An Hour With Gotham City Impostors

The over the top design helps this game from being just another XBLA shooter...

A few days ago, Gotham City Impostors was released as a downloadable title on both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. You could be forgiven for being unaware of its existence – after all, the invitations to the beta where hidden away in copies of Batman: Arkham City, and I suspect the majority of people forgot about it as they rushed to play through the adventures of the Dark Knight. I downloaded the trial game yesterday, and happily found that it comes with an hour allowance to play against other people online. This is a quick review of what I found the game to be like.

Gotham City Impostors is an online only multiplayer game pitting up to at least eight players against each other. Players are split into two teams; The Bats (a group of vigilantes who fight under Batman’s code – only they use guns instead) & The Jokerz (a gang of crazies who fashion themselves after the Clown Prince Of Crime himself) in a series of game modes, including a traditional Team Deathmatch and Fumigation, which works a bit like Attack/Defend from Team Fortress 2. The game take place from the first person perspective and it is your objective to kill as many of the other guys as possible.

Even from a solitary hour’s gameplay, the influence of titles like the Modern Warfare series stands out. You gain EXP from doing all sorts of stuff including kills, capturing points and winning games, and using a level up system you can unlock new weapons, gadgets and modifications. You can also create custom load-outs and have a customisable ‘calling card’ that your enemies see when you kill them – again think titles and dogtags from MW. Even the control layout is near enough a rip-off of Call Of Duty, right down to using the R3 button to melee and using the bumper buttons to activate special equipment.

What stops Gotham City Impostors from being a complete rip-off is the character the game possesses. It takes a very light hearted approach to the Batman universe – as the gangs can’t afford the money for all the expensive gadgets that Bruce Wayne uses, equipment has a delightfully ‘homemade’ feel to it. You can use a wind up grapple hook to quickly manoeuvre around the maps (which are quite well designed it must be said), and some classes can use roller-skates to launch off ramps and zoom around. Bombs are sticks of dynamite, and to heal team-mates you shout down a microphone. All the while, you exchange hilarious pleasantries with the enemy while you shoot them in the face. It’s all a very fun experience, bound together with a sense of quality and polish you would expect from a game on a disc.

I came away from the trial but a big smile on my face and I must admit I am impressed with Gotham City Impostors – I thought it would be a low effort attempt at a downloadable game when I first heard about it, but Monolith Productions have done a good job. I think it’s a bit pricey at 1200 MS Points, but at least you aren’t getting massively short-changed for the experience. I would very much recommend getting the trial for yourself to test out this crazy little bag of fun.

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