This week, British video game developers Rocksteady finally released their long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Batman: Arkham Knight, in the form of the open-world co-op shooter, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The game is set within the same shared universe as Rocksteady’s previous DC video games, though it offers a completely new perspective and gameplay style, allowing players to indulge in their most villainous fantasies. Unfortunately, the general consensus seems to be that the game doesn’t live up to the standard set by the developers nearly a decade ago, with many reviewers and average gamers alike voicing their concerns on social media.
For starters, the muddled canon of the new Suicide Squad game has left some fans to feel that the studio has tarnished the otherwise stellar reputation of their previous DC outings. Some fans specifically took to social media to disavow the story beats present in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, even referring to the game’s writing as “fanfic level garbage.”
Gamers seem to specifically take issue with the game fulfilling its eponymous promise to kill members of the justice league, especially Kevin Conroy’s Batman. In an unavoidable story beat in the Suicide Squad game, Batman is killed after being shot at point-blank range, in a sequence which many fans find insulting to the iconic character who served as the playable protagonist in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Knight.
While the game’s narrative is clearly designed to be divisive by providing fans with an alternate take on their favorite DC do-gooders, many gamers feel that the trivialization of Conroy’s Batman cheapens the work put into the Arkham trilogy, as well as the prolific voice actor’s hard work. Furthermore, die-hard fans seem to agree that it shouldn’t functionally be possible for these Suicide Squad characters to overpower members of the Justice League when Batman was routinely capable of beating hordes of goons to a pulp in previous outings without breaking a sweat.
Even for fans that don’t mind the game’s writing or story elements, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is said to contain many of the worst elements in modern gaming, including micro transactions, a pay-to-win online model, and a terrible, cluttered user interface which makes the game difficult to focus on and play. Unfortunately, the DC owned game has also inspired a great deal of political vitriol, due in large part to certain elements of progressive inclusion, including the depiction of a rainbow flag.
Certain circles of video game enthusiasts and comic book fandoms have been known to court toxic personalities who aren’t accepting of other peoples’ inclusion, resulting in several video games being review-bombed for the mere mention of a gay or transgender character. While it seems clear that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League certainly has problems, these vocal gamers can make it difficult to parse through the discourse, as their foul comments have a 50/50 chance of being directed at the mere suggestion of inclusion for certain marginalized groups. Furthermore, some players have taken to bullying or harassing Rocksteady game developers for their hand in bringing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to life, which is obviously abhorrent and should not be tolerated.
Perhaps there’s still an opportunity for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to find its footing, be re-tooled with updates, and find its core audience. Unfortunately, for now, the game seems to be a massive dumpster fire, with gamers on social media sharing near-universal displeasure.