What you need to know
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is an upcoming live service, open-world action-shooter from Rocksteady Studios, the creators of the Batman: Arkham trilogy.
- Suicide Squad: KtJL has already been the center of backlash in the past, but recent previews haven't shown a ton of improvement.
- Multiple outlets have expressed uncertainty in Rocksteady's vision, citing a lack of cohesion between the open world, gameplay, story, and more.
- There is some positivity, though, with some praising the overall feel of the combat, the depth of character builds, and the city traversal.
One of the bigger video game releases in the beginning of 2024 is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the first game from legendary developer Rocksteady Studios since 2015's award-winning Batman: Arkham Knight. Kill the Justice League is a stark departure from the dark and brutal brawlers of the Batman: Arkham trilogy, though, pivoting to a third-person action-shooter with heavy live service elements.
The upcoming Suicide Squad game was already the target of community-led criticism in the past thanks to its chaotic UI and aggressive live service game design, but early previews from various outlets have done little to reverse that outlook. While Rocksteady certainly looks to have the ingredients for something great with Kill the Justice League, some previewers aren't confident at all that the studio managed to capture the magic of its previous successes.
Another live service game lacking cohesion?
In IGN's preview of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, writer Destin Legarie wrote "Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, once the fun story bits end, you’re left with a much less inspired combat system, and an open world that’s filled with tedious tasks." The preview goes on to detail how, despite the glimmers of greatness in the story, character interactions, and combat, Suicide Squad fails to capture lightning in the bottle due to its generic and tedious open-world missions, oft-awkward controls and combat, and the disconnect between the tragic and brutal story and the inevitable injection of post-launch live service content.
VGC's preview compliments the game's compelling narrative hook and respectable character performances and voice acting, but has similar concerns about the game's less-than-outstanding combat. Writer Alan Wen dives deeper into the apparent lack of distinct identity in KtJL's four main characters, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. The need for each character to possess balanced traversal techniques and use ranged weapons in order to navigate the open world and combat necessitates that each character take on new characteristics and abilities that don't always match. This mish-mash extends to the gameplay as well, with the Suicide Squad game feeling as if it borrows heavily from other games like Destiny and Marvel's Avengers without improving upon those mechanics.
GameSpot's video preview recognizes the ambition of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and appreciates the fluidity and speed of its combat, but the persistent theme of inconsistency continues here. Concern is expressed that the game's various elements such as the live service game design, looter-shooter mechanics, and shooter-focused combat pulls Kill the Justice League in too many directions. Overall, previews often criticised the poor UI design, the tedious open-world missions, the disconnect between characters and the combat and traversal mechanics, and the overlay of live service game design that remains to be tested.
Glimmers of positivity means hope isn't lost
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League previews aren't entirely negative. The GamesRadar+ preview by Jasmine Gould-Wilson praised Rocksteady's commitment to excellent character writing, the fluid traversal systems, and the chaotic and varied combat-centric gameplay. Gould-Wilson also expressed optimism in KtJL's live service plan, with the first year of post-launch content planned to be completely free, the expected Battle Pass only including cosmetic items, and future character and content drops aiming to match the feel and theme of the game's world, story, and gameplay.
Even negative previews weren't totally critical, with common compliments being how fun the combat and traversal can be at times, and how believable Rocksteady has made its four main antiheros through character design, voice acting, and writing. The story also seems to be compelling, although one preview questioned how Rocksteady plans to resolve the atrocities of its main campaign when so much new content is planned for the future. There is a lot of good here, so it's possible that the final product releasing later this year will fully realize the vision Rocksteady Studios has for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
What is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League?
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is latest addition to the Batman: Arkham universe, which last saw a mainline entry in 2015. Rocksteady Studios' has been working on KtJL ever since, with an ambitious vision for an open-world, constantly-evolving action-shooter. It sees players step into the shoes of their favorite DC antihero or villain and take on corrupted superheroes in a twisted version of Metropolis.
It's a third-person co-op shooter with loot-based RPG elements and heavy live service game design, meaning the game will continue to expand and change after launch with new content, features, and playable characters. The game hasn't been the subject of much praise, however, with players and previewers alike concerned about the game's mismatched pieces and overbearing live service elements possibly detracting from the magic of Rocksteady's world building, character writing, and kinetic and brutal combat.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League officially releases on Feb. 2, 2024 for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PS5, and is available to preorder now. You can read more in our Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League FAQ. Alternatively, you can also just go buy the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Collection, which includes the complete trilogy and is currently just $8.99 at Microsoft (Xbox).
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Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.