Marvel's Midnight Suns is one of the most surprising games of 2022 and is quickly proving that Marvel Games is capable of juggling multiple genres for its titles and good at picking developers, like Firaxis, to develop them. Midnight Suns is a new turn-based, tactical RPG that places you in the shoes of an original Marvel hero named Hunter that can command a squad of some of the comic publisher's most iconic heroes. Hunter is also the son of the game's antagonist, Lilith, who is raging hell with the usage of magic and brainwashing other superpowered characters.
Admittedly, the plot of Midnight Suns isn't anything terribly exciting. Based on what I played within the first act, I felt that it was typical generic comic book shenanigans. It's not bad, but as a player, I don't feel the urgency to save the world and stop Lillith. If anything, the villain had the same kind of threatening aura of Enchantress in 2016's Suicide Squad movie. She's just kind of a vehicle for the action to happen, and that's fine. The heroes themselves are as charming as you'd hope with good group dynamics and distinctive dialogue, even if some characters feel like they're leaning on their MCU counterparts a bit harder than others. It also helps that an actor like Yuri Lowenthal is reprising his role as Spider-Man from Marvel's Spider-Man (it's not the same version of the character) ensuring there is a familiarity there, and you have people who already embody these icons. These games aren't trying to emulate the MCU, so they've instead managed to find extremely talented actors within this industry to try and set that baseline for these characters in games.
All of that is well and good, but what really matters most is the gameplay. Personally speaking, I am not typically excited by turn-based RPGs. It's not a genre that appeals to me. I like to swing weapons around, shoot guns, drive fast cars, and be engaged/immersed in the action. However, Marvel's Midnight Suns is extremely well-made to the point that I was actively excited to get to the next combat encounter. It allows you to feel incredibly involved thanks to the freedom of movement, camera, and the action. On a base level, you get a hand of cards that you can use on your turns allowing you to deal damage to the enemy of your choice, give boosts to other cards, heal your allies, and so on.
It's what you'd expect, but – and this should be no surprise to those who enjoy Firaxis games – it's fluid and dynamic. In addition to your card plays, you can also move a hero to somewhere else in the combat arena. This is advantageous because certain attacks can be more advantageous depending on the angle you use them at. For instance, you can vault over a waist-high wall to kick someone in the face, which is part of the more dynamic combat that doesn't require you to play a card. It's a free attack, basically. You can also use knockback attacks which send enemies flying back in a certain direction. If you hit them at the right angle, it can send them into another enemy or into something in the environment like an exposed voltage box which stuns them and prevents them from attacking on their next turn.
Combat is set up in a way where you're doing more than thinking about what card you want to use next. You're thinking about where to position your heroes, what order to use your cards, how to combine them with those more dynamic "free" attacks, and just being extremely strategic. It's not stressful, though. It's fun, and most importantly, it's incredibly satisfying when you're playing metaphorical 4D chess and are able to execute a number of moves according to plan.
Ultimately, from what I've played (and I still have a lot left to do), Marvel's Midnight Suns is scratching a lot of itches I didn't know I had. It's a solid Marvel game but also a well-made tactical RPG. If it can sustain this and also continue to iterate and not wear itself out by the time the credits roll, we may have a late awards season contender on our hands.
Marvel's Midnight Suns will release on December 2nd, 2022 for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC. This preview was conducted via a press build of the game on Steam.