Marvel?s Midnight Suns review for PS5, Xbox Series X, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, Xbox Series X
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Given that Marvel?s Midnight Suns was developed by Firaxis games ? founded by Sid Meier, famous for their work on XCOM and Civilization ? I think most people (or, at least, me) went in expecting something along the lines of their other games (but mainly XCOM), just with a Marvel skin. I mean, the gameplay reveal clearly showed something different, but first impressions and assumptions can be a hard thing to shake.

It doesn?t take long for Midnight Suns to show that it?s a different game than those other Firaxis titles entirely. Sure, it?s a tactical RPG, but the mechanics here aren?t at all what you?d find in those other games. Instead, it?s built around deck-building: each Marvel superhero has their own cards with their own abilities, and you need to decide which heroes you want to bring into battle depending on which cards help you build the best deck.

Obviously, this isn?t anything ground-breaking if you?ve ever played any strategy RPG that involved deck-building. I?ve barely played any, and even I?m familiar with the mechanic, so if you?re a genre veteran you?ll know what to expect here. And, to Midnight Suns? credit, the attacks are varied enough that you never feel like you?re seeing the same things for this diverse cast of characters. And to be clear, ?attacks? in that last sentence was deliberately chosen ? there?s the odd card that focuses on healing or blocking, but for the most part, this is a game that wants you to go on the offensive as often as possible.

The bigger twist in Midnight Suns is that this is almost as much a social game as it is a strategy RPG. Your character ? a mythical fighter named The Hunter revived from the dead by Doctor Strange and Iron Man ? lives amongst the many Marvel characters this game features, and you?re expected to get to know them at least as much as you?re expected to rush into battle. It means there?s a lot of talking to get through in between fighting, so if you?re just after strategic battles between your favourite Marvel hero and hordes of mostly ineffective enemies, you should go in knowing that there?s a lot more to this game than that. Of course, that?s always kind of been the deal with Marvel compared to DC: its heroes were always intended to be much more human, so it stands to reason that the game would place such a heavy emphasis on socializing and learning about each character?s past.

But I can also imagine why some may wish there was a little less of that in a game that was developed by a studio renowned for their strategic RPGs. Don?t get me wrong, Marvel Midnight Suns fits squarely into that lineage, but there?s also much more to it than simply getting your squadmates into the right position. It?s an interesting mix, but it?s also one that the game more or less pulls off pretty well.

2K Games provided us with a Marvel?s Midnight Suns PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B