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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The Problem With ‘Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League’

Photo courtesy of Epic Games.
Photo courtesy of Epic Games.

Let me just preface this by saying that I do not own this game. This is coming from the perspective of someone who played the closed alpha test, which gave me access to the first 3-4 hours of the 12-hour campaign, and has gathered supplemental information from story scenes and gameplay clips. I am not the ultimate authority but I am giving my two cents because I am a massive fan of the Batman Arkham series and a big fan of DC comics as a whole.

With that being said, I find this whole situation behind Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League very disheartening, anger-inducing, and most of all confusing.

This game is nearly a decade in the making and I struggle to find any reason as to why it took so obtusely long to make. Beyond the impressive graphics, face models, and animations, this game feels like that kid who peaked in high school and never got over it (looking at you Tom Felton).

For one, based on my limited experience, I just cannot see how this game is designed to last multiple years with new unfolding stories every few months. I got bored of the gameplay loop by the end of the closed alpha test and yet they want to have players coming back and consistently logging in. 

While the combat and traversal are fun enough, there’s just something so limiting about how the gameplay was designed. You can’t meaningfully interact with the environment through gameplay like you had to in the Arkham games. The focus on jumping around and using aerial abilities inherently limits your ability to actually take your environment in and understand it like you could in developer Rocksteady’s previous games.

This is a game I can’t see having a shelf life beyond the bounds of the main story, and the focus on lousy and poorly implemented RPG mechanics doesn’t make it any better. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the battle pass! Yes, this game is monetized out of the wazoo for some reason despite having an initial $70 minimum asking price. I simply cannot see how any aspect of this game’s live-service model would seem enticing when it’s the exact same as The Avengers game from 2020 which was an unmitigated disaster and shut down last fall.

Seeing this legendary studio which developed three of the tightest single-player action games of all time go to this sloppy joe of a video game is both confounding and disappointing.

What grinds my gears the most about this game, though, is the story.

I genuinely want to know who had the numbskulled idea to make a game in a universe where we had 4 games teasing the existence of the other Justice League members outside of Batman only to kill them all in their first appearance. It’s just an incredibly lame concept that sounds great on paper but is horrible when you put an ounce of thought behind it.

For anyone unfamiliar, in this game, The Squad is tasked with combatting an invasion from one of Superman’s greatest foes, Brainiac, as he nearly wipes Metropolis off the map and turns every Justice League member evil, besides Wonder Woman.

For one, all of these league members get some of the most anti-climactic deaths imaginable. These are considered monumental titans at the beginning of the game and yet when it comes time to fight them, the boss fights are just lazy bullet sponges that roll over and die after you shoot them with enough bullets to take out a small country.

Nothing interesting is done with the deaths of the league members from a narrative perspective which I find exceedingly strange. When Poison Ivy of all people in Batman Arkham Knight has a more compelling and impactful death than the last son of Krypton, you know you f**ked up.

Batman, who had 4 games of development and buildup, feels like a piece of roadkill. He is killed in such a disrespectful and downright offensive manner that it would make Star Wars fans thankful for the sequel trilogy. He gets the most love out of any league member by far but every possible moment of important characterization or development is undercut by the intrusively annoying squad members. Oh, and don’t even get me started about how they have evil Batman literally kill Robin off-screen for a “joke” that directly follows a scene that shows him pouring his heart out to how proud he is of the Bat Family.

This doesn’t just disservice the League, however, it also is just a fundamentally uninteresting concept for the Suicide Squad. This is a team that was created as a criticism of the prison industrial complex and America’s shady interventionist foreign policy in underdeveloped countries. So to go from that to what can only really be described as nonsensical comic book gobbledygook is saddening.

They could have made a much more engaging game by just having a tight single-player experience where the Squad is tasked with infiltrating a military installation in a foreign country. Sometimes simple is better and this is one of those cases. 

Even then, however, there’s an interesting story to tell here about how all these villains feel once they defeat their greatest enemies and the sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction it would leave them after killing their biggest foes. You can tell a story where these characters start to reevaluate their place in the world after killing the only people that kept them in line but, again, they do absolutely nothing interesting with the deaths of these characters.

This feels like a game where some very stupid ideas were green-lit from the get-go and those bad ideas just built on top of each other until players were left with one steaming pile of garbage on their gaming devices. No matter how many updates and additional stories they add, there’s nothing to save this game. We all know the saying, you can’t polish a turd.

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