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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Grey_Wolf_c's Avatar

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    Default Baffled by Midnight Suns

    So, Epic is giving away Midnight Suns for free this week, so, at least at that price, I thought I'd give it a try. Vaguely remember it got decent, if not spectacular reviews.

    And yet... it's absolutely terrible? It's like they crammed every possible game mode into a single game, none of them clicking with each other, and none of them good? I have a dating sim with endless uninspired dialogue, a build-a-base that seems a waste of time, a deck builder that will take ages to try out & develop (there is a reason deck builders generally aim for one-hour stints before starting over!). And the piece de resistance, the turn-based strategic combat... has no depth? Positioning is practically irrelevant (enemies will hit you regardless of positioning; only matters for some attacks that have a bit of an area of effect, and even those seem rare). The attacks are very same-y. Oh, and the only strategy that can be used is "weaken everyone enough you can wipe the out all at once next turn, or else reinforcements come in and force you to start over". I also hear that should I progress much further, I will get really, really tired of having to fight Venom as a boss a bunch of times.

    Beyond that, we have some kind of measurement of how well I did in the battle with stars, but I can't redo the combat to improve my score. Enemies that level up with me, which to me effectively means "levelling up is useless; all it does is increase the amount of HP on both sides". I haven't really gone far enough to tell, but I fear it might even be disadvantageous to level up. Oh, and is that microtransactions? Does this mean that I could level up my cards if I just give them money for the resources I need?

    Oh, and I can't adjust the camera position. Not that it matters that much given positioning is useless, but still, I don't like the over the shoulder camera angle, and yet I'm stuck with it. And while the attack animations are cool, they are too-cool when the result is I put a dozen bullets/magic hand axe/ swarm of missiles into a hydra goon and all I manage to do is knock off a quarter of their health. Overselling it, in other words. And then I get to watch it over and over again as I just whittle down the health pools, spreading the damage around so next turn I can kill them all at once. Maybe once I had more cards at least it wouldn't be the same three animations every damn turn, but I'd imagine that, given I need to upgrade cards, I'd eventually figure out which are the good ones and use those... and be stuck with their animations instead.

    Grey Wolf
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2024-06-10 at 06:59 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    First, the game introduces combat mechanics slowly, and things get slightly more interesting (but perhaps not greatly so) as you continue to play. Doing base upgrades helps with that. In combat, positioning is mostly relevant to using or avoiding environmental effects, but later becomes more relevant when you get the ability to use your movement to shove enemies.

    Second, reinforcements do eventually stop coming except for a few battle types where they tell you it's infinite.

    Third, there are no microtransactions. Everything is via in-game currencies that you earn by playing and exploring the base. The stars at the end of missions affect your earned reward, but it's not a big deal IMO. Just keep playing if you want to earn more.

    As for attack animations, I suppose you're not wrong, but it's no different from animations in XCOM or the mechanics of any card-based battler.

    This game strikes an interesting balance between card games, tactical battles (albeit smaller in scale and without any cover mechanics), base building, and social sim, and it's pretty upfront about it. It's like a cross between XCOM and Slay the Spire, plus Persona-style friendship systems. If these things don't interest you, then you aren't the target audience.

    IMO (as a fan of both new-XCOM and Slay the Spire-style games), this game has decent enough combat mechanics, most people's favorite Marvel characters to play around with, and actually a pretty good story. But whether or not you give it a chance is completely up to you.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    <snip>
    Thanks, that does address a lot of my concerns. I might attempt to push until I get to the other combat options you mentioned.

    Couple of minor points: my issue with attack animations is that they are more elaborate than XCOM or StS for equivalent attacks. Like, yes, XCOM will do the occasional drawn out kill cam... for kills, usually when it's a crit. Here, I have to watch Dr. Strange summon an axe every time, using multiple seconds, just to have him deal a measly 5 damage. It's just overselling the attack. I could accept it maybe for the most expensive attacks, but it gets old for the bread-and-butter ones.

    You didn't touch on it, and it is a real sticking point for me: is XP levelling in fact a malus? If all it does is make everyone's HP bars bigger, that means more cards per enemy, which in the end means I'm weaker not stronger after levelling.

    Also, I have been offered microtransactions. Maybe it was just for decorations, clothes & hairstyles, but they are definitely there in the loader.

    That said, I am interested in xcom games, and deck builders and once in a blue moon I don't mind "persona-style" (had to look that one up, but let's call it "fire emblem-style" which is more my speed). I just don't think this did that great a job at merging them. Like, is there going to be any combat impacts to friendships? Hybrid cards, maybe, that gets both of them to attack together?

    Grey Wolf
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    There is a world of imagination
    Deep in the corners of your mind
    Where reality is an intruder
    And myth and legend thrive
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Ceterum autem censeo Hilgya malefica est

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    You didn't touch on it, and it is a real sticking point for me: is XP levelling in fact a malus? If all it does is make everyone's HP bars bigger, that means more cards per enemy, which in the end means I'm weaker not stronger after levelling.
    As I recall, the XP power curve slightly favors being higher level, but level also impacts the rarity of cards that you get. You get more rare cards at higher levels. Once you max out levels, you also earn "Champion" levels afterwards which are a straight, if small, power increase that the enemies don't scale to.

    I definitely think the combat has a ton of depth, more so than XCOM really. It eases you into it over time as more mechanics come into play, but by the middle of the game you have a lot of options in every turn and they're all in limited amounts. Prioritizing which enemies to deal with now and stacking the battlefield in your favor is a huge part of the game. Positioning actually matters a ton for setting up hero combos - you get a free attack if you knock an enemy into another hero and later on this'll even draw cards for you - and avoiding instant KOs when your own characters are in danger of being thrown into each other or terrain. Specific characters like Scarlet Witch also heavily emphasize positioning, too.

    It's not for everyone, but their system is designed to make every turn a puzzle where your heroes are in danger and it's up to you to untangle the mess. If you're used to XCOM where avoiding those situations is the dominant strategy, it's going to feel very different.
    Last edited by ArmyOfOptimists; 2024-06-11 at 11:29 AM.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Also, I have been offered microtransactions. Maybe it was just for decorations, clothes & hairstyles, but they are definitely there in the loader.
    Oh, you're right. I forgot those were there because I got the premium edition of the game with all the DLC, and it comes with the extra costumes.

    According to my Google search, the premium currency you can buy with real money is just an alternate way of buying those costumes and isn't used for anything else in the game itself. It's purely cosmetic stuff and can be safely ignored if you don't care about that sort of thing.

    The extra character DLCs (Deadpool, Venom, Morbius, and Storm) do add a lot, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Like, is there going to be any combat impacts to friendships? Hybrid cards, maybe, that gets both of them to attack together?
    There are team up attacks (hero combos), which may require some friendships to raise your overall "team friendship level" to unlock. Petting your dog also increases its friendship level, which improves the abilities it can use during missions where it joins the main character.

    Hero friendship level also unlocks their passive abilities and possibly other minor things. Also, maximum friendship level unlocks a challenge mission (AKA puzzle) that lets you earn a hero's ultimate costume.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    Not just their ultimate costume. Maxing a friendship and beating their puzzle challenge also gives you their Legendary card, which is usually their best move.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Grey_Wolf_c's Avatar

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    Default Re: Baffled by Midnight Suns

    OK, checking in. First, and most important: thanks for the answers, and talking me off the ledge. I've been playing the game. I'm still not blown away by it, but I suppose it does pass the time (I enjoyed Capes far more, when it comes to turn-based strategic superhero party themed games), so it is adequate for the price I paid, no complaints in that regard.

    I still think the game suffers from bloat, I still think that the dialogue is not particularly enjoyable, but at least most of it I can click through (some I can only skip entirely, but most I can at least skip to the next sentence, and I can read the subtitles rather than sit through the voice acting). I am particularly grateful y'all told me to not sweat the whole star rewards; I am not even 20 days into the in-game days, and I already have more gloss that I know what to do with, so I lose nothing I care about for not getting the full three. I was trying to figure out if the other rewards scaled too (especially the actual credits, which I'm short on, due to all the construction projects), but seems not; in fact, they don't seem to even scale with difficulty, so I treat the difficulty slider mostly as a "do I have time for an hour-long battle, or do I need it finished in 30 minutes?" adjustment.

    I have now unlocked the combo moves (rather boring, since they all seem to be of the "big damage with unskippable cutscene" style) and I'm slowly getting into the friendship passives (those I am finding interesting). So yeah, mixed bag, but it was free, so decent enough.

    GW
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2024-06-14 at 12:31 PM.
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    There is a world of imagination
    Deep in the corners of your mind
    Where reality is an intruder
    And myth and legend thrive
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Ceterum autem censeo Hilgya malefica est

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