Marvel Midnight Suns – hooked on it

I play a lot of games, of a lot of different types and genres, and have done for too many years (45 of them at least). I know that driving games always attract my attention, I am many hours into the current Forza Horizon and all the preceding Forza’s of all types. I like a good free roam RPG, obviously GTA5 rules the roost there, but No Man’s Sky also scratches that itch. However I also really like turn based combat games, many of which have been Switch based ones of late, though good old Xcom used to be the one to drop into. I also really like Fights in Tight Spaces for a quick blast of card based gameplay with great visuals. These turn based games suit us older slower gamers, I do still enjoy run and gun FPS like COD but in multiplayer those tiny milli seconds of thoughts wading through years of experience to get to a trigger pull reaction on a target don’t work.

At christmas I got Marvel Midnight Suns on the Xbox Series X, thinking it would be an interesting, quick enjoyable game to have a go at. It is most of those things but it certainly has not been quick. In fact since xmas 22 I have not played anything else (10 mins on Forza doesn’t count). It has properly dragged me in with its turn based, card/resource battle, over the top cartoon visuals, stacks of side missions to just play for to level up, a massive storyline and a mini world to explore on foot in between battles. All this super heroes are in it (well not all, but an awful lot!), and the lead character is my very own super hero. There is also a stack of costume and room customisation, collectables, research of upgrades and weird little friendship building conversations and gift giving (I did say that was weird).

The heart of the game uses individual superhero abilities expressed in a small deck of cards to say what a move can do or the impact it has. Some cards give heroism as a resource, others spend it. You get 3 cards to play each turn (or more with some levelled up modifiers) out of selection of cards depending on the 3 particular super heroes in the mission you are engaged with. There are also environment moves to throw things, blow up things and drop heavy objects on the bad guys. The camera work and the animations for all these battling effects get increasingly frenetic. e.g. Wolverine (once he joins through the story) is able to chain hits together on multiple enemies, they often begin with a frenzied battle cry and flexing of his blades in traditional Wolverine fashion. It shares a lot with XCom given its by Fireaxis but it does’t have that infantry style constant loss of the team, after all in most cases superheroes live to fight another day. They do get hurt and damaged and some attention to repair them is required though. Also in the deck there are special battle cards that recipes are research,learned, found etc. Various resources can be used to craft those. Also battles often give an item that Tony Stark will analyse for you, a coil, that opens up a set of new cards, which you get to pick a couple to add to heroes you have taken on battles, or your personal deck. Having more than one of the same card they can be smashed together in the training yard to create more powerful attacks. It goes on and on 🙂

The start of most missions, once you pick the 3 heroes there is a short slow motion walk to camera scene, with avengers music playing that I have yet to skip, as its very much a “hell yeah!” moment. Examples are below, different versions of my hero’s costume in the centre.

Wanda, Hunter and Spider Man
Iron Man, Hunter and Captain America

I am about 60 hours in to this game, and much of that is enjoying the levelling up in side battles, or finding good player combinations, e.g. cap is very much a defensive tank, digging in with block or tainting enemies, spider man is a bounce around getting everyone character. There are also lots of magic and environment focussed characters, Ghost Rider does a lot of damage, but also to himself, Blade grabs energy and makes bad guys bleed for constant damage.

The enemy roster gets quite complex too, whilst it starts with soldiers and big guts with shields, I now have things that when attacked at all split in two, or spiritually linked demons that you have to kill them all in one turn or they come back resurrecting one another. There are also some huge bosses to deal with, not to mention (not really a spoiler) a corrupted Sabretooth and Hulk.

Different battles have different objectives, and sometimes you can get away with just focussing on the objective, e.g. hack all three terminals before the server gets beaten to a pulp, you don’t always have to clear the bad guys, so an otherwise encounter ending move might be a game saving one. Other times it is a take them all out situation.

There is some DLC heading toward the game this weekend I think, with Deadpool. So sorry any other games vying for my attention at the moment. I am busy saving the world 🙂

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