As of the past year or so, every time a new game launches, I can never get as excited as I want to. My expectations have been hindered by broken launches, server issues and straight-up scams, so it’s safe to say that I awaited the launch of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League with trepidation.
Even just the fact that the game relies on a server gave me cause for concern, given the trainwreck that became Payday 3 in October of last year or The Day Before in December. As someone who prefers to play this style of story-driven game solo (at least for the first playthrough), I was worried I would need a full squad to make any sizable progress.
Luckily, this was just one of many places where the game surprised me. Not only could I load into a game and play with just myself in the lobby, but the CPU Suicide Squad was surprisingly decent at their jobs. They participate in killing and damaging enemies and being able to swap between characters so smoothly made for a delightful experience.
While the issue of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League being server-based has caused me to be booted from a game, the issues are usually quick to resolve by simply closing and relaunching the software. Even though my expectations for this were rather low, I was pleasantly surprised by how little lag or delays I was experiencing. Especially for a game at launch, I can’t complain about the occasional error message.
Another thing I had disappointingly low expectations for was the actual story itself. I didn’t know if I should expect something rushed and heartless or drawn-out and dry, but as soon as I started playing I was impressed by how much love was put in. This holds in all aspects, with things like the environment and the gameplay itself, but as you carry on through the game and grow comfortable with the controls, the effort becomes clear as day.
The environment is filled with Easter eggs at every turn, being aided by the Arkham-style Riddler trophies where you have to scan the environment to identify the answer to his clues. It gives the devs room to stretch their legs in the lore and intertwine a bunch of different stories into the world around these characters. There’s no feeling quite like hearing a riddle and thinking, “I know that one” and going to get the solution without delay.
The lore doesn’t stop there either, with plenty of codex entries and audio recordings to unlock as you continue through the story. For avid comic fans, there’s a goldmine of background detail to read about for the different characters and their various affiliations, and as you meet characters in the game you get to see the plethora of content that the devs pulled from to make the game feel fleshed-out.
When it comes to the gameplay, I was impressed by how different all of the characters were, which led to challenges early on regarding how well I performed with some over others. Harley Quinn made sense where King Shark didn’t, but the Psyched Up feature for different levels makes for a great reason to swap characters and evenly level them up.
Playing as Harley Quinn quickly became my favorite way to get around due to the similarities to both the Arkham games’ grapple gun and the Spider-Man games’ swing mechanics. However, I liked the way that each character’s traversal mechanics were so different as to make you feel like you’re playing with a whole new character.
Harley Quinn using the Bat Drone to use as a grappling hook gives her a good excuse to be as airborne as Deadshot and his jetpack, while King Shark is much more momentum-based due to his size and power set. Captain Boomerang took me the longest to get comfortable with, although once I did I was accurately and swiftly zipping around the map with my boomerang like the Flash’s worst nightmare.
That map is also a fair size, not making me feel like it’s going to be impossible to accomplish full completion without dedicating my life to it. Games like some of the more recent Assassin’s Creed titles make the world feel so saturated that there’s no time for me to ever get it all done, but I could see myself finishing Suicide Squad and enjoying the process.
Many opinions are circulating online about how the game compares to Arkham Knight, and I think that only some of those are even valid criticisms. Sure, for the amount of time that there’s been between the two games, people were expecting there to be much more focus on things like the environmental details graphically, but I’d say there are too many differing factors to make a fair comparison.
The two games are drastically different, one of the main ways being that Arkham Knight was only focusing on a single protagonist. Suicide Squad had to take on the challenge of four different characters, each with all of their unique outfits and skills, and make them all play well together on the same map at the same time. They all have to be balanced enough to where someone playing any given character doesn’t feel like they’re at a disadvantage while keeping them all nice and fresh.
Graphically, I can’t argue that some aspects like the overall environmental detail seem a bit dated given what was shown in Arkham Knight almost ten years ago, but I’d also be blatantly lying if I said that Suicide Squad doesn’t look phenomenal. Just looking at the characters in the menus is enough to do a double-take and ask myself if it’s an actual photo, so I have to give credit where credit is due.
Overall, I can’t find myself seriously able to say many negative things about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Anything I would comment on would be trumped by the fact that I just can’t stop playing the game, and in the realm of media consumption — actions speak much louder than words.