Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Review

Task Force Execute

By Paul Hunter

Rocksteady Studios redefined what makes a great superhero video game with their incredible Batman Arkham trilogy that pushed narrative and gameplay to new heights. Now the team is back with their first game in nearly nine years, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, a high-octane gunplay-focused action adventure with live services elements. Now that I've had a chance to play through the entire campaign and several hours of the endgame content does the game live up to Rocksteady's pedigree? Let's head on into Metropolis to find out, here are two things I liked about the game, one I'm mixed about and two things I didn't enjoy.

Liked: Funny and Entertaining Story

Suicide Squad's greatest strength is its nine-hour campaign featuring the hilarious and awkward foursome comprised of Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, King Shark and Deadshot. The game begins with Amanda Waller, director of the government agency A.R.G.U.S., busting the Suicide Squad members out of Arkham Asylum with the promise of freedom. After a funny tussle where the group winds up with bombs injected in their necks, they become pawns of Waller who threatens to detonate the devices if they don't follow her orders. She names the group Task Force X and naturally, their job is to kill the Justice League after Brainiac has mind-controlled them and makes them do his evil bidding.

Captain Boomerang is the standout character of the group with his hilarious Aussie slang and his rebellious attitude that constantly gets him and the team in trouble. Tara Strong once again reprises her role as Harley Quinn and nails her sassy talk and reckless one-liners. King Shark's presence isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned two, but he still has the spotlight from time to time with comedic effect, like his ridiculous shark grin that gets me laughing every time. While Deadshot's look and arsenal make him one of the coolest members of the Suicide Squad, it's surprising how muted his role is as he often fades into the background while Boomerang and Harley hog the cutscenes.

I thought overall that the story in Suicide Squad was well done, mainly because the team is constantly funny and the majority of the game doesn't take itself too seriously. Even the bad guys, which are technically the good guys, are often funny, particularly The Flash who nails some good jokes while Task Force X attempts to hunt him down. Lex Luther also becomes an unlikely aid to the team and he too can be quite witty at times and helps keep the story feeling light and playful.

By far the best part of the campaign is how incredibly lifelike the facial captures were for all members of the Squad and the main supporting characters. Every last detail is perfectly captured whether that's Harley's little side mouth smirk or Waller's furled eyebrow as she lambasts Task Force X's latest failure or act of betrayal. I would rank the motion capture in the game as at least on par if not superior to games like Death Stranding and God of War—the facial animations really are that great. This is the 'most' alive I've ever seen superheroes in a video game and a testament to the excellent work put in by Rocksteady's mocap team.

Liked: Superb Graphics and Performance

This generation we've become used to lowering expectations as we often have to sacrifice framerates down to 30 if we want resolutions approaching 4K. Not so with Suicide Squad, as the game has been optimized for 60 fps and even at that high framerate, it can hit as high as 1728p on Xbox Series X or 1440p on PS5. The city of Metropolis looks stunning and it's even more impressive when you consider that for the majority of the game you're flying around the city using fast traversal movement yet the visuals remain sharp and detailed.

The visual effects are also nicely done, whether that's the glowing purple auras of Brainiac's corrupted army or the flashy punch whenever your bullets nail the enemies. Playing on PS5 you also get the benefit of some great DualSense feature integrations, like how you can feel the weight of Deadshot's triggers or Boomerang's projectile boomerang throw. A lot of the traversal gameplay elements employ the DualSense's sophisticated rumble, such as feeling the vibration of Deadshot's thrusters or the spring force of Harley's grapple gun. From the great visuals to the catchy soundtrack to the immersive controller rumble effects, Suicide Squad really draws you into the experience.

Mixed: Gunplay and Traversal

Suicide Squad's combat is very different from the grounded and fluid battles seen in Batman Arkham games. Instead, it switches up the gameplay with a tight focus on gunplay and arcade-style flair similar to Xbox's Crackdown series. Every character can hold a primary and secondary gun, with some characters preferring certain types of weaponry like King Shark's penchant for large Gatling guns. You can also toss out bombs for high area of effect damage, or launch powerful counter-bullet strikes to weaken enemies and in some cases destroy their protective armour.

Each character has their own method of traversal as well, ranging from Deadshot's jetpack to Captain Boomerang's teleporting to King Shark using his enormous muscles to leap tall buildings. I personally found Deadshot's traversal to be my favourite so he was my main character over the campaign and into the endgame.

Overall, the combat has a fast and frenetic vibe to it which I enjoyed, but it's not without its problems. One aspect I didn't like is how by design the game encourages you to soar to building rooftops and shoot enemies from above, however, bizarrely to recharge your shields you need to shoot enemies in the leg. This forces you to drop down to their level and honestly takes away some of the fun of flying while blasting enemies.

I also found it annoying how so many enemies have protective armour and shooting them deals exactly zero damage. This forces you to wait until they're vulnerable for a counter shot that blows off their armour which just serves to slow down the gameplay. Instead of having a blast flying around and shooting enemies to your heart's content, having to shoot enemy legs for armour boosts and patiently wait to unleash counter armour shots reduces the gameplay excitement and makes me wonder why? Combat would be a lot more fun if these systems were less intrusive and more streamlined.

Didn't Like: Repetitive Missions and Enemies

While the story in Suicide Squad is great, between cutscenes you unfortunately have to run the hamster wheel of repetitive and uninspired mission types over and over again. Everything you'd expect from a live services game is present here: regular missions where your goal is to kill X number of generic enemies, defend a base for a few minutes scenarios, rescue the defenceless citizens, escort a vehicle to safety and blow up X number of incubators that regularly spawn enemies. Virtually no thought was given to presenting players with innovative and exciting missions like we've previously seen in the Batman Arkham or Spider-Man games.

The one exception is the boss fights against the Justice League, which introduces some newness into the experience like having to destroy Green Lantern's constructs to lower his defences for your attack or using a time-dimensional device to slow down The Flash for brief seconds, giving you the chance to strike back. As much as I enjoyed the boss fights, I have to say the pacing in this game is way off. I went hours without battling a single Justice League member and then suddenly capped The Flash and Green Lantern all within an hour, and then even worse the Batman and Superman battles are virtually back to back. It really felt like the game was rushed to a conclusion near the end considering how quickly the story threads wrapped up.

Didn't Like: The Live Service Elements

I'm all for live service games and currently having the time of my life playing Helldivers 2 while continuing to enjoy games like Fall Guys and Diablo IV. Unfortunately though, the live service elements in Suicide Squad can be quite intrusive and you get a strong sense that the entire campaign is there to hook into a grinding endgame. This is no more apparent by the sheer number of tutorials that introduce new currencies, new mission types, new combat levels and so on.

Suicide Squad wants to be a looter shooter but it appears that weapon rolls aren't scaled to your level and are completely at random. For me, this meant that I pulled two powerful legendary guns within the first few hours and had no reason to change my loadout for the rest of the game. Annoyingly, after every mission you get a loot drop, which not only means a minute or two of menus after every five-minute mission, but all the guns were worse than my current loadout. I ended the game with 40+ guns that were all lower quality and lower DPS than my loadout, meaning I had a whole lot of nothing glut just taking up inventory.

I also unfortunately do not think Rocksteady has a good grasp on how to properly plan out endgame content, which makes sense given this is their first crack at it. For instance, the game has a ridiculous amount of currencies, seven in total and eight if you include the paid premium currency. The currencies are used to craft weapons from Penguin back at your home base, but after crafting several weapons that were less powerful than my current loadout I thought what's the point? I also thought the skill tree unlocks were underwhelming, mostly they give you small perks if you can achieve high combos of 20 or more, so even grinding levels was not a thrilling proposition.

Thankfully, the studio has a roadmap of content to come, including the introduction of The Joker as a playable character which will certainly entice me to revisit the game. More new playable characters will be coming in subsequent seasons, along with new environments, weapons and boss fights. As it currently stands the endgame hasn't hooked me, but the upcoming content drops offer a nice hint of what's to come.

The Verdict

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a game about conflict but the game itself seems conflicted about what it wants to be. There's an excellent story to be had with the motion capture and voice acting among the strongest I've ever seen. Gameplay, while thrilling in some aspects has a few wrinkles that dampen the experience. Overall, I had a good amount of fun playing the campaign, but so far the live services component lacks in several key ways. There's still time to course correct with future seasonal drops, so let's hope Rocksteady gives us reasons to continue squading up.

Final Score: 7/10 - Good

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League details

Platform: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Genre: Third-person Shooter, Action Adventure
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

A key was provided by the publisher.