You'll love it if:
- Turn based strategy is your thing.
- You are a Marvel fan.
- You liked Fire Emblem and want that but with Marvel.
Not for you if:
- You can't stand drama.
- Fast paced flashy action is what you want.
- You can't think two steps ahead.
Personally I’ve been having my eye on Marvel’s Midnight Suns for a while. After the release I noticed that with every reveal I got more excited about the card mechanic and the hub area. While also slightly skeptical on how it was all going to work out when everything was combined in one big package. Well, they nailed some of it and other things are just a bit off. Full details down below, as always completely spoiler free.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns review TL;DR
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is an excellent turn based strategy game with a unique card battle mechanic. You see Marvel’s heroes identity clearly in their moves and each is so unique you can create amazing teams. Marvel’s Midnight Suns brings a Marvel superhero story with teenage superhero drama on the side that will please some but deter others. Marvel’s Midnight Suns is also held back by the performance issues and somewhat outdated graphics.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns review – The Hulk of the review
The studio behind Marvel’s Midnight Suns is none other than Firaxis Games, the masters of turn based strategy games like XCOM and Civilization VI. Fireaxis is to turn-based strategy what FromSoftware is to Soulslike games. You just know it’s going to be good combat and fleshed out mechanics for your brain to ponder over. Did they deliver? Check out the rest of this Marvel’s Midnight Suns review.
Gameplay – Fixing conflict with punches and words
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a two piece game, one side is the turn based combat and the other is the socializing at the base. While the combat is insanely good and unique for the genre; the socializing can leave something to be desired.
Turn Based Card Combat – it just works
As I mentioned earlier the combat has a unique card twist to it. You aren’t rolling the die on whether your attack will hit; superheroes never miss. Each hero has its own deck of cards that you can tailor to your liking. A party is made up of three heroes and it’s your goal to effectively utilize the hand dealt. This requires some clever thinking as some cards build up heroism. A resource used for your stronger attacks or insanely strong combo attacks. Or you can use that heroism to use the environment around you to throw boxes or tear down lantern posts on top of your enemies.
After each mission you get a card booster from the heroes you played with. As you play more with certain heroes you get more cards. You can use those cards to upgrade or deconstruct for materials required in upgrading. Personally I upgraded Spiderman into a crowd control beast that locked enemies into place while Captain Marvel unleashed devastating attacks to taunt and finish them off. All while the Demon Hunter hung back and supported them.
This is truly the most amazing aspect of Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Different heroes and decks, compositions and other play styles can change up the way you play so much it never gets old. I do think there will be a meta combo that can help you breeze through the higher difficulty levels, but that’s a personal choice in the end as Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a single player game.
High School Drama
Aside from the truly amazing combat we have the Abbey. The hub where our team of heroes relax and prepare for the next move. Your base of operations where you craft cards, build decks, research artifacts, spar with other heroes to train, etc.
A lot of systems are in place that directly influence how combat will go. Sparring or having a hero rest for a deal can give significant buffs for their next battle. Sending them out on OPS while you do missions can give insane rewards that are utilized elsewhere.
But that’s not all, aside from the main story, which I will get to later, there are smaller side stories going on. It’s the building of your friendship level with the other members of the team and the Interlink system, twitter for super heroes. While it’s nice to build up relations with everyone and get to know their characters… There is also some inner strife between the old guard (Avengers) and the original tenants of the Abbey (Midnight Suns). There is some suspense that feels more like a High School drama you get sucked into and I simply couldn’t be bothered personally.
Having the conversations and activities with the individual members is fine. They are short, have the dialogue options mini game to improve your relation with them or grow the Demon Hunter towards the light or dark side. They didn’t get in the way that much and were a nice distraction. The other activities like the EMO KIDS meeting or Workshop all had this drama interwoven but were necessary to get more cards or items.
Story time – Marvel blockbuster-ish (spoiler free)
Portraying a movie in a video game is no easy feat. Marvel’s Midnight Suns really tries to bring the suspense, action and excitement to your PC or console. The cut-scenes are filled with action packed moments and punchlines like you see in the movie theaters. There is a world ending event and our heroes are outnumbered, outmatched and lack intel. You know, the standard superhero movie formula.
Welcome to the end
In Marvel’s Midnight Suns Hydra is back at it again. This time Doctor Faustus is a crazy Hydra scientist intent on mixing magic with technology to revive the demon goddess Lilith. Surprisingly enough he succeeds and sets in motion the approach of the star called the Midnight Sun. As the Midnight Sun creeps closer, magic around the world is getting more garbled and even Bruce has problems transforming into the Hulk. Because if he could become the Hulk, this story would be over in twenty minutes as he punches Lilith back to hell.
The Sanctum of Dr. Strange is attacked by Hydra and Lilith and even the combined powers of Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Captain Marvel and the Scarlet Witch are no match. Surviving purely by luck and the creation of stronger wards by Dr. Strange, they are able to push Lilith back.
From here on Strange decides to turn back to the Abbey where the Hunter is buried. The one hero that defeated Lilith last time, albeit by sacrificing himself. At the Abbey the Midnight Sun’s and Avengers resurrect the Hunter. A demon hunter hero with light and dark powers from ages past and no clue what social media is; pure bliss. They introduce him to super hero twitter about five minutes after he wakes up.
You play as the Hunter when it comes to interacting with the other heroes and the main story missions. These missions consist of recruiting more members for your team and acquiring intel from Hydra. Each with cut-scenes and plot twists we are used to from a superhero movie. What bothered me most is that in those cut-scenes there is an insane amount of urgency implied. While there is absolutely no problem when you take on fifteen side missions and spend time with the EMO KIDS going into the past to recover your memories. I guess the midnight sun just moves slower on Sundays.
Technicalities and visualities
Marvel’s Midnight Suns ran about as stable as a road after the Hulk got angry. Which is surprising as the graphics aren’t that great. The combat arenas are fairly small, while they have a lot of detail going on when it comes to destruction in the environment. The cut-scenes at certain times looked horrendous as if the resolution was only 800×600 and after an update I had to recalibrate every setting to get a more stable experience.
During combat the AI or even your heroes could take such a long time to complete their given orders or movements it got annoying. Combat animations would cut off halfway, freeze and then continue a bit later as if nothing happened. Exploring the Abbey would have fps drops down to 40 from 120 and the characters there sometimes appeared like last gen NPC’s in conversations. All of this on an RTX3080 with ray tracing disabled for Marvel’s Midnight Suns. I can run Cyberpunk with ray tracing at high and get a stable 60fps. I could not with Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
Sure these technical issues will get fixed eventually and the experience isn’t always as bad as I portray it here. I had sessions that went flawlessly aside from the somewhat outdated graphics.
Steam Deck review
Not yet compatible. Firaxis is working on it so in the future it should work. But right now there could be an issue with cloud saving. I had it installed and ready to test it out, but after reading their statement that you could lose your save I decided to not risk my 15 hours of gametime at that time.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns review Conclusion
I do not want to leave this review on a bad note and truly want to say this is a good game. I enjoyed many aspects it offers and really didn’t like some. Firaxis nailed it and Marvel’s Midnight Suns is an enjoyable game. For some Marvel’s Midnight Suns will be the whole package and everything they desire and thought it was. While for other some mechanics, storylines and dialogue might be to off putting or Marvel universe breaking.
Thank you CD Media for sponsoring us with a Marvel’s Midnight Suns + edition key. The skins are truly awesome to behold as you can see in the screenshots in this article.