Where are the Suicide Squad: Kill Justice League reviews?
- Written by Peter Gillibrand
- BBC Newsbeat
After years of development, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is finally out – but where are the reviews?
The latest game from developer Rocksteady, creators of the acclaimed Batman: Arkham series, has had a rocky start.
Players take on the role of the Suicide Squad – Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark and Captain Boomerang – four dangerous villains in the DC Comics universe.
Their targets are the Justice League’s superheroes including Superman, the Flash, and Batman himself.
After early previews of the game were less than positive, major gaming website IGN, which published one, said the review copy had been rejected.
And he was not alone, as most journalists did not receive the codes until Tuesday, when the game servers went online.
Websites and streamers usually receive advance copies well in advance to give them enough time to write a comprehensive review.
This doesn’t always happen, and IGN itself has pointed out that publisher Warner Bros Games is under no obligation to send out a free copy.
But Victoria Phillips-Kennedy, who works at UK-based gaming website Eurogamer, says: “I feel like it’s a bit of an unusual response.”
She told BBC Newsbeat that she believed the “tepid” previews “may have influenced their decision to postpone the code review”.
“There were a lot of people saying there’s a good game out there, but it’s not going to shake up the industry,” she says.
“This is not the reaction Rocksteady wanted.”
BBC Newsbeat has asked WB Games to comment on allegations that it withheld review codes in response to negative previews.
Kill the Justice League is a tough follow-up for the UK-based studio – whose Arkham trilogy of Batman games were innovative, influential and considered by some to be the greatest superhero titles of all time.
Fans of single-player adventures weren’t too impressed when Kill the Justice League – a multiplayer-focused team shooter – was first revealed in 2020.
The biggest concern for many has been the studio’s shift from single-player games to a “live service” multiplayer model where a stream of new content – usually for an additional fee – is added to the game regularly.
This should make it feel fresh and keep people playing for as long as possible. But this type of film has fallen out of favor recently, and is often criticized as a money maker for companies.
That didn’t stop everyone from killing the Justice League and many people paying £100 – £40 above the suggested retail price – for early access to the game when its servers went online at midnight on Tuesday.
At least, that was the plan.
Victoria says players in New Zealand and Australia logged in first and experienced a glitch that caused them to complete the game immediately.
Shortly after, spoilers surfaced online and Rocksteady was forced to temporarily shut down the game to fix the issue, giving affected players an in-game credit of $20 (£16).
This led to increased online backlash and bad press, with critics calling the game a failure before it was even finished. But there are plenty of Rocksteady fans defending the game, especially on the game’s official Reddit page and Discord channel.
Tom, from South Yorkshire, tells Newsbeat he’s “never cared what the internet says”.
“Some of those Batman games were some of my favorite games I’ve ever played,” he says.
“I’ve been looking forward to a new Rocksteady release since Arkham Knight.”
Tom bought the early access version of the game and says he hasn’t had any issues with the servers and has been having a good time so far.
So are reviews even important?
One person who thinks they do is Milo, known as MrROFLWaffles on YouTube.
He regularly streams gaming content to nearly two million subscribers and has done paid work for publisher Warner Bros Games – including Suicide Squad.
But he told Newsbeat that if it’s true that review codes were held back due to negative previews, it’s a “harmful approach.”
“It creates this narrative among fans who say, ‘Oh, this port doesn’t get a code because they talked about a bad game,’” he says.
“But it’s a twisted explanation of what’s going on.”
“The consumer loses when the press is out of the room,” he says.
“You need these people to critique as part of the conversation to create a better environment for consumers,” he says.
In Milo’s view, when reviews come out late “fans are left wondering if the game was worth buying at launch.”
“I think that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to make an informed decision about a fairly expensive video game.”
As for Suicide Squad, Milo says he bought a copy for himself and found it to be a “mixed bag.”
“There are some elements that I really enjoy,” he says.
“I would also say there are some bits that are kind of wobbly. But overall I’m having a good time with it.”
Listen to Newsbeat He lives At 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen again here.