Review: ‘Marvel’s Midnight Suns’ Storm DLC sees an unjustly ignored game go out on a high
The Marvel’s Midnight Suns season one DLC is now complete. The X-Men’s Storm has finally joined the team, concluding a vampiric odyssey that’s also brought Deadpool, Venom, and Morbius into the fold. It’s a bittersweet ending: ‘Blood Storm’ wraps up the DLC storyline in a satisfying way but will in all likelihood be the last new content the game will ever see.
Unexpectedly low sales, lead designer Jake Solomon departing Firaxis, an internal restructuring of the company, and the cancellation of the Switch port don’t give us much hope for any further installments, though at least the game is going out with a bang (incidentally, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions dropped last week).
This episode sees Storm searching for a missing mutant, a mission that soon has her bashing vampires, battling Dracula, and making friends with the rest of the team. This particular version of Storm sticks very closely to her comic-book counterpart, quickly displaying her skills as a natural leader, a calm presence in combat, and showing off her electrifying mutant powers.
Sadly, in something of a missed opportunity, Storm doesn’t play hugely differently from the existing characters. I was quietly hoping that her weather control abilities would translate into moves that affect the entire combat arena — say, carpeting it in snow to slow down enemies or blinding them by clearing the clouds away to reveal a sunny sky.
In combat she’s very much in line with the rest of the heroes, coming with a series of area-of-effect attacks, knockback moves, and a few buffs for her teammates. Her unique property is that her cards become more powerful if you wait to use them, and although we appreciated the damage buff, it was more of a bonus than something to rely on. That said, her lightning and wind-based attacks add a bit of visual pizzazz to battles, though we’re frequently teased that she’s holding back her true abilities. Just cut loose Storm! The vamps are respawning already!
The Storm DLC also delivers more of a challenge than what’s come before. The screen is often teeming with vampiric baddies who need to be squashed before they evolve, Hemaliscs spawning yet more vampires that need to be prioritized, and at one point, you must tackle two powerful bosses simultaneously. After clearing the main campaign and the first three DLCs, my characters’ decks have been finely tuned and modified, but these fights forced me to slow down and carefully think through each and every move.
Going in, I was a little worried that we wouldn’t get a satisfying conclusion to the DLC story arc. You can purchase and play the four new characters in any order, which has the side effect of each episode not pushing the story forward in any substantial way. So I was extremely pleased that after clearing Storm’s three missions, I unlocked a final mission that puts all the DLC characters into a single team for one supremely fun final confrontation (together with an entertaining post-mission event).
This DLC campaign has seen some highs (Venom) and some lows (Morbius), but now that it’s complete, I can safely say it’s absolutely worth a purchase if you want more of the main game. Taken as a whole, there are about 12 to 15 hours of content in the DLC if you want to fully develop and upgrade each of these new characters, and each comes with extensive new dialogue and interactions with the existing heroes.
In a just world, Midnight Suns would have been a hit. It’s some of the best card-battling action I’ve ever played, brimming over with genuine love for Marvel comics, and jam-packed with things to unlock and secrets to uncover. Sadly we suspect that the card-based combat instantly turned off a lot of people, and in-game screenshots the game can often look distinctly last-gen (and occasionally last-last-gen. I’m looking at you, Peter Parker). I suspect that as the game ends up deeply discounted in seasonal and holiday sales, more players will give it a chance and discover that it’s worth their time.
It’s worth mentioning that we don’t have official confirmation that Storm will be the last addition to the game. The DLC ends on a minor cliffhanger, teasing more for these characters, and the conclusion of the main campaign sees the brief arrival of one of Marvel’s greatest villains.
We’re pessimistic that these dangling story strands will ever be resolved, so for now, let’s simply raise a glass to lead designer Jake Solomon and the talented team at Firaxis for making one of the greatest Marvel video games ever. I just wish more people had given it a chance.
Marvel's Midnight Suns may have been a sales flop, but its season one DLC campaign has concluded in style. Storm is a fun addition to the team, and this episode delivers some particularly tough challenges, concluding with a barnstorming final mission. Here's hoping that players eventually give this one a chance, as it's one of the finest Marvel games ever released, and deserves way more attention than it received.