Video Game Review: ‘Gotham City Imposters’ is Great Shooter

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CHICAGO – It’s been some time since there was an exciting downloadable title after a wave of them a few years ago that included the incredible “Braid,” “Limbo,” and even “Joe Danger.” Since then, it’s been a bit dire, seemingly hitting bottom with the horrendous “Amy” last month (a game that you should avoid at all costs). Will the downloadable game market bounce back with a fun shooter in which players dress up like the Joker or Batman and blast each other with goofy weapons? It just might. Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0
Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0

When you fire up “Gotham City Imposters,” it feels a bit disappointing at first, especially for those of you still woefully addicted to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” or “Battlefield 3.” The controls feel a bit unrefined. The weapons take some time getting accustomed to their fire rate. The level design is a bit unusual. And your first response may be disappointment. Give it time. Let it roll. Keep playing and “GCI” will get under your skin. It’s not a perfect game by any stretch, but for the cost and as a downloadable title, it could easily become one of the most addictive titles of the season.

Gotham City Imposters
Gotham City Imposters
Photo credit: WBIE

There is no campaign. Don’t buy it unless you enjoy going online and killing strangers or being pwned yourself. Technically, there are a few single-player trials and a training sequence. After that, it’s all multi-player over three modes — “Team Deathmatch,” “Fumigation,” and “Psych Warfare.” The first mode is self-explanatory, the second is essentially a variation on “Conquest” in BF3 or “Domination” in “COD,” and the third a lot like “COD“‘s “Sabotage.” On a core gameplay level, there’s nothing really new here. Your team, their team, kill or be killed. Pretty simple stuff. It’s the bells and whistles that separate a game like “Gotham City Imposters.”

Gotham City Imposters
Gotham City Imposters
Photo credit: WBIE

“Gotham City Imposters” is a lot like a comic book version of a shooter. You bounce off trampolines to get to rooftops, shoot grappling hooks to cross from building to building, and have access to silly gadgets to enhance your combat. Some of the bells don’t ring as loudly as others and there were times when I wasn’t even sure how my enemy had killed me — what wacky upgrade he got on Level 60 (because matchmaking in this title is non-existent and Level 1s will go against Level 70s from the very beginning). And when I tried to get in tune with the gadget combat, I kind of just gave up and went back to the primary/secondary combat system.

And that’s when “Gotham City Imposters” won me over. As I got used to the fire rate and responsiveness and my kill ratio increased, I started to enjoy what this game offers for such a cheap price point. In particular, the map design is pretty spectacular. There’s a level called “Amusement Mile” that’s great and “The Docks” works well too. Each of the maps seem well-designed in terms of level and close-combat versus arena battles.

Customization is a major part of “Gotham City Imposters.” Yes, this is another one of those games that asks you to spend and spend and spend to customize your character. While the store-bought customizations are cosmetic — new costume elements, calling cards, etc. - the game also has a huge number of in-game upgrades earned through combat. Don’t worry. You can spend $15 and still compete against the people willing to buy $100 worth of cosmetic upgrades. It also feels like every time you play, you unlock something else, although the basic combat is largely unchanged. In other words, the upgrades are mostly goofy like a new icon or catch phrase that pops up when you kill someone.

A comic-book inspired, slapstick-ish downloadable shooter sounds kind of like a disaster in waiting. “Gotham City Imposters” is far from a disaster. In fact, like the best downloadable games, it gets more addictive as it goes on. Probably like most players, I used downloadable games as “snacks,” when I don’t have time to dig into a full meal like “Skyrim.” They should work for five minute or sixty minutes. For some time now, “Marvel Pinball” has been by go-to downloadable snack. Leave it to a game based on DC characters to supplant it.

“Gotham City Imposters” was developed Monolith Productions and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment as a downloadable title for Xbox 360 and PS3 on February 8th, 2012. It is rated T (Teen). content director Brian Tallerico

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