games / Reviews

Gotham City Impostors (PSN, XBLA, PC) Review

February 17, 2012 | Posted by Trace Aber

Game: Gotham City Impostors
Genre: FPS
Players: 12
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Rated T for Teen

I think just about every gamer can agree that the first person shooter genre has grown a bit stale over the last few years. Call of Duty constantly reigns at the top, while the other standards such as Battlefield and Gears of War take second and third place consistently. Almost all of these games offer the exact same experience with very little heart or uniqueness to each game.

I initially groaned at the idea of a Batman-themed first person shooter, but as more and more details trickled out it seemed like Monolith Productions was really trying to realize a unique shooter, something that stood out from the crowd and had its own, unique personality. And, surprisingly, they got it mostly right.

The premise of Impostors is an ongoing gang-way between legions of Batman and Joker fans fighting to the death to control Gotham City. I’m not sure where Batman or Joker are during all of this, but let’s just assume they’re planning for their own one-on-one battle or something. While Batman has a strict no-kill policy, his impostors, largely due to their smaller wallets and lack of moral compass, have no problems blasting their enemy’s face off with a shotgun.

The game starts off with a single player tutorial, which has you in a “secure” location for training. Here you will become acquainted with the game’s gadgets, all of which have a homemade vibe to them. After completing the tutorial, you can either complete single player challenges, which help you learn maps and very little else, or jump right into the action.

Impostors features five maps and three game modes. There’s the standard Team Deathmatch mode where the first team to 50 kills wins. Fumigation has gang members securing and holding three objectives that add points to the team’s total, though the opposing team can steal your points by claiming other control points. Psych Warfare adds a clever twist to the classic Capture the Flag mode – the team holding the battery (aka flag) broadcasts propaganda and leaves the opposing team completely defensive outside of slaps.

While these modes are pretty much standard for first person shooter nowadays (albeit with a few tweaks here and there), they aren’t what makes Impostors stand out so much. Sure, you have the typical machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, etc, but you also have some crazy special gear such as roller skates that let you jump off ramps, gilding suits that let you smash down on an opponent while you’re flying, and of course a plethora of trampolines spread about each level to let you jump really high.

The gear is more than just a gimmick, though. The levels have been brilliantly designed to allow all of these completely different types of gameplay strategies to work. If you want to be a huge dude who flies around the map and squashes his competition you can, but if you want to be a small, fast guy with roller skates who sneaks up on his prey, that’s perfectly acceptable too. This shakes the game from being your standard FPS affair, as you really have to keep your eyes open in all directions. Five maps might not seem like a lot, but if you switch up your play styles you’ll find the maps are actually quite diverse in their layout.

The biggest selling point of Impostors, however, is the game’s huge variety of customization options. Each round gives you experience points which cause you to level up, and each level allows you to unlock certain things such as weapons, gadgets, supporting devices, fun facts (similar to perks), and even your psychology profile, which earns you more points for playing in certain styles. You can also do some fun tweaks such as making your character’s voice be hilariously high pitched or super low. Unfortunately, if you plan on purchasing clothing items for your characters you better be prepared to sink some serious hours in the game, as the currency required to purchase clothing does not come in huge loads after each round. You can purchase these using real world money to speed things up, but considering the clothes do nothing for your stats it seems odd to spend your hard earned money on virtual clothes.

The game’s biggest downside comes to its long load times and lengthy breaks between rounds. The initial load times are pretty painful, but things don’t take abnormally long once things get going. The time in between rounds, however, can vary widely. Sometimes the 40 second countdown is accurate, while other times you’ll hear the tick of the last second go on for over a minute before continuing on. Even worse, you oftentimes can exit the screen while this happens. While I haven’t been kicked out or have any connection problems once in a game, the matchmaking itself seems to be rather off as well. I was once in a match where everybody on my team was under level five while the other team had only guys level 20 or higher. It just seemed really unfair…and the resulting score proved that to be the case.

-In depth customization options
-Over the top humor
-Well-paced combat
-Tons of alternative gameplay styles

-Net code could use some serious reworking

The 411
Despite the annoying matchmaking issues, Impostors is a fun romp that should excite and entertain gamers of all types. If you want to play it like a straight FPS you’re more than welcome to, but if you want to get a little more creative on your enemies you can lace up some shoes that have volleyballs attached to the bottom on them that allow for double jumps. There’s tons of ways to customize your characters and if you’ve grown tired of the genre this $15 game just might rekindle your love.

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Trace Aber
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