Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League had a string of delays, and now it’s finally out. I love looter shooters; having played hundreds of hours of Destiny 2, Division 2, Borderlands, and yes, even the ill-fated Avengers, I was pretty excited to try out DC and WB’s take on the genre. Despite liking the 30 hours or so I spent with the game, I don’t see myself sinking a couple of hundred hours on it.
Not all is Doomsday and Gloomsday here, though; the game has moments when it pulls you in. Live service games live and die on developer/publisher support, so it remains to be seen if the Squad gets better like Fallout 76 or gets its head blown like Anthem. Would the game have enough to keep you for the “live-service” parts? The Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League review will lay it all down.
Is It Some Kind of a Suicide Squad?
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has the story in the title: you and your friends kill the Justice League. Brainiac has control of the League and aims to make Earth into an image of his doomed world, Colu. It’s up to Amanda Waller, ARGUS, and The Suicide Squad to take down the League and foil Brainiac’s plan. It’s a short ride, though; you can finish the game easily in 13-15 hours. I clocked in 29 hours simply because I had to touch the end game briefly.
The game uses some of the best facial animations since Mortal Kombat 1 last year. Harley emotes exceptionally well, especially her wide-eyed-wonder look in many cutscenes. Captain Boomerang and Deadshot are equally significant when expressing emotions.
The voice actors had fun with the script; I especially enjoyed Samoa Joe’s King Shark and Daniel Lapaine’s Boomer. Yes, Kevin Conroy is there as The Definitive Batman in what is probably his last appearance as the Dark Knight. The story is not for the fans of The Justice League; I won’t say more, as it will spoil the game for you. Batman fans, especially Arkham ones, won’t be pleased.
Welcome to Metropolis
The game occurs in Metropolis, Superman, and Lois Lane’s stomping ground. It’s a well-designed city with ample skyscrapers. Unfortunately, there was no need to explore there. I zoomed from one objective to another without any need to slow down. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League doesn’t use the environment well either; it’s merely set dressing for your explosive actions, nothing more.
Riddler trophies are hidden in the architecture, but that’s the extent of interactivity here. No NPCs are running around scared, no cars, no military, no other heroes, no minor villains to make Metropolis feel alive. I didn’t stand and admire the city as I did in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 or make a stop to take screenshots of a particularly nice-looking location. It’s detailed and does its job, but it is entirely forgettable.
The Gameplay Loop
The core gameplay loop involves marking a mission on the map, traveling to it, spending 5-15 minutes shooting, getting rewards, and repeating it all over. There are exceptions, namely some story missions, but they are very few and far between. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a third-person action shooter with some RPG elements. The shooting part is competent, but the RPG elements are somewhat half-baked.
How it Shoots, Smacks, and Explodes
You’ll need guns regardless of which of the four characters you play; most can be used by all characters. Different gun types exist; some characters cannot use a particular weapon. For example, Harley cannot use snipers but can easily lift and use a Gatling gun. Each character gets a melee weapon, yes, even King Shark. As a shooter, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is good. I didn’t feel like the shooting kept me from having fun; on the contrary, the game is fun when you shoot stuff.
Each character also gets two unique abilities: a traversal attack and a powerful single-target takedown. Captain Boomerang ping pongs to enemies, damaging them with each bounce while King Shark dives down like a cannonball. It’s fun to use and recharges reasonably quickly, and I had a lot of fun using Deadshot’s payload-dumping traversal attack; it does a ton of damage. Combat abilities are where Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League shines, especially when it lets the characters be chaotic.
The game even pushes you to move, as you won’t regenerate shields when not fighting. We’ve seen this mechanic in Doom before; the only defense is going on the offense here. You can only recharge shields by doing a Shield Harvest attack on enemies, activated by damaging the legs and pressing the melee attack button. The controls take a while to click, especially if you switch characters occasionally.
Moving Around Town
Moving around is a core gameplay element in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. So, how’s the movement? It’s excellent. Sure, the movement is not comic-accurate; I’ve never read Quinn swing around like a wannabe Spider-Man or Boomerang, conveniently getting a Speed Force gauntlet to zip about Metropolis.
Each character feels distinct here, something last year’s Gotham Knight also tried (Red Hood used magic). Deadshot uses a jetpack, Harley uses a grapple and Bat-Drone, Boomerang throws his Boomerang and speeds to it, and King Shark doesn’t need a gimmick to jump stories high.
Is the Loot Any Good?
The loot is underwhelming at best and bad at worst. At one point, I got a gun that could only damage brutes (slightly stronger elite enemies) and would do zero damage to grunts (regular fodder). The game tells you the information, so getting bodyslammed is all my fault. However, this kind of a “perk” is not worth it, especially when the gun doesn’t offset it with something spectacular.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a comic book game that doesn’t embrace the wacky nature of the medium. I waited for a gun that shoots Polka dots or a heavy weapon that throws ketchup on the floor (Yes, I like Condiment King). Sadly, the loot leaves a lot to desire here.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has weapon rarity, attributes, and perks, but it chooses to be like Division when it could’ve been Borderlands.
As you kill enemies and complete missions, you get experience and increase your character level. Experience is not shared between characters on the team, so you’ll only level the character you are playing. I pushed each character above 22 to see what the Skill Tree offers. Unfortunately, all perks are passive, activated at a certain combo number, or both. Nothing is gameplay-changing here, just incremental stats increases or some slight modifications.
The Squad Goals
The game is held together with the Squad here; all four are integral to the story. Some of the lines had me chuckling, too (some jokes fell brutally flat, though). Overall, it’s a good mix of well-animated and acted characters.
Half the game is spent assembling the support staff, including Hack, Gizmo, and Penguin. The other half is spent unlocking upgrades for support staff. For example, applying status effects opens early in the story, but the last effect becomes available after the main story.
The Suicide Missions
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has a short campaign brought down by repetitive and uninspired side quests. The main story missions are done well and offer variety, especially the Batman experience mission, which is a pleasant surprise. After so many delays, many thought the game would move away from live service, but that didn’t happen.
Side missions are a drag and take place in a singular area. Rocksteady used Marvel’s Avengers level and quest design but set it in an open world. You can’t even go far, or the mission ends, so the side quests occur in a virtual arena. The quest design is bland, repetitive, and made for “live service.” The bite-sized missions can be completed in 2-5 minutes, especially when playing with friends.
You take down the Justice League, but the boss battles could be better here. The Green Lantern fight offers some large-scale action but is easy to complete. The Flash fight is against target acquisition, as he is hard to see. Superman doesn’t throw a single punch and uses ranged attacks (he uses a tank or a helicopter to smack you, though). The Batman fight is repetitive and loses novelty fast, especially when playing solo.
Remember, Batman is always watching you.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League uses a comic-book crutch to explain the “endgame.” Everyone familiar with Avengers Endgame would instantly know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, it’s an infinite crisis of side missions here. The same repeatable missions spawn, and you do them again and again. There is a little variety with the Incursions where you travel to another location (it’s another Metropolis) for, you guessed it, the same side mission.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League had so much potential. The game may change for the better, with new characters joining the fray. Its funny writing, good facial animations, and voice acting are not enough for a resounding recommendation. Rocksteady will only improve the game further down the development road.
I enjoyed my stay in Metropolis, and so did a friend who tagged along for 10 hours; after that, he had server issues. Get the game if you are a fan of The Suicide Squad. It has good superhero traversal and a simple yet well-acted story. I’ll return to Metropolis to see how The Joker plays, but I’m hanging up my jetpack for now.
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