|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Monolith Productions|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Release: February 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Comic Mischief, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
Gotham City Impostors is an upcoming first-person shooter that allows players to take on the roles of psychopathic Batman or Joker wannabes. It was originally slated for release on January 10, but unfortunately it's been delayed until February. However, the good news is that the beta has been rolling for a while now, and we hopped in to take it for a test drive.
Players choose a side—the Bats or the Jokerz—and dress up in hilariously bad costumes before shooting the opposing team members in the face over and over again. The character progression system has 1,000 levels of advancement—you read that correctly, 1,000—and I'm guessing there will be meaningful unlocks pretty high up the ladder. (We only able to scratch the surface of what the game will offer in terms of advancement, since the beta level cap is a mere 25. We also weren't able to confirm whether the game would have its own version of Call of Duty's Prestige mode, though with 1,000 levels, who needs it?)
The beta showed off two playable modes, Fumigation and Psychological Warfare. Fumigation plays a lot like Call of Duty's Domination: there are three numbered "Gasblasters" that players must capture. If a team is able to hold at least two Gasblasters, their score will continue to increase while the opposing team's decreases. If the Jokerz' score reaches 100%, the Gasblasters will release a toxic gas to wipe out the Bats. If the Bats hit 100%, a swarm of trained bats will descend upon the Jokerz.
Psychological Warfare is a more capture-the-flag-style mode, in which players must retrieve batteries to power up propaganda machines that demoralize the opponents. If a team manages to power up a propaganda machine, the opposing team's members will run around flailing their limbs helplessly. Weapons are not available while flailing, but a flailing player can still slap opponents to death. I can say from experience that as frustrating as it can be to be completely disarmed, it's immensely satisfying to take down an opponent with a well-timed slap.
Apparently, the full game release will also include Team Deathmatch, though it wasn't available to play during beta.
Of course, the gameplay modes aren't the most exciting thing about Gotham City Impostors. The main attraction is the "Impostors" themselves, whom you can dress up and customize in some hilarious ways. In Gotham, kilts, gym shorts, and even underpants are proper attire for crime-fighting or mayhem-making. The Bats will even get to pick from several varied masks and homemade Batman logos, while Jokerz get to select their face paint style. No matter the team, there is a robust variety of shoes, pants, shirts, and more to select from.
And customization doesn't end at cosmetics. The weapon loadouts are all sorts of crazy, including everything from black market guns to homemade pyrotechnics. And completing weapon-specific challenges will unlock some fancy paint jobs for them. There are also support items like pipe bombs, bear traps, and exploding jack-in-the-boxes. And don't forget the gadgets, including roller skates that give players extra speed and the ability to use ramps to get to places other player's can't reach, or grappling hooks. My personal favorite is the hang glider—it's a thrill to glide above opponents and dive bomb them for a special stun attack.
Controls follow Call of Duty pretty closely, so they shouldn't be too difficult to get used to for FPS fans. Additionally, they feel pretty smooth, though the default look sensitivity is a little higher than you might be used to. But that's an easy fix, as there's a sensitivity slider in the options menu.
Now, one major problem I encountered during my time in beta was that matchmaking can be awful. I've had instances where I had to sit for fifteen minutes just waiting for a match. However, as the beta opens to more and more players while the developers are hard at work fine-tuning the game, it seems like this is becoming less and less of an issue (although trying to find matches during morning hours can still be a bit of a problem). By the time the full release hits next month, I imagine this will be a non-issue. I certainly hope so, at least; nothing can kill an online-only shooter faster than a rapidly shrinking community, and matchmaking issues could scare off a good portion of that community pretty quickly.
All in all, Gotham City Impostors is a quirky little FPS that may play fairly similar to Call of Duty but contains enough off-the-wall extras that it has its own little niche in the market. As a multiplayer-only title, it's going to be the community that keeps this one afloat, so here's hoping Gotham City Impostors enjoys a long lifetime and a dedicated following.
Editor / News Director
Date: January 11, 2012