Suicide Squad’s Joker Season Has Players Big Mad

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League had a rocky development cycle and an even rockier launch, but players hoped that the first season of the action-adventure shooter would help right the ship. Unfortunately, the season, which introduces famed DC villain Joker, is getting absolutely shellacked on social media, with players pointing to all the hallmarks of bad live-service game design that it features.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League season 1 kicked off on March 28, nearly two months after the game’s initial launch. Almost immediately after it began, however, the official Suicide Squad Discord and other corners of the internet were flooded with a barrage of questions, comments, and concerns.

“ABSOLUTE DISASTER…Who thought it was a smart idea to lock Joker behind master 35. Only reason they did this is so you PAY for him” wrote a redditor on r/SuicideSquadGaming. “Essentially locking Joker behind a paywall or a tedious grind…What happened? This is just… sad,” laments u/Splunkmastah in the same subreddit.

Read More: Suicide Squad Game ‘Fell Short Of Expectations,’ Says WB

The 76-tier battle pass pops Joker smack in the middle of it, and according to Forbes’ Paul Tassi, reaching master 35 requires you to hit “a separate, third rank [not the battle pass or mastery ranks] that will force you to grind somewhere between 10-20 missions, depending on the mission, to reach that level.”

And playing through those missions isn’t exactly a riveting gameplay experience. “There are no new mission types at launch here. Zero,” Tassi writes. “There was supposed to be something called a ‘Stronghold’ but it may not launch until halfway through the season, and it’s not here now. Instead, the ‘new’ Incursions are either straight up killing enemies (grunts in one, brutes in one, infused enemies in one) and then the anti-aircraft gun mini-mission from the first game.”

“In order to unlock [Joker] you have to grind the same missions until you reach level 35 and then once you do you get a reskinned Lantern boss fight and a cutscene and that’s it for content,” writer Lady Emily wrote on X (formerly Twitter). The Brainiac boss fight in question is a complete reskin of a campaign mission near the end of the core game, in which the villain copies the Flash and summons enemies, helicopters, guns, and more. “It’s identical,” insists Tassi.

“I know a lot of us are mad especially those who held out hope it could improve, but some of you still make excuses for WB and say ‘well it’s live service, what did you expect,’ reads an r/SuicideSquadGaming post titled “No excuses.” That same post compares Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s take on live-service to Helldivers 2’s approach, which has regularly added new enemies, mission types, planets, hazards, and abilities since its February 8 launch. “That is how you do live service,” the post, from u/Gumgy413, states.

Suicide Squad represents a uniquely irritating trend in the games industry right now: the aggressive pivot to live-service in an attempt to get a steady drip-feed of money out of consumers. That pivot is also responsible for the convoluted mess that is Blizzard’s Overwatch 2, which just finally stopped locking new heroes behind its battle passes, and a whole host of other games (new, old, and/or in-development) that are adopting this business model in the face of unprecedented layoffs.

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