Monday, March 27, 2023

‘Marvel’s Midnight Suns’ is a Modern Showcase for Marvel’s Spooky Side – Why You Should Be Playing

Marvel is obviously dominating the pop culture landscape, for better or worse. Movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever rule at the box office, while shows such as She-Hulk: Attorney at Law motivate audiences to log into their Disney+ accounts. It’s not hard to see the grip Marvel has on entertainment at the moment. The one medium that Marvel can’t seem to crack, however, is video games. Sure we got some great games like Sony’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales, but good lord we’ve also got clunkers like The Avengers and the underperforming Guardians of the Galaxy (which is actually very good). The output is all over the place and aside from Spider-Man, nothing has really gripped audiences like Marvel’s movies have for many years now. Unfortunately their latest game Marvel’s Midnight Suns – made by the tactical masterminds at Firaxis Games – seems to have slipped under the radar as well.

So what the hell is Midnight Suns, you ask?

Well, it’s a tactical RPG starring the titular team from Marvel Comics made by the same developers that gave us the fantastic modern X-COM games. Think of them like the team that the Avengers would call when things get too supernatural for them to handle. They deal with demons, the occult, and all sorts of spooky stuff. In the game you’ll recruit various Marvel heroes to the team and send them on missions against the forces of HYDRA, Mephisto (Marvel’s take on Satan), Lilith the Mother of All Demons (and main villain of the base game), and even Dracula himself.

The heroes are made up from various teams and solo acts from all parts of the Marvel universe, including characters from the Midnight Suns, The Avengers, and the X-Men. Once you have heroes at your home base, you pick three and send them on missions where battles and objectives play out in a turn-based fashion with each character’s abilities tied to a card system. It almost plays like a weird hybrid of Magic: The Gathering and Chess. In between missions you build up relationships with these dark heroes using your player character: The Hunter, Child of Lilith, resurrected from death. Eventually you’ll build bonds with more iconic characters like Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Magik and you’ll learn more about them and their personalities along the way. Sure this side of the game might be cheesy, but there’s something undeniably enjoyable about stargazing with Blade and Wolverine in between fighting off hordes of vampires and demons.

Marvel Midnight Suns horror

Where Midnight Suns really excels is in exploring the side of the Marvel Universe we don’t get to see much of. I’m of course talking about the horror side. Sure, there have been select projects recently like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the excellent Werewolf by Night, but never has there been a modern Marvel release that feels so tapped into the spooky stuff. Levels are adorned with pentagrams, demons, and summoners that feel more at a home in a Diablo game rather than a Marvel one. Your home base in the game is even a giant gothic church in Salem, Massachusetts, with wiccan effigies strung about as you talk to Agatha Harkness where she recounts the Salem Witch Trials. If that isn’t enough there are literal battles fought in Limbo that characters refer to as “Hell,” which is where you encounter Mephisto himself. It all feels so familiar yet refreshingly new for a superhero game.

The gameplay loop is an aspect I find absolutely addicting. I love prepping heroes for a mission in our free time and then launching a ruthless assault on our enemies, while looking forward to talking with them after. Despite knowing these characters for years from various comic books and movies, I feel as though I’m getting to know them on a deeper level. It’s also great seeing characters team up that normally wouldn’t; there’s something fascinatingly appealing about Captain America teaming up with Blade or Venom pairing up with Magik for a combo attack. It’s a feeling that only games like Ultimate Alliance deliver but I feel more tied to it here because I’m fostering these relationships in real time and watching them bloom. This combined with the fantastic tactical combat, refined by experiments made in X-COM: Chimera Squad, make Midnight Suns my current gaming addiction. I cannot stress enough how much I’m enjoying the hell out of this game, despite it seemingly not being on the radars of many at this time. 

Marvel Midnight Suns game

It’s a damn shame the game isn’t selling well, either. I’m not sure if it was the lackluster marketing, being released in a crowded holiday season or if people are starting to get superhero fatigue, but Marvel’s Midnight Suns is one hell of a game that you should be playing. A modern update of an obscure ’90s team up that taps into the darker side of Marvel, wrapped up in a tactical RPG with relationship sim elements, it’s admittedly a bizarre combination on paper but I can’t help but be engrossed by the sum of its parts. I wish we had more weird experiments like this using the Marvel IP, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen after this and that’s an absolute shame.

With numerous free play weekends and sales for Marvel’s Midnight Suns becoming a regular thing, I urge you to try it out even if you only have a passing interest. Who knows, you may find your next gaming addiction in Marvel’s horror-based experience. I sure did.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns is now available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Coming soon to Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The post ‘Marvel’s Midnight Suns’ is a Modern Showcase for Marvel’s Spooky Side – Why You Should Be Playing appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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