Marvel and turn-based tactics - that never existed. Until the release of Marvel's Midnight Suns, superhero games were driven by banging action. The new approach, for which the makers of Civilization or XCOM: Enemy Unknown are responsible with the Studio Firaxis, pleases.
In the Marvel Universe, given the countless spin-offs, it's easy to lose track of things. You must have thought the same thing about Firaxis, because the developers rely on the classic heroes for Marvel's Midnight Suns. And they still bring it, as can be deduced from the quality of the new turn-based strategy game.
Hero's Kloppe: Cozy instead of wild
The responsible studio is behind great titles from games history: Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, Civilization, Sid Meier's Pirates! and last but not least XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The latter title was used for Marvel's Midnight Suns, but not without setting new accents with a card game mechanism. In terms of play, this brings big changes. Because: the now turn-based battles feel significantly different than in the previously released Marvel games. Marvel's Midnight Suns is a classic strategy game. And it does its job pretty well in that regard.
The classic entertainment guarantors from the comic universe are also otherwise used for the new video game in the pool. In short: the secret organization Hydra is back. And she does what she does best - putting nasty plans into action. The villains receive prominent – and quite malicious – support from the demon witch Lilith. When they first appear, some heroes are left breathless. The magic aunt is obviously dangerous.
The trick is cleverly chosen. Because Lilith is not only the main villain in Marvel's Midnight Suns, but also the starting point for the introduction of the player character. Hunter, as he is called, is the witch's son and is supposed to ensure that mother finds her way back to hell. He is supported by the eponymous Midnight Suns along with some classic superheroes.
Beginner-friendly licensed game
The new licensed game is significantly more beginner-friendly than previous Firaxis titles. However, the studio's expert status for strategy games is also evident in Marvel's Midnight Suns. For the course of the game, the makers rely on a bit of exploration, but above all on tactical battles, which are driven by a card action system like you might know from hit games like Slay the Spire or the Witcher card game Gwent. The underlying deck building mechanic is also a first for a Marvel action game.
The system is basically simple: You have three actions at your free disposal, which are represented by randomly drawn cards from the deck. This ranges from direct damage to defensive actions and tactical maneuvers, for example to exchange cards. Central to this is on the one hand the development of "heroism", a resource for particularly powerful actions, and the exploitation of synergies. This is also the biggest challenge of the game, because what may seem confusing at the beginning turns out to be quite exciting basic mechanics as the game progresses. There's plenty of time for card selection, and Marvel's Midnight Suns doesn't put players under pressure.
Despite the strategic approach to the game, the focus is clearly on the action. Because: The correct positioning of the heroes is more of a tactical sidekick than decisive for the game. Nevertheless, action cards can be saved with a few clever movement maneuvers. This is how you throw stones at your opponents or shove garbage containers or furniture against their legs. At least the actions can be optimized by clever position changes. At the same time, the combat environments become interactive, which gives the gameplay significantly more life than the rigid maps of the XCOM series.
The heroic actions are of course based on their comic role models: Wolverine grabs powerfully and has lifesteal, Doctor Strange conjures up and deals powerful damage, Spiderman convinces with his agility. Sometimes you can even achieve a series of knockouts, because some cards refund retrospectively: So if you send an opponent down with a "fast" attack, you do it for free. Here, too, there is plenty of potential for optimizing the course of combat, because it depends on the situation when you attack which opponent with which hero in order to act as efficiently as possible.
However, the same applies to the opponents. Especially in the boss fights, they are not just shooting gallery figures, but also provide challenges. So it is important to first erase protectors, destroy objects or block attacks. Again and again you meet something new, so that during the missions there is hardly any routine, even later.
The iconic attacks of the Marvel characters are also visually well implemented. Camera pans and close-ups make the actions feel like they're in an action game once they're done.
However, Firaxis also allows itself minor blunders. The experienced developers have apparently forgotten to visually implement the damage numbers that pop up on the heroes in terms of the health bar in the event of enemy attacks. So you can see the efficiency of the opponent's attacks with a delay of a round. The studio will have to improve here. Even with the card overview, you can certainly lend a hand again, because it is not always clear what which card is doing. Yes, you can read the card text even after umpteen hours, but it's still much more user-friendly.
The controls of the game, on the other hand, work flawlessly – even with the controller on the console. Only the selection of the damage areas is a bit tricky, here you need a good instinct to hit opponents as optimally as possible.
Fun also apart from the fights
Marvel's Midnight Suns also works outside of the fights and offers players a lot to do. So you can analyze a gamma helix in the morning - the game has a day-night cycle - to get new cards. It is also possible to merge duplicate cards or just tinker with the hero deck. There is also some fluff content: you send heroes on missions or even design your little room.
In contrast to the tactical battles, however, the secondary playgrounds wear out much faster, because a routine simply sets in that you work through. The developers have not built in a direct compulsion in this regard, so you do not have to carry out the actions, but the rewards are not to be despised. Nevertheless, the role-playing aspects ultimately enhance Marvel's Midnight Suns, especially the everyday conversations with the other team members make the heroes seem quite human. Because the actions always take time and you have to go to bed at some point, smaller decisions are always necessary here.
Listening to the conversations is particularly worthwhile, because the English dubbing voices of some heroes are familiar from other hero games or even from television. In terms of content, however, the dialogues cannot always keep up, some things are simply silly. The constant alternation of scenes from everyday superhero life and action-packed tactical battles proves to be just right in the end, despite a few weaknesses. Marvel's Midnight Suns actually manages to tell a story - or several smaller ones, depending on your point of view. You are busy with the campaign for around 35 hours, then it's over. Real fans can also get a few more hours out of it if they put more emphasis on the side quests.
Almost annoying for this game: microtransactions. They don't fit the title at all, even if Publisher 2K is limited to cosmetic content. You can also unlock the content, but that requires a certain tolerance for frustration - also with regard to the somewhat too aggressive advertising for real-money cosmetics.
Number of players: single player
Age: from 12 years
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: Round Tactics
Subgenre: Tactics card game
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2022
Platforms (Test system): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC | PS4, Xbox One and Switch later
Costs: from 69,99 euros
Marvel's Midnight Suns proves to be an extremely successful genre mix that knows how to play to its strengths, especially on the battlefields. Here you can see the creators' affinity for strategy games. If Firaxis is particularly good at something, it is creating turn-based tactical concepts. Despite some borrowings from the XCOM series, the licensed game is not just a knock-off with a Marvel license put on it, but an imaginative game.
The focus is on the deck building system. So players keep tinkering with their deck of cards over the course of the game, improving it and then being much more efficient in the fights.
Aside from that, Marvel's Midnight Suns is a double-edged sword. On the one hand there are great side stories and interesting conversations with partly complex characters, but on the other hand there are also clumsy dialogues that would have been better left out or at least revised. The routine in the actions in the compartment that sets in after about half the season also stands in the way of a top rating. The game would have deserved it due to the great implementation of the card game system, but Marvel's Midnight Suns does not consist of that alone. In the end, Firaxis didn't mess up the adventure part, but there could have been more. Above all, the lengths are sometimes annoying, because the game - or the story - repeatedly delays the victory of the heroes. This extends the gaming experience significantly, but sometimes feels pretty absurd.
Still, Marvel's Midnight Suns is an amazingly entertaining strategy game and a real first for the franchise. For this reason alone, fans cannot avoid the game. The title will appeal to everyone else mainly because of the card game system and will also cast a spell on them. Puzzling over the deck of cards and discovering synergies between the individual heroes is great fun.
|Marvel's Midnight Suns Legendary Edition [Playstation 5] *||69,90 EUR||Buy|
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