Nine years after Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady’s jumping back into the DC universe with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The same universe, but totally different gameplay; Suicide Squad is an open-world co-op looter-shooter. For those on the fence about Rocksteady’s latest, or for those who want to absorb every bit of information about the world, characters, and how it all works, here’s everything we know about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – January 2024 Screenshots
What’s the Story?
Set five years after the events of Arkham Knight, Kill the Justice League has us leave Gotham City for the first time,instead taking us to Superman’s stomping ground of Metropolis. If you’re remotely familiar with the Suicide Squad concept, you know the basic drill: shadowy government agent Amanda Waller has tasked a handful of DC villains to save the world in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. Any squad member who dares step out of line will promptly be fined one head for their disobedience, courtesy of a bomb planted in their necks.
And the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher this time around; after being deployed into Metropolis (which developers say is twice the size of Arkham Knight’s Gotham), our ragtag group of mercenaries finds that the city is under siege from a mighty intergalactic force in the form of Brainiac and his endless purple armies. Even worse, he’s brainwashed the Justice League, including Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and even Superman. The only way to stop Brainiac? You’ll never believe this, but… somehow, some way, you have to kill the Justice League.
Which Characters are Playable?
Suicide Squad releases with four characters that, in single-player mode, you can freely swap between. Or, if you know only one of them appeals to you, Rocksteady says you can play the full game as just that one character. Player expression is a core tenet of Suicide Squad, so while each character has certain baseline abilities and all wield guns, you’ll have plenty of room to shape and mold them to your preferred playstyle.
The most recognizable face is undoubtedly Harley Quinn, the psychologist-turned-psychotic jester acrobat with a thing for explosions. She packs her signature baseball bat, but manages to nab two of Batman’s gadgets as well – the bat drone and grapnel gun. With these she can swing like Spider-Man from pretty much anywhere and even rain down bullets while suspended in the air. Given her particular affinity for explosives, we can expect her talent tree to give plenty of buffs to her grenades.
Next up is Deadshot, the gunman who never misses, making his Arkhamverse debut, well kinda. The expert marksman named Deadshot that you saw multiple times in past Arkham games is totally unrelated from the expert marksman named Deadshot that you’ll be taking control of in Kill the Justice League. Rocksteady has seemingly implied that the sniper assassin from past games was an impostor all along. In any case, Deadshot is built around precision, with the best long-range game of any launch character. His jetpack gets him a vantage point from virtually anywhere and you’ll find lots of critical hit and counter talents in his talent tree.
Then, we have King Shark, the quintessential tank you’ve got to have in any group. He’s the best at absorbing damage on the starting roster and specializes in dishing it out even more. Shark is highly reminiscent of Hulk from that Ultimate Destruction game you loved renting in 2005, complete with incredibly high jumps, multiple air dashes, and earth-shattering ground slams. If you can look past his enormous strength and taste for blood, he’s also naive and relatively good-natured compared to those he rolls with. In other words, he’s a lot like Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. King Shark’s talent tree will generally boost his melee attacks, such as causing enemies to bleed for an additional 50% damage or sacrificing damage for extended close-quarters range.
Finishing off the launch roster is Captain Boomerang, who Rocksteady has described as the most well-rounded of the group. With the Speed Force gauntlet he yoinked from the Hall of Justice he can throw a boomerang to effectively create a point in space for him to teleport to, allowing him to excel at dashing in for close-range hits and zipping back out for ranged shots. Combined with double jumps, he can spend a good amount of time in the air, but seems best suited to keeping most of his combat grounded to get the most out of his speed.
Post-launch, Rocksteady will be expanding the Squad with DLC characters as well. First up is confirmed to be the Joker. You might be thinking that he died in 2011’s Arkham City, and you’d be right. There is a lore reason for that, but we’ll get to it later. You’ll float through the air and skim across skyscrapers using his rocket-powered umbrella, deliver punchlines with his grappling hook crowbar, and even get to peel back the emotional and psychological layers of this clown prince of crime.
Rumors also point to Mr. Freeze, Deathstroke, Killer Croc, and Katana potentially showing up as well, but as always with rumors, please hype responsibly. And if we can get speculative for a second here, corporate synergy might nudge the roster to include even more characters from the DC movies and TV shows, like Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher, or Bloodsport.
Whether you like it or not, Kill the Justice League is a live service game, so the idea is to get you to want to play for as long as possible. While characters can level up infinitely, once one of them hits level 30, you unlock Squad Talents. In essence, these are upgrades for the team, not just for individuals, and you get more of them as you pile on the character levels. Once again, you’re free to pick a main character to play as while ignoring the others, but spreading out your playtime will get you more squad talents more quickly.
It bears repeating that much of the spirit of Kill the Justice League is found in creating unique character builds. You can rebuild your talent trees at almost any time you want and can save eight loadout slots, so experimentation is very much encouraged. The Social Squad feature even lets you import character builds made by other players, like friends or even streamers. If someone else uses your hero, you’ll earn a slice of the loot they earned in that other player’s session.
Will There Be Loot?
Speaking of loot, the weapons you earn from completing missions will play a major role in how you make your character your own. After a year-long effort by Rocksteady, the controversial gear score system has been removed, so rest assured that neat weapon you found early on won’t become totally obsolete deeper into the game.
Early on, you’ll forcibly recruit none other than the Penguin to be your resident arms dealer. Through him, you’ll purchase new assault rifles, pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, SMGs, and heavy weapons, with each squad member being proficienct in three of those gun types. These guns are built by different in-universe manufacturers like STAR Labs, AMERTEK, LexCorp, and the Gotham City Police Department with each coming with unique aesthetics and “feels” to their weaponry, once you unlock them.
Gear scores may be gone, but gear tiers are still in the game with rarity classes being ranked common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, notorious, and infamous. According to a Discord Q&A with Rocksteady, “common through epic increase in power in the number of possible augments available, but Legendary, Notorious, and Infamous is when we really turn up the heat.” Legendary weapons come with unique augments that set them apart from the lower tiers in a meaningful way. For example, The Cooler is a sniper that freezes enemies on crits, Combo Meal guns let you use your combo-locked talents as soon as you land a crit, and BAAANNNG trades all your grenades for a single one that basically functions as a mini nuke in terms of damage and blast radius.
Notorious and Infamy weapons are themed after DC villains, not just in the way they look, but through gameplay as well. For example, this gun themed after Bane spawns powerups on critical hits that give your other weapons with Bane’s Rage. These will refocus the way you play and if you want to maximize their capabilities, you’ll probably want to consider making them the focal point of your character build. Again, you’re free to mix up your talents without any kind of risk, so don’t be afraid to swap out your skill sets to really get the most out of that cool gun you just found.
Guns are one thing, but you’ll of course be able to give Brainiac’s minions a smack all up close and personal-like. What Penguin does for guns, Toyman will do for melee weapons. And Ivy, when you unlock her as a support character, will imbue those weapons with up to two simultaneous Afflictions. Afflictions seem to be your standard elemental effects, like fire, ice, electricity, and poison, but named after different DC characters to keep them more on-theme . For example, Diablo Blaze ignites enemies for continuous damage, Deep Freeze will turn them into solid ice for extra bullet damage, Livewire Bolt looks like it temporarily stuns them with electricity, and so on and so forth.
Just because you can zip around the city on foot with respectable agility doesn’t mean that vehicles won’t have their place, though. Gizmo will be your go-to for anything from a toy car that grows into a full-sized one (probably using tech borrowed from The Atom) to a flying gunship complete with rockets and turrets that makes wiping out interdimensional threats that much easier.
How About the Endgame?
I do say “interdimensional” pretty intentionally here because Kill the Justice League’s endgame will revolve heavily around it. With “Elseworlds,” you’ll jump to different alternate universes which have all been torn asunder in their own ways. Briefly shown are versions of Metropolis ravaged by tornadoes, ice, and even the Joker. Yes, the playable Joker mentioned earlier actually comes from an alternate universe, allowing the Arkhamverse lore to remain intact while letting Warner Bros. cash in on any character they want anyway.
The Joker represents the model Rocksteady wants to follow for their DLC in the future: each season of content will be heavily themed after a DC villain and will consist of two story “episodes.” For those of you tired of the FOMO aspect of live service games, fear not; episodes are not time-limited events, but rather permanent additions to the game that you can go back and replay any time you want.
When you’re not jumping through the multiverse, you can take on new mission types. In Incursion, your squad is brought to Brainiac’s turf to fight through his armies and his ship’s tentacles. These are designed for relatively quick play sessions in comparison to the other mission type, Killing Time. These will be a lot like the classic horde modes you’ve seen in other games. As you clear out bad guys, they’ll become increasingly frantic as Brainiac’s ship continuously beats down the shield protecting you. As you kill enemies, the shield replenishes, promoting an “attack in the best form of defense” mindset.
But what would character customization be without some cosmetics thrown in for good measure? Some costumes will be exclusive to the in-game store, but rest assured that the only additional paid content currently planned starts and ends with cosmetic features with all future characters and missions coming completely free of charge.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – Suicide Squad Insider 01 – Screenshots
So, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is aiming for a different audience than the game series it repeatedly reminds us it shares a connection with. But with so much detail poured into the world, characters, story, and player expression, maybe those willing to keep an open mind will find this a worthy return to the Arkhamverse. Or, looter shooter fans might fall in love with Suicide Squad immediately without concern for Rocksteady’s past games. A multiverse of possibilities lies in store when Kill the Justice League launches on February 2nd (or January 30th if you’re paying for early access), so let us know in the comments where your hype level currently lies.