Gotham City Impostors (PS3)[Review]

Sometimes an idea can just sound absolutely awful on paper. A Batman first-person shooter?  Batman doesn't even use guns!  Well, the developers at Monolith dodge that issue completely by making the combat go down between two the Bats and the Jokerz, two rival gangs, each fanboys (and girls) of either Batman or the Joker, donning ramshackle handmade costumes and fighting to the death throughout different areas in Gotham City.  So does it work?

Yeah, it pretty much works.  The gameplay itself is way solid, the controls are spot on, the shooting mechanics are pretty much flawless, and the three multiplayer-only game modes offer a decent amount of variety.  Once you're in the game itself everything is pretty excellent-- it's the fact that you have to unlock every damn feature by leveling up that sucks.  A lot of what I would consider the main selling points of the game are locked from the start!  Don't expect to be able to customize your Bats or Jokerz character until you reach level 8.  It's not that difficult of a feat to actually reach level 8, but it's annoying that you have no control over the look of your character until you've played for nearly an hour.  The content is served to you drip by drip through experience point unlocks, which is usually a good idea and a reasonable way to design your game, but when you start with literally jack squat and the inability to access almost everything on the menu put in front of you.  I'm surprised I didn't have to start the game weaponless and punch other players to earn the right to have a gun.  It's that ridiculous.

The graphics and sound are pretty stellar as well-- character designs are pretty funny, with some characters wearing cardboard box Batman cowls and all kind of craziness for the Jokerz.  The level art is kind of bland though, the colors all kind of run together and they lack the sharp contrasts and smart directional guideposts that Team Fortress has.  There's enough HUD information to keep you from getting lost, but TF2's maps are so well designed you hardly even have to think about where you need to go.  Sound-wise the voice work is fantastic, which is unfortunate because the writing isn't very funny.  As for music, I honestly can't remember anything about it, which I suppose means it isn't bad but definitely not at all fantastic.   The most standout thing about the gameplay is the unique ways a player can traverse the game's maps-- via grappling hook, glider wings, and roller skates.  On top of that, the levels are littered with air vents and trampolines that make getting around the stages a blast and makes me wish this game had a single player mode, or that somebody makes an FPS that the main character is always wearing roller skates. (Rollergirls vs. Aliens, anyone?)

The game itself is surprisingly similar to Valve's Team Fortress 2-- It's a class-based multiplayer FPS so it's naturally going to draw that comparison.  It's also really cartoony ( coming from a comic license you can expect that) and offers a barrage of character customization parts that can be earned in game or purchased with real cash.  The main difference between GCI and TF2 though is that TF2 is free to play and GCI has a $15 entrance fee, which begs the question, why even bother with Gotham City Impostors?  I mean it does a few things differently (like the unique ways to move around the level), but unless you are a huge Batman fan (and chances are if you are coming to this website you probably are) you might be better off playing Team Fortress for free.  Of course, if money is no object for you, then definitely check it out if this kind of thing appeals to you, it's totally a surprisingly solid experience.  I'm just saying there's a lower priced (free!) alternative out there that is just as good if not better.

Title: Gotham City Impostors
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform reviewed: PS3
Released: February 7, 2012
PXT Final Verdict: 8.0/10

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