Gotham City: the home of Batman, along with thousands of denizens who either look to the skies for the caped crusader when in need, or faithfully follow his crazed evil nemesis, the Joker. But there’s also the demented wannabes that will do anything to try and gain their 15 minutes of fame and Gotham City Impostors shoves the iconic characters to the wayside and gives these idiots exactly what they deserve: more guns, ammo and gadgets than you can throw a Batarang at and turns them loose on each other to dispose of themselves.
Bats vs. Jokers is the name of the game in this class-based first person shooter. Taking cues from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise, the fast paced action, solid gunplay, tight controls and perk systems are instantly familiar, but we’re no longer in Afghanistan. Gotham City is a place where superheroes reside and they’ve got awesome weapons and gadgets at their disposal. Whether you’re gliding around the maps with the glide ring, roller-skating, high jumping with the spring boots or running around invisible, each gadget brings its own unique flare to the gameplay and combined they bring a new dynamic to combat that could only be possible in the land of the Bat.
Character classes also mix up the game's dynamics too. You could be a thin, fast character that’s hard to shoot but extremely low on the health front, or a walking human tank that’s slow as molasses, but has more health points than brains: the choice is up to you. When you factor in the weapons, weapon mods, support items and multiple perks you can add into one single loadout, you’ve got so many play style options to wrap your brain around that you just might find yourself in the nuthouse with the Joker himself. We’ve been a lowlife impostor for quite some time now and we’ve witnessed the gameplay evolve from mostly on-foot warfare to intense wackiness, as impostors broke out of their comfort zones and started bouncing, flying, skating and disappearing at random in the middle of fire fights. Just like catching an upward air draft with the Glider Ring, the game’s intensity has soared higher and higher; pulling its fun factor right along with it.
Does all of this sound a bit crazy? We hope so, because it is and the developers know it too. From the hysterical intro video and tutorials to the online gameplay modes, the game is packed full of slapstick humour and tongue-in-cheek one-liners, and is always good for a laugh or two. Even the character customisation items that can be unlocked offer a great mix of items to make your impostors look and sound absolutely ridiculous.
The recent Batman: Arkham City featured dark graphics and sounds to set the game’s moody atmosphere, but these have both been strapped onto a Batarang and tossed off a cliff. Bright, colourful visuals pop off the screen and while the graphics aren’t going to win any awards compared to retail titles, they look good for a downloadable game and fit its style perfectly.
Three online multiplayer game modes are currently available: Team Deathmatch, Fumigation (Sabotage) and Psychological Warfare (Capture the Flag). The limited amount of gameplay modes is a valid complaint, but with downloadable games this could actually help keep the servers full years down the road. Each mode plays well and the map designs are wonderfully balanced to fit the all of the zany gadgets at your disposal. There’s also an offline Challenge Mode where you can perfect your gadget skills for high scores and medals; it’s a nice distraction from the online gameplay, and also lends a hand to teaching the basics of using the multiple gameplay variations available.
Typical of almost any online game in today’s world, GCI already has scheduled updates incoming in the near future, promising a new free map and dedicated servers, which are needed for host migration and faster pre-game lobbies, two technical issues we’ve found. One of the more controversial options is the use of micro transactions, allowing the ability to purchase character upgrades and experience boosters for actual money, for those who don’t want to put the time in to unlock them. While this could create balancing issues, upon levelling up, you’ll gain unlock points in each category (e.g. primary weapons, gadgets, mods, characters, etc.) and all of the weapons and items are available from the start, but you can only purchase one item per unlock point. Those who spend money on unlocks will only gain access to having more custom loadouts faster than those who obtain it through gameplay and thankfully, it doesn’t create balancing issues.
Gotham City Impostors takes the wild idea of throwing out the iconic characters of Gotham City and giving the idiotic impostors of these iconic characters their 15 minutes of fame. Somehow this recipe for disaster mixes itself into humorous online shooter with enough customisations and unique gameplay styles to flap its fun factor up high. A few technical limitations aside, it’s time to become the impostor and spend an endless amount of hours mindlessly addicted to the high flying, Batman-less action at stake, or the joke’s on you for missing out.