Major spoilers ahead for Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League.
Whether players love or hate it, it is impossible to deny that Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is a controversial game. Essentially the scapegoat for gamers being tired of live service releases, especially from renowned singleplayer developers like Rocksteady, many are hating the game before giving it a chance. However, the anti-live service angle is not the only critique of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, as the way that the looter shooter handles Batman has also proven to be extremely divisive online – though Batman is actually treated quite well in comparison to a fellow Justice League member.
A natural consequence from giving its Suicide Squad game such a bold premise while also setting it in the beloved Arkhamverse, many players have been quick to share their outrage regarding Rocksteady following through and killing off Justice League members, especially Batman. While the game not living up to its name would have surely led to criticism as well, it likely would not have been as fierce as the anger that is currently being thrown Rocksteady’s way. Still, given how much love is shown for Batman within Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, it feels like the outrage is a bit overblown – especially when fellow League member Superman is far more underused in comparison.
Why Harley Quinn’s Independence in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Feels Unearned
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League jarringly presents a drastically different Harley Quinn than the one who mourned Joker five years prior.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League’s Batman is Actually Treated Quite Well
While fans may be disappointed to see their childhood hero killed off, Batman’s depiction in Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is actually good, even if it is different from how fans usually see him. For example, he completely dominates and overpowers Task Force X in a standout horror sequence early on in the story before going on to show his skill as a master tactician, regularly coordinating Brainiac’s forces and giving them useful tips.
Even in audio logs that provide backstory for the game, he is shown being knowledgeable enough to see Brainiac as a threat, with Superman being the one to misjudge the situation. Batman’s boss fight is a clever use of the Knightmare Batman concept introduced in Arkham Knight’s final ending, too. This is all in addition to a brilliant Arkhamverse homage with the Arkham Experience museum that shows love for that series, as well as a heartfelt tribute to actor Kevin Conroy after the credits roll.
One complaint about Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League’s Batman is that Rocksteady is killing off a brainwashed version of the character in what could have been Kevin Conroy’s final performance as the hero. However, it has since been made clear that Conroy will be voicing him in a few animated projects, so this point is moot.
Ultimately, it seems like the outrage regarding Batman exclusively comes down to his death, yet this death scene is hardly distasteful. It isn’t played for laughs with the squad filling Batman full of bullets, but is instead far more personal, with Harley delivering a single kill shot to finish Batman off after they have a heated conversation in a park. Rain then falls from the sky after the trigger is pulled, making the moment a fairly solemn one, with Harley even remarking that the “real” Batman would have wanted her to kill this twisted version – something he basically says himself in his message about how to kill the League if they ever go rogue. Realistically, Batman is not treated as unfairly as the internet has made out, and it would have made little sense for him to escape the brainwashing and have a heroic final moment like so many seemingly wanted.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League’s Superman Deserved Something More
However, though Batman was used well, and most of the other League members have memorable roles, Superman in particular feels like a letdown. Not only is his boss fight brief for someone of his immense power, but his story role is oddly limited. He may kill Wonder Woman, but for someone used so heavily in the game’s marketing, he only really interacts with the Suicide Squad for a few brief moments prior to his boss fight. This is a genuine shame, as the Man of Steel could have done so much more. He arguably should have, too, given that Metropolis is his city and he should naturally be heavily involved in what is happening within it. With the game’s setting full of graffiti where civilians are wondering where Superman has gone, it feels like Rocksteady is building up to a huge shift with Supes’ debut, but sadly he comes and goes within a few missions.
Narratively, it feels like there was a big missed opportunity with Rocksteady’s version of Lois Lane, as players never see her interact with the brainwashed Superman directly – whether that be mourning him or attempting to get through to him. A scene or two between Lex and Clark was also nowhere to be seen, despite Luthor being a key player in the story. Considering how the brilliant Nolan North portrays Superman in the game, more cinematics featuring the character would have been a win for Kill The Justice League.
In terms of gameplay, Superman really could have used a second interaction like what the Flash, Batman, and Green Lantern had. Whether it was Green Lantern showing Task Force X Braniac’s damage to Metropolis, the Flash toying with the group and trapping them in a tornado, or Batman bullying the Suicide Squad in the Arkham experience, all of these moments stood out. Perhaps the Son of Krypton could have chased players through Metropolis to highlight Kill The Justice League’s great traversal, or beaten them down to the point where Lex has to intervene. For Brainiac’s heavy hitter, he simply is not enough of an obstacle for the protagonists.
How Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Shows It’s the Perfect Time for LEGO Batman 4
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League surprisingly makes a strong case for the next LEGO Batman game to come out in the near future.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League Isn’t Really About Batman or Superman
That said, Rocksteady’s latest game is about the Suicide Squad, with the tone, gameplay, and narrative suiting the title and its over-the-top anti-heroes. Despite many wanting it to be a Batman game (or a Superman game), it isn’t, and his role is just fine for a game where he is a supporting character. Letting Batman live or go out a hero would have been strange when every other mind controlled League member bites the bullet, especially when Bruce Wayne lacks the superpowers of his fellow heroes. Though there are fair criticisms to make in regard to Kill The Justice League’s story, like Tim Drake’s possible death happening off-screen, Harley’s hugely different opinion on Joker, and Superman’s strangely small role, the Batman complaints feel overly harsh, with the entire situation resembling games like The Last of Us 2 where fans are lashing out primarily because a beloved character has died.