Marvel's Midnight Suns | game review
A marvellous gaming universe.
Game summary: Set in the darker side of the Marvel Universe, you will forge unbreakable bonds with legendary Marvel Super Heroes and dangerous supernatural warriors in the fight against the world’s greatest threat yet…the demonic forces of Lilith and the elder god Chthon. (Steam)
I love Marvel's Midnight Suns. Let's just get that out of the way right at the beginning, because that really is the main message I want to get across with this review. Not only is it simple to pick up and play - for just about anyone too thanks to the turn-based combat - but Firaxis just utterly nailed how best to depict the Marvel Universe in videogame form better than everyone other than maybe the team behind Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
By that, I mean that this is clearly a new and entirely separate continuity that doesn't require to have read any of the comics; seen any of the movies or TV shows; or played any of the other numerous Marvel-based games out there, and yet absolutely everything feels true to the source material in a way countless other adaptations do not, which is quite the feat considering the size of the cast.
There are Avengers, X-Men, Runaways, Midnight Sons (not Suns) and plenty of solo heroes too that make an appearance, especially if you get all the story DLC - which you really should - that adds Deadpool, Morbius, Venom and Storm to your team. As a brief aside, the story DLC alone could've easily been a full game in it's own right and I would've been happy about, with Dracula as the big bad for that particular tale.
As it is, the main story is of truly epic scope and was fortunate to come out in the same year as Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness thanks to the heavy involvement of Strange, Scarlet Witch and influence of Chthon in both stories - except Midnight Suns does it much, much better. A lot of stories involve possible apocalypses of various kinds, which can be tedious after a while, but this game really, really earns the stakes everything builds up to by the end.
And outside of the combat, I also really enjoyed just getting to hang out with and get to know the other characters better. Not only is it a fun way to get to explore more of this universe versions of events that will be familiar to Marvel fans, but it can provide an opportunity for you to flesh out your own character of the Hunter depending on how you treat others and what options you pick regarding your backstory.
I will admit that I did find that the Hunter can become a bit over-powered depending on which skills you pick, but I hardly think there's anything wrong with a little power fantasy in a game about bloody superheroes, is there? The real reason for this is because the developers clearly wanted to allow players to build up their character however they wanted, but it does mean that there are some outrageous combinations you can pull off if you know what you're doing.
If you are more used to the movies than the longer-form story-telling possible in the comics and want a game that's all about the action, the Midnight Suns might well not be for you as getting to know your team well is half the game, and the combat is turn-based, so you hardly need quick reflexes or reactions, but everything you do feels like it has a real impact to it in combat, and can be satisfying in a way that mowing through a horde of disposable enemies in other games might not.
To expand on how the combat plays out, each hero has a deck of cards that count as attacks, special abilities, enhancements for yourself and allies, in addition to effects that will make enemies weaker, and it's up to you to figure out the best of kind of deck for each character to fit your playstyle as you unlock more cards and make them more powerful as you progress.
Again, some might not like the random nature of how you gain new cards and new abilities, but the game never screws you over and makes any mission unwinnable, although it might be a little frustrating on a second playthrough having to wait for a favourite ability to become available again. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the combat side of things too, trying to figure out which heroes worked well together and how best to use the numerous locations to my advantage too.
Hell, I'd say that playing Midnight Suns was great preparation for Baldur's Gate 3 and got me used to optimising my group and which abilities were the best choice at the right time - also taking advantage of the environment to maximum effect too - all while getting to play with a group of incredibly familiar characters. If the latter game looks too overwhelming for you, then this might be the perfect game for you instead.
Marvel's Midnight Suns is just fantastic and it's a shame that the game flopped sales-wise when released as it means a sequel is unlikely to appear. There are so many characters to team up with and get to know that it really does feel like an alternate universe that could've easily stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the MCU and the comics, and I'm sad that this instalment is all we're going to get.