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Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League review – Batman’s not dead, but he’s gone a bit wrong… and the fate of the world now lies in the hands of Harley Quinn, writes PETER HOSKIN


Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £69.99)

Verdict: Bring back the good Batman

Rating:

At least half of my personality is based on Batman. And at least half of that is based on the Batman-starring Arkham games.

So I’ve been at something of a loss since the last game in the series, 2015’s Arkham Knight – and the apparent death of my role model.

But now, at last, there’s a follow-up. Of sorts.

With the morbidly titled Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, the makers of Arkham, Rocksteady Studios, reveal that Batman didn’t actually snuff it. 

Instead, he made friends with Superman, Wonder Woman and a bunch of other heroes, before they (almost) all got their minds taken over by the super villainous Brainiac and turned evil. So: Evil Batman it now is.

Batman made friends with Superman (pictured), Wonder Woman and a bunch of other heroes, before they (almost) all got their minds taken over by the super villainous Brainiac and turned evil

Batman made friends with Superman (pictured), Wonder Woman and a bunch of other heroes, before they (almost) all got their minds taken over by the super villainous Brainiac and turned evil

It's down to a bunch of ne'er-do-wells - the Suicide Squad of the title, including maniacal Harley Quinn (pictured) and gun-lovin' Deadshot - to take on the (former) good guys, save the world, that sort of thing

It’s down to a bunch of ne’er-do-wells – the Suicide Squad of the title, including maniacal Harley Quinn (pictured) and gun-lovin’ Deadshot – to take on the (former) good guys, save the world, that sort of thing

It’s down to a bunch of ne’er-do-wells – the Suicide Squad of the title, including maniacal Harley Quinn and gun-lovin’ Deadshot – to take on the (former) good guys, save the world, that sort of thing.

As setups go, it’s pretty enticing. And, at first, the execution of it is decent, too.

The new location, Superman’s city of Metropolis, is big and detailed. The voice and animation work that’s gone into the antagonist-protagonists is some of the best I’ve ever seen. 

The fighting and movement are just so, so slick. Even compared to the Arkham games, it’s clear that this is Rocksteady’s blockbuster.

But, after a few hours, the doubts start to creep in. For a game that lets you swap between a giant shark-man-thing and a zoomster with a boomerang, the main characters all feel a little samey in the hands.

The story ends up being an abrupt, rather than luxurious, experience.

The new location, Superman's city of Metropolis, is big and detailed. The voice and animation work that's gone into the antagonist-protagonists is some of the best I've ever seen

The new location, Superman’s city of Metropolis, is big and detailed. The voice and animation work that’s gone into the antagonist-protagonists is some of the best I’ve ever seen

The fighting and movement are just so, so slick. Even compared to the Arkham games, it's clear that this is Rocksteady's blockbuster

The fighting and movement are just so, so slick. Even compared to the Arkham games, it’s clear that this is Rocksteady’s blockbuster

But, after a few hours, the doubts start to creep in. For a game that lets you swap between a giant shark-man-thing and a zoomster with a boomerang, the main characters all feel a little samey in the hands

But, after a few hours, the doubts start to creep in. For a game that lets you swap between a giant shark-man-thing and a zoomster with a boomerang, the main characters all feel a little samey in the hands

And then it all becomes clear: unlike the Arkham series, this is one of those persistent looter-shooters that seemed poised to take over gaming about five years ago. 

You’re meant to keep on at it, permanently online, with your friends. New storylines, costumes and weapons will be added in future – presumably for a fee.

Hmm. Maybe it’s time for me to find a new role model.

Banishers: Ghosts Of New Eden (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £49.99)

Verdict: Standout storytelling, standard gameplay

Rating:

If there’s  something strange in 17th-century New England, who you gonna call? The Banishers, it turns out: a pair of sword-wielding, incantation-speaking freelancers who can, well, banish errant ghosts back to the spirit world.

One is called Antea, a wise and worldly ghostbuster from Cuba. The other is Red, a bluff Scot who is Antea’s apprentice – and soulmate. They seem to be good at their jobs and good for each other… until Antea dies and becomes a ghost herself.

That is the setup for Banishers: The Ghosts Of New Eden, but it also suggests many of the game’s charms. 

Here is a wonderfully dark fairy tale, set in a carefully rendered world, populated by characters whose lives intertwine in meaningful, believable ways. And ghosts. Lots of ghosts.

If there's something strange in 17th-century New England, who you gonna call? The Banishers, it turns out: a pair of sword-wielding, incantation-speaking freelancers who can, well, banish errant ghosts back to the spirit world

If there’s something strange in 17th-century New England, who you gonna call? The Banishers, it turns out: a pair of sword-wielding, incantation-speaking freelancers who can, well, banish errant ghosts back to the spirit world

One is called Antea, a wise and worldly ghostbuster from Cuba. The other is Red, a bluff Scot who is Antea's apprentice - and soulmate. They seem to be good at their jobs and good for each other¿ until Antea dies and becomes a ghost herself

One is called Antea, a wise and worldly ghostbuster from Cuba. The other is Red, a bluff Scot who is Antea’s apprentice – and soulmate. They seem to be good at their jobs and good for each other… until Antea dies and becomes a ghost herself

Here is a wonderfully dark fairy tale, set in a carefully rendered world, populated by characters whose lives intertwine in meaningful, believable ways

Here is a wonderfully dark fairy tale, set in a carefully rendered world, populated by characters whose lives intertwine in meaningful, believable ways

Whenever I was wandering the New England countryside as Red, getting involved with other people's personal horror stories, weighing up whether to make terrible compromises to bring Antea back to life, I was convinced I was playing a game-of-the-year contender

Whenever I was wandering the New England countryside as Red, getting involved with other people’s personal horror stories, weighing up whether to make terrible compromises to bring Antea back to life, I was convinced I was playing a game-of-the-year contender

The sword-and-spell fights in Banishers aren't exactly bad, they're just very standard with these sorts of RPGish adventure games

The sword-and-spell fights in Banishers aren’t exactly bad, they’re just very standard with these sorts of RPGish adventure games

It shouldn’t be a surprise that a game by the French studio Don’t Nod – makers of the Life Is Strange games and Vampyr – excels in the areas of narrative and character. And it really does excel. 

Whenever I was wandering the New England countryside as Red, getting involved with other people’s personal horror stories, weighing up whether to make terrible compromises to bring Antea back to life, I was convinced I was playing a game-of-the-year contender.

The problem, however, is everything else. The sword-and-spell fights in Banishers aren’t exactly bad, they’re just very standard with these sorts of RPGish adventure games. 

The enemies, the semi-open world, the fast travel systems… it’s all so reminiscent of a hundred other games you’ve played before, but in a game that could have stood out for its differences.

The upshot is an experience at turns exhilarating and slightly disappointing.

Come for the supernatural romance; return to the corporeal world when you’ve tired of the rest.



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