In theory, a game based around the Suicide Squad should be great, as you’d get to see DC’s world differently. That is not what Rocksteady’s latest game, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, has been.
I am struggling through a string of frustrating moments that feel repetitive and dated. I'm about three to four hours into the game, and I think I've seen everything it has to offer already.
I may be disastrously wrong, of course, and things could do a full 180-degree turn 5 hours in. Nevertheless, if this is the nature of the whole title, I cannot recommend it.
Table for four, please
Does it matter who you're playing as during the game's early hours? Yes, a little bit. The characters have unique personalities and content. Quinn is a good example.
She can protect herself with shields, but I found it borderline impossible to acquire them. Here’s the problem I was facing: During the tutorial for her part, you're supposed to shoot foes (who are almost all identical) and collect three shields in the process.
To do this, it took me several minutes to figure it out, and this is with a video tutorial demonstrating that I'm supposed to aim for the legs. I despised the whole ordeal by the end of it.
This could be a complaint that's more a case of my own lack of understanding, which again points to the game’s unintuitiveness.
Quinn isn’t the only time I found myself on the unintuitive side of things, including whether it was heading to an enemy-laden exfiltration spot or robbing a museum. I should add I kept the HUD on and used accessibility options to speed up the whole ordeal.
I thought long and hard about whether to include this portion, as I don’t want to speak ill of the game when it could be me who is at fault. But it happened, and that's the truth. If that makes me a bad video game player, then so be it, but without a HUD and some accessibility help, I'm completely lost.
If you're curious about who to play as, then try Captain Boomerang. He's fast, nimble, and gets you into the perfect spot for melee action. On that note...
All you need to know about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s primary enemies is purple suits, robotic voices, lasers, and crazy shooting. This is about as complex as they get, and almost every every mission, at least in the first half of the game, has you taking these guys out or avoiding them by staying high on rooftops.
It’s the definition of monotony, enough to put you to sleep during a nighttime gameplay session. With some of the game spoiled for me, I’ve been told things will get better later. I can’t wait for that because I’ve dropped games for less. The shooting isn’t bad; it’s just not good either.
Take a recent AAA title, and you’ll notice the realism and sense of impact. There are fewer enemies, but they are harder to deal with. Suicide Squad takes the opposite direction and hits you with swarms of foes that might as well be clones of each other.
Additionally, the guns lack the “meatinesss” of modern titles, turning enemy encounters into a bout of pea-shooting. There is no intelligence or strategy needed; just use your gun like roach spray on everything around you, and those that live get meleed to death.
Bugs and UI
There are some bugs, but I'd be lying to say any of them were game-breaking. During early access, I encountered a little freezing here and there on the Xbox Series X. The visual design is more annoying than any of the bugs. When a new mechanic or move is introduced, you get a text about it appearing as part of your hub.
You can switch it off, which I suspect most will do after the first few hours, but why is it there in the first place? Games have become so innovative in revealing gameplay mechanics that seeing this dated style in a modern title seems odd.
Plenty of titles simply explain in words what to do, but the number is shrinking on the AAA side, which just adds to the dated feeling of this title. It even features short videos in case you still don't understand. This isn’t awful, but it can be overbearing.
Again, I am the one who left this on, but that's because the game is poorly designed to operate without these helpers.
Traversal for all characters feels clunky and unnecessarily complicated. If I'm playing as Captain Boomerang, I just want to bounce from building A to B. In, I can only do small jumps until I run out of energy to do more, causing him to tumble to the ground. This may change now that I’ve unlocked the skill trees, but that’s after hours of clunky traversal.
It leaves characters feeling weak and limited when they can't even jump buildings, and I don't suspect that was what Rocksteady was going for. The worst is Quinn, who swings from her Batwing and has to grab on again somehow after her bar repletes.
If anything improves as the skill trees open up, please let it be traversal.
Applause for the writers
Despite my gameplay complaints, I love Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s Harley Quinn! She's hilarious, crazy, and unpredictable, just like you'd expect her to be. Her essence is perfectly captured, which should be good news for fans of the character. I want more of this Quinn rendition, just in a better game.
Overall, we’re presented with a well-written story that manages even racial humor tactfully, but with the generic gameplay, many will never experience it. I don't blame you if you avoid this title, but do yourself a favor and watch the cutscenes online. You may find yourself laughing more times than you expect.
A polished turd
You'll notice I never downplayed the game's visuals or audio, though I’ve faulted the rest of the elements. That's because they fit right in with the titles of its genre. It's a good-looking game with epic musical highs that can make a scene feel better than it actually plays.
But that's not enough to make a good game. You need good content, which is where Kill the Justice League fails. It can't get away with that level of repetitiveness, nor can it provide mediocre third-person shooting without being called out on it.
If you want to know what generic feels like, grab this game. You can also have a go if you're looking for good writing and don't care about gameplay. Other than that, stay away. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League doesn't have the charm of being an offensively terrible game, but it's not good either.
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