In a way, I feel sorry for developer Rocksteady Studios. After delivering three of the greatest games themed after the harrowing adventures of Gotham's greatest protector Batman, I'm sure they were confident about their next project pivoting away from those past titles' formula and embracing something else altogether. After showing some early promise from a cinematic standpoint, that fan goodwill quickly turned to disdain once gameplay footage finally emerged for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. That hugely negative fan backlash forced the game into hibernation for an extra year delay, which made me think Rocksteady was making welcome changes to the game based on all the feedback it received. Now that this brand-new looter shooter is finally in gamers' hands, it's clear that that extra development time was meant to rebuild a positive outlook on it. After taking it through its paces, I'm disappointed by what this game ultimately turned out to be. With that being said, here is my Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League review.
'Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League' Review: Undercooked Villainy
First, let me get into the positives. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks and sounds great. You just can't doubt how amazing every character looks - Harley Quinn's unhinged smiley face, King Shark's scaly skin, Deadshot's trademark suit of armor, and Captain Boomerang's scruffy design come through wonderfully, especially during cutscenes. Zipping around Brainiacs's twisted version of "Metropolis" was a feast for the eyes as every portion of it is highlighted in a wide range of colors and showcases impressive levels of destruction. When helicopters explode and King Shark comes slamming down from a great height to wipe out a rooftop full of his twisted adversaries, this game's visual prowess comes through once again in the explosive effects department. Soundwise, the vocal performances from everyone involved are top-of-the-line quality. Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), King Shark (Samoa Joe), Batman (the late Kevin Conroy), and Amanda Waller (Debra Wilson) shine the most during this game's collection of humorous and more serious moments.
Coming into Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the one thing I figured would be one of its finest features is its story. Thankfully, that gut feeling of mine was right on the money. I was locked into everything that took place throughout this game's harrowing setup - being set out into a post-apocalyptic cityscape and having to find a way to kill the same protectors that the world once trusted with their safety resulted in some jaw-dropping moments. Every time I was thrust into a showdown with one of the "Justice League" members, the stakes got even higher and the cinematic that played out once they've met their end reflect the enormity of major DC Comics events. The multiverse themes that spring up as you make your way through this game's wild plot heighten the madness and will throw you for a loop as you get deeper into it. Games based in the DC Universe tend to knock it out of the park with their narrative - that sentiment rings true for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is (to most gamers' chagrin...) a full-fledged looter shooter. In some parts, that style of gameplay works. The huge suite of customization options you can attach to each member of the squad leads to awesome builds that employ different elemental powerups (freezing an oversized foe and smashing them with a melee attack soon after is the sort of fun moment derived from experimenting with those weapon builds). Zipping through the air with each character's main method of transport, sliding across the ground to maintain momentum, and taking flight once more to hang in the air for a bit while you shoot down waves of enemies points to this game's smooth traversal system. However, I couldn't help but feel that the main gameplay loop of this game quickly grows stale during extra lengthy play sessions. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is the sort of game that's best enjoyed in short spurts - the cracks begin to show and an overall feeling of contempt begins to build as you play for hours on end during a single playthrough.
The selection of main missions and side missions presented to you feel like they were ripped right out of an early- to mid-2000s shooter. Take down all these enemies. Protect this monument from incoming waves of your adversaries while information from it is being uploaded. Retrieve survivors and bring them to a central location to permanently rescue them from their captors. Those mission types are run-of-the-mill experiences that simply don't measure up to the strong tasks afforded to players while they made their way through the Arkham games. With so many tedious quests given to you in quick succession, Suicide Squad's halfway-decent gunplay and lively navigation mechanics eventually grow tiresome. With a collection of more unique mission types and sidequests on par with the ones seen in the Arkham titles, I'm sure the action wouldn't have grown as humdrum as it did during my time spent with this game.
Another portion of this game that counts as a huge letdown in my eyes is its boss fights. You would think that a game pitting gun-toting villains against the strongest superheroes in the DC Universe would result in some sort of clever approach to weakening those overpowered beings before ultimately taking them down. Sadly, that just isn't the case. The Green Lantern and The Flash fights make an attempt at doing something out of the norm, but they and the rest of the Justice League boss fight simply boil down to shooting meat shields that soak up tons of bullets that can eventually be damaged directly as you pull off a character's special move to break through their shields. To say I was bored as these fights played out would be an understatement.
What's truly shocking about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is how short it ends up being. You can wrap up this game in 10-11 hours, which is a shock considering the 12-16 hours of worthwhile content the Arkham games provide. That playtime could have been longer, but the uninteresting endgame and annoying search for far too many scattered Riddler trophies pushed me away from investing more time into the game. Maybe the promise of free DLC characters and new locales may result in some content worth checking out later on, but I won't get my hopes up in that regard.
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