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Suicide Squad Previews Paint A Pretty ‘Meh’ Picture

The first hands-on previews of WB and Rocksteady’s upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League are live now across multiple outlets. And while some folks enjoyed playing the co-op shooter more than others, the general vibe I got after reading all of these previews is not great. The consensus is that Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad is a hodgepodge of generic open-world missions and clunky traversal mechanics that combine to create an underwhelming experience.

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Announced back in 2020, and delayed a few times since then, Suicide Squad is Rocksteady’s upcoming co-op supervillain adventure set in the same universe as its earlier Batman: Arkham games. Since its announcement, fans haven’t been terribly excited about the game, partially because it isn’t a new Batman game and partially because every time fans see more of it—via trailers or leaks—it looks more and more like a live-service game with plenty of optional purchases, even if Rocksteady seems unwilling to admit that. But these new previews seem to confirm that yeah, Suicide Squad is a lot like Destiny and other live-service RPG-shooters.

Across the various previews that went live today, one of the most common—and troubling— complaints is that missions aren’t much fun and start to blend together, even in an abbreviated five-hour demo.

Suicide Squad features boring missions

Repetitive missions can still be fun to grind, if the combat is a joy to play. I’ve sunk far too many hours in Destiny 2 over the years not because it has incredible open-world missions and public events—let’s be real here: they are basically all the same—but instead, it’s the satisfying and rewarding combat that keeps me around.

Sadly, a number of Suicide Squad previews found the combat and traversal clunky and complained that the characters don’t feel satisfyingly distinct from one another. There were also concerns about how chaotic and hard to parse the world and action is during big fights. And outside of combat, it sounds like the open world of Metropolis isn’t all that interesting.

WB Games / DC

Interestingly, Riddler Trophies are apparently back and hidden around the open world, though bringing back those iconic collectibles seems like Rocksteady trying to tap into nostalgia for the Arkham games and distract from the Destiny-like looter-shooter that is Suicide Squad. And it is very much that kind of game, with previews mentioning that you collect loot to upgrade your power level and that you’ll grind out open-world activities to level up and collect resources.

I can’t wait to play as a giant shark man who has to stop every few minutes to ponder which machine gun variant I’ll use in my next “Defend The Point” mission.

Some good news about Suicide Squad

It’s not all bad though! Nearly every preview mentioned that the cutscenes are superb, with solid writing and even some genuinely funny jokes. And the narrative seems to be a strong point, with good characterization and banter between and during fights.

Another common point of praise was the way the game balances co-op and competition. Generally speaking, you are working together as a team, regardless if you play alone with bots or group up with some friends. But during missions and other activities, the game tracks your score compared to your teammates and lets the winner celebrate a bit. And losers can taunt the winning player, too. It’s a neat idea, though it might grow old fast after doing the same open-world mission for the 100th time.

Overall, the previews for Suicide Squad don’t fill me with much hope that this game will avoid becoming the next superhero flop, like Gotham Knights or The Avengers. 

Even as Rocksteady teases that Arkham Knight’s 100% ending will factor into the story and promise that all content added to the game—besides cosmetics—will be free to unlock, I’m still left wondering if anyone will care after playing the game. A fun story and future content is nice, but only if the game is fun to play. And right now, I’m not sure Suicide Squad will be when it releases in February on Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC.

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