So far, I really enjoy Marvel’s Midnight Suns, having now played about 15 hours of the tactical RPG, which pulls inspiration from the XCOM games. Removing XCOM’s frustrating percentage system–which could cause even the most well-planned strategies to have a chance of just not working–makes the turn-based tactical combat in Midnight Suns a lot more fun. And thanks to the deckbuilding card system, randomness still factors into the equation, creating a healthy bit of challenge.
You can expect more words from me regarding the actual gameplay of Midnight Suns when the full review embargo is up. For now, I want to briefly touch on an aspect of Midnight Suns we haven’t really had a chance to see a whole lot of yet: the writing and story.
To recap, in Midnight Suns you play as the Hunter, prophesied to defeat your mother, Lilith, and seal away her dark magic forever. You’re assigned leadership of the latest iteration of the Midnight Suns, a team composed of superheroes with powers that dabble in the mystic and supernatural, going out to face Lilith’s demonic forces and the members of HYDRA she’s enthralled. Lilith’s war on humanity attracts the attention of less magically-inclined heroes as well, and so your efforts are also bolstered by members of the Avengers and X-Men. Each character features their own unique abilities, portrayed as cards within a deck, allowing you to switch up your strategies depending on who you bring on a mission.
I wasn’t expecting a story quite so action hero-focused given the namesake Midnight Suns is pulling from. It’s a bit by-the-numbers, even by the standards of superhero fiction, so major plot points can be seen coming from a mile away and moments of grief or tragedy aren’t given adequate room to fester, as the more wise-cracking heroes are quick to fill the silence with jokes to liven up the situation. So far, that’s keeping the game’s story from being great, but it’s certainly not bad by any stretch. If you’ve watched any of the team-oriented MCU movies, you already kind of know what you’re getting with Midnight Suns–this game feels more like the MCU’s lighthearted take on Age of Ultron and less like the darker Midnight Suns comic book series.
Between the major plot points, Midnight Suns allows you to explore optional, more personal side stories. And it’s in those smaller interactions between the Hunter and the individual members of their team that the game manages to squeeze out some incredible moments. Building up your friendship with certain heroes unlocks additional cutscenes and conversations with them, many of which culminate in heartwarming reveals or devastating discoveries. Magik, in particular, is one of the best-written characters in Midnight Suns, and her friendship arc with the Hunter–which sees the two bond over their respective struggles with their innate darkness–has been my favorite part of the game thus far.