Not Really Batman, But Still Really Fun!
Written by Super User
Published Sunday, 26 February 2012 19:00
When Gotham City Impostors was announced last year, most of us didn’t know what to make of it. I remember some folks thinking that it might have been a joke, some sort of viral advertisement for a forthcoming “real” Batman game. “Guns in a Batman game?” “Batman isn’t in it, but people are dressed up AS Batman??” The questions continued on, but when Monolith Productions released the beta for the game late last year, all of the queries were answered.
Gotham City Impostors is an online multiplayer-only shooter that pits teams of Batman clones against people dressed up as Jokers....or, as the game refers to them, Team Bats and Team Jokerz. The concept is pulled straight from the pages of Detective Comics: amateur thugs dress up in red, white, green and purple as an homage to the Joker, while vigilante crime-fighting citizens don improvised Batman outfits, and try to stop the enemy using any means necessary.
The game has three modes of online mayhem, and all of them pit six players against six others: Team Deathmatch, Fumigation, and Psych Warfare. Team Deathmatch is your standard team kill mode, with respawns. Fumigation is a variation of Call of Duty’s Domination mode: there are three Gasblasters situated around the map, and once a team captures two of three, they blast out a toxic gas that overtakes the losing side. Once one team reaches 100% captured, they win the match. Psych Warfare blends Capture the Flag and King of the Hill together. Teams must rush to obtain a battery and return it to their respective side to plug it into a brain-washing machine, and then defend it for roughly thirty seconds. The round lasts ten minutes, and whichever team has the most amount of battery returns wins the round.
"Gotham City Impostors is online multiplayer gaming in its purest form: straightforward, fun, easy to pick up, deep enough to satisfy the hardcore, boasts an active community, and it’s very accessible."
The closest thing to a single-player component is the Challenge mode. Each map offers different challenges to complete in order to garner experience points that can be used on your multiplayer character.
One of the highlights of the game is customization. Aside from being able to choose how your character looks and dresses, every weapon can be customized as well. Players can choose from dozens of combinations, ranging from different bullets and weapon enhancements, right down to vocal taunts and special character traits that aid in combat. As you complete matches and earn kills and assists, your XP goes up and allows for more unlocked weapons and seemingly countless modifications.
The real beauty of Gotham City Impostors lies in the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not a hardcore shooter in the vein of a Battlefield or Gears of War, but it’s not so vulgar and over-the-top as a Duke Nukem Forever. It’s a straightforward, kill-or-be-killed shooter with no significant plot, sprinkled with just the right amount of humor mostly found in the outlandish weaponry and hilarious insults hurled by the characters at one another, at random moments in the game. The cartoon mini-tutorials are a particularly humorous highlight of the experience, featuring a tiny Batman and Joker, demonstrating how each weapon works, or how to perform different actions as you unlock them in the game.
Not surprisingly, Monolith has released an extremely polished visual palette. The colors on-screen are rich and varied, and seem to run the entire spectrum. The characters themselves have just the right amount of exaggeration, but not so much to render themselves entirely unrealistic. Sonically, the experience is very intricate with a surround sound system, as you can easily hear an enemy running up behind you, or the scream of a rocket coming towards you from off-screen.
The gameplay is helped along greatly by a fantastic tutorial that opens up the moment you fire up the game for the first time. It’s ten minutes that I highly recommend you spend before diving in. Each class of character, on both the Bats side and the Jokerz side, has a specific skill set, and with it, different special moves, all of which are covered in the tutorial. Most buttons on the controller have a specific use, but it is not very complicated and can be learned in a matter of a couple of matches.
The online community took advantage of the beta, and it has served the game well. At most any time of day or night, there are hundreds of people available to play with, and that won’t slow down anytime soon with Monolith announcing that free DLC is forthcoming very soon.
As deep as the customization is, and despite the sense of depth that it gives the game, it is also the only drawback. Some of the unlockables and weapon mods are buried deep within the customization system, and can be hard to unearth. As I say that, though, I find it difficult to come up with an alternative way of doing it.
Gotham City Impostors is online multiplayer gaming in its purest form: straightforward, fun, easy to pick up, deep enough to satisfy the hardcore, boasts an active community, and it’s very accessible. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the game is mentioned in some best-of lists at the end of the year. Hopefully it won’t get lost in the shuffle by then, but once you’ve experienced how fun this game is, you won’t forget about it any time soon. Gotham City Impostors is available now on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Sony Entertainment Network, and PC. It’ll be money well spent!
Release date : 2012-02-08
Publisher : Warner Games
Developer : Monolith Productions
Gameplay : Shooter
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