A Refreshing Take on Both Batman and Multiplayer Shooters
You can look at Gotham City Imposters as a kind of time capsule for the first person shooter genre from 2007 till now. Almost every single popular concept from the most popular first person shooters is here in some way, shape or form with many coming from the flagship shooters ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and ‘Team Fortress 2’. This seems like a somewhat successful recipe but with the added boost of the Batman property, Monolith has created something that despite borrowing bits and pieces from other franchises has it only unique style and can definitely stand on its own.
Gotham City Imposters is a team-based first person shooter set in the Batman universe, but oddly enough there is no Batman insight. Instead of playing as the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime you play as imposters of the classic comic book characters that form two sides: the Batman Imposter gang ‘Bats’ and the Joker fakers known as ‘Jokerz’ (and yes, that’s with a ‘z’). You’ll be playing your standard Team Deathmatch, a capture the flag variant in which capture a battery for your teams mind control device and a King of the Hill variant in which both teams try to capture propaganda stations around the map. While the core mechanics seem incredibly basic what makes it fun is integrating the style of the game into the objectives. For example instead of capping the flag with no fanfare as in many multiplayer shooters the opposing team are temporarily mind controlled which gives CTF more of a manic feeling to it when you’re helplessly running away from the enemy.
That is the one word description of Gotham City Imposters: manic. Plenty of things are happening on screen in any match of Gotham City Imposters and that’s partly because of the unique tools the play has to use. Transversal is a big thing Gotham City Imposters tries to improve and pulls it off to perfection. Players can choose gadgets as part of their load out. These include a glider, hookshot, rollerblades, spring shoes and more. These are always available to the players at all times. With these tools players can go from one side of the map to the other making the match not only incredibly fast but immensely satisfying.
One of things Imposters uses from other first person shooters is the almost mandatory progression system. As standard when get kills and capture objectives they earn experience, which can be used to buy new weapons, perks, gadgets and more importantly cosmetics for both your Batman and your Joker. This is where the aesthetics really shine.
Of course with Bruce Wayne’s riches and Joker’s... talent of acquiring things the average Joe Citizen cannot actually be the Batman and the Joker so what’s the best thing to do? Improvise! These Batman aren’t wearing state-of-the-art body armor. These Jokers aren’t wearing the fanciest purple suits. They’re wearing cardboard cowls and pizza jerseys and it’s all customisable. This also includes voice packs with some really funny but sometimes repetitive dialogue though the pitch slider is a nice touch. They look like the worst Batman cosplayers and it’s all fantastic. It’s colourful, it’s corny, it’s funny and it’s great.
Unfortunately what is not great is the matchmaking and connection issues. Multiple times I’ve gotten in full lobby only to be dropped right before the game starts. Of course this being a multiplayer only game (which a few offline challenges) this can stop your fun and momentum dead. Oddly enough once you actually get into a game its runs smooth with no lag or framerate hitches.
This is a kind of game I think I’m going to be part of minority in when it comes to what I think about it. You either you hate it or love it. Fortunately for me I love it. Despite a few issues with connections and a lack of maps Gotham City Imposters makes manic little twists of both the team-based first person shooter and the Batman franchise. I cannot say you should go out and buy it now but what I do want is for you to download the trial and play through it. Whether you like it or not it’s worth looking at.
Review Note: This review was based on the Xbox 360 version. Currently there are issues with both PC and PS3. Please look into these issues before you make a purchase decision.