Two underappreciated Marvel video games that are must-plays

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Screenshot courtesy Square Enix.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Screenshot courtesy Square Enix. /

There's no shortage of Marvel-inspired video games to play these days. But not every game gets the attention it deserves.

Insomniac's Marvel's Spider-Man is one of those games that's been both a critical and commercial success, but two games come to mind that I believe are must-play titles for any fan of the Marvel comic books.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (2021)

Many fans felt burnt by Square Enix's handling of 2020's Marvel's Avengers. The live service game, developed Crystal Dynamics, was riddled with bugs and suffered from a lack of content at launch. And it didn't get better over time, unfortunately.

The issues encountered with Marvel's Avengers left a bad taste in many peoples' mouths. As a result, Square Enix's Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released a year later, was written off by many before it even launched.

But Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, which was developed by Eidos-Montréal, avoided many of the pitfalls that plagued Marvel's Avengers. For starters, it was a straightforward single-play action-adventure role-playing game without any of the microtransaction crap that plagues so many live-service games.

With the Guardians of the Galaxy rising in popularity thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eidos-Montréal opted to feature unique designs for each character that varied from their movie and comic book counterparts. It was a risk that paid off, in my opinion.

In the game, you primarily control Peter Quill (aka Starlord) and issue commands to your fellow Guardians, including Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Decisions you make throughout the game via dialogue trees affect your relationship with the Guardians and as you progress, you unlock new skills for them to use in combat.

Overall, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was praised for its story and character development. The music and visuals were also appreciated by many.

As a whole, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy received generally favorable reviews and sits at 80 on Metacritic, with a more impressive 8.6 user score.

Despite this positive critical reception though, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was deemed a financial disappointment as it did not meet Square Enix's sales expectations. Many blame this on Square's lack of marketing though. So if you didn't play Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy when it released in 2021, I highly suggest you give it a try!

Marvel's Midnight Suns (2022)

Marvel's Midnight Suns is a tactical role-playing game from developer Firaxis Games nad publisher 2K. So right off the bat, this a niche genre, but don't let it scare you away from playing this gem of a game.

Inspired by the comic book series of the same name, in Marvel's Midnight Suns you take on the role of "The Hunter." This is a completely original character that you can customize. Storywise, The Hunter is the sole offspring of Lilith, the Mother of Demons and the game's main protagonist.

With Lilith threatening to resurrect her master Chthon and threatening the world, The Hunter leads a selection of Marvel heroes in various missions. There are a total of 17 different playable heroes in the game, including Blade, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Magik, Morbius, Spider-Man and Wolverine.

When not squaring off against Lilith, players can explore The Abbey, their base of operations, where they can walk around and interact with these other heroes. The interactions you have with these other characters can influence the gameplay and those heroes' abilities.

Like Marvel's Avengers, Marvel's Midnight Suns received generally favorable reviews. It has an 83 Metacritic score, although it's a slightly lower 6.9 among users. But it was also a commercial flop. Some blamed the release window as a reason for its commercial disappointment, but I personally think it was a lack of marketing and its niche appeal as a tactical RPG.

But it's definitely worth a try if you have some extra time! And what perfect timing, as it was just announced as a new addition to the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog.