Skip to main content

Rocksteady's first Suicide Squad dev diary restores a bit of trust, but fundamental issues remain

Still DC's Destiny, but narrative context helps

The four main characters from Rocksteady's Suicide Squad standing in a line - Harley Quinn, King Shark, Boomerang and Deathshot
Image credit: Warner Bros Games

Warner Bros and Rocksteady have released the first of a series of development diaries for troubled comicbook schloot-me-do Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League. And it looks... OK?

Watch on YouTube

The game's fundamental conceptual hang-up remains - they've taken four DC supervillains with different powers that lend themselves to different kinds of story, and smurged them all into one big live-servicey open world spaff 'em up, strongly defined by guns. It still requires an online connection, even when playing in single player, and as far as we know, it'll still have a battle-pass with cosmetic items. But this is a lot more convincing than the first gameplay footage, mostly because it walks you through the opening sections of the game and shows you how King Shark, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and Harley Quinn acquired their open-world-friendly traversal abilities (they stole them from a Justice League museum), rather than springing them on you and expecting you to cheer at how CRAZY everything is.

We also learn about how those abilities differ, at least in theory. Harley gets a grapple gun and a Bat drone that serves as a mobile grappling point, a neat answer to the perennial Spider-Man game question of whether Spider-Man is really swinging from buildings or hooking onto thin air. Boomerang gets a gauntlet that lets him throw his boomerang and teleport to its location, a bit like Sombra in Overwatch, while also conferring bursts of super-speed on level surfaces. I quite like the sound of that.

Deadshot gets a jetpack, for less fancy 360 degree flight, and King Shark can, er, jump really high. I feel like all these techniques will blur together in practice, but there's just enough suggestion of variety to hold my interest. The same can't be said for the emphasis on guns: each hero can wield certain categories of weapon, but there appears to be plenty of overlap. In any case, as the philosopher wrote - guns in superhero games suck ass.

There's a direct nod to the developer's previous Batman Arkham games in the shape of a ranged countering system, which lets you parry an attack with bullets to various effect - some enemies will be stunned, others will get really angry.

We also get to see a bit of the game's Metropolis City, which is apparently twice the size of Arkham Knight's map, and is a Sunset Overdrivey spread of bright colours, teeming with chrome-on-purple footsoldiers deployed by the game's nemesis, Brainiac. In case you missed it, the premise is that Brainiac has mind-controlled the Justice League, which is why you have to murder them all. I feel like Rocksteady is going to stop short of actually killing the Justice League, but I'm vaguely interested to see how far they push it.

Again, none of this answers the broader misgivings about the game, which compares to Warner Bros Games' other recent four-player co-op-majig Gotham Knights in feeling like the product of dated and hubristic thinking. Has nothing been learned from the fate of Marvel's Avengers? How many of these live services do we need? I barely have room in my head for one, and I'm supposed to write about them for a living.

Read this next