Marvel is everywhere nowadays, no doubt in large part to the continuing success of their film properties. And with a myriad of projects across mediums, especially games, it goes without saying we’d see more and varied genres. And Midnight Suns is exactly that, a much different genre and take with the Marvel License. Thanks to 2K and Firaxis, we are able to provide our Midnight Suns Review.
This mashup of tactical gameplay from the creators of XCOM, combined with a deck builder element all with many Marvel characters we know; is a unique mix of genres. And my experience was an interesting one with the game.
For those wanting to be wary of the story here is your chance to be aware.
The story of the game is its own original story pulling many different eras of characters into an original tale following the darker and more supernatural side of the world. We first see that hydra as always up to no good and messing with things they shouldn’t be.
And we meet Dr. Faustaus leading a chant to summon the mother of Demons, Lilith, herself. Pledging Hydra to help her take over the world. Here we are then seen as Tony Stark and Doctor Strange ask a voice of hell for help. The spirit of Vengeance himself Johnny Blaze.
Swearing he is tired of fighting other people’s wars after his loss. He declines to help before stating that hell is already here. When they are attacked by demons. After a quick warm-up scuffle, we head back to the Sanctum Santorum, home of the Sorceror Supreme to find The Scarlet Witch trying to defend against Lilith’s attempted intrusion. And to come and assist Captain Marvel swoops in to help out as well.
It is here that after another fight Lilith appears, and is able to easily outmatch Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel only being pushed back by Wanda’s Chaos magic. Doctor Strange entrusts her to keep up the wards while they get help from the only people he knows.
We then see Strange, Tony, and Carol enter the Abbey, home of the Midnight Suns. A place guarded by Sara, known as Caretaker, and Agatha Harkness. Alongside them are the young Suns in training Magik, Nico Minoru, Robbie Reyes, and Blade. They arrive to fulfill the prophecy of awakening the only person who can defeat Lilith, her only child, The Hunter.
The Hunters Awakening:
After the Hunter is awoken we see their experience with coming to terms with an entirely different world from when they fought Lilith 300 years in the past. As well as their story as it develops with the Avengers and the Midnight Suns. All of this is set as a backdrop to the ever-growing threat of Lilith’s influence and corruption. With HYDRA acting as her army The Hunter is tasked with leading the Suns to Fight and stop her.
The story has an interesting narrative within the universe of Marvel’s iconic universe and with a host of characters, it feels great. And with The Hunter acting as the player’s own insert and entirely brand new you feel like an actual hero in this world. While there is no set feeling of urgency like in XCOM, the story is still well-written and enjoyable for hardcore fans wanting an enjoyable take on a different group of characters. Or for new fans who may not be as deep in history and want an enjoyable new story.
Now when it comes to iconic characters like Iron Man and Spiderman they gotta look good and nice right? Well, that is actually a point where I felt that Midnight Suns was lacking. And it is not that the outfits were not well done. There are many outfits referencing many classic stories or other versions of our heroes.
However, it’s the general look of the game itself that feels kind of off. The game at times can be pretty and have some very nice visual effects. However, the character models themselves aren’t that great. While they are very recognizable they also aren’t the best. Their faces don’t look the best outside of some of the cutscenes. As well as when some characters talk their faces don’t exactly match up with their words.
Along with this, there were many notices of pop-in, as well as many issues with clipping for outfits. On a few occasions, there were even visual glitches such as some arenas not loading correctly during a reload or reset. Not to mention that while the game is stated as having 60 frames a second at up, there were noticeable points where frames dropped during play.
The well-done visual storytelling in the cutscenes is phenomenal mixed with a very vibrant and effect-heavy appeal. However, it just doesn’t look as pretty as it can consistently can on next-gen hardware.
The sound of the game is probably where I noticed the most issues. First off the music in the game is wonderful. Truly the background music for exploring the Abbey is both calming and mysterious and changes from area to area as you unlock more and more. This is great for creating a neverending ambiance which helps to create many moods.
Not to mention that the voice acting in the is well done. Each voice matches the personality of every superhero we meet, from Tony Starks’ sarcasm to Stephen Stranges’ never-ending arcane babbling. This only helps to create a fun bond with the cast.
And in combat, the sound effects can be quite enjoyable. From the announcer screaming K.O. to the sounds of attacks and impact. It feels like a living comic book and how one would imagine the sounds.
However, throughout the game, I did experience many issues with the audio. As I mentioned previously with visual animation of talking but with either the model still talking even after the audio stopped. Or at times the audio still going after the model’s face stopped moving.
Not to mention I had many instances where when it was raining in the abbey during exploration, the rain audio would cut out when entering a building or roofed area and not return when stepping back out. Not to mention many instances of entire audio loss in combat during abilities or just in general. Desync is a major issue at times and has a tendency to pull you out of the game.
Luckily the game isn’t reliant on audio cues for anything. But, it is something that can harm the overall experience for some.
Now the gameplay in Midnight Suns has many different components and all of it centers around several parts. First is the tactical combat side of things and the other is the deck builder, but there is so much more than just that.
After the prologue and tutorial fights, we are given the option to create our own Hunter. This is the main character and avatar within the game. As the child of Lilith, we are the ones who will lead the Midnight Suns. Opting to be able to choose between a man or woman, and then customizing our look. At first, there aren’t many options to choose from when creating your hunter, however, there are more options that unlock once in the game. As well as being able to unlock more over time. So it’s possible to further make your style all your own.
Now in between missions, a large part of the game is also building your relationship with your fellow Midnight Suns. Bonding and spending time with other characters and growing your friendship with them offers bonuses not just from that character overall sometimes unlocking new passive abilities, but in doing so you unlock and grow your overall team rank. Increasing your team friendship level can also yield some nice bonuses such as an increase in some attacks or combo abilities.
Not to mention that as players progress through the story they will learn that along with exploring the Abbey, there is a history and secrets to be revealed. Only if they wish to that is, since exploring can offer more rewards but is entirely optional.
Now combat is where things get going, and there are a few things that tie into this. First is the deck builder which is the primary focus of all things in the game. Each character has their own deck that is then all combined into the main deck. This deck is what players will draw from each turn in combat.
And that’s broken down into three types of cards Attack, Skill, and Heroic. There is a minimum of each type required and a max as well. Along with different rarities, each card offers different status effects and traits to mix up combat. From cards that can cause bleeding, others that can taunt to draw enemy attention, or cards that can refund a card play if it kills an enemy.
Add in the fact that each character plays differently from the others so it allows very a constant change of styles and allows for many possibilities. In each arena, there are also environmental hazards you can use to your advantage, from explosives, things to be dropped, and things to be shoved. You can even throw enemies off some arenas in the right case.
With this you are able to move, however, you only have one dedicated move, separate from using cards. This allows you to reposition a character out of danger or to use the environment better. And you can keep moving them till you get the perfect angle. And unlike XCOM which is all a grid, Midnight Suns is all open. This allows for much more flexibility.
Now after fights is how you will unlock many of the resources you will need to use, mainly Gamma Coils. To be able to expand your cards after each mission you will earn a Gamma coil. These are used as a form of the chest that rewards new ability cards for the characters used in the last mission. This helps to provide new options to mix in.
And there are other things you can earn, essence is how you upgrade your cards from attack, skill, or heroic. Artifacts are studied by Doctor Strange to increase the research level to unlock new upgrades to either craft ability cards you’ve discovered, or create single-use items in combat. Upgrade the training yard, where you can upgrade your actual cards, or upgrade the usage out of the daily training. Ways to get special bonuses with a teammate to use in their next fight while giving a little friendship xp to boot.
And lastly, you can earn intel caches, a currency to use to unlock special challenges in some missions for extra rewards, or to be used to send a hero on a Hero OP. Hero OPs are missions that run over a length of time separate from actual game missions that can reward special sometimes rare cards for your team members.
There are so many things to do when it comes down to the gameplay that ties into the XCOM-heavy loop that makes it fun. And mix this in with newer difficulty stages you unlock. With the Last one being the loved and hated Iron Man mode (pun fully intended.)
Now there were some major bugs I ran into with the game. Despite the audio and visual issues I previously mentioned, there were a few that did break the game for me. Namely, on one specific day, I had sent Robbie on a hero op. But due to a story event, I wasn’t able to get to it till 3 days later. And when I did every time I tried to collect the rewards, the game would hit a video crash error. And note I’m playing on a console and would then crash the game.
Almost effectively preventing me from being able to use the Hero OPs. I gave it an extra day to just see if it was just the day. Nope, the entire mission was bugged, so I had to find a save I made prior to all that, luckily it was before I chose the mission. And send someone else instead of Robbie. This then had me redoing everything I did over those three days, including exploring the Abbey again, to try and get back to where I was.
Overall my experience with Midnight Suns was very enjoyable. I loved the game, and the story was fun. But more than anything, I loved the mashup of deck builders and tactical gameplay using the marvel License.
Again thanks to 2K and Firaxis for allowing me to play and do this Midnight Suns Review. And let us know what you all think down below. Have you had a chance to play it yourself, what are your thoughts on it? Or were you waiting for our Midnight Suns review? Be sure to check out our other reviews.
Hey everyone hope you enjoyed my thoughts and breakdowns in the article above. You can keep up with my thoughts & shenanigans by following me on all my social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, & Youtube.