Welcome to Gotham City, initiate!
Are you ready to make a stand and take care of Gotham City while Batman takes a vacation? Step right up!
Game: Gotham City Impostors
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Price: £11.99/$14.99/1200 Microsoft Points
(PlayStation 3 version reviewed, also available on Xbox LIVE Arcade)
When Warner Bros first announced plans to create a first-person shooter with the Batman license, no-one really knew what to expect. It’s safe to say, what emerged in the end took quite a few people by surprise. A full-on battle has broken out in the middle of Gotham City, but with Batman not present, in his place stands a gang of do-gooders. They have made it their sole purpose to defend Gotham City in the Dark Knight’s absence.
Kitting themselves out with all sorts of makeshift bat costumes, ranging from cardboard masks and logos to totally over-the-top capes and wings. On the other, you have a group of Joker worshippers. All very evident in their choice of attire too, as their clothing and accessories range from various styles of face paint to rather stylish Scottish highland kilts. It’s all part of the look and feel of the game. Not only are you able to play as a sidekick of sorts, but you’re also given the freedom to dress these guys up in some proper wacky and outrageous costumes.
As soon as you enter the game, you’re greeted with a cinematic introducing you to the situation the heroes and villains find themselves in. During the introduction, you basically bare witness to all the madness that you’ll experience in the many hours to come.
The overall design definitely edges towards the humorous side of things, with miniature caricatures of Batman guiding you through each option with a comic book style speech bubble. It sets the tone nicely for the rest of the game’s interface. For example, whilst waiting in a lobby, you’ll come across helpful facts and tips, as well as information regarding upgrades. Other highlights include the simple yet hilariously explained tutorial videos for the three game types.
After a quick, optional, initiation introducing the different features and gadgets, you have three multiplayer modes to delve into over five maps. The game also includes a single player challenge section to spruce things up a little too, but multiplayer is the main draw.
The three multiplayer modes your standard Team Deathmatch, Fumigation (Gotham City Impostors’ delightful take on Domination or Conquest) and Psych Warfare, where two teams fight for control over a battery used for brain washing opponents. Once one team has successfully gained control, the opposing team falls into a hypnotic state leaving them totally defenseless. Not that you needed more motivation, but this spurs you on to grab the battery and inflict the punishment on your enemies.
On the gameplay front, FPS fans will feel right at home. Pretty much all the guns handle really well, especially when you take into account the fast paced nature of the game. Gadgets are all easily accessible via the standard control scheme, so you’ll never find yourself lost or confused. Timing does, of course, play a part in it, but if you’re a FPS regular, you’ll more than certainly feel right at home.
Other items you unlock range from new weapons and mods all the way to funky comical gadgets and body types for your character. Your humble reviewer preferred to go with a thin body type, as this allowed my character to get around a lot quicker than the bigger guys populating the game. In terms of gadgest, the boomerang was the weapon of choice, as watching an opponent getting disoriented after a successful hit never got old. Aside from the fun factor, a boomerang hit also allowed my character to get a few shots in at the enemy before he or she found their feet.
It’s only when you reach level eight that you to gain access to the real side of customisation though. You can use coins earned in-game or real currency to purchase the different items of clothing for your character. This is where you really start to set yourself apart from other players when it comes to appearance, adding that extra layer of depth that helps you stay invested in the game.
As mentioned earlier, Gotham City Impostors is mainly all about the multiplayer, and there is a lot of content here to keep you playing well into the early hours each night. Monolith has implemented a prestige-inspired leveling system that enables you to start all over again and work your way up even more levels. It’s only right then that the developers have packed in all this customisation for you to get your hands dirty with.
Going back to the small single player portion of the game, it would’ve been great if Monolith managed to squeeze in some sort of story mode. You could easily envisage both sides having their separate stories and missions. A story mode would’ve also helped in terms of longevity, but probably meant a jump up to full retail release rather than download only.
Another welcome addition would’ve been the ability to play as other characters other than Batman and Joker. Getting kitted out as Robin, Two-Face or The Riddler and then taking out a wannabe or two would’ve been immensely cool. However, thankfully, Monolith can always address this via the release of DLC.
Without comparing it to other, heavy hitting first-person shooters, if you’re a Batman fan then you owe it to yourself to give crazy first-person shooter antics of Gotham City Impostors a go. It might not be perfect, but it’s a surprisingly fresh and fun take on the Dark Knight’s universe. You’ll never see Batman himself rolling out with guns to take on the Joker, so it’s great to have this opportunity to experience that here albeit with wannabes and worshipers instead.