The Batman is whatever the city needs him to be. A symbol of hope. Of justice. But unfortunately he, and the lunatics he fights, can also inspire those citizens who are desperate or broken. Which is what has happened. Like-minded crackpots, obsessed with either Batman or the Joker, have formed gangs and roam Gotham City. They engage in violent, bloodthirsty street battles in an effort to emulate their namesake. But among these Impostors, on both sides, are no heroes.
Gotham City Impostors is a team based shooter. There are two sides in the conflict, The Bats, who revere Batman, and The Jokerz, who emulate the clown prince of crime. The two gangs meet at Gotham City landmarks like Ace Chemicals and battle each other to the death using a variety of weapons and gadgets.
The weapons on offer provide a nice variety of real-world arms like rifles and swords, as well as exotic Batman villain-esque selections like a freeze gun and a cannon which fires parrots. Each provides a slightly different feel, so as players unlock them there is some excitement in discovering what these new weapons do.
Weapon selection is augmented by item choices. Standards like grenades and grappling hooks are available, but more unique items like glider capes, rocket packs and spring loaded shoes can be equipped. Most of the items effect how a player can move around a level, and bring an interesting vertical dynamic to the game.
In the audio and visual department Gotham City Impostors really stands out. The characters and locations are stylised, but in a way which seems to accentuate the warped reality this game exists in. Everyone wears a strange amalgam of homemade items, pieced together to emulate Batman or the Joker. The sound is a mixture of pretty standard FPS effects coupled with goofy and cartoonish noises which sound like they are pulled straight from Loony Tunes.
There are several ways players can customise their characters, including a variety of body types, clothing and sayings. This lets players really personalise not just their look, but what other players both see and hear. This is a really interesting and unique take on the kill-cam concept.
The controls do a more than passable job. Characters aren’t too fast or agile, meaning that players rely quite heavily on their augmented moves like jumping and grappling. Modes like running and aiming are toggled on and off, which feels a little weird when you are used to holding the buttons to execute these. But the ponderous controls seem to promote more purposeful and planned movement, which is a nice change from the twitch-based movement of a lot of other games.
There are a number of game types on offer, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill type modes, but there is no one playing anything but Deathmatch. So the choice of games is very, very limited if you aren’t playing with a large group of friends.
Primarily this is because the game is quickly shedding players. Having been around for a few years, with little-to-no support, only a hardcore base of players is left keeping the game alive. So not only are you going to find it hard to get a game, but chances are you are going to go up against a clutch of players far more skilled and better equipped than you.
The unlockable weapons and items are great, but it takes forever to gain access to them. This is probably conflated by the low player numbers. But even when new options have been unlocked the system used to edit characters is clunky and unintuitive. Unfortunately, this wonky menu system extends over the whole game, with odd ways of entering and exiting options, as well as perplexing menu selections like “Use BACKSPACE to Enter”.
The game was developed by Monolith, and came out late in 2012 as a free to play title. It hasn’t seen a great deal of updates or additional content since the launch. The PS3 version was hindered in 2014 by GameSpy being shut down, which may have put a dampener on many plans for it. It was also available for free on Xbox Live as part of the Games with Gold offer.
Mostly, the game is in great shape, but is severely hampered by no continued support. The player base currently involved with it, though, are extremely dedicated. Even though they have been slogging away with little-to-no support from the developers, or new content, the player base is constantly experimenting with new character builds.
In an odd way it seems appropriate, these players scraping by with what they can scrounge, in a ghastly parallel to the two insane gangs they fight as.
I Am The Batman
By all accounts Gotham City Impostors is a great game. The idea is really original, the game well made, and the community behind it dedicated. It is hampered by lacking ongoing developer support, and so, has the Sword of Damocles constantly hovering over it.
If you are looking to try out something new, and like FPS team battle games, then Gotham City Impostors is worth a bit of a look. Even if only to have experienced this curiosity before its inevitable annihilation.
Gotham City Impostors is available for free on Steam, and as part of Xbox Live.