A still shot from Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Uh Oh, Things Aren’t Looking Good for That ‘Suicide Squad’ Game!

That UI is ... awful.

Famed Batman game developer Rocksteady Studios’ latest game is out in early February, but gamers are already having cold feet over the company’s take on the Suicide Squad.

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That’s right, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is Rocksteady’s first game to skirt the Batman: Arkham name since 2009’s immensely popular Batman: Arkham Asylum put the studio on the map. Suicide Squad pulls Batman out of the player’s hands, and brings the Arkham series to everyone’s misfit anti-heroes.

In theory, all the pieces are in place for a fantastic open-world DC action-adventure experience. An open-world action-adventure shooter with the Suicide Squad? Check. Both single-player and four-player co-op? Yep. A riveting story about Brainiac brainwashing Superman, Batman, and other beloved heroes to do his evil bidding? Yup. But those promising elements aside, initial previews suggest Suicide Squad might hit store shelves in a rather mediocre state.

What’s the deal with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League?

Anxiety around Suicide Squad first cropped up after IGN previewed the game. Destin Legarie took the game to task in a January 9 piece, admitting the game just wasn’t very fun. “At least not yet,” he said.

“This team is single-handedly responsible for making some of the best combat I have ever experienced,” Legarie explained. “Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, once the fun story bits end, you’re left with a much less inspired combat system, and an open world that’s filled with tedious tasks that are more about grinding through traditional tropes like point defense or collect the material and turn it in,” he wrote, though he conceded that there’s the very real possibility that Suicide Squad’s combat system becomes more in-depth and exciting as players advance through the game.

A still shot of a brainwashed Flash in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Eurogamer offered offered a slightly more nuanced take on the game, but ultimately came to some similar criticisms, with Ed Nightingale comparing the game unfavorably to Insomniac’s recent hit Spider-Man 2—and for good reason: The original Spider-Man games expanded on the open-world superhero formula introduced by the Arkham series, pushing it to new heights.

The Suicide Squad UI controversy, explained

To make matters worse, Twitter has since hopped on the bandwagon over Suicide Squad, pointing out the game has a sinister omen that haunts every mediocre video game’s release: a God-awful UI. Twitter user @Ellis_335 went viral after making fun of a preview shot from Suicide Squad, where various UI elements are plastered across the screen, distracting and overstimulating the player. “I’m gonna throw up,” they tweeted, “what the f*ck is this UI for the Suicide Squad game?”

Things get even worse mid-game. In a followup post, they highlighted a combat sequence with so many various UI elements on the screen that it’s literally impossible to tell what the hell is going on. Seriously, I’ve stared at this image all day, and I’m still struggling to process it. It’s literally a parody of itself.

Twitter users generally agree that the game is a sharp step downward from the original Arkham games, with Second Wind’s Nick Calandra saying what the rest of us are thinking: “Seems everyone has had enough of the uninspired mission design of live-service games.”

So, is the Suicide Squad IP cursed? Will adaptation after adaptation continue to struggle with this iconic DC group? Who knows. Besides, game journalists only sat down with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League for a short time, and it would be unfair to draw any major conclusions about the game without a little more information. We’ll just have to wait until February 2 for a final conclusion.

(feature image: Warner Bros. Games)

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Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.