Rocksteady stays true to its narrative roots and brings fresh, chaotic combat on February 2.
In the new year, Rocksteady returns with a fresh addition to the beloved Arkhamverse with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, a third-person action shooter launching February 2 on PS5.
I recently had a chance to play the game, including a basic tutorial on each character’s traversal and combat, co-op missions, and a climactic boss battle against The Fastest Man Alive. Let’s dive into the hijinks these antiheroes have up their sleeves.
Move with meaning
The hands-on experience began with tutorials to introduce each character’s specific traversal and combat mechanics. Through these lessons, I gained a grasp on how each character’s movement uniquely influences their combat abilities.
“It’s not traversal and combat,” says Rocksteady Advanced Combat Designer Noel Chamberlain. “They’re both really intertwined…everything is seamless.”
For example, King Shark’s athletic traversal and combat are intuitive. His Apex Pounce, a traversal mechanic that launches the big fish into the sky, is a simple way to get moving. Once in the air, he can swim through the clouds to gain speed, setting himself up for a dive bomb landing to viciously melee attack foes via combat knives.
Harley Quinn and Deadshot’s movement mechanics are very different from each other but share similarities in that gaining speed while traversing heavily relies on sliding. This nimble slide is useful while waiting on the cooldowns for Harley’s Grapnel Gun (thanks Batman) and Deadshot’s jetpack.
“The movement is a huge part of the skill in this game, and we built it to have complexity very deliberately so players can get better and learn the intricacies over time,” says Rocksteady Production Manager Jack Hackett.
Perfecting the slide timing to keep momentum once on the ground can be tricky, but nailing the rhythm is so satisfying that you’ll look forward to mastering the mechanics. For Harley, the ability to adjust the length of your grapple rope after deploying also makes for a helpful tool in strategically attacking from above.
Captain Boomerang’s abilities appear to have a steeper learning curve while also boasting a high return on investment for wreaking havoc. Boomerang utilizes a Speed Force Gauntlet (courtesy of Dr. Sivana) triggered by holding R1 and pointing your cursor in the desired direction. Once successfully activated, you’re launched in what seems like a millisecond. How you aim and angle your launch is crucial in setting yourself up for strategic chaos.
Feel good while doin’ bad
Story cinematics followed character tutorials, leading me into co-op gameplay missions throughout Metropolis. Cinematics are dripping with the cast’s rag-tag charisma, and I frequently giggled at the witty banter between the Squad members. Compared to many games where the protagonist’s mission is led by virtue and honor, the Suicide Squad has none of that, creating a light-hearted and sarcastic tone throughout.
“They (Suicide Squad) are brash, impulsive, mean, argumentative and rude,” says Jack Hackett. “And normally when you’re behaving like that in a game you feel like you’re breaking the rules…but with the squad you can be as mean or silly as you like and it all fits the story.”
Express your personal flair and attitude through silly actions you can trigger during downtime.
The co-op missions were my first true introduction to the open-world Metropolis. The City of Tomorrow is sprawling and immerses players with expansive, sun-kissed cityscapes that make for a traversal playground in any direction you look. The overall detail of the open-world is impressive, from weathered building sides to the train lines running throughout the massive city.
DC fans will be pleased when exploring to discover DC easter eggs planted all over, from a Zatana ad posted on a city building side to discovering Clark Kent’s desk when sent on a mission to recover data from the Daily Planet.
Squad up in co-op
In my experience playing the story missions in co-op, the team dynamic added enthusiasm and presented challenges that stressed the importance of cohesion as one unit. Once headed to a mission objective as a squad you’re quickly reminded of the high stakes present, as stragglers who fall too far behind the pack are considered deserters, leading to literal mind-blowing consequences (brain bomb detonation courtesy of Task Force X leader Amanda Waller). The massive open-world Metropolis can make it difficult to keep tabs on the full team, but it’ll also be crucial for rushing to a downed team member’s aid.
Taking on The Flash
To put a bow on the hands-on experience, I finished up the day with a climactic showdown versus the Justice League’s very own Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash. The battle takes place at a space-themed amusement park located in Metropolis, which almost feels like an arena surrounded by buildings and an overhead bridge that adds verticality to the space.
Be warned that the Flash you face here is not the typical lovable hero that we all know. Though he keeps his wits about him, this Flash is marked with red glowing eyes and seemingly rotten, veiny skin signifying Brainiac’s corruption over him.
The key to taking down Flash is executing Critical Counters to deflect his attacks and charge your character’s Decoupler, which acts as a shield against his Speed Force attacks. Once your Speed Force protection is charged up, the challenge becomes putting yourself in a position to shoot down the speedster.
Taking advantage of the full area and using buildings to create vantage points as Flash zips around the battleground is key. As the battle heats up, stay aware of the surrounding chaos and be sure to evade the Speed Force tornadoes Flash hurls your way.
Prepare to squad up and hit the mean streets of Metropolis when Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League launches February 2 on PS5.