PlayStation held another State Of Play, and this time, the featured game was Rocksteady’s upcoming “Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League,” a game I have been eager to learn more about and get my hands on. Rocksteady made a name for themselves in the business with their immaculate Batman “Arkham” trilogy, which not only delivered three back-to-back incredible Batman games but single handedly breathed new life into the superhero gaming genre. My expectations were high for this one, and after watching the gameplay trailer, I am sad to say that I am extremely disappointed by what I saw. Allow me to explain.
The “Arkham” games were not only great superhero games but amazing story-driven single-player experiences that anyone could get behind. The stories told through those games are some of the best in the business, and the cherry on top was the execution of gameplay and mechanics. The statement I am about to make has been meted out to oblivion and is cliched at this point, but those games truly made you feel like Batman. Every punch had weight behind it, every move and gadget used had tactical depth, and every tool at your disposal was nothing but a stroke of genius. Combine that with an original story that brought new life to our favorite villains from DC, with Batman himself portrayed as true to the source material, with the developers even went the extra mile and bringing talents like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to portray these characters once again, and it was nothing short of fantastic and did wonders for the game. Despite the same studio making this game, the same studio bringing its expertise and craft to a new stage, the same studio doing its best to create something new which also is trying to strike a balance with its DNA, I only have one thing to say, and it is that I am not feeling this one chief.
The positives first, and even these positives have negatives hidden within them, but we’ll be talking about that in just a few moments. For starters, the movement looks incredibly fun here. Characters jumping, gliding, and swinging across the city with similar but somewhat distinctive methods of traversal look like they’d have a blast. Then we have the city itself, and while we only saw a small slice of it, it sure has that Rocksteady look, so I have no doubt in my mind that their Metropolis will be just as impressive as their Gotham, if not better. The gameplay itself also looks fun, but I am not sure if it will remain fun after hours of play. Finally, the story looks interesting and is something I am looking forward to the most here. Unfortunately, that’s all the things that I’d say looked good to me, and it’s all downhill from here. Let’s talk about the negatives and boy, there’s a lot wrong with this game if you ask me.
Let me start by saying, “What the hell happened here?” How did we get from “Arkham Knight” to this? What even is this? I have so many questions, and none of them are in good taste if I am being honest. “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League,” at a moment’s notice, went from a game I was looking forward to something that I am not even bothered about anymore. Will I play it? Yes, I will. I’d like to judge it on my own and not have a preconceived opinion based on some gameplay, but at the same time, I am extremely disappointed and de-hyped with this game. Number 1, why does every character share similar movements (sure, they are a tad different) and looks like they’ll all play the same despite being unique and established characters known to do different things and be different from each other in general? Speaking of similarities, this brings me to number 2: why on earth does this game look so generic and mundane and just un-dun after the first few hours? Seriously, you have four unique comic book characters, each with their own distinct movesets and capabilities, and yet they all wield guns and shoot at brainiac zombies mindlessly, with next to nothing separating one character from the other. When I think of superheroes (or villains in this case), especially in video games, I think of each character doing their own thing and being a badass in general with their own capabilities and choice of arsenal. I don’t in any way, shape, or form think of a third-person “Gears Of War”/”Left 4 Dead” esq title, which looks and feels extremely close to “sunset Overdrive.” What is this game?
Number 3 is the visuals; I am sorry, they look bad. YouTube sure didn’t help in making them pop, thanks to the awful compression it slaps on every video, but I’ll be honest, this game does not look “next-gen” with or without YouTube’s compression. People were up in arms about how terrible “Gotham Knights” looked (it doesn’t), and that makes me wonder if this game will be fairly criticized for its visuals or not. Look at any of the past trailers they’ve released, and you’ll notice a severe downgrade both in world details and character models. Sure, it might look decent or even good when playing on a 4K TV, but as it stands, the game looks average. I know graphics aren’t everything, but then why did they advertise it like a stunning and clean gem when in reality, it was ashy and just average at best? The one saving grace here is that it’ll run at 60 fps, so yeah, I am happy about that part. Number 4, and this is a big one: live service, every gamer’s favorite word. Why do developers keep going down this path? Why can’t I get good single-player games that aren’t full of gear grinds, battle passes, builds, and all that jazz? What’s wrong here? What’s the matter? Can someone explain that to me? How did Rocksteady, the guys behind “Arkham Asylum,” go from that to DC’s clone of “Marvel’s Avengers”? A month or so ago, it got leaked that this game will feature a battle pass, and while I have nothing against battle passes in general, I hoped this leak was not true. Not only is its existence confirmed at this point, but the things that follow are even worse. Gear grinding, gear sets, power levels, build crafting, and all of the generic live services BS have made their way into this game, and I genuinely have no words to describe my feelings toward this. I am someone who has played “Destiny” and “Destiny 2” for over seven years religiously, so I am fully familiar with these systems, and I don’t mind them that much, but not every game needs them. Whatever happened to good traditional skill trees? Why is everything by the numbers, and why is everything about grinding?
Combine all of this with a battle pass, which, again, I don’t mind since it’s only cosmetic in nature, but I must ask, why do you want me to pay $70 for a game and then ask me more on top of that? Sure, it’s “optional,” but at the same time, the audacity pisses me off as the principle itself is wrong. It doesn’t stop there, however, as the game will also feature a premium in-game store/ cash shop, which will be host to more cosmetic items separate from the items available in the battle pass, which once again is not the first time but all of this in my single player story-driven superhero game is a decision that I am failing to see the logic behind. The game will also require an always online connection even if you are playing solo, which, once again, why!? The good thing is that they’ll expand the story further and add new playable heroes (villains) post-launch for free, which is appreciated, I guess. Here’s a proposal, though, why not make the base game, sell it for full price with none of the gear level stuff, and then have a season pass on top of that which will expand the story? Or better yet, why not sell sets of missions and a hero for like $10 a piece as you develop more content over the course of months? Is it also a terrible business practice? Yes. Is it better than this annoying hellhole that every game falls into? Also yes.
You can probably tell that this gameplay reveal and info dump about the game have really pissed me off. So much so that I can’t even make proper statements or remain professional towards my criticism, and I do apologize for it. The cynicism that most gamers have towards companies and new upcoming games is something I don’t share. I don’t like being harsh towards a product, as a lot of work is put into it, and no one wants to make a bad product. Despite that, this game really pissed me off with its reveal. The gameplay might be fun, and the story may be one of the best tales ever written in DC media, but I am not looking forward to this game anymore. They could have easily made a single-player experience that looked and felt true to the foundation that was laid by the “Arkham” games, and it would have been fine. The path they chose for this title baffles me, and I am tired and sickened to my core with this play-by-numbers game. I don’t mind shelling out extra money for extra content; heck, I don’t even mind the inclusion of a cosmetic store, battle passes, and what have you. What rubs me the wrong way is “live service” and this design philosophy built around FOMO, which constantly pressures you to play their game for countless hours each day to grind and get rewarded and blah blah blah. There’s a lot that I wish to say and a lot that needs to be said about “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League,” but I can’t. I had high hopes, and this glimpse into the gameplay left me extremely disappointed. I will approach this game with an open mind, and maybe I’ll turn out wrong on all fronts and have to eat my words, which I’ll do happily, but this game won’t be a day-one purchase for me anymore.
I am sorry for such a negative, nonsensical, and unprofessional piece or take on a game that isn’t even out yet, and once again, I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but as it stands, “Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League” has to be one of the most disappointing games I have seen this year. I can’t believe that Rocksteady is making this game.