Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League review: A generic shooter

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League review: A generic shooter

A chaotic slurry of information covers the screen, exploding colours, words and numbers flying everywhere – buttons pressing on the sides, explosions drowning out the voices of team members and task givers. This was my problematic gaming experience Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice Leaguethe latest game from the amazing Rocksteady Studios, creators of intricate design Batman: Arkham games.

As a follow-up in the same universe, Suicide squad It sees you taking control of the titular band made up of a misfit, a mercenary, a brute, and the Man from Oz. The main goal is made clear in the subtitle: This band of lovable goons must somehow kill the most powerful superheroes on Earth, including Batman (voiced for the last time in a game by the late, great Kevin Conroy), Superman, and Green Lantern. . (Flash is there too, but who cares?)

Kill the Justice League It is an open-world looter shooter with live service elements. This revelation was immediately disturbing to me when I first heard it, given the frequently predatory and boring design choices in such games and the terrible end result of such a pivot for studios specializing in single-player experiences. We’ve seen this before with other great single-player studios, like Bioware and Crystal Dynamics: hollowing out a potentially rich story, resulting in a lackluster final product that’s quickly abandoned. Go see corpses National anthem And Avengers.

But who cares about modern history?

Image: Warner Bros. Games

Its events take place in Metropolis, Suicide a teamThe four criminals – Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and King Shark – are released from Arkham Asylum under the watchful eye of DC’s greatest character, Amanda Waller (perfectly played by Debra Wilson). Without introduction or fanfare, there is a powerful villain named Brainiac (played by… Baldur’s Gate 3Jason Isaacs has invaded Earth starting with Metropolis, warping the minds of its greatest heroes into being his followers.

When the heroes are away, it’s the villains who do the slaughter, it seems.

To the writers’ credit, they waste no time on plot tricks to explain the absence of all 3,000 powerful DC heroes and why these self-aware villains should be the ones to save the world and fight the Justice League. I certainly didn’t care. The four were dropped into Metropolis and told to eliminate the heroes before eliminating Brainiac.

Moment-to-moment gameplay is similar to other third-person shooters with traversal mechanics, e.g Sunset Overdrive. It’s fast and bouncy, as you’ll be flying over rooftops and shooting mid-air, trying to get combos and boosts from melee attacks and gliding maneuvers.

This flattens what prides itself on being bold, explosive and colourful. The four heroic heroes are established as loud and boisterous with egos the size of planets. But none of this is apparent as you play, as all of these larger characters become little more than every gun-toting soldier you’ve played a thousand times.

When interaction with the world is primarily through combat, a character’s personality must translate into their means of destruction. But here, every character can use almost every weapon, and for 99 percent of the game, shooting is all you do, and thus the only way to interact with the world. While the band comes alive during the cutscenes – with some great graphics, animation, writing and voice work – they all fade away into nameless, pea-shooter-toting sludge during actual gameplay.

In rocksteady Arkham In the games, for example, every gadget Batman used in the world was so special to him that even his younger henchmen could recognize his presence when he used it. Here, Harley can use the gun just as Deadshot can, erasing her presence from the world except for her pranks. The only meta mechanics associated with characters are traversal and melee attacks. For example, King Shark jumps and lands great distances like fellow Marvel Hulk. Harley uses a repurposed Bat-Glider to swing from it and a Bat-grappling hook stolen from Batman.

Aside from reducing combat to meaningless shooting, What Shooting will make you roll your eyes and close your eyes: turn it on because of the uniformity and repetitive mission designs, and turn it off because of the deluge of numbers, colors, counters, etc., filling the screen, resulting in a headache.

Almost the entire game takes place outdoors, reducing Metropolis to little more than a set piece. There’s nothing special about it as a space, except for some giant statues of the heroes you’re targeting. This is because the mission structures are limited and involve the same mechanics, which affects how space is created. Missions consist of either shooting enemies on rooftops to make room for plants or massive data centers, protecting a slowly moving vehicle heading to a destination, or freeing people and bringing them onto a magic bus. That’s it.

There are no clever hidden mechanisms that force you to engage with the space itself and there are hardly any internal connections. The two times Rocksteady puts the four weirdos in a tight space is by having them confront Batman, putting them in the shoes of his enemies in… Arkham games. This was really genius and the best part of the game: you really understand why Batman’s minions are so terrifying, and how he creates an environment of fear that sometimes makes them shoot wildly in the dark. Added to this is perhaps Kevin Conroy’s most amazing turn as Batman.

After three decades as the voice of the Dark Knight, Conroy is here channeled into turning him into a truly evil — and truly terrifying. I’ve never heard Conroy deliver Batman’s lines like that, with a harshness that only comes out when he’s angry at the mistakes villains make. This is an incredible send-off to one of the greatest voice actors of all time. Conroy sadly passed away in November 2022. As someone who watched the entire movie Batman: The Animated Series Three times, his being here for the second time made sense. (His last role as Batman will be in the animated film, Crisis on Infinite Earths Part III.)

But this amazing encounter only lasts a few minutes. The rest of the nine to ten hours of the main campaign is boring shooting and looting gameplay that left me yawning and frustrated. With the chaos on screen, it was very difficult to find and kill specific or particular types of enemies, since identifying individuals was difficult amid the deluge of information.

Furthermore, the main quests and side quests have exactly the same design settings. Aside from the Batman missions I mentioned, there are almost no other missions that offer unique mechanics, spaces, or mission types. They echo the side quests and require the same tools and gameplay you would be playing anyway.

However, the side quests are probably the worst part because they apply restrictions on killing enemies. For example, enemies can be immune to all damage except critical hits, and you can only get critical hits if you kill specific octopus-type creatures running around the battlefield. Good luck discovering them! Other times, enemies will be immune unless you perform an action that allows you to harvest Shield Coin from them. You have to remember which moves do what, and in the midst of a chaotic battle, this is sometimes useless. I hated these tasks and had to skip them.

Worse still, there wasn’t much incentive to participate in side missions. After each mission, including the main missions, the game gives you an unskippable reward screen, where “loot” is dropped. These may be rifles, armor, or melee weapons that may or may not be better than what you currently have. I couldn’t tell you what almost any of the stats meant, nor could I tell you what the character’s skill tree did. Nothing felt different, there was no “build” to speak of, and I ended up sticking with Captain Boomerang with the same powerful rifle I got as a result of the Deluxe Edition DLC.

I don’t mind loot drops – I like, for example, Diablo 4 And recently I entered Border areas 3. But to make it all stop when a bad gun is delivered, I won’t use the awful and very straightforward “live service.”

Image: Warner Bros. Games

In fact, because it’s steeped in terrible game-as-a-service mechanics, the heart of Rocksteady’s genius often struggles under the sludge of corporate idiocy. The game has been monetized to Hell and Back, focusing on the endless endgame and future seasons – thus preventing the writers from being able to deliver a satisfying ending to the main campaign’s story, as you don’t actually get to interact with Brainiac in any way. In a meaningful way

But to be fair, the game does pretty poorly in boss fights overall. While it’s clear that the Justice League are bosses, ultimately the fights are all pretty similar: you “counter” the hero at certain points (essentially waiting for an opening to fire) or reduce the equivalent of their armor, and then just… shoot Fire on them. Earth’s great heroes have been shot dead. It’s informal, monotonous and a huge disappointment.

But so is the game itself.

There were some aspects I liked, such as the Batman encounters; The writing, dynamics, and performances in the scenes between the four main characters; Great graphics. And sometimes pass Boomerang. This game also includes my favorite depiction of Wonder Woman in any medium, with Zehra Fazal giving an amazing performance as the Justice League’s only uncorrupted heroine, who must face the reality that she may have to kill her friends. (Oh, what I would give a single player from Rocksteady for this Wonder Woman! Good luck to Monolith in her current Wonder Woman game.)

But the noise of momentary combat, the tedious and repetitive mission designs, the uninspiring weapons, and the erasure of squad characters make me glad not to do that again. At least I’ll have less headaches from all that screen noise.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Available now on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series

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