When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was announced during the pandemic, there was a bit of a collective groan. At the time, it felt like DC’s answer to The Avengers, a now-delisted live-service action game that had only just launched to middling reviews. However, during a recent Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League preview event, I discovered that this third-person shooter has lots of personality and more in common with the immensely entertaining Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy than the rather dull Avengers.
After stumbling into the preview following a particularly harrowing train ride, I get a quick briefing explaining a bit about the game and Rocksteady’s plans for ongoing support. There, we got the news that DLC will include brand-new story content, missions, gear, in-game events, and even additional characters outside of the four Suicide Squad members. No specifics were given on what’s to come, except that paid items are cosmetic only, meaning the rest of the DLC on offer is free.
With that revelation fresh in our minds, we headed into a large room where my assigned squad of journalists and Rocksteady Studios staff chose our favorite member of the Suicide Squad. Each of the four antiheroes has a unique playstyle, with some borrowing popular traversal methods from other open-world games. Deadshot has a jetpack he can kick into overdrive whenever it runs out of juice. Harley Quinn can fire a grapple shot that works similarly, but not the same as Batman’s from the Arkham series. Captain Boomerang uses a device that teleports him to the spot where it’s thrown. I opt to play as King Shark, the only one with innate jumping abilities that aren’t too dissimilar to the intense leaping capability of Alex Mercer from the Prototype series. It’s so good that he doesn’t need anything else.
We first begin our journey in the hallowed halls of the Justice League. Statues and artifacts of each superhero are everywhere, with recordings explaining their accomplishments. It’s here I’m reminded that this is the bittersweet final performance of legendary Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy, who passed away just a little over a year ago. He doesn’t miss a beat in his delivery throughout the demo as the now-possessed Caped Crusader, barking orders at Brainiac’s minions as his chief commanding officer. I watch as the other three members quickly plunder their traversal gadgets. King Shark, though, opts to don the Riddler’s hat and, if I dare say, looks rather fetching in it.
We soon emerge on a rooftop to find Metropolis, which we later discover is a moderately sized open world filled with missions, activities, and secrets. However, for some reason, it’s in a state of ruin. It’s soon clear this is the work of Brainiac, one of Superman’s greatest foes. However, the Suicide Squad soon begins what they’re best at: bickering. And it’s moments like this that make it clear that much like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has tons of personality. Each of the four teammates bounced jokes and quips off one another with rapid-fire timing, and yet, much like Starlord and his companions did a few years ago, this rag-tag team of misfits is charming in their own sadistic way.
After briefly brawling with Brainiac’s forces, followed by a guided tour from Green Lantern, we were told by our assigned developer that this section was over and that we’d now start playing around with loadouts. Each character can access talents and guns that drastically change their gameplay style. In the case of King Shark, he is more of a tank than the other three, so he can focus on gaining shields in melee combat. However, it’s entirely possible to equip guns and talents that concentrate more on combos to recharge his splash attack quickly, or even a build that prioritizes damage above all else.
Later in the day, I try out Captain Boomerang, who has a similar taste for building damage off absorbing enemy shields, though he uses his boomerang rather than getting his knuckles dirty. In addition, he can also spec into a build that causes a slowdown whenever he launches an enemy with a well-placed grenade. While I didn’t get access to their characters in the short time I played the game, Deadshot has a sniper-based build for maximum damage or a similar focus-time slowdown build to Captain Boomerang. Harley’s builds allow her to cause mayhem by slamming down on opponents or ripping through enemies with her guns.
In the next few hours, we completed relatively short missions to unlock new perks and guns, find Riddler trophies, and even leap through hoops in Riddler time trials. While Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a co-op game at heart, the fact that the squad leader controls waypoints – the player with the highest score in the previous mission – scratches a competitive itch that’s thematically perfect. Sure, I’m teaming up with others to save the world, but why let those chumps hog the spotlight?
While our party did, inevitably, come to blows with the Justice League, there are other bosses for the squad to face. One encounter has us throwing pink gunk, or Terminaut Bits as the game calls them, onto the limbs of a spider-like tank to expose weak points. It did feel like a culmination of everything else we’d done up to this point, and while I didn’t fully gel with Captain Boomerang’s abilities by this point, I could see what the game was going for here with its bosses.
With less than a month to go, I’m optimistic about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s chances, even if it’s wildly different to Rocksteady’s Arkham series. Each character with vastly different play styles gives some much-needed variety, and what I played impressed me so much that I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s unclear whether it’ll maintain this level of quality and excitement after the preview section, but I can’t wait to delve deeper and find out for myself. The fact the important DLC comes as a freebie is just the icing on this rather tantalizing cake.
Exercise some patience alongside me while we wait for the Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League release date and check out our list of upcoming PC games and the very best new PC games you can play right now.