Despite seeing the starring cast feature prominently in multiple forms of media over the last ten years or so, Marvel’s Midnight Suns manages to do something unique with its iconic superheroes. Besides offering strategy-focused gameplay and elements of socialising outside of battle, the storytelling feels especially distinctive with its foreboding supernatural undertones that can see even the closest of allies become deadly foes. It is these things which make the game feel so special, with it not only standing out as one of the most enjoyable releases of 2022, but also one of the best superhero video games I’ve ever played.

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Marvel’s Midnight Suns sees the villainous organisation HYDRA resurrecting Lilith, the Mother of Demons, in order to ravage the world and summon an even greater threat. The only one who can stop her? The Hunter, the child of Lilith (who can be male or female), that has been called upon by Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop their mother once more. The Hunter is an original character who can be customised by the player, but plenty of familiar faces show up across the adventure to ensure Marvel fans are kept with a big grin on their face when their favourites show up. There’ll be some not-so-familiar faces to those who’ve only watched the movies and TV shows too, with Marvel’s Midnight Suns digging a little deeper into the overall lore. It’s a nice touch and I think it’ll give some players a neat introduction to some genuinely cool characters who aren’t always in the limelight.

With some brilliant writing, some action-packed sequences that show off both the heroes and villain’s powers, and some shocking twists and turns, Marvel’s Midnight Suns manages to capture everything that makes the world of Marvel so damn fun to be a part of whilst feeling more unique thanks to its supernatural themes. Whilst I’ll admit it took me a while to warm to playing as a completely new face in the Hunter, they ended up feeling like an established piece of the puzzle and fit in perfectly with the likes of Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and co. It’s an engaging tale that complements the gameplay perfectly.

Whilst titles like the Arkham series, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, or even Marvel’s Avengers have given players action-orientated gameplay experiences, Marvel’s Midnight Suns slows the pace down and demands strategy from its players. What else would you expect from the team at Firaxis Games? That’s not to say that players should expect something akin to the XCOM series though, with the game instead utilising card-based mechanics that feel snappier and keep the action flowing as you use the versatile and powerful abilities at your team’s disposal.

Battling takes place across a variety of locales, with players taking three members of the team into each showdown. From there, they’ll draw a selection of cards, with those cards tied to those heroes in your party – Spider-Man can use Spider-Man cards, Iron Man can use Iron Man cards, and Doctor Strange can use Doctor Strange cards… you get the picture. Don’t get the cards you want? You can re-draw two per turn, though it’s rare you’ll be left in a tricky position where no card can be efficiently utilised.

“Whilst it might not have the button-mashing fast-paced action seen in other modern Marvel video game releases, Marvel’s Midnight Suns still manages to perfectly capture both the powers of the heroes as well as their ability to work as a team with its tactically rewarding gameplay.”

Each card brings with them a variety of abilities, with some focusing on offensive actions against your enemies, some granting defensive boons to your team, and others afflicting status ailments to slowly whittle your opponents down. There’s a big focus on targeting enemies and your skills work within a specific area of effect, which adds an extra strategic element to the gameplay where you’ll want to plan your card use accordingly – especially since your heroes will move around the battlefield too.

There’s a ton of fun to be had in combat using cards alone, with it proving equally satisfying to draw the PERFECT card for a situation or when lucking it out and laying waste to your opponents with whatever cards you have. Whilst it is a strategic experience, Marvel’s Midnight Suns isn’t tough to learn, whilst the flexibility of your party’s skillset means you’ll always have a trick up your sleeve to get out of tricky scenarios. Newbies to the genre certainly shouldn’t feel intimidated, with the game offering a fair learning curve and plenty of difficulty options to suit each player’s needs.

Still, players who cleverly utilise the mechanics will find Marvel’s Midnight Sun’s combat the most rewarding, with plenty of different elements at play to keep the card-based action exciting. One of those things are the Heroic Points you build up throughout each battle, which can be used to interact with the environment in varying ways (such as throwing objects at enemies and so forth) or even play more powerful cards to inflict massive damage to surrounding enemies. Marvel’s superheroes are known for having some insane capabilities, and believe me, the game takes FULL advantage of those in these moments.

There are other things to consider too. For example, whilst you’re only typically able to play three cards per turn, if you defeat an enemy with one of your ‘Quick Ability’ cards, you’ll be able to play an extra card afterwards. It emphasises that playing cards in a certain order or targeting weakened enemies at specific times can be beneficial for the player, giving them the opportunity to dish out more damage and prevent the enemy from taking their turn. There are also special combo attacks that can be performed with certain characters, giving players another trick to pull off to get the upper hand over their foes. Whilst it might not have the button-mashing fast-paced action seen in other modern Marvel video game releases, Marvel’s Midnight Suns still manages to perfectly capture both the powers of the heroes as well as their ability to work as a team with its tactically rewarding gameplay.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Battles are kept interesting as you progress thanks to an abundance of new objectives and challenges being introduced, whilst your ever-improving party bring new capabilities to the fray to spice things up too. Whilst you’ll face some similar battles in the later hours, they never feel dull or repetitive, with Marvel’s Midnight Suns continually introducing something fresh to ensure the experience is varied throughout. Battles also look the part, with the excellent character models really shown off to their full when pulling off their dazzling attacks. It’s a REALLY pretty game and that’s certainly showcased in battle.

The strategic battling of Marvel’s Midnight Suns alone was enough to win me over, but I found the time in-between just as entertaining. Players head back to their homebase of the Abbey where they’re able to upgrade and customise their heroes, craft new items, explore to find goodies, solve puzzles, and interact with other characters. It’s insane how much effort has been made to make it feel expansive given that these sections are optional, whilst those character interactions offer depth and feel meaningful – you’ll even be able to make dialogue choices that affect each character’s opinion of you, whilst you can build bonds by spending time with each one. It almost makes it feel like a completely different game at times, whilst the freedom given to the player for customisation is impressively deep.

It goes to show that Marvel’s Midnight Suns is so much more than just a tactical take on the Marvel franchise. Instead, it’s one that develops its own intriguing story full of twists, its own rewarding combat that offers plenty of strategic nuance, an almost social-like element that sees characters interacting and building bonds, and an expansive base to explore full of secrets and goodies. There’s so much to be found across the game to keep the player entertained, whilst the fact that it also manages to feel authentic to the Marvel characters whilst adding its own fresh twist to the formula made the whole experience all the more engaging. It’s brilliant and without a doubt one of the best uses of Marvel characters across gaming.

Marvel's Midnight Suns Review

Marvel’s Midnight Suns excels across all areas of its design, with the intriguing narrative and excellent combat ensuring it packs one heck of a punch. I found myself completely addicted to the game from the moment I started playing, whilst the ever-evolving combat scenarios, surprisingly robust social mechanics, and dazzling visual effects ensured it never missed a beat throughout the meaty adventure. Best of all, it never feels overwhelming, with the strategic action proving easy to get to grips with, but offering enough depth to make players feel like tactical masterminds when they have their heroes wiping the floor with enemies thanks to some clever card playing. It’s just a brilliant game and one that delivered a LOT more than I expected. You won’t want to miss this if you’re a Marvel fan, though I think Marvel’s Midnight Sun offers something for those unfamiliar with the world of superheroes too.

Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S