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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a bland game that doesn't respect your time

suicide squad kill the justice league, harley quinn
Suicide Squad game doesn't respect your timeWarner Bros. Games / Rocksteady

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a title that you’ll no doubt have read a lot about by now, with conflicting opinions all across the map.

After spending extensive hours in Rocksteady’s Metropolis, we found the DC Comics-based game to be a disappointment despite some brighter moments.

While there’s some distinct passion and flair you’d expect from the team behind the Arkham games — great characterisation, a fun story and a pretty world to explore — there’s seemingly some evident interference that has resulted in an extremely average experience that, in all honesty, just doesn’t respect your time or money in any way shape or form, leaving us with a game that ultimately might as well be any other looter shooter at its core.

suicide squad kill the justice league
Warner Bros. Games / Rocksteady

The story covers Task Force X being recruited to stop some kind of world-ending catastrophe. There’s a lot of hand-holding at first as the game — starting at the end of the story — gives you a run-through of the game's traversal system and combat.

Each Suicide Squad character has a unique-ish means to travel across the map, which boils down to gliding/jumping/swinging a certain distance, then adding a few extra flourishes to make longer gaps. Reminiscent of something like Sunset Overdrive, keeping moving and bouncing around the air are key to getting into the flow of combat and travelling from A to B.

We then flash back to the original breakout/recruitment, and it’s here that you can feel Rocksteady's great writing on display. Task Force X bounce off of each other with some great charm and wit, echoing similar fun to Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy. This thread continues through the journey, giving us a chance to eventually grow to like the team and enjoy their bonding over time.

Sadly, the tutorialisation of everything pretty much carries on for the length of the game. You’re constantly being told over and over what side missions are available and reminded of actions you can do — the screen is forever be flooded with prompts such as ‘Slide 3 times in a row after flight’ or ‘Do 3 counter shots in a row’.

While there are story missions that need tackling, you’ll actually spend most of your time increasing your characters' level, abilities and weaponry by rinse-and-repeating a selection of side tasks which, despite having their own quest giver and style, all boil down to ‘protect X from hordes of enemies’, ‘capture civilians and put them on a bus’ or simply ‘kill everything in waves’.

The lack of creativity here is astoundingly low and feels like it could have been ripped straight from any looter shooter we’ve seen in the past few years.

suicide squad kill the justice league
Warner Bros. Games / Rocksteady

Now don’t get us wrong, if you’re a fan of that style of gaming, great — please go and enjoy them to your heart's content. But the question here is, for a triple-A game retailing from £70 up to £100, shouldn't we be asking for more?

The world, while quite pretty, is empty and as hollow as the gameplay it’s propping up. Enemies are just faceless blobs of alien matter that occasionally offer some kind of variation, be it hardened skin or The Flash-like speed force which can be tackled with a different kind of bullet, and the sky is littered with helicopters to drones to shoot.

The combat itself is fine. The guns feel fairly crunchy and tight, but once again, don’t expect much diversity in what’s available to equip as Suicide Squad feels more interested in making you crunch numbers than enemies' skulls. You’ll constantly unlock new guns that pretty much look exactly the same, despite a paint job and some flavour text, with some stats increased, some lowered and a few buffs along the lines of '30% chance to get a 50% increase in X'.

Back at the home base in the Hall of Justice, you’ll find a host of frenemies like the Penguin and Toyman ready to offer you some upgrades to your weapons or craft new ones. However, everything you craft will be a dice roll of stats, which you can pay to re-roll the stats on, and that’s sort of it. Damage is usually stuck in a small band, with only the additional numbers up for debate or change.

Again, it just feels like shoehorned-in number crunching to pad out what you can collect, in the hopes players will get that dopamine hit of a new exclusive weapon.

But when games like Destiny and Remnant 2 have really nailed down the balance of weapon-collecting and made it something you can engage with or ignore to equal success, what's in Suicide Squad feels glaringly bad by comparison.

suicide squad kill the justice league, king shark
Warner Bros. Games / Rocksteady

With the game demanding you move around the map while fighting, there are some moments where everything clicks and you get into a flow, but with so much shoehorned in, it falls apart almost as soon as you get a grasp on it.

Too many mechanics collide into each other. You’ll need to hit some enemies to get them into a ‘shield harvest state’ should you want to stay alive, but some will need special counter shots to break their shield or stop their speed force powers, while dodging sniper shots with the same button you slide with and chasing Terminauts to power up for another specific type of enemy.

It’s a lot, and it’s not so much a fun challenge as it is a taxing to-do list so you’ll stay in the game longer.

Despite which character you play as, you’re all using guns, which in a DC world feels like a huge miss. You’ve got a hulking great shark that talks on your team, and the best we could get from that is a minigun?

As XP and levelling only applies to the character you’re playing at that time, you’ll need to keep mixing it up in order to balance everyone out, should you be aiming to max everyone out. The game is keenly aware of this, so every mission you accept will have a particular teammate ‘psyched up’ to lead it, giving you a huge bonus in XP for them should you choose to play with them for that task.

It’s not a bad idea, but is more a product of necessity because in a game that has you grinding a lot for anything and they need a means to keep you switching it up and slow down to experience more of the side content.

suicide squad kill the justice league, harley quinn
Warner Bros. Games / Rocksteady

As you work your way through the Justice League, you’ll need to find a means to tackle their particular strengths, a concept which on paper sounds interesting and a great opportunity for some creative boss fights.

However, in reality, every boss encounter is little more than ‘hit them with counter attacks until their shield/willpower is down and you can shoot them with bullets’. Even Superman, literally the Man of Steel himself, is no more than someone you keep away from and fire various bullets at.

Batman is the only exception to this rule, as you have to fight through a fear toxin-infused nightmare to incapacitate him, which coincidently is the most enjoyable encounter the game has to offer.

The cutscenes and story as you make your way through the game are its shining achievement, with the interactions between Task Force X and some of DC's greatest heroes fun, imaginative and full of flair.

There’s even some moments of brilliance, like when you go up against Batman the first time and are picked off one by one, almost experiencing Arkham Asylum from the other side — which just makes the actual encounters themselves even more of a missed opportunity.

suicide squad kill the justice league
Warner Bros.

And if it wasn't already clear how little this game respects your time, the endgame is underwhelming to say the least. Thanks to multiversal hijinks in the story, you'll need to build yourself up by, how else, doing even more side missions to open a portal and fight Braniac — not once, not twice, but 13 times.

The bottom line feels as disappointing as the game itself. Rocksteady has a game on their hands that’s 20% filled with flair, flourish and joyous moments, but is bogged down by the other 80%, with braindead live-service stuff that no one really asked for and that might have been influenced by the publisher.

With the current state of the industry, hopefully Rocksteady can come back with their next title and deliver the quality sort of game that they're more than capable of making when they're left to their own devices.

2 stars
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Platform reviewed on: Xbox Series X

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is out now on Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.

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