Gotham City Impostors Review
Okay, who saw Gotham City Impostors coming? As WWE’s The Miz might say: really? If you’re still not in the know, let me try to break it down for you. Batman and apparently Joker as well, have both left Gotham City leaving it in the hands of its citizens. The citizens however, seem to be a bit loopy after surviving a few decades of idolizing a man dressed like a bat and demonizing a clown. What we have on our hands is an online class-based multiplayer shooter, but instead of simply being a Battlefield or Quake clone, you’re a lunatic in a bat suit or clown attire. The entire concept is pretty bonkers.
But then again, a game with a creative concept or good art has never been an indicator of perfection or even overall quality. Despite the charm and kookiness, can the game hold up under the harsh, cold, critical spotlight? Check out the HOTs and NOTs of Gotham City Impostors below!
The game absolutely oozes with personality that it’s simply dripping with it. There’s no other way to say it. For all of the personality shown in the trailers and animated shorts, the wackiness and general fun feel of the game keeps a consistent tone from every gunshot to every menu, even loading screen features this. The game is simply not content with letting you play an average, serious shooter; instead it creates a tone very rarely seen in online shooters, omitting one extremely popular, memetic, cartoonish, cult classic entry into the genre.
The art direction seeps its way even into the mechanics. For instance, the balancing point of the Defender being a gigantic, thick-necked gunner who is able to withstand more fire than other characters, but his cartoonishly massive body size makes him an easier target to pump rounds into. This game acts as a perfect antithesis, and possible deconstruction of, the average online shooter mindset. The game refuses to take itself seriously for even a second and becomes a true ’15-minute break’ game in the process. Perhaps the greatest conundrum the game offers is this; if your goal in the game is to murder more people than everyone else or to prove how much better you’re at murdering people, are you playing it wrong? Or has the game read you a little too perfectly?
Surprisingly Varied Movement Options
Brink, another online class-based shooter attempted to revolutionize movement in the genre by adding a Parkour element to the characters and maps. This worked moderately well, but wasn’t enough to get developers and players to rethink movement mechanics. Gotham City Impostors places a heavy emphasis on different modes of transportation, mimicking the nimble and unconventional movements found in true Batman style. Among the movement options, besides the usual walk, crouch, run and sprint, are optional load-out support items, such as the glider, rollerskates and grapple-hook.
Even if the player decides to avoid the varied movement options provided by these items, the levels are strewn about with ways to enhance movement. For the gliders, there are air-vents blasting players upward, ramps for rollerskaters, roofs for grapplers to make their way up to and trampolines for anyone looking to see their character bounce twenty feet into the air.
The game offers a greater sense of freedom due to these options. Positioning takes key priority in strategical implementation of kill-points, escorts and base capturing (or Gasblasters, as they’re called in game), a deeper strategical thought process than ‘Good sniping point’. In implementing the freedom of movement, the game allows itself to be taken as an example of well done movement in shooters, even ones as restrictive as online deathmatch shooters.
Earnest Attempt At Value/Reply Value
There’s an extremely large chasm between gamers who decide that games should be played for the single-player or for the multi-player. For those intrigued, but without an internet connection (or, if this is the case, an Xbox Live Gold account), the game offers an extremely paltry offering in single-player, coming down to one tutorial and a challenge mode. This is basically just an online shooter. That said, the online shooter will always have the crippling handicap of massive repetition, essentially being the same maps, modes and games over and over again, but with different people. This means the game has to have superb gameplay interspersed with a progression mechanic to stay interesting, being the hook that most to all online shooters apply these days.
In modern fashion, Gotham City Impostors has a leveling system, customizable loadout system, customizable costumes system and all the little sprinklings and small touches needed to keep an online shooter interesting. They’re present and well executed. No match ever feels like a waste of time with the slowly climbing XP bar and the need to acquire more costume coins to set the fashions your characters will wear. For the hasty and financially better-off, costume items can be purchased with real money, but no items that would otherwise imbalance the games are purchasable. Even if you have all the money in the world, the need/desire/hook to keep playing is present and accounted for.
For the gallons of personality the game squeezes out, the game can not escape the bounds of being an online shooter. Eventually, the Call of Duty, or whatever-online-shooter-of-your-choosing, comparison will rear its ugly head. If you’re into that sort of thing, you won’t be disappointed. But for those greatly into their Batman lore or intrigued by the concept, they will be left fairly hollow. The game consists entirely of waiting for a game to start and then playing until the match ends, of course with the occasional break to customize your loadout or costume. The formula isn’t revolutionized, however much of an elevation as it may be. This fault, as dismissible as it may seem, more than likely stems from one problem…
Concept Is A Missed Opportunity
The trailers, opening, tutorial and promotional media paint Gotham City Impostors as a fresh, new take on the Batman universe. One that is ready to be littered with bullets, blood and carnage. The game never fully takes this as a point to expand on its universe, instead making its scenery, people and setting a backdrop instead of a focal point. What as one trailer asks, what it would truly be like if apartment neighbors were fighting in opposite factions, Bats and Jokerz, and lived in a world blissfully ignorant of their hatred toward each other? This is a question that never gets an answer, and for as clever as the concept is and as near-flawless and the presentation is, this is a concept that deserved a world, not a team deathmatch service.
Slight Technical Gaffs
After a groggy first day, the servers and technical polish shows itself to be at least competent. While not a flawless service by any standard, no dedicated servers, long matchmaking times and occasional pop-in, the service is never bad enough to be a deal breaker or enough to make you resent the game. Slight flaws that could easily be made up for with patches, but aren’t frustrating enough to make or break the deal (or your controller).
Let’s make something clear. Gotham City Impostors is a fairly bare-bones deal. It’s an online shooter with personality and charm exiting its every pore. But without the framework to hold up its extremely silly, compelling potential as a world of Bats and Jokerz. The game can’t hold up the entire world that the background is trying to convey, but the game becomes ultimately forgivable in its approach. As a property, it would be awesome to see if the universe of Gotham City Impostors ever sees an expansion and the game will be disappointing for those hoping to delve into its lore, but it’s an appealingly insane twist on the class-based team-deathmatch shooter. Take the game as it is and the fifteen dollar price tag is worth the admission to this batty, psychotic addiction.[Editor's Note: Gotham City Impostors was reviewed on the Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.] Gotham City Impostors Review,