‘Gotham City Impostors’ Makes Fighting Like Batman Fun, Even in Hockey Pads [REVIEW]
The ‘Batman’ franchise has officially become a gaming juggernaut thanks to the groundbreaking immersion gameplay of ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ and ‘Arkham City.’These titles, highly approved by comic book nerds, for their great attention to the source materials, and by gamers, for their stylish designs and deep gameplay, opened new doors not just for ‘The Dark Knight,’ but for comic book games of every ilk as a new bar to surpass in open world gaming.
The franchise takes an interesting turn with the DLC title ‘Gotham City Impostors,’ a first-person team shooter that allows players to take control of either Batman or The Joker’s legion of foolhardy amateur crime fighters in a ‘Team Fortress’ style of online gameplay. It’s also one of the few games that uses humor to enhance and color its gameplay.
Even though it’s set in the gritty world of Gotham City, it feels much goofier, yet somehow still fits in the Batman universe. Batman’s stories and movies are often visited by amateur vigilantes who think they can get in on the action, even though their “Bat-equipment” comes from a sporting good store and their “Bat-cave” is technically their parent’s basement. The weapons have a completely homemade look and sound, from the rusty flamethrower to the eggbeater-powered grappling hook that makes more squeaking noises than a flea market tricycle.
The maps are limited for the time being. The only one we could access in the beta process was an abandoned amusement park, a fitting setting for a showdown between Batman and Jokers’ fan clubs. They offer plenty of hiding spaces and crows’ nest for snipers to pick off enemies as they barrel down on a target during a match. It does feel a little constrained and not as open as other team shooters, but the nooks and crannies offer plenty of places to fit into any attack or defense strategy.
The gameplay features two familiar modes with their own silly twist. “Psych Warfare” pits two teams against each other to control a loudspeaker system with a battery that will immobilize the opposing team by subliminally demoralizing them with negative thoughts. “Fumigation” has the teams racing to and taking control of the most pods to gas the other team with their own special concoction, laughing gas from the Jokerz and bat attracting hormones for the Bats. Having just one more game option could widen its variety, but surely that’s in the works.
If you’re accustomed to team based shooters, you’ll have no problem adapting to your team as you learn the buttons and the maps after the initial tutorial. Load times are still a bit of a problem, something that shouldn’t be an issue for a game that’s already been downloaded, but it’s packed with more than the average DLC title.
It’s actually quite fun if you know what you’re doing. Team shooters are a mixed breed if you’re just used to shooting up strangers in a deathmatch arena or playing killbots in a simulated multi-player mode. It’s a little hard to hear your teammates, especially the louder they get in the heat of battle. The gameplay, however, runs smooth and fair and the wide variety of upgrades and customizations that players can earn as they advance with wins and kills keeps it from getting stale.
The true gem of the game is the way the humor blends with the gameplay. It’s not ‘laugh until you wet your Batman and Robin Underoos’ funny, but the mechanics of the gameplay and the weaponry used to enact your attack are very ingenious and unique for the little world the game has created. One of the hardest things to do is combine humor with video games — Usually they have too much of one and not the other. ‘Gotham City Impostors’ feels like a shoot ’em up created by Mad Magazine, designed specifically to satirize the idea of amateur superheroes and fanboys mimicking their favorite superheroes and villains with total ignorance to the consequences, but not by sacrificing the mechanics of the gameplay.
‘Gotham City Impostors’ won’t knock the ‘Team Fortress’ franchise off of its team shooter throne with a homemade rocket launcher, but it does a great job of following in its footsteps in a pair of high-top sneakers and chest armor that appears to have been made out of old hubcaps.
The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.