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The first big AAA release of 2024 sounds like it's going to be a dud

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is previewing much poorer than any other major release in recent memory.

It looks like all of our fears about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League might end up being true, at least going off the vibes of people who actually played it. Developer Rocksteady recently invited games media and content creators to go hands-on with the upcoming shooter for the first time.

Naturally, all of them had a lot of things to say about their time with it, and the overall verdict is surprisingly negative.

While it's true Suicide Squad always invited a lot of criticisms, which potentially caused a big release delay, we all assumed things would make more sense when you go hands-on with it, or perhaps the delay itself would take out some of the things we didn't like or change them dramatically.

Looking at previews published this week, the prevailing feeling is that the RPG mechanics, Destiny-style gear, numbers flying out of enemies as you shoot them etc. are not a good fit for the type of game Suicide Squad is.

IGN's preview called out the repetitive nature of the game's combat, which relies heavily on three-to-four core moves. Unlike Destiny, however, those core mechanics are not satisfying enough to carry the experience, so it ends up dragging it down. The same preview also cited "messy and tired open-world missions" as another element that makes playing the game more of a drag.

ComicBook's preview was particularly fond of the game's movement and traversal mechanics, and how they give each of the four members of the squad their own character in how they navigate the environment. That said, it did call out just how busy the screen gets during combat, with all the different colours, weak point indicators and general chaos. ComicBook, too, was not fond of the open-world mission design - another recurring take in these previews.

Maybe not quite as anticipated as a game from Rocksteady should.

Likewise, GameSpot noted the bland design of missions that aren't part of the main narrative. Rocksteady is positioning Suicide Squad as a live service game, so it's banking on a lot of that repeatable content to keep players around, which so far doesn't look like it's going to work. GameSpot also wasn't impressed with The Flash boss fight, which is disappointing considering those fights play a major part in the game.

Eurogamer found the movement mechanics to be fine, but not as fluid or intuitive as something like Spider-Man 2. It was, however, one of the more positive on the game's combat, calling the mix of melee juggles and shooting satisfying.

Most previews seem to agree that Suicide Squad's strongest element is its narrative. The game does appear to be truly about letting you take on members of the Justice League turned evil. Some of the footage shows the aforementioned fight against The Flash, for instance, though that has yet again drawn criticisms about how it feels to play.

The strong presentation of past Rocksteady games appears intact, too, so you can at least look forward to an engaging story, beautiful cutscenes, and top-notch voice talent driving its characters. Banter amongst the squad seems to be another standout element.

Rocksteady said in interviews that it knew the game would be controversial.

Suicide Squad, of course, is a mere few weeks away. For a game coming out on February 2, what we see now is very likely a near-final build, so there isn't really any room for major tweaks. Obviously, it's best to reserve judgement until reviews of the final product are out, but it's hard to deny how poorly its prospects look after this.

Kill the Justice League might still end up finding its own niche. Although it's being compared to the often maligned Marvel's Avengers, even that game had its own strengths that attracted some players - though perhaps not enough for it to live on.

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