Batman fights crime in part because of what happened to his parents when he was a child. He usually doesn’t kill the bad guys, but that practice of his has led to the same villains breaking out of Gotham’s easily destructible prisons for to terrorize the people of Gotham again and again.
If Batman isn’t going to put a stop to this mayhem, you can. You can put a stop to people dressed up as Jokerz who terrorize the innocent civilians on your chosen online gaming service, that is.
Gotham City Impostors is a fun game. As simple as that sounds, it is an important factor that is lost in most first person shooters recently. While most online shooters, like Call of Duty, eventually boil down to whoever saw the other person first getting the kill, Gotham City Impostors makes the trip from spawn to death a blast even if you don’t score a single kill.
Items like the Grapple Hook act as a portable zip line, allowing you to travel long distances by latching onto buildings. This can be advantageous in that you can drop in on your opponents literally.
Vertical game play isn’t something we see a lot today. Dead Space experimented with it a little bit, but GCI takes it and makes it a core game mechanic.
You can equip one gadget at a time, like the Grappling Hook. You can also use a Ninja Smoke Bomb making you invisible when you stay stationary. The Glider lets you fly so you can perform a powerful ground pound that is an instant kill upon direct impact with another player.
Binoculars allow you to see through walls and spot enemy players and mark them on the map for the rest of your team mates. This does leave you vulnerable to being killed as the binoculars have a small delay in between when you put them away and ready your gun.
All of these items have their exploits, and they are all well balanced as well. Using the grappling hook leaves you vulnerable to gun fire as you can’t defend yourself. The Ninja Smoke Bomb will occasionally give off your presence if you move too much and it has a delay in between firing it up and turning it off. You can’t use your weapon while invisible so you have to give away your position in order to go on the offense.
Fun Facts are essentially perks, which most people are familiar with from playing Call of Duty. Fun Facts, like Gadgets, clothing, and new weapons, can be unlocked by leveling up your character. “Wall Flower” is a Fun Fact that COD players will be familiar with as it makes you undetectable by the enemy’s mini-map as well as the binoculars.
Psych profiles change how you get experience points after matches. Changing your character’s body type will improve how they handle. Do you mind sacrificing speed for a larger amount of health? Well then customize your character to be a round mound that Charles Barkley would be honored to battle with.
Rampages act essentially like killstreaks, allowing you go berserk and do heavy damage for a short period of time. While this was neat, and I did enjoy wrecking the heck out of the opposing team while using my rampage, it didn’t add a whole lot to the experience. Rampage feels a bit tacked on, and quite frankly I found myself forgetting it was there altogether opting to simply using the weapons in my desired load out instead.
Making your character smaller and thinner will make them faster, but give you less health. The trade off is that you can increase your max health with particular Fun Facts or use the extra speed to escape hectic firefights.
GCI is another shooter that uses regenerative health. Your health regenerates far slower than in games like Halo and Call of Duty. You always have a set number of health points that can be depleted, so this serves to give you a better understanding of how close to death you really are.
You can add attachments to weapons to give them a bigger clip size or allow you to fire three less powerful rockets in a row rather than one slower, more powerful rocket.
After playing the game online for the past few weeks I’ve already heard complaints about the game’s rocket launcher. It is available right away, and you can customize your load out to bring the pain with an RPG and a shotgun if you should choose to do so. The single fire rocket launcher does have a wide range of splash damage that can kill without being a direct hit, but it does have a long reload time.
Once I spent more time in matches I began to think that people who used the RPG exclusively were actually at a disadvantage despite their powerful weapon. Since the rocket launcher takes so long to reload it was pretty easy to pick them off after they missed with their first rocket blast.
There are three core multi-player modes that will be available when the game hits various download services in February. Team Death Match, Fumigation and Psych Warfare are the meat of this package. TDM is self-explanatory while Fumigation and Psych Warfare are the stars of the show.
Fumigation has both teams struggling to control three points on the map in order to raise a percentage of gas blaster control. Once a team’s gas blaster control meter reaches 100% the game will end and the opposing team will be poisoned with gas.
The key thing in this mode is that the “fat lady” doesn’t warm up her vocal chords quickly. If your team falls behind and you’re trailing with only control of one gas blaster, or your opponents are nearing 100% you can still turn the tide of battle by capturing gas blasters to slow the other teams progress.
This makes battles even more hectic than they already are, and gives you a feeling that you’re never truly losing.
Psych Warfare works similar to Fumigation, where you are trying to secure batteries and defend them so you can send propaganda to your opponents, thus driving them crazy. Do this a set number of times during a match and your team wins.
Monolith does know how to develop an unconventional first person shooter on the foundation of other successful games. The Condemned series is a great survival horror series that takes the brawler genre into exciting new directions. Gotham City Impostors takes the control scheme from Call of Duty, the upgrade system and perks and makes it wacky, unique and new again.
Your character can literally level up one thousand levels, and with how frantic and comical the action can get I don’t doubt it will be a much faster, fun ride to max out your character than most people might think.
Downsides are few and far between in the game but one of the biggest complaints I have is that it does take forever to get into a match. The game will only start a match if there is eight players in the matchmaking lobby, and that can be problematic if not a lot of people are playing the game. The game maxes out at twelve players but we wonder if an increase in overall player count would make it even more chaotic fun than it already is.
Once you get into a match the combat is pretty much lag free as the game uses a combination of both dedicated servers and peer to peer connections.
I really wish the game didn’t require a minimum of eight players to start a match, and I can’t help but wish for a single player mode. The tutorial you play through at the beginning (if you choose to play the tutorial) has its amusing humor, and if that was expanded upon with a tongue in cheek narrative for a decent four hour campaign we’d be 100% sold on the game.
Vehicles wouldn’t make sense in this game in its current state as the maps aren’t really designed for them. It would be interesting if Monolith had included a “Big Team Battle” sort of mode where a larger player count could do battle over larger maps that were separate from the rest and included vehicles.
The game borrows so many ideas from other popular FPS like perks, upgrades, that we can’t help but wonder what driving around in a clown car that can fit an outrageous number of teammates while one of them controls the machine gun would be like.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the game was originally intended to ship alongside Batman Arkham City in some way, so that’s why a single player campaign may have been omitted.
Upon release the game has three competitive modes, one challenge mode, and the tutorial. Challenge mode basically lets you practice using different gadgets and weapons on the multi-player maps. It is comparable to Combat Training in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Five maps will come with your paid download include Gotham Power, Crime Alley, Amusement Mile, The Docks, and Ace Chemical Plant. Out of all of them, Ace Chemical Planet and Amusement Mile were my favorites as they provided enough open space for exploration but have great choke points that provide for entertaining power struggles over gas blasters.
Another positive feature of the game is its art style. Character models are realistic in a comical way. Fat character models are just that, and you know when they enter your TV screen as the size difference is significant in comparison to other character models.
You can customize your character with countless clothing items. This really personalizes your character so that you can become attached to it and be proud of it when you see it standing triumphantly in the top three line up at the end of matches.
The menu is smooth enough to go through, and the music in the game is limited but very good. Voice work for your characters is varied as well and comical. The Batz and Jokerz never say anything too obscene (they are blipped when they curse) so that your child can probably watch you play the game, provided they are closer to the Teen rating the game will bring with it.
There isn’t a whole lot of blood in the game, and not much mature content visually other than some grotesquely overweight characters wearing skimpy clothing and the occasionally hint of cleavage on some female character outfits.
I could see this game becoming a big hit with the twelve to seventeen demographic as it isn’t too violent to scare away mom and pop, but it provides the depth and longevity more commonly associated with mature rated shooters.
Gotham City Impostors was delayed from its original January 10th release date, and it doesn’t have a solid release date other than February yet. What we’re hearing is that it will release on February 8th on Xbox Live to gain attention before Microsoft begins their annual XBLA house party with Warp on February 15th. A February 7th release date for the PSN version should be expected as well.
No price point is confirmed yet, although the game will not be an Xbox Live Arcade game by some standards in that it will come with 1,000 gamerscore. As you know, Microsoft only allows Xbox Live Arcade games to have 250 gamerscore points, so my guess is that the game will appear on the Games on Demand service much like how Resident Evil 4 HD and Crysis did last year.
With that said, the only original games to come to Xbox Live with 1,000 gamerscore have cost $19.99 and I’d advise you to prepare for that price point. The game is well worth every penny.
Gotham City is safe again thanks to you and your cosplaying friends. Whether you’re a Joker, or a Bat it is up to you to clean the streets of Gotham while Batman is away prepping for the biggest “Dark Knight Rises” premiere party the world has ever seen. Just try not to teabag the deranged citizens of Gotham City, they don’t appreciate that.
While it borrows heavily from other successful FPS franchises like Call of Duty, Team Fortress, it does carve its own identity. It’s charm, never ending customization and a laundry list of unlockable weapons, outfits, modifiers all make the game hard to put down and the balance of the combat ensures you will not forget this game easily. Gotham City Impostors is proof that sometimes people who cover other people’s songs can make the music better than it was originally. Gotham City Impostors takes you on a road you’ve been down before, but now that road is rejuvenated with that is beaming with personality with more memorable rest stops than you’ve ever seen on it before.