Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Review

Suicide Squad Kill The Justice Leader Header

From the excitement of the initial announcement to the more muted reaction after its gameplay reveal, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has had some rather divided opinions. Instead of following the footsteps of the Batman Arkham trilogy, this is a step into the looter shooter genre and live service tropes, which immediately went down like a lead bat-balloon. Is Suicide Squad as bad as many feared? Or can this plucky squad of underdog villains succeed with superheroes have failed?

Update 05/02 – This is now our final and scored review.

Suicide Squad begins by introducing the playable characters one at a time: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. These characters are probably the game’s strongest point, each of them being very well realised and, as you might expect from a bunch of villains, all a bit weird. Deadshot is likely the most normal of the bunch and he’s an international super-assassin, Harley, of course, is Harley, while Boomerang is a petty thief and wise-ass, and King Shark is a giant shark-man who, at least in this game, is deceptively smart.

The interplay between the characters in cutscenes is constantly fun to watch, whether it’s just witticisms, their physical reactions to what’s happening, or having no respect whatsoever for the classic superhero tropes – such as when they dramatically exit a room in a slow motion superhero walk only to realise they forgot something and have to awkwardly go back to get it. They’re always entertaining, at least in cutscenes. The same can also be said about Amanda Waller as well, played here spectacularly well by Debra Wilson, who you might know as Cere Junda from Fallen Order. Everyone here is good in their role, including returning characters like Penguin, but the main four and Waller are the real standouts.

Suicide Squad Task Foce X

They all look fantastic too, it’s an exceptionally good looking game that also runs at 60 frames to keep things all nice and smooth. I haven’t really noticed much stuttering on PS5 either, not even when everything gets even more hectic than usual. The city itself is surprisingly small for an open world game these days, with you hemmed into a relatively contained area with Brainiac’s alarmingly large skull ship ominously floating in the background, its massive laser tentacles encircling half the map. Metropolis itself isn’t in great condition, what with all the destruction from Brainiac converting 99% of the population into his followers. He even decided to take most of the Justice League as well so, if you hadn’t guessed from the title, you have to kill them. There’s a reason it’s called a suicide squad.

Thankfully they all bring their own style of ass-kickery with them, though in practice they handle very similarly, but for one very large difference. Looted from the Hall of Justice at pretty much the first opportunity, three of them have a gadget to help them traverse the world and the other one is a giant shark that doesn’t need one, so he just takes a hat instead. Harley grabs Batman’s grapnel guns and a drone to grapple onto, Boomerang snags a speedforce gauntlet that allows him to run super-fast to a thrown boomerang, Deadshot straps on a jetpack that not only lets him fly around in short bursts but also allows him to hover in midair whilst aiming, and King Shark simply jumps around Hulk-style – this one is easily the most fun.

The combat is quite sublime, outside of a few annoyances. It is incredibly fast and responsive on top of having plenty of depth and customisation through skills and gear, and you need to keep moving and bouncing around to avoid incoming attacks – truth be told, it’s their traversal abilities that make the most difference between characters. However, the game regularly undercuts that with enemies that are cloaked and don’t show counter prompts, are super fast and constantly evade you, or through missions that force you to deal specific damage types. It doesn’t help that enemy designs stay the same all the way through the game.

Even some of the bosses can be a bit underwhelming, often relying on the same kinds of behaviours as above and feeling more chaotic than enjoyable. The final boss fight before reaching the endgame is a reskinned and less enjoyable version of an already frustrating boss from earlier in the game.

Suicide Squad The Flash

This story is good, even if Brainiac’s mind control had the annoying effect of making Batman into a monologuing villain who’s also stupid enough to communicate through comms he knows the enemy can hear. It takes a few turns you might not expect and doesn’t just throw everything at you at the beginning, instead taking its time introducing the fallen Justice League one at a time. They’re genuinely threatening as well, especially Superman, which is no doubt helped by them amassing quite the bodycount.

It does feel like it was a little too easy to take them down once it’s all over though, as what would take quite a bit of time investigating and searching in the Arkham trilogy is instead found and created relatively quickly here – in total, I got around fourteen hours before hitting the endgame, at which point the ‘Kill the Justice League’ subtitle becomes pretty much irrelevant. Once they’re defeated, the overarching story slows to a crawl and you have to grind for each successive boss encounter beyond that.

Strangely, there are very few side missions through the initial story, other than support missions. These will upgrade a service at base, such as Penguin’s weapon crafting services. There are three types, each with simple objectives while being hounded by enemies that teleport in and trying to listen to the character you’re helping, but the limitations they often put on your combat style was annoying and sapped the underlying enjoyment.

The Riddler also returns to drop his… well you can’t really call them riddles, but they’re all over the map. Riddler’s motivations are paper thin at best and he seems out of place in this game, especially as the trophies, riddles and traversal challenges are a slog to get through. Nearby riddles can also trigger at the end of a cutscene, ruining those moments a little, and trophies are often a pain to get without Batman’s grapnel pull.

Once you drop into the endgame, a bunch more activities appear on the map, but they’re still just slight variations on the same themes, albeit with optional difficulty levels to help improve the loot rewards. It’s a testament to how enjoyable the core combat, characterisation and story were that I didn’t get bored of these much earlier.

Suicide Squad Metropolis

But boredom will eventually set in, and that’s because of the loot. It’s pretty poor overall, but with spots of brilliants. There are legendary items here with powerful effects that can change how you play your character significantly, but there’s only a small pool of them so your interest slowly wanes as you get more and more repeats. There are a few tiers of loot as you might expect, but Legendary and Infamy (basically item sets that provide a bonus) loot are the only ones that really matter due to being significantly more powerful and having additional affixes, so they always lasting long enough until you find another to replace it. Any activities that won’t improve on what you’ve already earned just end up feeling like a waste of time, getting the balance wrong for a looter shooter.

Summary
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a perfect example of how live services can sap all the energy out of a game experience. The story, the character and gameplay all range from good to fantastic, but the missions grow stale before too long, the loot system's few bright spots are tarnished by the chore of everything else you earn, and the story and characters all but evaporate once you reach the endgame.
Good
  • Really fun and fast core gameplay loop
  • Looks and runs great on console
  • An entertaining and fast-paced story, until...
Bad
  • The story grinds to a halt as you approach the endgame
  • Mission types are far too repetitive
  • Getting far too much meaningless loot
6