Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Fails To Impress in First Previews

One month out from release, things are not looking good for Rocksteady’s live-service Arkham title.

Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Warner Bros. Games

After being delayed multiple times, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks like it will finally be released on February 2. Ahead of this release, the first previews for the game have finally dropped, giving us some insight into whether Warner Bros. has managed to turn around a project that has consistently been met with skepticism since its original announcement in 2020.

To cut to the chase, it isn’t looking good for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Based on previews across multiple outlets it looks like Warner Bros. subsidiary Rocksteady’s next game may be dead on arrival.

Last February, fans criticized Suicide Squad’s extended reveal at Sony’s State of Play for an apparent lack of variation in combat between characters; a heavy emphasis on tiresome gear scores; an always-online requirement; and other signifiers of the live-service looter-shooter genre. Two months later, Warner Bros. then delayed the game from a May 2023 release to early this year instead.

A new trailer in November refocused the game’s marketing on Rocksteady’s penchant for strong narratives (banking on its Arkham cred). It looked to be a smart pivot that gave some folks hope that the latest delay may turn around what many have seen as a doomed project.

Alas, previews do not paint that picture.

“The fun just wasn’t there for me.” writes IGNs Destin Legarie. This is pretty damning for a live-service game that will live or die by its ability to allow players to have fun.

Legarie continues to describe issues with the game’s combat as having “weird issues like long animations to regen your shield, or you’ll get knocked out of an animation for… unclear reasons.” Furthermore, the open world missions are described as “uninspired filler.”

Gamespot’s Phil Hornshaw added that “battles felt a bit generic.” Yikes.

Eurogamer’s Ed Nightingale shares a similar sentiment about the game’s combat and open world, writing, “With violent explosions, special effects, damage numbers, quest markers, and more on screen at once, it all feels a little too difficult to parse. By the time you've found enemies to shoot, your teammates probably got there first.”

A good story may lie beneath the live-service systems, but that might not be enough.

Warner Bros. Games

All of this does not instill much excitement ahead of the game’s release. But it isn’t all doom and gloom in the previews. In fact, there is a surprising consensus about one amazing element of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League — the story.

According to Legarie, the story is, “the best part of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.” Nightingale expands on this, saying “There's clear love for the source material, but reverence never hinders creativity — the studio is more than willing to put their own spin on these familiar faces. There's a wide cast of characters — both good and bad — plus a blockbuster-worthy story with brilliant performances and production.”

This shouldn’t be too surprising considering Rocksteady’s Arkham games are still regarded as some of the best superhero games ever made thanks to their strong stories. But for so long we have only seen the tiring live-service gameplay. Even with the strong narrative previews reveal Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to be a game divided in two. One side is a strong story-focused continuation of the Arkham universe and the second is a boring live-service game.

The fear expressed in previews — and the vibe that the game’s messy road to release has given off — is that the live-service nature of the game will overshadow what Rocksteady does best: telling a good story.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League releases on February 2 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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