Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Preview – We Played it and Didn’t Like it
10 mins read

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Preview – We Played it and Didn’t Like it


The best part of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League after playing it for a few hours is the story, and yes, it certainly seems like you will be killing characters you know and love. Lots of death happening. That’s also a big part of the problem I have with the entire premise. I can’t help but shake that there’s no way Rocksteady is going to let this stick. Our heroes have done terrible things. There will be a time reversal mechanic, or some alternate earth timeline that comes along and washes away all of the terrible awfulness that happened during the story. From enslaving a child form of Poison Ivy, to straight up watching your heroes murder people, there’s a lot here to make you feel a bit uncomfortable about the journey you’re being taken on. And when you pair this disconnect with game mechanics straight out of the likes of Destiny, Anthem, or Marvel’s Avengers, I’m left worried about the final product coming together in a way that works. The fun just wasn’t there for me. At least not yet.

Let me explain in more detail. The story has its fun moments, yes, and the team banter – at least during cutscenes – is when Kill the Justice League is at its best. The cutscenes have clearly been given a lot of love. Meanwhile, the character models look great, the voice acting is on point, and there are a lot of moments where I genuinely laughed thinking that this could be enough to carry me through the messy and tired open-world missions. While they could reverse time to fix the morality issues at play, chances are that will be difficult given the planned expansions, story additions, and gear chases coming later on in the form of free updates. That means we’ll be stuck with the terrible things that transpire and if the name sticks, stuck with a dead Justice League. But hey, they punch Boomerang for putting a bomb in her head so let’s move on from that whole, enslaving a child thing. I know it’s Poison Ivy, and this is kind of Waller’s thing, but I’m using it to illustrate a point. All of these things in one package feels like an odd mix. Rocksteady had a winning formula with the Batman games and is trying to write a completely new book. But so far, lightning is not in this bottle.

A live-service game from Rocksteady is not what I had on my Christmas list this year. This team is single-handedly responsible for making some of the best combat I have ever experienced. The combat arenas in the Arkham series also allowed you to tackle them with stealth or brute force, adding further flavor and variety to Bruce Wayne’s vigilantism. To this day, in fact, you can find ridiculous takedown montages on YouTube and TikTok for Batman: Arkham Knight. Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, once the fun story bits end, you’re left with a much less inspired combat system, and an open world that’s filled with tedious tasks that are more about grinding through traditional tropes like point defense or collect the material and turn it in. There are shining moments with the combat, such as the powerful feeling of takedowns, and there does seem to be some depth to the build variety, but you’ll do it surrounded by teammates who won’t shut up with their quips… which quickly becomes annoying. And when the combat does start, it has its fun moments, but it also has weird issues like long animations to regen your shield, or you’ll get knocked out of an animation for… unclear reasons. I thought it was just me, but it also happens in this provided footage straight from WB.

Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, once the fun story bits end, you’re left with a much less inspired combat system, and an open world that’s filled with tedious tasks.

While we have this provided boss fight footage against the Flash footage to reference, I just want to mention that I found this fight incredibly annoying. There’s no indication where the Flash is most times, and he’s the scarlet speedster so he’s just constantly zipping around the map. That didn’t make the fight hard, it just made it frustrating. You get a handful of shots on him before he teleports to the next location. So you’re just trying to chase him down or catch him standing in one spot long enough to get hits in before he does it all again. I do wish there was a bit of a “he’s down, get him” moment, but unfortunately it seems like that trope wasn’t used here. WB also sent over some footage of an experienced Shark player wrecking shop, so I’ll include a montage of their gameplay in my video preview above to show what it looks like when someone has played for hundreds of hours versus a couple hours at a preview event.

In the open world, however, missions tend to favor many of the tried and true types, which makes them feel a bit like uninspired filler. Like… stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You defend a point from waves of enemies that spawn. Sound familiar? Now imagine that every time you defeat a handful of these enemies you just stand around waiting with nothing to do. This was exactly what happened during one of the core story missions, and the padding feels completely unnecessary. When the next quest started I stood there while Amanda Waller called my character on comms and bantered with Poison Ivy before sending me back to the other end of the map to save civilians in a flying bus looking like it’s straight out of Fortnite. At least the Riddler puzzles are making a return from the Arkham games, bringing at least one familiar fun activity to Suicide Squad’s Metropolis.

The potential saving grace for all my gripes could be that the whole combat system comes together a lot better when you get to sit down and actually make a build, which we didn’t have a chance to do right away at the preview event. For some context, we started out playing through the same tutorial from the beta and picking a character (Deadshot in my case).

After that, we jumped into Chapter 3, where I tried out Shark. What I didn’t realize was that Chapter 3 gives you complete build control, and having played on a different class it took me a bit of our session to get warmed up to the new movement mechanics Shark has compared to Deadshot. If we look back at that provided Flash gameplay, it looks like the player has a good grasp at movement, but it all comes back to similar core mechanics. Aim gun. Shoot gun. And those core mechanics in a game like Destiny really save it. Here it just felt samey across the board, even with each character’s abilities sprinkled in. I didn’t even really get time to look at my gear stats and throw something together to try out. I did try a build recommendation from Jack Hackett, Production Manager at Rocksteady, but I didn’t really have enough time to get used to how it flowed. However his excitement about the build possibilities does continue to give me a glimmer of hope.

I left the preview event less optimistic than when I came in.

To give you a taste of just what you’ll be looking at, there are Weapon Afflictions that attach an elemental effect to weapons like Deep Freeze that does cold damage for a period of time. Penguin will let you craft new weapons, shield mods, traversal mods, or grenades. And there are some interesting guns here, like Bugs-A-Poppin that will not do damage to a Terminaut, but will slow down every enemy within 10 meters. Each character also has a skill tree they can upgrade. And all of that is on top of weapons and mods that work together to give you passive buffs when you pair, say, two Gizmo gear pieces together to do more burning damage, but with the trade-off that grenades do 50% less damage, but have a 100% chance to burn all enemies hit.

I know I’ve been really hard on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and believe me, I really want to be wrong about it. Not only is Rocksteady one of my favorite developers, but this genre is one I’ve spent far too much time in across Destiny, Anthem, and yes… even Marvel’s Avengers. But while there is a story here that makes me wonder where the heck all this is going, I left the preview event less optimistic than when I came in. Here’s hoping Suicide Squad wins me back when it releases on February 2nd.



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