the other hand are equally as impressive, with demonically enhanced versions of themselves. If Venom wasn’t already cool enough, his demonic version is insane.
Being heavily focused on the story and packed full of Marvel characters, Marvel’s Midnight Suns benefits from a cast of talented voice actors who perfectly synchronise with their characters, and the banter between the likes of Tony Stark and Dr. Strange is just as natural as that found in the MCU. The interactions make you feel like you’re right there like you’re the one having the conversations. The same can be said for in-game music and sound effects, with satisfying blasts and powerful punches.
As I mentioned in my preview, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is truly a unique game, offering players countless hours of play in any way they see fit. The possibilities are endless.
Firaxis Games have used their experience and love of Marvel to create a game that has greatly exceeded my expectations, and the XCOM-style gameplay only enhances the experience. The chances are you’ll be able to team up with your favourite Marvel hero, and Marvel’s Midnight Suns is the perfect way to experience this.
- A huge roster of heroes to team up with
- Play the way you want
- Exciting, strategic gameplay
- Incredible voice actors
- Beautifully crafted environments
- Amazing story
- Singleplayer only