Rocksteady has become one of the most beloved game studios of all time. After releasing “Batman: Arkham Asylum” they became a studio to keep an eye out on. The Arkham games trilogy has become one of the greatest series of superhero games of all time, and even just some of the best video games of all time. So, it’s now been nine years since their last game “Batman: Arkham Knight” and we finally have Rocksteady’s new title available to play, “Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League.” Not necessarily what fans were expecting, but it’s Rocksteady and they need to be given the benefit of the doubt. Every time this game was shown off and every time news dropped with new info fans continued to get more and more concerned. The sad truth is that this is a games-as-service game, with all the shameless microtransactions and battle-pass bells and whistles. With a studio so steeped in creating amazing single player story games, this was a tough pill to swallow, but again, it is Rocksteady and they have a pedigree to put out quality games. So, let’s see what this one is all about.
This time around you aren’t playing as Batman, but four prisoners of Belle Reve that join Amanda Waller’s Task Force X (or better known to be the Suicide Squad), these members are Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and of course Harley Quinn. The super evil and powerful alien Brainiac has come to earth to cause havoc and has brainwashed the minds of the Justice League. Now this ragtag group of criminals have to go up against the biggest superheroes of all time and… yes, kill them. It’s in the title after all, what did you expect? With that said, I will be going into some spoiler territory here soon, but nothing too crazy that the title doesn’t already spoil. For the most part here, the story is pretty good. The presentation of the cinematics is top notch, with amazing character detail and performances. Its clear Rocksteady put a lot of love in the smaller details and are DC fans themselves. All that being said, I hate to say that’s mostly where the compliments end for this game.
Gameplay is king and for this game, it really feels like they forgot what the point of playing games even was (the answer: to have FUN!). The giant sprawling map of Metropolis you play in looks really great, but the missions you do in them will get repetitive really fast. Within the first hour or two of playing the game in its ten-ish hour runtime you will have played pretty much every mission type the game has to offer, you will just end up playing variations of them. Including what I thought was a universally hated mission type, the escort missions. I thought it was agreed upon that we would stop putting these in video games years ago, but somehow, they’re in this game in full force. The four characters you play as play slightly differently, but not that different to where you think it’s important to cycle through them. You can stick to just one character and be just fine. You’re also fighting against the same handful of different purple aliens that are just very uninspiring. Everything you’re doing when playing the game feels soulless, a game that may have made more sense a generation or two ago. It’s really heartbreaking to say that, because as a Rocksteady fan and DC fan, I was looking forward to this for many years.
The most frustrating part is inside, of all this fluff, this game shoves at you with its annoying leveling system and skill tree, there could have been a really good single player campaign here if they focused on that experience instead of making this a online-only game-as-service. Playing this, you can feel how much they’re trying to pad out the gameplay and try to get people addicted to a repetitive gameplay loop that just isn’t working. There’s also some controversy about Batman in this game. Rocksteady made it known that this game takes place in the Arkhamverse and the Batman in this game is the same Batman we went on a journey with for three amazing video games. So, seeing this version of the character kind of get off’d the way he does feels a little bit like a slap in the face. I’m all for the Justice League getting killed in a game, but I feel like if they just said this wasn’t in the Arkhamverse, this would have been a much easier pill to swallow for most people. This also reminds me of how lame the boss fights in this game, fighting the Justice League is actually really uninspiring and somehow shooting them with guns is how they all can die, that just doesn’t sit right with me, and I feel like it shouldn’t sit right with Rocksteady, who are huge DC fans themselves. So, something tells me there were too many cooks in the kitchen spearheading the development of this game.
At the end of the day, “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League” certainly isn’t what I was hoping for. Having said that, as a DC fan, though, there is a lot to find throughout that had me geeking out and finding some enjoyment here and there. The main campaign, while relatively short, was pretty well done, and as I said, had that Rocksteady cinematic polish to it. It just really feels like the game itself has a bit of an identity crisis of who it wants to be for and at the end of the day struggles to fully find its target audience. When you finish the story the endgame grind doesn’t really do anything to entice you to keep playing, and I’m very curious how Rocksteady will tackle their uphill battles to get this game on the right track… or if they just give up and move on. Adding a multiverse Joker as a DLC character later on sounds interesting, but at this point they need to figure out how to make the game fun to get me to come back. As a DC fan, they may already have me coming back just to take a peek and see, but if they want me to stick around, they need to step it up.
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