Make no mistake from reading the name of this downloadable title: this is not a game where you get to zip across rooftops and pummel bad guys into the ground as Batman. Sure, you can zip across rooftops…and pummel bad guys into the ground, but you won’t be doing it as Batman. Instead, you’ll be playing as silly-dressed people whilst shooting each other with guns, strapping springs to your feet and leaping across half of the map, and laying down bombs disguised as jack-in-the-boxes. It sounds fun, right? Well it is.
Gotham City Impostors is a downloadable title and contains no single-player element at all – only multiplayer. The only concept is that you’re either on team ‘Bats’ or team ‘Jokerz’ and you have to annihilate the opposition using a wide range of bizarre weapons and equipment. These can range from regular sniper rifles, assault rifles and shotguns to a bow and arrow, a weapon that freezes your foes on the spot and a giant sword that can also deflect incoming bullets. If that wasn’t enough, you also get wacky gadgets to use to get an advantage over the enemies, such as the aforementioned jack-in-the-box bombs, roller skates to get you around the map faster and even a pair of wings to allow you to glide and dive-bomb anybody that looks at you wrong. This game never ceases to be bizarre and insane and as a result, is one of the most fun and addictive experiences I’ve had in a long time, from the FPS genre.
One thing that is immediately apparent about this game is the way it lets you customize nearly all aspects of your character. Whereas in other online titles that offer no such thing besides the rather pointless ability to change the colour of your gun, GCI allows you to completely change the way your character looks to those around him. From the hair style to the pants he wears (or doesn’t wear), you can make a character as normal looking or as hideous as you see fit. It takes a while to get every piece of clothing unlocked due to the costume coin system (which can be rather tedious as I’ll explain later), but being able to look different from your team-mates and enemies is a good prize for persevering through the process. Of course, you can use real money to unlock these items earlier instead of playing for them, but I honestly have to question why anybody would want to do that in the first place, short of being extremely impatient.
Besides a great customization system, Gotham City Impostors offers a robust, enjoyable multiplayer experience that clearly takes inspiration from other titles yet manages to make something unique to itself. You can obviously sense a Call of Duty style of play in there somewhere, but also from Team Fortress 2 as well, at least in my opinion; This probably stems from the nature of the game itself, with the wacky costumes and ‘unrealistic’ weapons, as described above. It’s quite a good combination in all truth, but it’s definitely not without its own set of problems. Initially, the game is quite clunky to control and the graphics could do with a polish. Also, it would be much better with more game-modes on offer as there is basically only team deathmatch, fumigation (domination) and psych warfare, which involves your team capturing a propaganda machine to drive the other team to the brink of insanity, and then death. It’s a pretty basic selection that doesn’t offer much for the players who prefer to play around objectives, rather than a kill count.
As mentioned earlier, the process of unlocking new gadgets and costume coins for the character customization can be laborious and tiring due to the way in which the system actually works. For example, you want that reflex sight for your weapon, but you can’t have it until you rank up five times from the point you’re currently at. It’s pretty similar for the clothing as some of the more extravagant items cost a lot of coins (up to 1500) and when you’re only getting around 20-40 per match, you can see how it could become a painstakingly long process. Clearly the game is trying to promote longevity and to make you earn your rewards, which is fine, but I’m not convinced that this was the best way to do things. If you love the game and have every intention of continuing to play for days and weeks, you won’t have any problems but if you just want to change things up a little every now and then, you may be in for some trouble. I’m not the most patient of people and I will gladly admit that, but this system does absolutely nothing for me whatsoever. Plus, being able to purchase your clothing items with real money instead of earning them makes the skeptic in me think that they made this system deliberately tedious in order to make the impatient splash out money.
Despite the issues I have talked about here, Gotham City Impostors has been, and continues to be, an extremely fun and addictive multiplayer experience. It’s quite difficult these days to enter into the already saturated FPS market with something different than the competition, yet GCI has managed to accomplish this. It clearly does not take itself seriously with its selection of weapons and the ability to have your character running around with only underwear and a pair of wings on your body, and it greatly benefits from this. The fact that I have had so much fun from this game and I paid so little for it makes this title a much recommended purchase. It’s good to see that something different can be produced from an FPS these days!