Thoughts on Midnight Suns
I don’t often buy games at their release. I have too much to play already so I can’t often motivate myself to do so.
I especially do not pre-purchase games. Since I have so much to play already, it often feel like throwing money in the lake. It’s better for me to wait and see what sort of reception the game gets before I deem if it is worth spending time on or not.
And I’ve just about never bought a game’s season pass before the game was released. I want to know if I like the game before I commit to DLC.
…BUT contradicting all I stated above, I pre-purchased Midnight Suns: Super Special Legend edition (or whatever it was called!) that included the game, the season pass for the first four DLC and some other random cosmetic goodies. On paper the game just fits my profile too perfectly; it’s like the developer looked at my play history and decided that they wanted to make me a game. I’ve been playing Midnight Suns a lot lately and I’m having tons of fun. The game have some pacing issues, confusing difficulty, several bugs (including crashy ones) and a lot of awkward diagloue; but it is still freaking fantastic. I forgive it all when the game lets me be best buddies with Peter Parker aka Spider-man aka my childhood hero.
A gourmet table for the Marvel Comics afficionado. The references to characters, events and stories from the Marvel universe go far and wide. As a long time fan of that world, it is such a pleasure to be able to befriend some of it’s biggest characters and help them overcome their problems. You also get to know lesser known characters like Nico from the Runaways, Magik the queen of Limbo and Robbie Reyes, the lesser known Ghost Rider.
Even if the lore and the characters are fantastic, it is in the tactics gameplay where the game shines most. At times it even feels like other stuff is getting in your way when all you want to do is bust some Hydra skulls with your best buddy Spider-man. Tactics gameplay is centered around card mechanics where you bring three characters to a mission, each of them with a set of cards that you setup when you prepare your loadout. Each of these character decks are shuffled together as one pile that you draw from (pretty much how we did it in SteamWorld Quest 😉 ). Each character has their own health and offense, and of course when a character goes down you can’t use their cards anymore.
Except for the cards it is also important to position your heroes and make use of the environment. There are a number of different actions you can perform on each battlefield that you make use of by spending “Heroic Points” (which is the same resource you use to play cards). These actions can be stuff like jumping of platforms to strike down on enemies, throw boxes at them or hit explosive barrels. At their core a battlefield is just an open field, but thanks to the different environment actions and some other minor differences, they feel different enough for the game to never go completely stale.
There is a lot I really like about Midnight Suns, not only because I’m a huge Marvel geek and a big fan of card games. The game has a lot of interesting stuff going on. There are a bunch of systems that all feed into each other. You can explore the area around The Abbey (basically your home base in a pocket dimension away from the bad guys), this gives you ingredients that lets you craft items and resources as well as reward you with special cards for the main character. You can befriend the different heroes, this gives you small stat bonuses and also improved co-op attack during missions. Each mission awards you with new cards and there is a constant stream of new characters, so you’re never out of toys to play with. Even though the systems can sometimes be a bit chore-like, most of the time they present meaningful choices that impact other aspects of the game.
Another thing I really like is that you unlock difficulty levels as you progress. You unlock new ones quickly, you just have to finish a couple of missions in a difficulty level to unlock the next one. This naturally and quite smoothly gets you to your optimal difficulty. Each increase in difficulty also gives som extra cosmetic resources and bonus experience points for your heroes, which is a nice bonus to not make it feel as bad when you decide to pick it up a notch.
The only gripes I really have is that even though the dialogue for each individual hero you meet is well written, some of the interactions with your character “The Hunter” can become quite awkward and often the social encounters or the exploration gameplay feels like chores to get to the real gameplay, the missions.
I also feel like the difficulty can be a bit uneven at times. As mentioned before there is a difficulty setting but the enemies also scale with your levels. The problem is that even though your character have high stats, they may not have the cards to back it up, so some levels end up being ridiculously easy while others spike, depending on what loadout you have available.
That said, I’m really looking forward to DLC. The first one has just been announced and apparently it is Deadpool who is joining the crew. It’s gonna be great to go through his dialogue, see his cards and play through his missions. Maybe I’ll write another piece about this game down the line.