Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Review
Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a third-person shooter starring supervillains of the DC universe being forced to do the bidding of a shadowy governmental agency. I’ve been a fan of superheroes for decades, read DC comics for almost 20 years, and am quite familiar with the characters involved; Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang. Especially as it was being developed by Rocksteady Studios as their follow-up to the three Batman games they made! The title of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League just created even more questions.
There have been two movies in the past decade about this “team” of supervillains forced to do government work under threat of having their heads turned into fine, pink mist, as well as a regular comic book since 1986. So, if you’re reading this and had no idea of what the basics were, then welcome back from your coma or time spent lost at sea. Put simply: brought out of prison by the United States government, four former-inmates have bombs implanted into their heads, and promised that they will have their sentences commuted after doing what they are told. Spoiler for the title of this game, but they are told to kill the Justice League!
Of course, being a bit more superhero-comic-booky than Rocksteady’s previous games, it’s not quite that simple. See, the Justice League have gone rogue due to an alien attack led by Brainiac, and the city of Metropolis is terraforming into a place better suited to said aliens. So, not only do you have to ultimately kill the greatest heroes that Earth has ever known, but you have to also shoot, explode, and stab the many, many, many aliens that are trying to shoot, explode, and stab you.
Each of Kill the Justice League’s four playable characters (with more coming post-launch) can definitely feel quite samey, especially since all of them can use most of the weapons. Auto-equip at one point gave Harley a mini-gun, I originally thought that all of the weapons were interchangeable, but there appears to be some rhyme and reason to it. However, how each one traverses the city is quite different. For reasons, Deadshot gets a jetpack, Harley gets a grappling gun, and Boomerang gets a gauntlet that lets him move at super speed (for short bursts), allowing them to get around the city’s tall buildings more easily. No, I didn’t forget King Shark, but he doesn’t get anything, he can just jump really high naturally. These traversal abilities being so different does actually help make combat with each character noticeably different, because for example Shark can slam into the ground to do damage, and Deadshot can strafe in mid-air.
Unfortunately, despite how differently each one can play, it gets repetitive after a while. The team at home base sends you out to rescue some people or destroy something, you kill (conservatively) 20 million aliens, the mission ends and you get a reward. While that is mainly the side-missions, you pretty much have to do those to either get equipment or to gain resources to buy and upgrade things (all of which give random stats), as well as specific upgrades such as “carry more grenades”. Most of the weapons are incremental upgrades to your current stuff, whether you buy them or find them, so I never felt like I was doing more damage towards the end of the story compared to the start. The worst part is when the side-missions force you to only do a certain type of damage — critical hits are basically random, and yet sometimes those are the only way to hurt and kill enemies.
Actually, the worst thing about Kill the Justice League is that the story “finishes”, gives you the end credits, and yet the game isn’t over. Not just the fact that there are more aliens and missions, but Rocksteady has announced that there is more content coming, and if you want to finish off Brainiac once and for all, you have to keep playing. But not yet. See, the first season starts next month, bringing another playable character and more stuff to do. Four seasons have been announced, but if you hit the end credits and believe that four is the final season, then clearly nobody needs to plant a bomb in your head to get you to do anything.
I honestly enjoyed the 20 hours it took me to get to the credits in Kill the Justice League. I just wish it didn’t feel like part one of a game that won’t be finished until the free DLC finishes coming out. You may wonder how the game will be supported if it’s releasing free content? Microtransactions, and boy howdy aren’t they just. Want some new costumes? Just buy some Luthorcoins, yep, good old premium currency named after the richest man in Metropolis. There will also be a Battle Pass coming with the first season, though no word on if that will have a premium track.
Okay, I think my gripes are out of the way, on to what I enjoyed — because I did. The writing is hilarious, and the voice actors are stellar. While I felt that Tara Strong wasn’t leaning into her previous Harley Quinn voice quite far enough, I did enjoy her performance. Captain Boomerang was a particular highlight with some standout dialogue throughout, and they made the right decision by not making King Shark just a strong-dumb guy. Deadshot was a little underserved in my opinion, because he’s the straight man who doesn’t get enough of a chance to be that, as other characters step in to do it for him. Some cutscenes wind up not giving Deadshot any dialogue at all towards the end of the story… All four characters will talk to one another when you’re just going from one place to another, and they have some great chemistry, though you can’t always hear it when playing in co-op mode.
While you can invite friends to your squad at any time, allowing them to control two characters if it’s one friend, or one if you have more buddies, you can also set up an open game for them to join if they wish. Alternatively, you can set it to be open for anyone to join, and as Kill the Justice League is crossplay, that can be anyone with the game. Co-op players will join your current game with their own equipment and at their level, so if you need a hand from a more powerful player, that is an option open to you. While I did attempt the in-game voice chat, I had trouble making it work reliably, so I just created a party group on the PlayStation itself.
If you’re hoping to get some friends together and split up, then clearly you don’t know why it’s called a squad. You can get about 500m away from the squad leader before you’re threatened with head-misting by home base, so communication is key. The leader decides your current mission, but others can suggest them and the squad can vote yes or no. Also, don’t worry about other players grabbing your loot, as everyone gets everything.
One thing that I’m surprised about is how Kill the Justice League doesn’t have a photo mode. The game looks great; some of the locations are just crying out for a screenshot — and I’m someone who doesn’t usually use a photo mode. I get that it’s an always-online game, but if you’re not currently playing co-op, I can’t imagine why it’s not an option.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a fun superhero game where you get to shoot people in the head. It has some great running jokes, a fantastic cast, and a decent story, it’s unfortunate that it comes up lacking by locking seemingly half of its content behind time delayed content releases. If this were a complete game, I’d recommend it immediately. But since it won’t be a complete game probably until next year, feel free to pick it up when it’s complete, and has the promised offline mode.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
While it’s better than it could have been, it also could have been much more. As a live service game with an unfinished main story, I wouldn’t feel bad about waiting for more content to drop over the coming months before you pick it up.