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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Review: Repetitiveness brings down an enjoyable story

In my eyes, Rocksteady Studios' Arkham trilogy of Batman videogames is the best series of superhero games to exist in this space. Between 2009 and 2015, the studio introduced, refined, and concluded an adventure that lets you live out the fantasy of being the Caped Crusader almost perfectly. So, like many, when the 2020 announcement for Rocksteady's next project turned out to be a cooperative action game featuring a villain team, my excitement levels were pretty muted.

Four years later, following what I could only describe as a marketing disaster, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is finally in our hands. You might already know that the game has been under fire from fans and critics for quite a while now. The heavy pivot into offering a live service title with battle passes and microtransactions while also being a full-priced game didn't really sit well with many, and the extended delays didn't help the matter either.

I have now put in over a dozen hours into the game and finished the campaign, playing both solo and in co-op. My experience wasn’t the complete and utter disaster many expected (or hoped) for the game, but it did leave me questioning why this direction was taken at all. Some parts, like the traversal mechanics and chemistry between the characters, had me coming back to the game, while monotone missions and looter shooter mechanics made me almost go back and replay the Arkham games.

It was the PC version that I spent my time in for this review. Below you'll find my thoughts on the story, missions, gameplay, and other aspects of Rocksteady Studio's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. I have kept story spoilers to a minimum for this review, though you've probably gathered by now that the Suicide Squad is attempting to Kill the Justice League here.

Suicide Squad

Story — "In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night"

Though this is technically a superhero game, the villains are in the driving seat this time. Taking place five years after the events of Rocksteady's final entry in the Arkham trilogy, the Justice League has been established, grown, and already recognized as the world's greatest team of super-heroes populated by Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern. Unfortunately, and like in the usual DC Comics fashion, the utopian era has been invaded by Brainiac and his brainwashing ways, turning the good guys into the bad guys with unlimited power and a thirst for murder. Now, the team of lovable bad guys are coming in to, hopefully, save the day.

Persuaded by the bombs implanted in their heads by Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark are the last chance humanity has against this threat. It's a team that has seen its ups and downs in other media in recent years, and I'm happy to say that Rocksteady's take on the Squad is easily one of the best.

Despite the dire nature of the situation, the writing keeps things light. While the lackadaisical nature did feel a little off in certain scenes, the ample jokes, quips, and genuinely hilarious gags, coupled with physical humor, were presented with a good tempo. The studio has managed to apply just the right amount of dark humor to diffuse the serious atmosphere that would have otherwise overwhelmed a post-apocalyptic story like this. There's only so much you can do with good dialog, so the fantastic motion capture work and facial animations implemented by Rocksteady should be lauded for adding so much to the cutscenes.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

The chemistry between the four Suicide Squad members is astoundingly good. Harley Quinn's crazy nature never goes overboard to even warrant an eyeroll, and Captain Boomerang's unfiltered and impulsive dialog bounces off well with the other cast members. One of my favorite characters turned out to be King Shark. Unlike many other forms of media featuring him, this version is not a buffoon. While there are gags involving the bipedal shark, it's mostly to emphasize his terrible lying skills or wanting to fit in more with the group. He is the least villainous villain in the group; the sanest member is easily Deadshot, though the Squad tries hard to 'fix' this issue.

The campaign's highest points are reached when the Justice League members are present in cutscenes. While the gameplay fighting them as bosses is a letdown, which I'll get to in the next section, the cutscenes aptly capture the feeling of power these individuals wield. You do have to suspend your disbelief after seeing these former heroes in action. The Suicide Squad technically shouldn't have a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating even one of the Justice League members, let alone all of them.

Still, it makes for an entertaining story. Sure, sure, Batman doesn't have powers, but introducing the Dark Knight we played in Arkham, now without the code of no killing, is essentially a horror experience. He easily received the best introduction in the game. Don't forget that this is also one of Kevin Conroy's final roles before his passing. It was a genuinely nice experience to enjoy his legendary voice as our Batman again.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, however. While there is an 'ending' to the campaign, the overall story felt unfinished once I reached its end. Millions of people missing from the Brainiac incident are never accounted for. All side characters you meet and recruit as useful support staff, such as the Penguin and the new Poison Ivy, have storylines that feel like they were leading somewhere but nothing comes of them.

On the same note, Lois Lane appears as a news host at random intervals, and once again, nothing comes out of this either. Winks and nods towards other DC heroes and characters are present all throughout the story, who I suppose we have to presume are either dead or captured. With Rocksteady saying it will add to the story with future updates, these may just be loose threads the studio plans to expand on. But looking at the live-service landscape, who knows how many months or years this will take if it materializes at all?

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot


Leaving behind the familiar dreariness of Gotham, Superman's home turf Metropolis is the playground that Rocksteady offers this time. The skyscrapers, wide streets, and gigantic alien monoliths that litter the landscape offer a different kind of city to traverse, and the studio has managed to make it a fun one.

Traversal, one of the best parts of the game, comes first. The Suicide Squad members you have at your disposal each come with their own method of travel to get across Metropolis and wreak havoc. Most of my time was spent as Captain Boomerang, who uses his borrowed Speed Force gadgets to great effect. Deadshot employs a jetpack to zoom and hover across the skies, King Shark can use his natural abilities for super jumps and fast descents, while Harley uses a Batman grappling hook and drone combo to basically put on an acrobatic circus show between high-rises.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

I mentioned the fantastic animations employed by Rocksteady previously, and it extends to the gameplay as well. Unless vehicles are involved, I feel high-speed humanoids are difficult to implement into games without feeling a little off. While not to the level of Insomniac's Spider-Man, Rocksteady has done a great job in this department. Tearing through the city to make it to objectives before your teammates, or completing The Riddler's AR traversal challenges is a fun little pastime of its own thanks to the excellent execution of fast-paced snappy movement.

Unfortunately, these powers take the backseat when it comes to combat, with guns taking over the action almost completely. Our anti-heroes can all equip two primary weapons, a grenade, and a 'get out of jail free card' super attack that clears everything in the vicinity. While fun at first, going from the smooth hand-to-hand combat and gadget usage of the Arkham games to a third-person shooter has not been a great pivot in my eyes; each member has their own talent trees to change how you tackle the game too. I found that once I realized what type of weapons I liked to use with my character (shotgun and sniper), there weren’t really other ways to "build" the trees, as most of the skills there were related to increasing weapon damage instead of gaining new skills.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

Don't forget that this is a looter shooter too, meaning you receive weapons and equipment from a range of rarities as rewards for activities, while also being able to craft new items and edit existing drops' attributes to change their bonuses. If you've played other looter shooters like The Division, you'll be right at home here. Min-maxing these stats may be required for heavy post-game grinding, though this was not needed at all for my playthrough of the game, where I found a good combo of high-level weapons mid-game and just kept them till the end. There is simply nothing here to make the available mini-guns, sniper rifles, and shotguns less boring. Taking a leaf out of a game like Borderlands would have been wonderful, especially with how much creative weaponry could have been created with some DC Comics flair.

Each Squad member does have their own unique close-range weapon, but these are used to knock enemies into the sky or applying special effects before even more shooting is required. There is some variety in the form of applying attribute effects and hitting glowing bits of mobs and enemy structures for critical hits, but even when you unlock your ultimate ability by fully leveling your favorite character, it just adds more ways to shoot weapons. The verticality of the city and openness allows for quickly dispatching large numbers of enemies. However, enemy variety is also severely lacking throughout the game. Even in the endgame, foes are simply the same blobs of health you’ve been shooting throughout the campaign.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

Another big offender is the mission variety, or rather the lack of it. Protecting a beacon from waves of enemies, defeating a certain number of enemies in an area before taking cover from a big strike, rescuing civilians by depleting enemies in an area, escorting slow vehicles as you take out enemies, and killing enemies to collect colored lights, which then you throw at giant glowing structures are essentially what you'll be doing for 95% of the game. It did not take long for me to get exceedingly bored of this repeating pattern across main missions, side activities, and open-world encounters. There are almost no interior missions to speak of either, which the Arkham series excelled at employing to break the open-world's monotone nature.

Moreover, being the main villains, the Justice League is heavily underutilized in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s gameplay. Outside of cutscenes, none of the members are present in normal gameplay, side missions, or activities. Only their voice lines are played in the background when traveling across the open world. Having something like the Flash speed in to pose a challenge during a side quest, having to fight off Green Lantern projections in random encounters, or even having Superman throwing a random punch as a mission failure animation would have helped to add something to these scenarios.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

As I explained in the story section, the game impressively builds up the Justice League as boss fights draw nearer, just to squander it all on boring, bullet-spongy, and repetitive fights. Happening inside tiny arenas, the boss fights go like this: You weaken the Justice League member by shooting at them, then lower their gigantic health bars by shooting them further, run away and shoot them even more as they repeat the same special moves, and finally finish them off by shooting them. Bizarrely, the game's finale turns out to be a complete repeat of an earlier boss fight, right down to the tactics (the aforementioned shooting ones) that are needed to finish it.

Graphics, performance, and bugs

Metropolis is a pretty city to wreak havoc in, with each different district painting a unique picture, and I feel videos and screenshots do not do it justice. The different types of architecture, from the skyscraper-filled midtown to the slums, gives enough eye candy to keep things interesting. Let's not forget about all the alien ships, tentacles, and structures that have taken refuge in the city too, carving out spaces of their own in this once bustling environment. Being such a fast-paced game, I don't think many players will notice the art direction and the care given to building these playgrounds.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot

The PC I used for reviewing Suicide Squad is a Lenovo Legion 5 Pro housing an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU with 6GB VRAM (551.23 drivers), an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and 16GB of RAM, with the game being installed on its NVMe SSD. Playing at 1440p, adjusting the graphics settings available to all low netted me around 60FPS, while maxed out at High settings drops that down to 40FPS, these can vary largely depending on the amount of effects and enemies that are on the screen. Dynamic resolution as well as upscaling solutions like DLSS and FSR are also present, but they do not seem to help much in the frame rates department from my testing. The speed of the game and the heavy use of particle effects also throws up nasty fuzzy-ness on the screen when using upscaling tech, especially when they are cranked up to get more performance. There is also an option to turn on ray-tracing effects, though considering the current performance numbers without it, this is a setting that should require a lot more horsepower.

Stutters were another issue. The title already compiles shaders at launch to minimize this, but stutters were still present whenever the transition happened between missions, pre-rendered animations, and cutscenes. The game can slow to a literal crawl when this occurs, dropping the frame rates to single digits for 5-10 seconds at points, ruining the immersion. While not as jarring or constant, I also noticed some traversal stutters when speeding along to distant targets. Thankfully, this does not really happen in fights because new enemies tend to spawn fairly close to each other in regions.

While I did not encounter any crashes or major gameplay-related bugs, a couple of times I was frozen and kicked out of the game for losing signal to online servers. Another bug that's possibly related to being online had me getting stuck in a faux loading screen after missions as my teammates continued on their journeys in the background. It would unstuck itself after a minute or two, but the bug would repeat again after another mission. Only a restart fixed this behavior, and it's unclear what triggered it.

Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League screenshot


Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League falls into the unfortunate category of not being a terrible game, but not great enough to recommend buying at full price. I enjoyed my time with the story. The dialog and performances by the four members were actually funny and entertaining, and almost never crossed into cringe territory. Though as with any comedic venture, this is a matter of taste. Also, considering this is a superhero game, I feel like you have to come to terms with the absurd amount of plot armor the Suicide Squad has for going up against the Justice League to truly enjoy the story.

The fast-paced traversal mechanics is another part of the game I really enjoyed, with each member utilizing their own method of transport, from the Speed Force to demi-god powers. Speeding along the ground, rooftops, and sides of buildings as these whacky villains was a blast. While the use of superpowers is quite limited in combat, with Rocksteady going for shooter mechanics instead, the fast-paced action does offer enough entertainment to keep you engaged. That is until the tiny number of available mission types begin repeating.

The dull objectives of all activities and missions that mostly devolve down to "kill X number of enemies" saps the fun out of Suicide Squad quite rapidly. Completely ignoring the Justice League for side missions was also a major missed opportunity in my eyes. The Justice League boss fights that are built up with fantastic cutscenes were also major letdowns, where avoiding area-of-effect attacks and shooting them until their giant health bars disappear being the gameplay loop for defeating the once-mighty heroes.

While I understand the appeal of looter shooter mechanics sometimes, seeing drops of different colored weapons and equipment, the numerous crafting materials, leveling up to increase power 1% at a time, and daily challenges in a Rocksteady game just made me feel tired. Rocksteady is promising to keep the game updated with new playable characters, missions, and other content via free updates. I imagine this is the reason for having an in-game cash shop with outfits and emotes, plus upcoming battle passes for a full-priced $69.99 game. But without getting my hands on what's coming, knowing how much depth these updates will have, and the cadence of their drops, I can't really buy into the dream just yet.

I would say this is a better-written, more polished, and responsive experience than other super-hero cooperative games we've had in recent times like Marvel's Avengers or Gotham Knights. But in the end, my recommendation is to wait. You and your friends can probably pick the game up for much cheaper, and with more content, the longer you hold off; that seems to be the best path to take with live service games in general.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is now available on Steam, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 for $69.99. It will also be released on the Epic Games Store on March 5, 2024. This review was conducted on a PC copy of the game provided by the publisher Warner Bros.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Fun story Suicide Squad chemistry Traversal abilities Comedy
Underused villains Repetitive missions Boring boss fights Tiring loot systems Stutters
February 2, 2024


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