Of Marvel’s many production projects, Marvel Midnight Suns is the one that gets the most attention from players. For good reason, this is a tactical action game created by experts of the genre: Firaxis, known as the XCOM saga. While the title is set for the end of the year, we’ve been able to play it for hours and we give you our first impressions, which is surprising to say the least.
- The Midnights Suns, the occult Avengers?
- Never before has a game been unlike XCOM
- Talking to the heart of the experience
In recent years, games have been inspired by the Marvel universe because they are everywhere in the video game landscape. With titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers, or Guardians of the Galaxy, we see that Western studios are entitled to significant budgets to develop AAA productions based on superhero licenses. Apparently, it’s primarily thanks to the famous success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU, that developers and publishers are starting to take an interest in this universe that is better known to the public and better by many. year. But if most studios choose to make titles around Marvel’s most famous figures, by contrast, Firaxis teams prefer to focus on smarter characters: the Midnight Sons.
The Midnights Suns, the occult Avengers?
In the comics, the Midnight Sons were originally a group of motley superheroes with similar occult connections. When they first appeared in 1992 at the event Wake up in the middle of the night Childrenthis strange team gathers to face Lillith, the mother of demons in the Marvel universe. However, if you pay attention, you’ve definitely noticed that Firaxis ’child is called Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and not Midnight Sons. More than the closeness between the two words, this change of title is there to emphasize that the game doesn’t faithfully adapt to crossover events and that it’s a free translation.
With this decision, Firaxis offers itself the possibility of composing a roaster of playable characters as it should. Plus, it feels like it’s from the beginning of the adventure because we finally get to see some of the original members of the Midnight Sons, besides Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider and Blade. Instead, Midnight Suns offers a 5-star cast featuring Marvel’s most famous heroes, along with the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Captain Marvel…) and X-Men (Wolverine, Magik…), who have not forgotten the important occult figures in Marvel (Scarlet Witch, Nico Minoru, etc…). The icing on the cake, the title even introduces Spider-Man, which is sure to attract the public’s attention.
Level scenario, Midnight Suns recaptures the essence of the crossover from which it was inspired. With Darkold, this book of black magic which we see in Wanda’s vision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness , Hydra’s Doctor Faustus resurrects Lillith to gain her power. This is so as not to misunderstand the Mother of Demons destroying everything she touches, making Hydra her personal army. To deal with this threat, Doctor Strange accompanied by Iron Man goes to meet the Midnight Suns led by Caretaker to release Hunter. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s normal, it’s an original character made in collaboration with Marvel where the player can be fully adapted physically and who is none other than Lillith’s son who was able to beat him 300 years ago.
Throughout the adventure, we face henchmen and villains from the Marvel universe who are ravaged by demonic powers. If the stakes are high, the exchanges between the characters are often rich in comedy and touches of humor, proving a strong inspiration on the part of MCU. References to the comics are plentiful as well, but remain fully understood by those who follow the latest movies and series from Marvel Studio.
Never before has a game been unlike XCOM
Who says Firaxis, clearly says game play with turn-based tactical combat. Reasonable, because we still have to deal with the developers of the XCOM series. But while most gamers expect a simple XCOM set in the Marvel Universe, Midnight Suns is actually different.. If we still want to go further, we can still say that we are facing a proposal that is the opposite of what the studio has done so far. Concretely, after selecting your squad consisting of three superheroes, each mission will start in the middle of the action without having to look for enemies. When it comes to offense, forget all about cover, possibilities and limited moves, your characters will move anywhere and never miss their shots … because they are superheroes! If in XCOM the idea of randomness is symbolized by the chances of a successful shot, in Midnight Suns, it is represented by the abilities the player acquires at the start of each round.
And if we talk about drawing, it’s because the title offers a card system that has bothered more than one since the project was announced. More than a real deck building mechanic, these cards are more of a way to represent the abilities of your characters.. Basically, before each mission, we select eight different skills per superhero symbolized by the cards divided into three categories: offensive, skill (to heal, strengthen or use effects) and heroic. As its name suggests, it uses heroic points collected on other cards and is one of the game’s best skills. . A practical action because there is only a limited number of cards that can be played per turn. In general, the environment plays an important role in the experience thanks to the capacities that benefit from the impact. Knockback throwing enemies against decorative elements or their congeners to deal the most damage.
With this card mechanic, a large number of different combinations are possible to adapt to all situations, especially since each character has its own specialty (attack, tank, healer, support …) . And because we draw different cards each turn, it’s hard to predict what we’ll be able to do in the long run, pushing the player to be more modern and use everything in his hand. This makes the experience feel more accessible than XCOM, which is reasonable on a popular licensee like Marvel, but also more dynamic.. This feeling is especially given by the animations of the attacks that are more impressive and that are more recognizable to the superheroes, especially by insisting on their most charismatic poses.
Talking to the heart of the experience
Beyond this new gameplay, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is also a first for Firaxis in its focus on story and characters.. At each end of the fight, we return to the Abbey, a class at Midnight Suns HQ, where we act in a third person look at Hunter’s shoes. In the four corners of the building, there are various activities to prepare for the next mission. If the garden is for training an ally, Blade’s job is to strengthen your abilities if you have duplicates, while Captain Marvel sends your heroes to the four corners of the world to bring back various elements, including breasts. It consists of skills after being opened by Tony Stark who is in Forge, next to Doctor Strange who is responsible for building new buildings and research, a mechanism already discovered by XCOM. And rest assured, these types of breasts are only available for game activities because the micro-transactions available in the game are only used to purchase cosmetic elements (such as costumes) with no effect on the balance of the game.
The Abbey is also a place where you can interact with other superheroes to strengthen your friendship with them.. In addition to choosing dialogue options to please your interlocutor, you can especially have appointments with your team members and offer them gifts, just to further strengthen your relationships. Clearly, this almost “former simulator” aspect is very reminiscent of Japanese games like Persona 5, but especially Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which is also a turn-based tactical role-playing game. where part of the action takes place not in an abbey, but in a monastery. Great for a Western production of the Marvel universe!
Unfortunately, it’s these types of conversations that we know that the face animations are sometimes lacking in life and look a bit dated. Same thing for some 3D models that don’t always offer a convincing rendering. If some characters are exactly like their counterparts in comics like Doctor Strange, it’s hard to say the same for Tony Stark whose design is surprisingly smooth. And then, it should be recognized that the game of dialogues is sometimes very flat, with simple reverse shots in the field, which does not help to intensify this kind of moment. An amazing result when you can see how strong the combat animations are.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is clearly not just an XCOM in the Marvel Universe, but a different proposition. By completely rethinking its approach to tactical game play, Firaxis offers confrontations that are definitely more accessible, but above all more rewarding and dynamic thanks to impressive combat animations. This result became possible especially with the help of a simpler and more intuitive card system that some might have dreaded to begin with. The narrative part also plays an important role, especially by giving an important place to the interactions of other superheroes. After all, it’s on the visual side that the title seems a little more sinister, with plots and animations that aren’t always successful. In any case, let’s meet on October 7 to get your hands on this exciting title.