|System: Xbox 360, PS3*, PC|
|Dev: Monolith Productions|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Release: February 7, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Comic Mischief, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
It's official: Batman games no longer need to suck, as proven twice by Rocksteady Studios and their phenomenal Arkham titles. Now Monolith Productions is stepping up to the plate to deliver their own take on the Batman mythos, and this one couldn't be further from the dark and gritty Arkham games.
Gotham City Impostors actually bears a much closer resemblance to Team Fortress 2 than Arkham City. Here, Gotham is a colorful, cartoony place, where frantic action and slapstick antics are the flavors of the day. Taking down foes by lethal means is not frowned upon, either, and the streets run wild with rampant hilarious murder.
In this multiplayer-only first-person shooter, players are divided into two teams. There are the Bats, who dress up as Batman, only they lack Bruce Wayne's inexhaustible wealth and need to take the "thrift store" approach to dressing up. Then, of course, there are the Jokerz, who don face paint and green hair in homage to their idol, Joker. Obviously, these two sides cannot possibly get along, and they spend their time trying to murder each other.
Gotham City Impostors includes the FPS staple Team Deathmatch, but it's not the main attraction here. There are two other game modes which, in this game anyway, are much more fun than simple TDM. Personally, I prefer Fumigation, which is the Gotham City Impostors version of Call of Duty's Domination. In this mode, there are three marked "Gasblasters" that players must capture and hold. As long as your team has two or more Gasblasters, your score will steadily climb toward the 100% mark. If you manage to hold all three Gasblasters, the score will climb faster. Once the score hits 100% your team wins, and you release either a lethal gas or a swarm of murderous bats to annihilate the opposing team.
For Capture-the-Flag enthusiasts, there is Psychological Warfare. This mode has players collect batteries, then carry them over to a propaganda machine, which they then must defend for a set amount of time. If they can successfully defend the propaganda machine, it sends out debilitating signals that make your opponents run around flailing their limbs. During this, affected players cannot use their weapons; they can merely slap wildly.
With only three game modes, the game may feel a tad sparse, but each mode is implemented well enough that this shouldn't bother you too much. It's much better to have three well-polished game modes than fifteen barely playable ones, after all.
However, where this sparseness does affect the game is in the map selection. Gotham City Impostors only has five maps. While each is incredibly well designed, with chokepoints, indoor and outdoor spaces, and the game's wacky brand of strategic environmental features (trampolines and roller skate ramps, for example), the game feels a tad underwhelming in this regard. However, when you consider the low entry price (fifteen bucks) and the fact that there is an additional map (called "25th Floor") slated to drop for free in March, this is by no means a bad deal. And, as I already mentioned, the map design is excellent.
This is actually where the game's sparseness ends. There is a vast selection of weapons—some military grade, others homebrewed—and weapon mods to allow for an enormous amount of possible loadout types. In fact, loadouts even include body types and character voices. (And some of the voices are downright hilarious, I promise you.) In addition, there are Support Items like pipe bombs, bear traps, and explosive jack-in-the-boxes, as well as Gadgets like hang gliders, roller skates, and grappling hooks. It's hard to put into words just how thrilling it is to soar over the battle with a hang glider or to watch your enemies hop around with one foot in a bear trap.
Aside from loadouts, you can cosmetically customize your characters with a wide assortment of flamboyant costumes. As you play the game, you earn "Costume Coins" which can be redeemed for new costume pieces. (Costume pieces can also be purchased with real-world money by rich and impatient players.) Don't like the default Bat-mask? Change it to a hand-knitted one or a super cheap painted cardboard version. And if you feel more comfortable in gym shorts, jeans, a kilt, or even lingerie, the game has options that will make you squeal with maniacal glee.