by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PS3
Playing Dress Up, cont.
While costume pieces look good, they don’t affect how you actually play the game. To tailor your impostor to your particular style, Gotham City Impostors lets you combine your weapons, perks, and body type to create a warrior that controls exactly like you want them to. While one certainly wouldn’t be faulted for calling Impostors a Team Fortress 2 knockoff, I prefer Impostors’ “create your own class” system to the defined classes present in TF2. While it’s certainly possible to build a straight-up damage sponge or speed demon, it’s also possible to create some interesting hybrid crosses of those and other class staples. Your first tool in creating the Batman or Joker wanna-be of your dreams is equipping them with armor. While not quite as rag-tag as the costumes themselves, the weapons and gadgets available are also charmingly sketchy and home-brewed. While normal machine guns and grenades are available, it’s the choices such as home-made glider wings, makeshift alcohol-based freeze guns, bear traps, and more that are the most fun. Character creation also lets you choose two perks, here called Fun Facts, that give you basic boosts such as more health or extra damage, as well as Rampages, which grant you short term boosts such as dramatically increased armor or double damage for a short time after earning a certain amount of kills or dealing a certain amount of damage.
The second aspect of character creation that lets you actually shape how you play is your character’s body type. You can choose a hulking brute, tiny speedster, or anything in between. Beyond looking different and providing a larger or smaller area to shoot at, each class lands somewhere along the spectrum of high-speed-but-low-health to the opposite, and everywhere in between. The good part is that your body type is not locked to certain weapons (save for a slight speed reduction cost for using the small number of “heavy” guns with a light-weight, meaning that you can make a small speedster loaded up with armor boosts and shields and play them like a tank, a huge behemoth created around extreme mobility and healing, or any other combination you can think up. The freedom is nice, and it stops you from being able to tell exactly what an enemy can do from across the map.
Better Without the Batman?
At the end of the day, I kept asking myself the same question that I’ve been asking since the game was first announced: does the Batman licence help the game, or hurt it? Unfortunately the answer seems to be a combination of the two. On one hand, the premise is actually pretty funny for awhile. The costumes are great, the nods to the larger Batman universe normally land pretty well, and the introductory cinematic was good for a few laughs. That being the case, it grew old for me after a few days. I’ll still laugh at certain costumes people have put together, but the one-liners and visual puns have generally grown stale for me. The solution, at least in my mind, could have been simple: instead of using the Batman universe, Impostors should have just been about people trying to be general superheros. Keep out all of the licensed logos and names, and make them up. This might sound more bland than fun, but I think it would have blasted to door open for way more gadgets, weapons, and costumes. It’s funny to see knock-off bat-masks, but there are only so many ways you can make ears and a mouth hole. With a general superhero theme instead of a specific hero being imitated we could have seen things such as fish bowl space helmets, cheap Halloween demon horns, trash can lid shields, etc. This would have made the costumes even more fun, and would have stopped people from accusing the game of being the cash-grab tie-in that I can’t help but at least partially feeling that it is.
The bottom line is that Gotham City Impostors is a decently fun game. In fact, it’s more fun than it really has any business being. While the jokes run old after awhile, underneath it all is a game that actually controls surprisingly well and allows for a lot of player freedom. While it’s $15 dollar price tag may show in its largely unimpressive visuals, low map count, and scarce game modes, there is a good times to be had. If you can’t help but look at today’s big shooters and ask “Why so serious?”, Gotham City Impostors might be right up your alley.
Controls are tight, customization is great, when the humor hits it hits hard
Only 5 maps and 3 game modes, the jokes get dry after a few days of play