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Marvel’s Midnight Suns review: 2022’s best superhero game

Marvel’s Midnight Suns review: 2022’s best superhero game

Simply magic

Marvel’s impressive streak of genuinely great video games continues with Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a truly excellent superhero RPG/card strategy game/friendship sim that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best releases of 2022.

I’ll admit this came as something of a surprise. When Marvel’s Midnight Suns was first announced, promising a walk through the Marvel universe’s more supernatural neighbourhoods, I wasn’t all that fussed. I can’t help but wonder if Square Enix’s sluggish Avengers game put me off the idea of further squad-based adaptations, especially since I was equally wary to check out last year’s Guardians Of The Galaxy game.

Fortunately, I was as wrong about Midnight Suns as I was Guardians Of The Galaxy. This is a truly excellent superhero game, one that delights in playing around with the stranger corners of Marvel lore while still throwing in enough familiar faces and names to keep casual fans interested. Its card-based strategy battles are a joy, its story first-rate, and its performances solid across the board. I should never have doubted Firaxis Games.

Combat will be largely familiar to anyone who has played an XCOM game, although there are some key changes. Turn-based battles pit three heroes of your choice against waves of goons, demons, and the occasional supervillain. Attacks are dictated by the cards you draw, with the hand you’re dealt allowing you to attack, defend, or call on certain skills when you’ve earned enough energy (played enough cards).

This is a more randomised approach that might rankle strategy game purists, but I enjoyed the inclusion of deck-building elements and found it kept fights fresh and interesting. Rather than rely on the same moves every time, I was making full use of all my heroes and their unique abilities. This also encourages you to really pay attention to the arena, and use whatever environmental hazards or advantages you might have to hand if the cards you’ve drawn are going to cut it. You might use Doctor Strange’s magic to throw an enemy into an explosive barrel before Blade follows up with a devastating sword combo, or get Iron Man to line up a row of enemies so that Captain Marvel can take them out with a deadly photon blast. However you approach battles, they always look great and feel like properly cinematic showdowns that will absolutely delight my fellow Marvel nerds.

Midnight Suns
Midnight Suns

Midnight Suns is also much more of an RPG than I was expecting, weaving in dialogue and relationship systems that wouldn’t look out of place in a BioWare game. After a brief tutorial that talks you through the basics of the game’s turn-based battle system, it’s over to you to create your very own character and build out a base of operations as you fight back against a terrifying mystical threat.

While being able to insert yourself into the Marvel universe sounds like a great idea on paper, this custom character (Hunter) is arguably the weakest part of the experience. There’s a certain ridiculous fun to be had in playing a newcomer who has to win over some of the biggest and best superheroes in the world by showering them with gifts and working alongside them in battle, but Hunter is severely one-note next to icons like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Blade. It’s not Firaxis’ fault, really. Who among us could be expected to build a character that suddenly becomes the world’s new favourite Avenger?

Still, most of the dialogue between the characters is a joy to behold, and there’s always worthwhile loot like new costumes, secrets, or gear to be won by getting to know your fellow heroes better. If nothing else, watching some of the more science-based heroes like Iron Man and Spidey adjust to fighting a supernatural war is fascinating stuff. Firaxis has a firm grasp on why we love these characters, which makes it all the more interesting to see them pushed into unexpected scenarios.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns proves that when the right developer is given the keys to the Marvel toy box, something very special can happen. Like Insomniac Games and Eidos-Montréal before them, Firaxis have been unafraid to put their own stamp on a beloved universe, taking gameplay elements it’s already known and loved for and giving it a Marvel makeover that just works. What could have been a simple XCOM reskin is genuinely the best superhero game of 2022, and an adventure that no fan of costumed do-gooders should miss.

Pros: Great roster of characters, battle mechanics are deep and engaging, excellent story

Cons: Takes a little while to get going, custom character is pretty one-note

For fans of: Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, XCOM, X-Men: Legends

8/10: Excellent

Marvel’s Midnight Suns is available now on PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Code for review was supplied by the publisher. Find a complete guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: 2K Games

Topics: Marvel