One year of delay, a lot of negativity, and the fact that a studio like Rocksteady Studios has decided to make a game as a service. Factors that have played heavily against this game.
Because Suicide Squad: Killing the Justice League is a very fun game, with refined gameplay as only Rocksteady Studios knows how to do, and with four characters and a storyline that leave you breathless. Interestingly, the worst part is the loot game aspect.
Yes, it is a looter game – or as we call them here, a game as a service – similar to other games like Destiny 2, The Division 2 or the incomparable Warframe. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily, after all, Diablo IV is another game as a service, but within the realm of ARPGs.
I repeat, it is a very fun game and certainly surpasses its closest competitors that everyone has now forgotten and yes, they were looter games and superheroes. We are talking about Marvel Avengers and Gotham Knights.
But let’s go step by step, because, as I said before, this game is from Rocksteady and if there’s one thing Rocksteady knows how to do, it’s giving us a memorable story and, above all, great gameplay.
Kill the Justice League?
The argument is, at the very least, astonishing. Because it is true that we have already had two movies about the X Special Force commanded by Amanda Waller (or rather, blackmailed). This is fully reflected in the game: there are four members of the Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang. And their mission is undoubtedly suicidal, because it is to end the Justice League. That’s something.
With this premise we start, but throughout the game we will meet new characters, we will remember old Arkham stories, since the game directly links to the events of Arkham Knight and Rocksteady guides us through a story where we will have old acquaintances like Riddler, along with new DC characters who were in Metropolis instead of Gotham
Without revealing too much of the plot, I have to say that there have been moments that have surprised me, moments when I have laughed, and above all moments when I have grown fond of the four misfits who are the heroes of the game.
A Looter Game, but understood by Rocksteady
It is true that so-called Looter Games have a very bad reputation and when Rocksteady said what they were going to do, many were shocked. In fact, the first extensive gameplay video led many to think: what has Rocksteady done? Yes, there were prejudices about what the developer had created. Although the game remains a looter game, it must be said that it would be a Rocksteady version. And this is not all the good that one would expect.
The best thing about this Suicide Squad is precisely the company’s strong point: the plot. The development of the story with missions is where Rocksteady’s hand is greatly appreciated.
All of the main missions follow the main plot very well and put you in context, as they reference the other games. In fact, one of my best moments playing was feeling hunted by Batman. It’s one of the first scenes where Rocksteady surprises us, although not the only one. There are more moments like this as the game progresses, but it’s better if I don’t reveal too much about the main storyline.
On the other hand, Rocksteady’s gameplay is very different from what we saw in Batman. There is no truce here and it invites us to a number of important innovations for a game where long-range combat predominates. Shield generation, targeting systems, and most importantly, movement systems have been treated with care and in a very different way depending on the character.
In my case, for example, I love Tiburón and Boomerang, but each of them offers you very different possibilities to defeat enemies with excellent gameplay.
What doesn’t fit us? The side missions that are used to level up and that correspond more to looter games. Getting better equipment, leveling up, having more skills. This is where Rockstar has tried – and in my opinion has not succeeded – to adapt some of the side missions from the Arkham games. Because in the end, they are basically defending a point or killing a limited number of hordes in three waves. The only real difference is the characters we face it with.
If I look at other games of the genre, such as The Division 2, the number of elements is varied and also, as it is mixed with factions, you don’t have that feeling of repetition as acute as in this game. Still, I have to say that this repetitiveness is somewhat less than what we have seen in two games that would be its cousins, which are none other than Marvel Avengers and Gotham Knights
However, in this case, when the other members of the Suicide Squad are controlled by bots, we can’t complain, because they really help us with their very different skills and do it efficiently. Yes, the AI is good and it’s something that will be very important in the Endgame, where the game makes several beginner mistakes
The Endgame… What Endgame?
When you start analyzing a looter game after having tried a few, there are always two aspects you must take into account: how to reach the endgame and the endgame itself. In the case of Suicide Squad, the entire campaign, as well as the side missions, is nothing more than the framework that leads you to the endgame, that part that you must enjoy continuously and that has enough challenges to attract you.
Just like Destiny, just like The Division or just like MMOs, which ultimately is the same type of game, but with different rules.
And this is where Suicide Squad fails miserably. Because the endgame is basically to do a series of raids (which are nothing more than the same type of missions, but in a different setting). It is true that playing them at the beginning is fun because the gameplay is top-notch and, in addition, there is an incentive: a specific squad move that you have to unlock. But, obviously, this has a limit. The repetition of the same missions, after a few hours of gameplay, becomes tedious.
And yes, it is true that improvements are coming almost immediately, but considering that the game was delayed for a whole year, we expected to have at least one “dungeon” to be able to play it. And even more, we expected an efficient matchmaking system that would put you with other teammates to play.
Why doesn’t it work? Because of a mistake already made by another game: Marvel Avengers. And that is that you cannot repeat characters, this absolutely limits random matchmaking for some missions and, therefore, you will have to play them solo. The only good thing is that in this game, the bots, as I have already said, have a very good AI.
And the artistic section?
Technically, we are clearly facing a next-generation game. Metropolis is extremely detailed, the different characters are not only believable, they have great performances (seriously, Harley Quinn has absolutely brilliant moments) and when it comes to the number of enemies on screen, it’s overwhelming.
In addition, I have loved everything related to that Justice League corrupted by Brainiac. Not only because we notice it in the graphic section, but also because we notice it in voices, in their expressions, giving us some of the best moments in the technical section.
And the best part of it all: no drop in frame rate. At least in the PS5 we tested, where the game remains smooth at all times.
Suicide Squad: Killing the Justice League: great ideas if it weren’t a looter game
Suicide Squad: Killing the Justice League is a game that I was eagerly waiting for and, truthfully, it has not disappointed me at all in everything that has been the single-player campaign. It is true that you can play it with friends, but it can also be considered a single-player game with several bots accompanying us. Its storyline, characters, and gameplay have captivated me… but it is a looter game
And this implies comparing it to other games of the genre. It has good ideas, it has the potential to see what is coming in the future, but not having even a dungeon in the base game and limiting it to doing missions in another setting, but the same missions, is not what can be considered a good looter game.
In favor of Rocksteady, I have to say that the gameplay is rock solid and we will have new content almost immediately, but it has a lot of competition in this sector and once finished, I can only wait. In a market with so many games, it may not be enough to go back to it when the first content arrives.