After finding success by putting players in control of the Caped Crusader in three action-packed adventures, developer Rocksteady is sticking to the universe but offering something rather different with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Out is the stealth, deep melee combat and single-player focus; while you can play Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League alone if you want, it’s been designed with co-op in mind. And each playable character here wields guns, and they’re all inclined to shoot first and ask questions later.
Given the chance to escape Arkham Asylum in order to embark on a special mission, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League finds Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark and Captain Boomerang let loose in Metropolis. It’s there that their true goal is soon revealed, and as the name of the game suggests it’s to take down the group of famous superheroes. Or most of them, at least. It’s all because of the nefarious super-villain Brainiac, who has somehow managed to corrupt them. And with their power, Brainiac’s plans to turn the world as we know it into something uninhospitable might just come to fruition.
Of course, overcoming the Justice League isn’t going to be easy, especially when corrupted members include the Flash, Green Lantern, and even Batman. Much of your time during the game’s story, then, is spent finding ways to even the odds. You’ll be recruiting the likes of Penguin, Poison Ivy and Toyman, who will help you gear up and grow stronger. And you’ll also have to complete missions to acquire more specific equipment that will allow you to combat certain superheroes’ unique powers. But in doing so you’ll soon find one of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s major weaknesses: its mission variety is a little on the poor side.
Nearly all of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s missions simply require you to move to a point on the map and then wipe out waves of enemies. Sure, it tries to mix things up; in some missions you can only kill enemies with grenades, for example, and need to clear areas around terminals so you can hack them. And in some others you need to help keep Poison Ivy and her young growths safe, but can only kill enemies while they’re affected by Afflictions. These restrictions annoy more than anything though – you’ll be glad to get back to missions where you can simply kill enemies in any way you please.
Accompanying these samey missions are a whole host of convoy missions that require you to protect a vehicle as it makes its way from one point of the map to another, which don’t feel all the different, to be honest. In fact, the only missions that really stand out here are those in which you do battle with the Justice League, but even these aren’t always as much fun as they should be. A showdown with Batman, for example, is prefaced by a slow amble through his pitch-black Batcave, walking at a snail’s pace to pull multiple levers while keeping your gun raised to make use of its flashlight.
It’s a shame that the missions design is so dull here, because the actual gameplay of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is actually rather fun. The gunplay is tight, fast-faced and frenetic, and you’re rewarded for playing with skill. Like in Rocksteady’s previous Arkham games, a combo meter rises as you hit enemies and perform skillful actions, and as the meter gets higher you gain a range of benefits provided you’ve unlocked them in the skill tree. It pays to keep on the move, exploit enemy weaknesses, and choose your targets carefully, then. Although there are one or two issues.
While Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League makes good use of verticality to enhance its gameplay, unfortunately its traversal options don’t feel equally enjoyable to use across all characters. Harley Quinn, for example, has to use a grappling hook in conjunction with a drone to travel through the air, and it feels arduous in comparison to King Shark, who simply jumps great distances and boosts numerous times. Deadshot, equipped with a jetpack, is also great fun to fly around with, while Captain Boomerang’s combo of teleporting boomerang and shifting gauntlet sits him just above Harley Quinn.
There’s also the issue that, aside from these traversal differences, there’s not much much else that actually separates these characters in terms of gameplay. They each have their own skill trees which can introduce some unique quirks, and can only equip certain combinations of weapons. They have their own variations of the few special abilities on offer when meters are full, too. But despite all this, the third person shooter gameplay doesn’t dramatically change as you move from one character to another, which is a real shame.
One area where Rocksteady really does deserve praise is presentation. Playing on PS5 for review, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks absolutely fantastic, with crisp textures, realistic lighting and character models that are second to none, especially during cinematics. It helps sell a story that, while a little contrived at times, does genuinely entertain. There’s some great writing here, too, with Captain Boomerang and co. often spouting some fun quips and one-liners that might genuinely make you chuckle.
Being a live-service game with plenty of content to come post-launch, it’s impossible to say right now whether Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will have legs. There’s certainly the possibility of it getting better in the future, if missions can be made more interesting and loot can lead to more unique builds. At the moment, though, when the campaign is the main focus and there’s limited endgame content, it’s hard to not be disappointed by what’s on offer. This isn’t a bad game by any means, but poor mission variety and some other minor issues really do suck much of the fun out of it.