Note: This game was reviewed on the Playstation 3 platform and is also available on the X360 and PC platforms.
Skating across the map, I tossed a motion sensor down and circled in anticipation of a red blip on my mini-map. As soon as I saw one, I darted off in that direction hoping to catch my opponent off guard. I slowed down, pulled up my sights and as soon as I saw the red-and-white facepaint of the Joker come into view, squeezed off a few rounds of my Partisan assault rifle. Joker fell to the floor, no doubt cursing my name as he watched me skate off in his kill cam. I may not be the Batman, but the biggest difference was the Batman-ensemble I wore was made from a towel for a cape and the cardboard box I used for a cowel. Oh, and I kill people.
Gotham City Imposters, developed by Monolith Studios (last known for F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin), does something most digital first-person-shooters dream of; creating a high-quality and content packed FPS. With a cartoon atmosphere and loaded with laughs, Gotham City Imposters has the ability to lure in people that aren’t usually interested in violent shooters. You play for one of two teams. Instead of Nazis versus Americans, or the USA versus Russia, you are either part of the “Bats” or the “Jokerz”. No matter which side you play for, you also have customization options so you can kill with style.
The game is primarily online, but there is a Challenge mode. Each map has it’s own challenges, and they increase in difficulty. At first, you are simply trying to hit checkpoints with a certain gadget (ie. grappling hook) in a certain amount of time in order to get a gold, silver or bronze medal. Then, you have to shoot targets and hit checkpoints. You gain some XP for this, but this game mode really plays second fiddle to the bulky, feature-rich online.
People that just enjoy running around mindlessly killing other people (in games) will be happy to see Team Deathmatch. It is what you would think it is; the first team to get x amount of kills wins. There are also two modes that require an increasing amount of teamwork, and give people objectives to secure. Fumagator is very much like Conquest in Battlefield 3. Your objective is to secure flags, and having more flags will make your percentage add up (by taking from theirs). Once your percentage is near 100%, a siren blares signaling the inevitable. Fumes will then spew out everywhere and the match ends.
The third and final competitive mode is Psych Warfare and it is much more involved, requires even more team work, and the matches last quite a bit longer. The game is split into two rounds, and both teams race to a battery that spawns in the middle of the map. Once you have the battery (assuming you get there first), you and your team take it to a machines, plug it in, then defend it for a short amount of time. If it charges up completely, the machine sounds an alarm and the opposing team runs around disoriented and gun-less for less than half a minute. They can still slap you, though, so don’t get too close.
A big draw to Gotham City Imposters is the customization. After every match, you not only earn XP to level up (did I mention there’s 1,000 levels?) but you also earn costume coins. Let these accumulate and you can buy all sorts of outfit pieces to look your best while killing the opposing team.
Loadouts work similar to the Call of Duty formula, but with a little more thought and a few more levels of depth added to them. First, as you level up, you earn unlocks which you can spend freely. So when you get a weapon unlock, you can buy any weapon you don’t own. When you get a weapon mod unlock, you can unlock any weapon mod for any weapon you have unlocked. It’s a brilliant formula that allows for you to get the things you want, and not what the developers want you to get at said-level.
Now, the depth comes from the additions to the loadouts, not how they work. Aside from guns, gadgets and the like, you can pick a body type which amounts to how much speed, health and melee strength you have. It’s a well-balanced feature that gives a variety of players an opportunity to shine. Are you that person that likes to hang back and protect the objective? The bulky characters give you an advantage. Do you like to speed around the back alleys and get to the opponents base and capture it while they are getting the middle one? The lightweight character with roller skates will get you there in a flash.
The game is balanced well-enough so that even people who aren’t into competitive shooters can still enjoy this game. The weapons have a tight, high-quality feel that one would expect from a Call of Duty or Battlefield title. It even has the Call of Duty challenges, giving you bonus points for completing certain things (and even calling card backgrounds and icons at certain milestones).
In whole, the game isn’t missing much. The lack of drop-in game joining (soon to be fixed in an upcoming patch) is really the only issue I had while playing. If the game started out four against five, and people start leaving the already-handicapped side, it’s truly an uphill struggle with no help coming anytime soon. It’s a known problem, though, and soon-to-be-fixed. There is also free DLC coming soon; including costume(s), map(s) and more. So the already jam-packed game will get even more quantity packed in.
If you’ve spent hundreds of hours playing Call of Duty, or Battlefield for that matter, Gotham City Imposters offers a quality substitute that gives you $40 or more worth of content into a $15 package. It may be hard to not just call this a clone of said-games, but it works so well, and has those familiar faces, that it feels justified and even an improvement over what Call of Duty is doing.
- AAA-quality gameplay for a downloadable shooter
- more content than many retail FPS games
- hilarious comedy throughout
- depth of the loadouts and ease of play
- no drop-in game joining (yet)