“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs”
This quote comes from the end of Christopher Nolan’s movie The Dark Knight, as Batman flees from the cops after taking the rap for the crimes that Gotham’s district attorney Harvey Dent committed as the villain Two-Face. But is this the game Batman fans deserve or need? Read on to find out.
Gotham City Impostors, the new downloadable multiplayer FPS from Monolith, allows you to take on the mantle of the bat… sort of. Not to be confused with Arkham Asylum or Arkham City, you actually don’t see much of Batman in this game. Instead, you’re thrust into the worn-out shoes of a group of wannabe vigilantes or villains who try to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Knight or his nemesis the Joker.
The game resembles a cross between the goofy Team Fortress series with a Modern Warfare-like leveling and unlock system. Your characters are average guys who don’t have the unlimited funds of Batman or the insane resourcefulness and criminal success of the Joker. Because of this, your weapons, costumes and gear are all cobbled together randomly, which adds a bit of charm to this game. The beta’s presentation is actually pretty polished, with a thorough tutorial mode and comprehensive help dialogues. The artistic direction is wacky, and in-line with the cobbled together, low-budget premise of the game.
Customizations settings abound in Impostors. Aside from the unlockable weapons, weapon mods and paint schemes, you have a slew of various perks to unlock, which are earned as you progress through the ranks. This being somewhat of a class-based game, you have five character types to choose from, each with different attributes such as size, speed, and health. To set it apart from other regular FPS games, you’re given a plethora of special items such as grappling hooks, glider wings, spring shoes, and rollerblades, among other things. These items add an extra dimension to the game, and give you different ways to travel around each level and mix up your play style.
Probably the most fun customizable feature is the look of your character. Using in-game currency earned by playing, you can purchase different masks, capes, shirts, gloves, pants, boots, etc. Mix that with the variety of body types and you can create your own unique look. Funny enough, the most expensive outfit in the beta was also the most barebones – a pair of briefs and a bare chest.
The beta gives you two different game modes to play: Fumigation and Psych Warfare. Don’t worry if these sound totally alien to you, because you’ve played these game types before. Fumigation is a take on the Conquest-style game modes found in Battlefield, where your team tries to capture and control several points on the map at the same time. If you manage to control all points for a set period, you win. Psych Warfare is basically a CTF-type game mode with a twist. Your objective is to retrieve a battery and bring it back to your machine, install it, and guard it. Once it reaches critical mass, it hypnotizes the other team, allowing you to take them out while they stumble around in a dazed, vulnerable state.
I played the beta with my fellow GamerVet, evilenger, opting to check out the Fumigation game type before trying the Psych Warfare mode. The game plays fast and furious, with players zipping across the map and killing other players. The maps are small and cluttered, with lots of ways through, around, and above. Strewn throughout the level are caches that replenish your health and ammo, negating the need to collect ammo from dead enemies. Enemies take more bullets to kill than you’re used to in Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, and the game is more suited to run-n-gun players over campers due to the number of pathways throughout the levels.
The game was fun, although at the time of play, we ran into some snags. Matchmaking was hit or miss, and would sometimes take several minutes just to find a server with players. During gameplay, if a team loses too many players, players from the other side will be automatically booted to the other team, leading to some confusion and an unfair reflection on your win/loss record. In one match, I was part of the winning team with a sizeable lead, but found myself switched over to the losing team near the end of the game without notification, which led to me trying to shoot my own teammates for a while until I realized what was going on. The server issues are things that may be fixed upon release, but I doubt the team switching will be a priority and may persist for a while.
- sylish, polished presentation
- unique, innovative gameplay
- fast and furious action sure to appease FPS fans
- hundreds of customization and unlock options perfect for tinkerers
- Matchmaking takes forever
- Longevity and lasting appeal?
- Large enough community size?
- Switch to losing team mid-game
- Goofiness might turn off the more hardcore players
The Old Guy in me Says
Gotham City Impostors was a blast to play, and I’m a bit sad that I only had a few days to tinker around with the beta. For $15, you can’t do much better than this game. What saddens me is that because everyone is so hooked on Modern Warfare or Battlefield, this little game won’t have the community support to keep it going. I wouldn’t be surprised if most casual gamers completely pass over Impostors, leaving only the hardcore crowd to play this, in between the other games they’re occupied with. Another question revolves around game modes and number of maps. The beta presented two maps and two game modes, but how much will the finished product offer considering the relatively low price point?
Is this the game Batman fans deserve or need? Sure. However, the better question is: Is this the game Batman fans will buy? With the game releasing today on the PSN and tomorrow on Xbox Live, we’ll see soon enough.