Rocksteady’s new co-op looter-shooter, Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, might not be the Batman sequel many fans wanted, but an early section of the game does offer some Arkham-like action. But this time, you are the ones being hunted by a powerful superhero hiding in the shadows.
(Spoiler alert! While the section I’m about to discuss takes place in the early hours of the game, some folks might not want any of this spoiled. If that’s you, turn around now!)
Early in Suicide Squad, players are on the run from Brainiac’s minions and mind-controlled superheroes. At one point, after an encounter with The Flash, they run into Batman. And this is the same Batman from Rocksteady’s previous Arkham games. This moment was first revealed in a trailer in 2022. This whole sequence takes place in a Batman museum that—after your run-in with the Dark Knight—also serves as a way to recap the Arkham trilogy and what happened after its final entry, Arkham Knight.
Anyway, before you get a chance to explore the museum and all its Easter eggs, Batman hunts the squad in the dark. And here, Rocksteady leverages its experience building fantastic Batman games to turn the tables on players. No longer are you hunting down scared criminals in the dark. Instead, you are the terrified criminals desperately trying to evade Batman.
Batman—who is being controlled by Brainiac and is fine with killing people—does all the things you expect from the Arkham games. He sets traps, crawls around in vents, and disappears in a puff of smoke and bats. Regardless of who you play as during this section, you’ll eventually get taken out by Batman. At that point, the game automatically gives you control of another squadmate. But they get picked off, too. Even as you try to be more careful, shooting traps or dodging Batman, it won’t matter. He will get you. And eventually, after all your squadmates have been picked off, you run around alone before…well, I won’t spoil what happens next.
While Suicide Squad is very much a looter shooter focused on gunplay and upgrading gear, this segment of the game early on is a nice hat tip to the Arkham games. Not only does it include a big museum with a ton of fun references—including one that explains why Deadshot seems so different in this game—but it also provides a nice reminder that you aren’t superheroes in this game. You are criminals. Powerful, famous criminals, sure. But still, just some criminals. The kind of thugs that Batman, in the Arkham games, would mercilessly hunt down and take out. Just like you did in Arkham Asylum, City, Origins, and Knight.
Having the game essentially start with your gang of baddies getting picked off one by one the Bat isn’t just a cool callback to Rocksteady’s past games, it’s also a way to establish your place in this universe and how you’ll need to be careful when trying to kill the Justice League. You are clearly outmatched and Batman’s early ass-kicking lets you know that.
As for the rest of the game, well, I’ll have more to say shortly. I’m not sure Suicide Squad ever quite matches this moment. Still, it’s a fantastic way to use players’ past experience as Batman to illustrate that they have fallen down the comic book food chain.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is out now for players who purchased the deluxe edition which comes with early access. It’s out for everyone else on February 2.