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Marvel's Midnight Suns new gameplay video reveals how this deckbuilding XCOM-like will actually play

Super friendly headquarters

After announcing their new tactical RPG at Gamescom the other week, Firaxis held a 20 minute livestream for Marvel’s Midnight Suns yesterday, giving us a brand-new look at the game’s card-based combat system, its RPG elements and a deep-dive on how Wolverine, Sabretooth and big bad Lilith will play in-game. And from the looks of things, it's all shaping up very nicely indeed.

The team have already told us a bit about how Midnight Sun's card combat works, but they elaborated on the system even further during the livestream. If you want to see it for yourself, have a watch of the stream below.

Watch on YouTube

Even though heroes’ abilities are dealt to the player at the start of combat, they’re not entirely random. Players can assign these abilities to the deck beforehand, and if they run out of cards, they can utilise the environment to their advantage by ripping down lampposts, for example. The developers also poked fun at some controversy around the combat system by calling a hand of cards a “timeless gameplay mechanic.” Personally, I'm just glad that heroes can keep moving around the map until an ability is used, rather than have limited moves like other strategy games.

There are three different types of ability cards. Attack cards deals damage, while Skill cards can grant buffs, nerfs or be used defensively. Attack and Skill cards also net players a resource called Heroism, which is needed to execute the third type of card, Heroics – which is effectively just an ultimate attack but more superhero-y. Many Heroic cards have big flashy animations and can be used to execute special combined attacks between two superheroes. Players can unlock these by strengthening their relationships with other heroes.

Speaking of, we got a brand-new look at a few the iconic Marvel characters we'll be playing as, too. The cinematic introduction of Wolverine and his rival, Sabretooth was perhaps the finest parts of the stream for me, if only because the developers seem intent on maintaining the MCU's quippish sense of humour. Sabretooth’s introduction included the mocking in-game description, “2nd best there is at what he does”, before Wolverine leaped on screen with “the best there is at what he does.”

Firaxis also reiterated that the game will feature 12 Marvel heroes on top of the player character, Hunter, as well as a “large cast of villains” including the game’s main antagonist, Lilith, mother of demons. Perhaps most intriguing of all, there will be enemies called the “Fallen” who are Marvel heroes and villains that Lilith has corrupted, so it seems likely that players will get to do battle with some famous Marvel heroes as well classic baddies.

The last part of the stream showed off the Abbey, your superhero headquarters. “The Abbey is the entirely new superhero headquarters that we created with Marvel," the devs explained, and is fully explorable, allowing players to customise their characters, find hidden lore and interact with all the Marvel heroes present through branching dialogue choices. Players will also need to make decisions about who to hang out with to deepen their relationships, which gives me big Persona vibes. In true RPG fashion, the game includes a light and dark balance system when it comes to dialogue. Think Paragon/Renegade from Mass Effect; you can even see a “dark point +1” message on screen.

The Abbey’s most important feature, though? That's definitely petting the adorable hellhound, Charlie.

Marvel's Midnight Suns is set to launch in March 2022 via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

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