The builders of the beloved Batman Arkham video games have a brand new DC sport, this time informed from the villains’ perspective. However what ought to really feel like a recent begin for Rocksteady Studios as a substitute seems like a misstep — a sport filled with drained mechanics and unhealthy jokes.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a third-person shooter that expands Rocksteady’s Batman Arkhamverse from Gotham Metropolis to Metropolis, residence of Superman and the Justice League. Alien supervillain Brainiac has invaded Earth, mind-controlled a lot of the Justice League, and enslaved Metropolis’ residents as a part of his plan to construct a brand new model of his residence planet.
Confronted with a crew of superheroes turned supervillains, authorities agent Amanda Waller enlists a quartet of prison misfits — Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark — into Job Power X, an expendable crew that’s compelled to comply with her orders, lest she detonate tiny bombs of their heads. This Suicide Squad should use unconventional strategies to take down the League and its grasp.
Three common human beings and one not-so-bright sharkman don’t seem to be a lot of a match for the likes of Superman and Inexperienced Lantern, so Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League outfits the crew with weapons and lethal devices that imbue the members with borrowed superpowers. This idea is comparatively straightforward to swallow, proper up till you come face-to-face with the generally godlike members of the League.
You’re at all times taking part in as a crew in Kill the Justice League, both with pals in on-line multiplayer or with a trio of bots. You may swap between the characters if you need, however the sport will advocate switching between sure squad members at factors, largely to present you some selection and add a bit additional narrative punch to encounters.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League additionally has a robust emphasis on traversal mechanics. Every member of Job Power X has their very own method of getting round, with various ranges of satisfaction with their actions. King Shark can leap tall buildings with a single certain, making him the only to manage. Deadshot has a simple, beginner-friendly jetpack. Captain Boomerang swipes a Velocity Power glove, letting him dash at floor degree and kind of teleport. (“Boomer,” as his squadmates discuss with him, simply has the strangest technique of traversal.) Harley can swing round Metropolis in a method that blends Batman’s flying and Spider-Man’s swinging, however it feels frustratingly extra clumsy than combining these two great-feeling online game locomotion strategies ought to.
Motion by means of Metropolis largely feels good, which is lucky since you’ll spend a superb portion of the sport scaling buildings and leaping throughout rooftops between missions. Capturing, your main technique of taking down enemies, feels good too, at a fundamental degree.
Nevertheless, Rocksteady piles on an enormous checklist of talents past simply taking pictures weapons, they usually vary from inessential to overcomplicated. You may melee unhealthy guys to recharge your defend; counter-shoot enemies poised to assault you; powerslide to knock enemies over; and so forth and so forth. There’s an enormous array of weapons, grenades, melee weapons, and elemental modifiers for each sort of weapon, so battles turn out to be visually and mechanically chaotic in consequence, with the display screen overwhelmed with results and harm numbers. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League piles on too many mechanics, with some pointless to really win fights — that’s, till the sport forces you to make use of them. In a few of Suicide Squad’s most irritating missions, sure enemies will solely take harm by means of crucial hits, or after you’ve acquired a useful resource that depletes over time. These fight tweaks rework already repetitive missions right into a slog with problem spikes that don’t really feel additive, simply annoying.
Many of the enemies you wind up preventing all through town are mutated Metropolitans and Braniac-controlled autos. None of them are significantly attention-grabbing to combat in opposition to; oftentimes you’re simply in search of and unloading on a purple pimple head till one thing explodes.
If you do come face-to-face with members of the Justice League, issues take a flip for the more serious. Characters like Flash, Inexperienced Lantern, and Superman, proven in different moments to have godlike talents, inexplicably toy with Job Power X in protracted, gimmick-laden battles. Boss battles are filled with spectacle, but additionally tedious and irritating — league members zip across the display screen in methods which might be troublesome to trace and clog arenas with environmental assaults that may make body charges chug.
Each aspect missions and important narrative quests are additionally painfully repetitive. They contain standing by a truck and taking pictures stuff. Or strolling alongside a transferring truck and taking pictures stuff. Or standing by certainly one of Poison Ivy’s crops and taking pictures stuff. Generally you’ll be requested to recuperate civilians or troopers who’re trapped behind enemy strains, and that entails frantically taking pictures stuff till the mission unceremoniously ends.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is sort of a “looter shooter,” so post-mission, you’ll get a handful of rewards, together with new weapons from arms vendor Penguin, a wide range of currencies and supplies (which you’ll be able to flip in for brand spanking new weapons or weapon modifiers), and a few XP. You’ll slowly improve a tree of expertise and talents that don’t appear to have a noticeable affect in your efficiency amid the storm of explosions and harm numbers flying throughout the display screen.
You’ll additionally get randomized gear after finishing a activity. You may craft gear, too, utilizing the sundry currencies you collect round Metropolis. Sadly, these weapons, shields, and different bits of tech not often really feel impactful. There are such a lot of modifiers and stats to decipher that I wound up simply wanting on the inexperienced arrows pointing up (higher!) and purple arrows pointing down (worse?) to determine if I ought to equip one thing or not. Ultimately, I began to know among the sport’s intensive jargon, however it didn’t have an effect on a lot of my habits in battle or in selecting my gear.
Whereas missions are largely boring, there’s a reasonably entertaining story on the coronary heart of Kill the Justice League. The members of Job Power X are a bunch of lovable losers who’re very a lot in over their heads, they usually succeed regardless of their incompetence, infighting, and backstabbing. Waller, portrayed viciously by the nice Debra Wilson, is a believably merciless taskmaster who threatens the crew always, which feels tonally applicable on condition that, if she doesn’t, everybody’s going to die anyway. And the possessed members of the Justice League come throughout like actual assholes, their ids introduced entrance and heart by Brainiac’s thoughts manipulations.
Followers of Rocksteady’s Arkham video games, particularly its model of Batman, might discover the sport’s cruelty and cynicism powerful to abdomen. The sport’s title pays off — sure, you’ll kill the Justice League, typically in ways in which really feel dismissive of individuals’s fondness for these iconic characters. Nearly all the things is handled like a joke and solely a handful of the gags land. The remainder — makes an attempt at humor are unrelenting — are interminably unfunny. At one level, a member of Job Power X suggests killing a boss by inserting his shrunken physique into Captain Boomerang’s rectum. After finishing the sport’s story, I’m blissful to be executed listening to those characters.
What could also be most stunning about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is how a lot love, consideration, and years of labor have been put into it. But, it’s such a mediocre expertise. There are moments of nice storytelling right here, and powerful performances to again it up. Metropolis is a great-looking metropolis, filled with brightness and attraction that Rocksteady’s Gotham lacked. And characters, significantly their faces, look beautiful. The expressive animation of characters like Harley Quinn and King Shark goes a good distance towards making these characters really feel plausible, generally even likable.
However the repetitive mission design, dreadful humor, and bland loot mechanics drag down what ought to have been a enjoyable inversion of the darkish Batman Arkham video games. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League seems like a second spherical of closure for Rocksteady within the DC universe — however as a substitute of the satisfying and hopeful ending of Batman: Arkham Knight, it brings the story to a detailed with an ear-ringing bullet within the head.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was launched on Feb. 2 on PlayStation 5, Home windows PC, and Xbox Collection X. The sport was reviewed on PS5 utilizing a pre-release obtain code offered by Warner Bros. Video games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You will discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.