Marvel’s Midnight Suns could turn me, a hater, into a fan

Ghost Rider emits a blazing chain in the game Marvel's Midnight Suns.

picture: Firaxis games

I tend to land on Martin Scorsese’s page of the superhero craze – “The problem is the amusement park movies” he said in 2019— and so, admittedly, I went in Marvel’s Midnight Sun feel brittle. The tactical RPG that was delayed twice before finally landing on its current release date of December 2nd comes from adored XCOM Creator Firaxis Games, but even that association of dignity didn’t feel enough to blunt, which I found too squeaky superhero Shine. However, I was wrong.

To put it in amusement park terms, oh man! This game That’s fun! You primarily control The Hunter, the child of sexy Demon Lady Liliththen back on the prowl The evil paramilitary group Hydra has been revived and unleashed it on New York City. In response, the Avengers and gothic wizarding group Midnight Suns have roused you from your centuries-old dormancy to kill your overflowing evil mother a second time. You return to the Abbey, an ancient magical mansion in Salem, to train, storm through portals, and chat with your new superhero friends who aren’t quite sure what to make of you yet.

The game is a bit of a cluttered spice rack, but the game’s turn-based combat is what convinced me to get involved. You can play both story-centric and standalone optional missions, pitting your team against Hydra forces or special enemies like the drooling, molten Alien Venom. Each of your heroes has a few cards in their moveset that correspond to various attacks, like a whip that knocks villains down or a violent punch in the stomach, but a typical match requires more strategy than just picking your toughest card.

Cards cost or provide you with “hero points” that you can spend on flashy cutscenes or use on environmental attacks such as attacking enemies. like sticking your fist in a flickering switch box for an explosion. You must use Hero Points carefully to achieve your goal, which can be as general as defeating all enemies or specific as defusing a helicopter in three turns.

As you progress through the game and improve or edit your heroes’ movesets, the battles become more complex, with armored enemies holding on to powerful cards until you knock them out, passive attacks to consider, and Venom the giant scrap of metal throws at all your good guys for some reason. The combat is beautiful to look at (although I found the game’s graphics unnervingly flawless otherwise), banging with cash register explosions and hungry fire, and successfully completing a match made me feel somehow smart and content.

I spent most of my six hours of gameplay fighting, but midnight suns has much more to offer. There’s a character creator, hero customization, and bedroom decor. There are mushrooms to gather, clubs to join, and gifts to collect and give away. At one point, Tony Stark focused his whiny baby blues on me and asked for my help because, as the game pointed out, “the life of a superhero is complicated and sometimes they could use some advice.”

I know all of these items (and I don’t even have the skill upgrades, the tarot card collectibles, the vermilion hellhound you pet to gain arcane knowledge, etc.) sound like a mess, but in my short time with the game, I felt they flowed together as natural, conceivable parts of everyday life in the sprawling stone abbey. Awakened from a 300-year coma, you travel through portals that melt space to fight alongside supermen and superwitches against soldiers. So, sure, why shouldn’t a typical day include cards with the Vampire Blade and a “rare swimsuit” as a reward?

It’s a little silly. It’s fun, but it’s still a Marvel game and a little silly. The Hunter, which you can put in one of two body types but is referred to as “she” or “they,” starts the game with a Joan of Arc armor set, but then you find out her last journal entry was written in 1703. The game is intended to wander through the “darker corners of the Marvel Universe,” the Steam description states, but that actually translates to a boring PG-13 Marvel comedy (“Holy or not, geometry be damned says The Hunter at one point as part of, I guess, an anti-math stand-up set) and obscure references to demonology that won’t frighten you, unless you’re actually not old enough for that PG-13 -jokes.

For me, someone who hasn’t seriously delved into Marvel comics or films since I needed parental permission myself, a lot midnight suns‘ Dense knowledge has eluded me. I knew who the main guys were, like Iron Man and Doctor Strange, but weird references to “agatha” and “The blood‘ meant nothing. I imagine midnight suns‘ story will appeal to fans of Marvel’s lesser-known heroes, characters like the mutant magic and Flaming Skull Ghost Riderbut although detailed dialogue options try to make her story accessible, I didn’t bite.

That felt OK because there is so much else to play. This game is Summer in Coney Island, sometimes overflowing with kitsch, but it doesTurns out I don’t mind the licentiousness. Marvel’s Midnight Suns could turn me, a hater, into a fan

Curtis Crabtree

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