|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Monolith Productions|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive|
|Release: TBA 2012|
|Players: 1 -2+ Online|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
If you want to make a Batman game, you'll have to eschew any thought of using guns because Batman doesn't like them. Like any good superhero, he likes to disable, not kill his enemies, and any game which has Batman wielding any firearms would just seem implausible and disingenuous to the franchise. How then do we end up with Gotham City Impostors, which is—on paper—a Batman game with guns?
Well, the first step is to remove Batman from the equation completely. Gotham City Impostors is a game that takes place in the Batman universe, but doesn't feature the big bat. Instead, you play as either members of a pro-Batman gang, or a group that supports the Joker. Interestingly, the faction you choose doesn't really affect the gameplay much, but we'll get to that in a minute.
We recently got to play a five-minute round of Gotham City Impostors, and though we didn't get to really put the game through its paces, several key things stood out to us. Most importantly, this is a multiplayer shooter first and a Batman game second. Starting up the game, we were able to choose load-outs (which we were told would be completely customizable in the full game) pick up a gun, and start shooting people.
Characters on both the Batman and Joker sides were all completely over the top, and it was honestly hard to tell who was on each side just by looking at their outfits. The world of Gotham City Impostors is a completely mad one, and this is one asylum that the inmates are clearly running.
In fact, the only real nods to the Batman franchise that I could find were sparse and littered around the environment. Aside from the odd black cape or Batman graffiti, Gotham City Impostors feels like a standard online shooter. Which is a good and bad thing. Certainly, setting a shooter in the world of Batman is an ambitious project, and Monolith Productions (who you might recognize for their FEAR series) has done an excellent job of creating a fully competent shooter that has traces of the Batman license in it. Again, this doesn't make for a terrible game, but it certainly doesn't feel much like Batman.
When the game is released next year, it will feature plenty of different modes, but in our demo we were only able to try out one: Psychological Warfare. This mode tasks players with a singular goal: broadcast a signal that will drive the other team crazy. Really. In order to accomplish this goal you will need to find a battery, put it in the signal-producing machine, and watch the madness ensue. Each time you activate the machine, you get a point, and the first to reach a point threshold wins.
Of course, you'll be outfitted with plenty of guns and crazy weapons to use along the way. It's certainly fun to go on killing sprees, especially when you learn that activating the psychological warfare device strips your enemy of all guns and leaves them only able to slap themselves. This makes mowing down baddies simple, effective, and hilarious.
The stage we were playing in was also pretty tongue-in-cheek. It resembled an old out-of-commission amusement park, complete with fake attractions, gift shops, and random trampolines. I'm not entirely sure where they got that last one, but bounding around on trampolines while trying to gun down enemies sure does feel great.
Once we were done with the single round we played, our time with Gotham City Impostors was over. The gameplay looks promising, and as an online-only multiplayer focused title, this one has promise. Just don't go expecting a lot of Batman in this version of "Gotham," as the Caped Crusader is nothing but a namesake here. And I guess, for all intents and purposes, that's perfectly OK.
Gotham City Impostors is slated to be released sometime next year, and will be a digital-only release. We should know more about the game soon, so check back for more on this Batman without a Batman game.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer