Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League
Table of Contents
I want to appreciate Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League so much. I really loved the Batman: Arkham game series by Rocksteady. I adore superhero action in an open universe. I have even had brief but intense relationships with looter-shooters. However, there’s something off about the way all of those factors come together in this game.
I honestly don’t see myself wanting to play much more after I finished the campaign tale, for whatever reason—be it the uninspired loot mechanics, the dull and repetitive task design, or the empty or uninteresting postgame content.
That’s a serious issue for a live-service game that wants to hold our interest for several months or perhaps years. It’s unfortunate because there’s a compelling narrative being presented thanks to the well-crafted cutscenes, impressive writing and strong acting that contributes to much of the heavy lifting.
Beyond that, though, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League never quite manages to provide enough enjoyment to match the high caliber of games in this category.
A DC Comic Tale
Regarding the plot itself, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s making the Justice League act strange as they wreak havoc across the city. Brainiac is back. Superman’s infamous antagonist has devised a cunning scheme to seize control of the planet, and making everyone do his will, even mind-controlling the Justice League.
Thus, the Suicide Squad is dispatched to destroy them by any means necessary. You won’t believe this. Around the halfway point, what appears to be a conventional narrative that fans have heard a lot before takes an unusual turn.
Yes, some of the major revelations are tempered by now-familiar comic book cliches, but there’s a storytelling quality to this that takes you back to the heydays of Arkham Asylum.
This is mostly due to the outstanding character design and scriptwriting, which breathe life into every character and skillfully walk the fine line between being endearing and irritating. Close-ups are also widely employed to highlight Rocksteady’s graphic prowess, and it’s usually impressive to witness as cutscenes come to life.
The Suicide Squad
The voices behind the faces also exhibit that technical mastery. In one of his last roles as The Dark Knight, the late, great Kevin Conroy shines, revealing a darker side to the caped crusader than we’ve ever seen. As the tyrannical Harley Quinn, Tara Strong is flawless once more, and Joe Seanoa, aka Samoa Joe, skillfully delivers each of King Shark’s one-liners.
Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and Harley Quinn are all playable squad members. They’re all intriguing characters with signature weaponry like boomerangs, booming hammers, sharpshooting sniper rifles, and sharp-toothed snapping. Rocksteady could have created a variety of vigilantes with unique play styles by utilizing the fun and wildly varied abilities available to them.
Instead, though, all of these characters are reduced to the same perplexing blueprint as damage-output-chasing characters who appear to enjoy nothing more than firing guns and occasionally throwing grenades.
While each of them do have signature fighting and traversal moves—such as Harley’s sweeping baseball bat hits or Boomerang’s namesake enemy-chaining—the main emphasis is on shooting and amassing a growing collection of weapons.
The way these villains are written and how they play awkwardly contradict each other. For DC fans, this could have been a happy playground, but Rocksteady has obviously gone to great pains to build a richly detailed universe full of iconic characters who behave true to their comic book roots.
However, our situation is akin to watching your favorite football team play and discovering that they are, for some reason, being asked to play tennis instead. Although their well-known faces are recognizable, they are not in their natural habitat.
But whether or not their demolition strategy makes logic is a whole other matter from whether or not it’s entertaining. And there are two sides to this answer: yes and no.
Let’s Get Dangerous
In Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the action picks up speed as you shoot foes at breakneck speed, unlike the slower pace of the Arkham games when you had to wait for them to move before delivering devastating countermeasures.
At moments, it’s quite remarkable, with a focus on taking no damage while taking elegant takedowns and chasing combos. These combos have a 50-point maximum score, making them extremely difficult to master and having a high skill ceiling.
Even the Shield Harvest system, which promotes aggressive play and echoes the philosophy of Control or Doom—that the best way to defend is to assault even more—made me think of some of my favorite action games.
I relished the chaotic action that this concept naturally produces as I raced through arenas, scurrying to acquire up ammo and shields. Unlike many other shooters after Gears of War, the active reload feature in this game offers you something to do besides hold down the shot button.
As you advance, you gradually get access to additional skills and changes. One is Affliction Strikes, which provide fighting an additional dimension by giving your melee strikes special abilities like venom, which makes your opponents turn against each other when they are struck.
Indeed, there are so many distinct concepts and gameplay elements that it can occasionally become a little too much to handle, and the campaign’s never-ending supply of tutorials doesn’t seem to stop. But there’s a tight and fulfilling rhythm that can be established once you eventually get the hang of the whole equipment.
Simply said, expect something a little busier than the more leisurely, riddle-based experiences in Gotham when you enter Metropolis. After spending some time here, I understand Rocksteady’s reasoning for this speed change.
The speed at which these fighting systems operate does in fact mirror the heroes’ respective personas: Batman is always one step ahead of the game, while Amanda Waller’s hired shooters are reckless, outrageous, and, quite bluntly, revel in the bloodshed.
Class-based games typically include characters that specialize in particular talents that may be customized to your preference through comprehensive skill trees. However, as most of them felt awkward at first, I found that testing out each criminal’s movement skills was the most important factor in determining which one best suited my style.
I experimented a while with each character. I like Captain Boomerang’s teleporting Speed Force Gauntlet, which allowed me to freely flank waves of enemies. Deadshot comes with jetpack which he uses to hovers around.
Harley comes with a swinging bat and a grapple Spider-Man/Batman hybrid move-set. Shark’s very simple run-and-jump maneuvers are good for multiple enemies damaging but never really excited me.
The other characters in Metropolis were undervalued by Rocksteady’s abrupt change from a single-player narrative to a cooperative looter-shooter. The role that The Penguin played in Suicide Squad is arguably the clearest example of this.
This time around, the once-dominant Gotham criminal boss is reduced to nothing more than a weapons trader. He’s at least passably competent at his job; sure, he’ll give you access to a semi-limited selection of guns that you may customize to your liking while you determine which of the four “manufacturers” in the city has the features and benefits that suit you the best.
Since this is a looter-shooter, it goes without saying that there are several rarity levels, from common and rare guns to extremely powerful, one-of-a-kind notorious and legendary weapons that are all based on different DC villains.
Apart from that small detail in the outfits, the guns themselves are incredibly uninteresting. The world and its inhabitants are vibrant and charming, qualities that aren’t mirrored in the drab armory. As you circle around foes using a conventional flank-and-fire strategy, you’ll primarily be using a regular variety of rifles, SMGs, pistols, shotguns, chain guns, etc.
The various weapon manufacturers provide unique features, such as burst-fire options or increased ammo capacity, but nothing compares to the sheer variety of weapons that Borderlands’ comparable setup can offer. The looter-shooter that popularized the genre with its constantly expanding bizarre arsenal of weapons is still very difficult to compete with.
Your options for adding life to your weapons are restricted to pretty common upgrades like cooldown reductions or critical damage enhancements, none of which are particularly useful for harnessing the power of superheroes or villains.
I kept expecting to see something weird, like a gun that launches bomb-exploding rounds. Despite completing the campaign and engaging in some post-game grinding, I find the lack of creativity in the game to be somewhat disheartening, even when it comes to the rarest and most premium options.
That’s especially unfortunate because, despite its unremarkable gunplay and weaponry, the game has the makings of a really fascinating loot and battle system; it’s simply hidden beneath the bland.
As you go around popping what seems like an endless number of purple spots and monsters with less than the sharpest AI, Metropolis has developed an extremely severe case of swarming, but bland Brainiac enemies.
As the story progresses, a wider range of enemies are shown, and these new opponents present more of a challenge because they can channel specific heroic skills and force you to think through your strategy more carefully.
The majority of these foes, however, are typically found on top of buildings guarding Brainiac weapons or generally being an annoyance, so for the most part, I felt like I was just bouncing from rooftop to rooftop killing foes.
In reality, the campaign’s roughly 10-hour storyline is characterized by a constant “cutscene, rooftop battle, repeat” rhythm. There is merely a constant flow of drab encounter designs with no apparent effort put into creating unique scripted missions.
Frequently, you’re just switching between a few simple goal types, like guarding an area, eliminating a gang of foes, or escorting a cargo across the city. These objective types get monotonous very fast.
Although there are plenty of big buildings in Metropolis to bounce on and explore, the game’s mission design never takes advantage of this feature.
While Suicide Squad’s movement at times may even be reminiscent of Spider-Man games, the city doesn’t feel nearly as designed for such missions as Insomniac’s superhero open world missions, which let you gracefully dash through cities.
However, Rocksteady constructed its Gotham City with a number of monuments that functioned as amazing enclosed stages inside an open environment before any of those games were released. Suicide Squad, on the other hand, avoids fascinating interiors as much as possible because nearly all of the action takes place quickly and far above the city.
The battle arenas in Arkham City were so skillfully created that they resembled little action levels within of a vast open world with potential for environmental takedowns and inventive methods to move about all the time. However, only fleeting examples of this idea can be seen here.
Interestingly, one of them is an early Batman encounter that provides a clever reversal of the Arkham experience. However, a subsequent encounter with The Dark Knight regrettably returns to a mindless gunfight.
Light in Dark Tunnel
Sadly, this is the pattern that most of the major confrontations follow; just a few boss fights deviate from this. The first is a dull battle against a huge purple cannon, an odd choice given the world’s abundance of both heroes and villains.
Things do, however, brighten up a little when you eventually get to battle mind-controlled Justice League members. While there are hints of the puzzle-like quality seen in Arkham’s boss encounters, it’s hard to find anything nearly as memorable as boss fights from past Rocksteady games like Arkham City.
Most of them take place in circular arenas with little windows for attacks; The Flash boss battle is a good illustration of this, where you have to time counterattacks swiftly before doing damage. The most notable of them all, though, has to be a fight against Green Lantern and his armament of light constructs.
This fight masterfully employs a sizable arena full of elevated vantage spots that double as cover, resulting in a great deal of spectacle and adrenaline.
Though you are eventually supposed to basically shoot them down in identical styles, all of the heroes are a pleasant challenge that, critically, never seem unfair, with each one generously signposting attacks to prevent irritation.
Yes, you’re up against superhumans, so the Suicide Squad should probably be eliminated, but the way you dispatch them is bolstered by a believable enough narrative to let you square up against the strongest people on Earth. And the majority of those solutions simply involve developing new kinds of ammo.
Of course, I won’t reveal too much here, but there are a lot of other well-known DC characters mixed throughout. Comic book enthusiasts will love the unexpected cameos and exits laced throughout, even though at times it just makes the narrative appear like an assortment of strikingly beautiful scenes pieced together with cliched battle sequences.
However, there are also memorable times that pass quickly while being filled with awe.
In Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Superheroes are revered as gods in the world of Metropolis. It’s filled with monuments to them at each corner. It’s usually really beautiful and would probably be a great spot to spend a weekend if it weren’t for the little problem of a massive brain hanging over it and wreaking havoc.
The art design is excellent, blending a wide range of architectural elements to create a very attractive cityscape. However, because of the warzone simmering underneath it, the skyline is frequently covered with smoke and gunshots. But all of it feels strangely dead at the same time.
Similar to the Arkham games, there is an unsettling lack of human movement to give the impression that this is a real location with people who need to be protected.
In addition, aside from adversaries patrolling the streets in anticipation of your ambush, there isn’t any memorable music to accompany you as you navigate through them. Once more, it’s unfortunate because, while this world is unquestionably an artistic triumph, there just isn’t nearly as much variation in it as there was when I first entered it as an enthusiastic visitor.
The UI comes next. It’s often said that you should have more faith in a restaurant’s food if its menu has fewer options. I believe the same holds true for a HUD and how much screen clutter it causes.
The game UI has an unbearably large quantity of text, numbers, cooldown meters, health bars, and button prompts shown. Sometimes you have to sift through text passages to peek at the mini map or see how near you are to death. You can disable some features, but to be honest, you really need to have the most of stuff on in order to try to keep track of what’s happening.
Post Campaign Content
Despite the studio’s best efforts to portray Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League as anything other than a game-as-a-service, the live-service aspect of the game becomes evident in the post-game after the story is concluded.
My greatest worries were realized right away when I was given copies of missions that I had already completed in the campaign, all of which featured the same jumbled set of duties.
Incursions are the main actions that occur when a character enters the post-credits realm. These are quick, rinse-and-repeat missions set in the superhero multiverse. These are, predictably, all the same “defend the objective” and “kill as many enemies as possible in a given amount of time” situations that I had already gotten weary of.
There’s a startling lack of creativity and minimal regard for your time. Even worse, you can only access these ostensibly significant missions using a new currency called Promethium, and they have little bearing on the wider struggle surrounding you other than perhaps annoying the main antagonist a little.
This can only be obtained by doing more tiresome missions around Metropolis, including taking out another enormous cannon that has purple dots pulsating on it. It produces a monotonous loop that lacks any meaningful gameplay or narrative elements.
The only true motivation is to outpace other players and deliver an entertaining taunt, or to repeatedly grind the same few encounters at harder difficulties in order to unlock guns with higher damage numbers, which I suppose I’ll use for more useful tasks when they come up in a later update.
Additionally, all XP points earned after a character reaches level 30, and has completed their own talent tree, are allocated to ‘Squad Skills’. No, these aren’t exciting new abilities that encourage much-needed cooperative play; rather, they are more dull stat bonuses like small boost to damage reduction or a small boost to rifle damage.
It’s a monotonous, boring, and repetitive post-game that lacks the elements that formerly made Rocksteady’s games so captivating. However, it is unfortunate that there aren’t any noteworthy villain arcs or side stories, and that there isn’t quite the spontaneity in the game’s open environment that fans of Manbat’s participation in Arkham Knight may anticipate.
Contracts also need to be fulfilled, but again, they are nothing special because they involve killing a specific number of grunts with a sniper rifle or executing a traversal attack a particular number of times. These provide you with experience points, credits, and an abundance of crafting supplies that you may utilize in your modified Hall of Justice headquarters.
It can be tedious to customize your character and navigate the numerous menu screens to get small stat boosts, but nothing compares to the stress of having to keep track of the five crafting currencies Suicide Squad uses.
They are entirely distinct from a premium money that is used to unlock cosmetics like clothes and emotes and are all needed to build various modifications, weapons, and augmentations.
There are now just one or two new styles available for each character in the store, making it appear somewhat empty.
Although they aren’t particularly inexpensive, the situation is made somewhat worse when you learn that this simply unlocks the basic style for each outfit—you’ll need to spend up to $40 to unlock every variation and color option inside each skin.
While makeup may be expensive, Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League deserves praise for providing all new seasonal gameplay content at no cost. Rocksteady has given us a peek at the future roadmap, which includes the promise of more playable characters and locales.
This makes it possible for locations like Arkham Asylum to appear in the game, serving as a somber reminder of the fantastic tale the company previously presented there.
It’s unclear how much the upcoming episodic missions will truly move the story along, but plenty of remixed activities, enemy variants, and cosmetic drops are a given. It’s hard to say for sure, but it looks like we’ll be doing a lot of what’s already available in Metropolis over and over again, which could become even more tired than it already is.
Familiar locations from Rocksteady’s past outings may be exciting, but what we’ll be doing in them will determine whether or not Suicide Squad will survive as an ongoing game.
Future DLC or Game Pass
Although I do appreciate the combat, I’m not convinced it ever provides the diversity or dynamic edge Suicide Squad needs to succeed without the promise of further story to support it.
Although score-chasing can be entertaining and fits in with the arguing character of the mercenaries, it isn’t enough of a motivation to keep me playing, whether you’re attempting to outdo your squad mates or the world.
I’m not at all interested in a battle pass consisting of character skins and emotes, so perhaps future seasons will tell new tales.
The campaign’s disappointing cliffhanger does, in my opinion, strongly hint at what we’ll be doing in each of the seasons. While I sincerely hope it advances the plot significantly each time, I doubt it. Rather than coming back every month to see what’s new posted, I think it’s much more likely that I’ll wait months to see how much has been added before returning to the story.
All of this raises the main query about Kill the Justice League: why is it a live-service game with recurring content releases? Thus far, I’m not persuaded that Rocksteady’s desire to tell more stories in its DC universe is the reason for it; rather, I believe Warner Brothers’ strategy of gradually adding cosmetics to its store will increase profits.
Players feel underwhelmed by an unfinished plot at launch, therefore it’s not a good model. It can also be frustrating for a studio that has a strong history of making single-player games to operate this way. We are all ultimately defeated, much like a world without heroes to protect it.
Playing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is extremely annoying. There is plenty to like in the story, which is a genuinely strong DC comics story, beautifully wrapped in high production standards, with combat that is quick enough to keep things interesting.
However, everything else simply collapses around it. The looter-shooter gameplay is stale and boring, the mission design is entirely uninteresting, and the postgame content is incredibly repetitious with very little interesting things to do.
Overall, the game is a bit of a let down that never really impresses with any of its many poorly thought out ideas. It’s not terrible, but it’s disappointing and frustrating coming from Rocksteady—the pioneers of story action in single player Batman Arkham games—following multiplayer fads that are now out of date. Better to wait until the game is cheaper than to buy it now.
So what are your thoughts on this Rocksteady game? Was it the game worth waiting for? What games would you rather play? Let’s discuss it here below by adding your comments. Click on the button to buy the game if you choose to. Thanks for checking out my review. Until next time 😀