Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a unique blend of apparently disparate genres and systems, including turn-based card combat, substantial plot and conversation options, base construction, and even exploration. Surprisingly, the elements of this powerful combination work nicely together. Unfortunately, none of them were sufficiently polished. The latest game from the developers of the XCOM series and Sid Meier’s Civilization follows the narrative of the Midnight Suns, a gang of superheroes and mutants. Despite their disagreements, they join forces with members of the Avengers in times of necessity to collectively combat the evil powers that threaten the planet.
The player assumes the role of Hunter, a figure who is revived to aid in the impending fight. The actual fight, however, will take place within Hunter himself, as he must navigate a new and deadly environment. He will be assisted by other superheroes with whom Hunter may converse, spar, and even spend time playing video games or fishing. However, before that, the player will select the Hunter’s gender and look from the character creator’s various possibilities. Despite the fact that the narrative takes place in an alternate version of present times, the makers intended us to feel as if we were playing a conventional “pseudo-medieval” fantasy game. Exploring the historic Abbey and its wide environs is a big part of the experience. There are materials for crafting potions, secret locations, magical chests, and a plethora of relics and manuscripts. The camera is placed behind the protagonist’s back in certain gaming segments.
Combat is a relatively tiny portion of the game, while having a solid base and being the finest developed feature. We direct the activities of three characters in fights, and the joy is in playing the proper action cards. Each hero has his or her own eight-piece deck that we may change and develop. The hand may also contain tale cards and hero cards, which we obtain through boosting our compassion level. In the battles, the player may also employ components from the environment as well as previously made potions and fighting tools. Completely flat terrain and the lack of a cover system are a step back from XCOM 2. However, the fights here have a distinct, more dynamic, and arena-like aspect, so this does not detract from the enjoyment. However, I was unable to accomplish one mission because the last hero remaining on the battlefield did not have any cards in his deck that would allow him to achieve the mission’s objective. While I might have avoided this circumstance, I believe the game should not have permitted it in the first place.
The limited number of opponents is also discouraging. The unit kinds may be counted on one hand, and while we will occasionally confront a few more strong foes, their existence does not add anything to the game. The same is true for mission goals, of which there are just a handful. It’s difficult not to get tired, especially because finishing Marvel’s Midnight Suns takes anything from 50 to 80 hours. The graphics in the bouts are excellent. The venues are detailed, and the earth and other components of the environment respond to explosions and hits realistically. Combat animations have also received a lot of attention; each character has a distinct set of maneuvers and hits that match to their powers and skills. Playing hero cards, which allows two characters to combine forces in a dramatic strike, is also quite satisfying.
Unfortunately, the visuals that seem decent in combat mode deteriorate significantly during TPP moments. Choosing higher-quality textures or enabling ray-tracing won’t help because the game environment was clearly not designed with such a close perspective in mind. The characters’ features, which appear to be made of wax, are particularly terrible; they lack definition and feeling. Optimization on PC also fails – even with lower graphics settings, it may be required to improve the frame rate in performance mode using the dynamic picture scaling option. The character’s movement model was also poorly designed by Fraxis studio. Hunter’s legs always walk as though he’s on a flat surface. This is especially amusing when the hero falls from a hill, because the makers did not consider developing a landing animation. As a result, the figure appears to be skiing down an unseen hill.
Exploration mechanisms, on the other hand, were done in an archaic and dull manner. Despite the inexcusable flaws and faults, the combination of enjoyable aspects looks truly intriguing and unique. The gameplay cycle is quite addicting, and it’s easy to get caught up in the “one more mission” trap. The tale, on the other hand, is multithreaded and interesting, despite following patterns and clichés from many previous superhero novels. However, I completed the game feeling dissatisfied since Marvel’s Midnight Suns attracts as much as it refuses. I secretly hope that the developers will not kill the created idea for the game, but will strive much harder in the future production.