Out of all the superhero or, well, villain groups that exist, Suicide Squad is one of the most popular out there. Besides a couple of movies, we haven’t seen any good video game adaptions for the quirky and badass characters. Now, we discuss the good and bad below, but Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is Rocksteady’s attempt to bring this villain group to life. However, while the studio tries its hardest, the game is plagued by some major issues that I can’t afford to turn a blind eye to.
Thanks to a key provided by Warner Bros., we have been running and flying around Metropolis for close to two weeks now. And while discourse around the game has been all over the place, I believe Rocksteady’s first game in more than a decade tries to bring something new to the table.
But, as you spend more and more time in-game, things start falling apart like a domino. Being one of the biggest 2024 game launches, how does it fare amidst all the discourse?
Team Up to Take Down The Justice League
The game takes place in the Batman: Arkham games timeline, four years after the Caped Crusader’s escapades in Arkham Knight. But this time, instead of following what happened to Bruce Wayne, we are in control of Task Force X. Forced by Amanda Waller of A.R.G.U.S. to go behind the enemy lines and thrown in a war-torn Metropolis, the goal is simple — take down the Justice League, the heroes we’ve all come to love.
A few things were easy to piece together when the premise was first introduced. Our heroes, except Wonder Woman because she’s badass like that, seem to have been brainwashed by Brainiac, who wants to conquer Earth to create a New Colu.
What I wasn’t expecting was the game taking the killing part seriously. You actually end up killing every single one of the superheroes. Except for well, Wonder Woman.
On one hand, the story reads like a typical DC Comics affair, where such affairs are unsurprising. On the other hand, my main gripe comes from how it is executed. Killing the Justice League sounds fun, and I know we are playing as bad guys. However, they have zero empathy for the metahumans they are killing. Some form of respectful sendoffs to these characters may have eased my annoyance with this part of the game.
For example — Captain Boomerang urinating on Flash’s dead body feels like it is done totally for shock value and getting some reaction out of the players. Even the infamous Batman death scene could have been done with some class, giving him the respect he deserved. However, what else do we expect from the band of villains who despise our superheroes? These superheroes weren’t their idols or anything afterall. But there should’ve been better ways to handle every single character’s death, at least according to me.
My gripe with the story pretty much ends then and there. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has a good story in its package. It’s not too long, and our playtime with the story clocked at around 10 hours. Throughout my gameplay, the writing made me hate each superhero a little more. I’ve never rooted for supervillains this hard in any movie or video game, and that me come to terms with their death scenes.
The Rogues Gallery Has Never Looked This Fun
Part of why the Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League story feels so good is thanks to the stellar cast of characters. Task Force X members have perfect synergy with each other, which makes the story an enjoyable experience.
Be it Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, or King Shark, every single one is likable. You cannot stop loving the moment-to-moment silly interactions, which reminded me of James Gunn’s Suicide Squad. Debra Williams once again makes herself stand out among the cast. Her rendition of Amanda Waller is similar to what we’ve seen in other media. However, she has a deadpan humor around her demeanor, which works because of the Suicide Squad’s antics.
One of the biggest highlights has to be the Justice League themselves. Hearing the late Kevin Conroy voice act like an evil Batman who also happens to strategize for Brainiac is surreal in a good way. He managed to make arguably one of my favorite superhero unlikable. He will mock you, conjure up strategies, and much more. This unlocks a facet of his voice I had never heard before.
To be honest, I went in with a slight bias towards the story, expecting it wouldn’t be any good. And if you have read through this review so far, you know that the story surprised me, and playing it made me realize that it isn’t bad. With just the right amount of dark coupled with humor, the story might be the strongest thing in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Gameplay Misses a Few Shots
Unfortunately, I have difficulty saying that I enjoyed the gameplay. First, let us look at the positives, though. The game focuses on movement and traversal, almost making it an important gameplay feature.
Each character has a different way of traversing the environment. Harley Quinn uses a bat glider and zipline to swing around the map and grapple with ledges. Deadshot uses a jetpack, Captain Boomerang uses the speed force gauntlet, and King Shark has magical powers.
Each of these traversal methods feels fun to use and never gets dull for once. You can shoot through opponents while doing any of these maneuvers. Guns are also fun to use. You get a choice between six types of weapons, and each behaves and works differently. The guns have the punch and oomph to them while shooting through your opponent.
Additionally, you’ll unlock the traversal attacks and suicide attacks later in-game. These are stronger character-specific attacks that deal tons of damage. And after you rescue Penguin and Poison Ivy, you unlock weapon upgrades and add afflictions to the weapons. All these synergize to create a decent gameplay system where you chain attacks and specials to create combos that result in better scores and rewards.
You also have a variety of builds you can create for each character through the skill menu. You can reassign points, allowing you to experiment with builds. This adds another layer to the gameplay, where a carefully crafted build will play differently than your friend. I had my fill making a fun build that did more damage on pistols and grenades since I frequently used them.
Some hours back and forth between Deadshot and Harley was my go-to playthrough point, and both felt nice with their respective loadouts.
The Metropolis Stays Underutilized
However, while the story feels solid, the game immediately falls apart when it comes to activities and missions. The boss fights, while simple, was fun to play. Each of the four league members had their quirks, and you have to surpass the odds to take them out. You are taking out metahumans at the end of the way. But the filler materials in the middle of the main questline are so regurgitated and barebones that it makes playing through the other parts of Kill the Justice League a chore.
Metropolis has practically no compelling side missions in its arsenal. The existing ones follow the exact template of either taking out X amount of horde or breaking batteries or this and that; the same shenanigans throughout. They become repetitive.
When you compare it with previous Arkham titles, it immediately feels like a downgrade. Though I understand that the city is in ruins and humans have turned, having side stories, be it rescuing that 1% population of civilians while working with Lois Lane would’ve worked wonders.
Instead, what we get is the same side quest of taking out installations over and over again. Riddler quests return, where you try to solve environmental riddles. They are a nice change of pace when the story starts to feel tiresome. But once that runs out, you are stuck in the same mission loop, so you can get some materials to upgrade your arsenal.
You also have the support team side-quest missions that improve their services to you. But again, they have no variety whatsoever. It’s saddening to think that such a great environment and overall premise were wasted on such a dull gameplay loop. The endgame content also doesn’t help with the problems.
The problem here is that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League follows the template of a typical live-service game while costing a fortune. However, it does not try to reinvent the live-service formula at all. It does the same old things we’ve seen in similar titles, and after a while, you have nothing to enjoy.
Graphics and Performance
Now, we tested the game on our usual gaming setup used for most of our reviews, and here are the specifications of our gaming rig:
Test Setup: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti
RAM: 8×2 DDR4 RAM @ 3600Mhz
SSD: WD SN570 500GB
For starters, let’s focus on the visuals of the game. This game arguably has one of the best character models I have seen in any recent video game. The last time I saw such impressive character models with a range of facial expressions was in Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding (just can’t wait for Death Stranding 2). As such, everyone looks perfect, be it the Justice League, the Squad, or support cast.
Even Metropolis has that bright, upbeat European suburban feel to it. It is similar in scale to that of Gotham in Batman: Arkham Knight but somehow denser. So, here begins our woes with the game’s performance.
We tested the game in two different areas of the map. One that has enough housing but is emptier. The other is at a denser location. At the emptier location, we were easily hitting 75 FPS. When we moved to the denser area, the game consistently hovered between 56 to 70 frames.
During my playthrough, the game had around 28% CPU utilization and over 75% GPU utilization at all times. The number barely moved even when we used DLSS or DLAA. You will need a good GPU and CPU combo to run this game at consistent frame rates.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice – Should You Buy It?
I find myself in a weird situation with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The game has a good story, fun gunplay with traversal, and some decent skill-building. However, our efforts simply feel wasted when Metropolis lacks compelling activities, and the endgame feels repetitive as well as incomplete.
While I can still make my peace with killing Batman the way they did, there’s something about a mismatch of trying to make this game what it was supposed to be and what it is that gets me.
If Rocksteady Games focused on making this a single-player open-world action-adventure game, it could’ve been amazing. Unfortunately, the live service features and gameplay design are what stunt the game’s true potential. Ultimately, Kill the Justice League is a combination of two good features that don’t end up being great.
For now, we suggest picking Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League during a sale. Or when the devs add some impressive content to the game. At its current price of $70, it’s a no-go from Beebom.