Rocksteady may be behind Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, but don't expect a game that's anything like the Batman: Arkham series. Sure, there are references to the series in the latest Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League trailer, and Rocksteady has made it clear that it's an extension of the Arkham-verse - but where the Batman: Arkham series was dark, serious, and singularly focused on the titular character, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will offer up technicolor four-person chaos with a twisted sense of humor. You'll play as one of four characters: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark, who have been brought together as Task Force X by Amanda Waller (played by Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order's Debra Wilson) to kill the Justice League.
As someone who enjoyed but never beat the entire Batman: Arkham series - mostly because of the difficulty - I'm ready to sink my teeth into Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The Batman games' puzzles, tough boss battles, and serious themes made it hard for me to persevere during its more difficult bits, but Rocksteady's latest is more casual in both vibes and combat. Not only is the Suicide Squad's unique brand of humor present throughout, but the game will let players tackle the undeniably difficult combat - we're fighting Superman, guys - with friends in four-person co-op. Without even seeing gameplay, it's clear that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will have more variety and choice when it comes to playthroughs, and that's got me very intrigued.
I don't doubt that Rocksteady's upcoming title (due out sometime in 2022 for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC) will be difficult. But it seems like a much more approachable difficulty level than the Batman: Arkham series thanks to the co-op options, skill variety, and sense of humor. It's a helluva easier to persevere through a difficult game when it's making you laugh, am I right?
The Killing Joke
Batman is dead in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and the somber seriousness of the Arkham games has died with him. Rocksteady built a vast and impressive world in the previous series that showed the darkest parts of Gotham's criminal underbelly in all its grey-tinged glory. But, like Dorothy entering a debauched version of Oz, this next chapter in the Arkham-verse is bright and brash down to the last pixel.
The latest Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League trailer features several Arkham callbacks, from the very first combat area inside the asylum itself to the various tools of the previous series' trade (including Batman's grappling gun and a junked Batmobile). However, soon after we're given a set of obvious Easter eggs referencing the iconic series, the trailer literally and figuratively takes us out of their shadow and into the light of a new city: Metropolis. Not only is the squad in Metropolis during the daytime (a stark contrast to the forever night of the Arkham games), but the city is colorful and vibrant, with antagonist Brainiac's purple hues interspersed throughout.
But the visual vibes aren't the only way Suicide Squad is switching things up in the wake of the Arkham series. It's clear from the trailer this is the merry band of twisted misfits we've come to know and love through comics, movies, TV, and more. These guys are all sorts of weird, from Captain Boomerang's questionable personal hygiene to Harley Quinn's perpetually unhinged energy. The final scene in the trailer gives us a proper look at just how twisted this squad is: popular villain Penguin is attempting to escape, so Amanda Waller activates the chip in his head, sending an electrical shock dancing across his body. He falls to the ground, but Harley radios in claiming he's still trying to run away. "Hitting him again," Waller says with all the perfect seriousness that only Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order's Debra Wilson can impart. Penguin's lifeless body jerks with electrical shockwaves before King Shark excitedly asks Waller to "blow up his head.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a far cry from the Batman: Arkham series in looks, themes, and personality. It's like the fun younger sister to the serious and successful older brother. Who would you want to party with?
Despite its lighter tones, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will likely offer up some seriously difficult gameplay scenarios like its predecessors. But unlike the Arkham games, you'll be able to take on tough moments like fighting Superman or chasing down the Flash in four-player co-op. Finally, I can blame other people for why I can't beat an especially difficult section.
The four-player co-op will fill in with bots if you can't get a squad of your friends together, which won't' be as helpful as having three full-fledged humans supporting you, but will still be a helluva easier than a lot of the Arkham games' most tricky set pieces. You'll also be able to swap between the characters if you're playing with AI teammates, each of which has different skill sets that will change up the watch you approach a fight or a puzzle (if Suicide Squad ends up having them). Deadshot will have a jetpack that can set enemies on fire, Harley Quinn has her baseball bat melee weapon and Batman's repurposed grappling guns, King Shark has a giant machine gun and some impressive brute strength, and Captain Boomerang has his boomerangs. Each character will have its own abilities and skills you can level up, and each their own strengths and weaknesses. As a fast-moving fan of shooters, I initially think Deadshot may be the move for me, but if one of the other characters is more agile, I may end up favoring them.
The fact that there's a ton of choices on the table makes Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League way more enticing for a player like me. I like to know I can approach a problem from multiple angles and with several different tools on my belt, and four distinct characters offer a variety I so desperately need in tough gameplay scenarios. The co-op aspect also means you'll be able to enjoy it with friends and likely enjoy replaying Suicide Squad, as each playthrough should be different depending on which friend plays which character.
All of this bodes well for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. We may not have seen any gameplay yet, but if Rocksteady is pulling from Batman: Arkham's strengths while simultaneously expanding its horizons, expect this upcoming game to be bloody fantastic.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is coming to PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC sometime in 2022. Here are all the new games coming in 2021 and beyond.