Look, I get that we're all feeling the Marvel fatigue and the ushering of a new superhero game earns some rolled eyes, but you can't deny they are more often than not, really enjoyable timewasters. And any game developed by Firaxis is bound to be really addictive: I mean, XCOM 2 is one of my favourite games of all time, and everyone likes Civ.
Despite the dangers of getting all hyped up for disappointment, I'll pass on a little of what I've gleaned from the previews of Midnight Suns and whatnot. It's just that it's supposed to release in March this year which is very very soon and I'm going crazy having no-one to talk to about this game.
First of all, I love settings that just can't help but get you pumped: I'm talking about Wolfenstein New Order, I'm talking XCOM 2, I'm talking DOOM; in these scenarios, you are playing the role of an underdog rebel against a vast and evil adversary, eventually pounding them and their ideals into the dirt - it's such an uplifting message about goodness stamping out cruelty. Tell me you, if given the chance, wouldn't want to do violence to Hitler.
Marvel's Midnight Suns establishes a similar narrative, its main adversary being Lilith, a fallen-angel-demon-witch-thing (I don't know Marvel that intimately) hellbent on bringing her master Chthon back to life and enslaving humanity. What's more, you play as Lilith's child, who's sole purpose is to put Lilith in her place. You literally can't get any more rebellious than an angsty son or daughter fighting back at her oppressive mother. Oh and there are some superheroes too, here to join the cause against humanity's newest threat. No doubt a lot of the action will involve a lot of stylish flourishes.
If anyone here's ever played a Firaxis game, I'm sure you've said some variation of the phrase 'ok one more turn', and that's because Firaxis makes games with gameplay loops that constantly curl into each other. Say you were playing a game of Civ VI and you want to train a special unit: First you'll need to exploit a specific resource in your territory, research an associated technology, construct some builders, build the improvement then finally, train the unit. During all that time, you're likely to have picked up on a bunch of other things you want to do, like fight off some bandits or organise a new trade route. There is just something in your brain that wants to see these outcomes bear fruit and solve a problem you've had on your to-do list.
In Midnight Suns, from what I've seen from the demos, there is a period between missions where you have some downtime in a superhero safehouse. Here you can explore for treasure, develop your skills and gear, and spend time with other heroes. I just know that you won't be able to experience everything in one go, so I anticipate that I will talk to as many people as I can before a mission, but then they say they would prefer to talk about their interesting personal stories later. The idea of being drip-fed a plethora of character-driven subplots sounds pretty appetising to me. Story not your thing? No big, develop big guns to take on tough missions, then use the rewards from that to build even bigger guns! Don't you want to know what noise that bomb makes when it blows?
Now for the missions themselves: My favourite thing about XCOM 2, for example, is the randomness of each encounter. Like, I'm aware that XCOM is infamous for soldiers missing shots at say, a 97% chance to hit and players screaming bloody murder about the missions timers. I, however, think these are what makes the game so exciting. Imagine if skilled soldiers just don't miss, and rookies just miss all the time no matter what - you will always know exactly what is going to happen each time they shoot, so you just know that you're going to beat the entire game because those skilled soldiers will just mow down everyone no problem. And those rookies will never have their hero moments wherein they make unlikely shots and save the day. Suddenly, that mission that's going so poorly, might go better than you think!
From what I can tell, there's no RNG in hit percentages in Midnight Suns, rather this is where the deckbuilding comes in, with the player drawing a hand from a larger deck of cards. There's no telling what you're going to draw or if anything will actually be effective, and frankly I'm excited to try to make the best of bad situations with a bad hand. Again, the idea of taking down a tough opponent with minimal means sounds pretty satisfying. I've never been a huge card game fan, but I'd say Firaxis has earnt my trust - I think they will surprise me.
Reading this back, I just wanna say I'm not a shill, I've just been talking to myself about this a lot, seeing as my friends aren't as pumped as I am, ha ha. What do you guys think, anyone else cautiously optimistic?