Gotham City Impostors is possibly the least plausible Batman game that could have been imagined by a developer, aside from perhaps a kart-racing or sports game. Developing a multiplayer shooter in a universe with a lead character who does all he can to avoid gunplay is a strange design choice at best, and although the reasoning behind the set-up is briefly explained (something to do with brainwashing and gang-related violence), it still feels a little wrong dressing up as Batman and blasting away at thugs. Despite this, efforts are made to encompass various different aspects of the Batman mythology, such as locations and gadgetry. Does GCI do enough to pander to the comic book crowd, or is this a failed attempt at using brand imagery to sell an otherwise largely unrelated product?
Everything In The Batcave -GCI contains a great deal of stuff to unlock, similar to most other multiplayer shooters. From weapons and gadgets to fun facts, body types, calling cards, mascots and costumes, almost every time you level up, you will be welcomed with something new to play with. The game’s main mascot ‘Office Bat’ is an ever-present reminder of what will be waiting for you at the next level, giving you an incentive to play just a couple more games. What GCI does differently than most other games, however, is takes away some of the level restricted weaponry and gadgetry. Instead of certain weapons being unlocked when you reach a certain level, you instead earn ‘unlock keys’ at certain times, which allow you to choose what you want to unlock there and then, making customization much freer.
A Comic-Book World - There are a number of changes that GCI does in comparison to the often serious world of multiplayer shooters, perhaps the most noticeable being in terms of movement. Players can be equipped with grappling-hooks or roller-skates, which allow for variety and freedom of movement. The addition of trampolines in various locations on the maps adds a good degree of verticality to combat, particularly when combined with the aforementioned grappling hooks.
WHAT A BUNCH OF JOKERS
The (Not-So) Dark Knight - If you go into Gotham City Impostors expecting a gritty, modern take on Gotham City, then you will be greatly disappointed. GCI aims instead for the 1960s version of Batman, with only the BIFF!, POW!, and ZOCKO! elements missing. Gotham City Impostors is knowingly campy, cartoony and light-hearted, and whilst this is sometimes an enjoyable take on the Batman mythology, it can get quite grating.
Ghost Town - Gotham City Impostors offers up five maps for gunning down your enemies, based on various areas of Gotham City, including ACE Chemicals and Crime Alley. Although this isn’t a huge number of maps, I found them to be quite well designed, with a decent mix of wide areas and tight corridors, as well as plenty of cover and hiding spaces. One downside, however, is the player limit. Each map only supports two teams of six, often leading to the maps feeling empty, and most games consisting of hunting for where the action is. The problem is worsened by the fact that most maps contain certain areas that can only be labelled as ‘bottlenecks’, which constrict the action and often dominate the maps.
Richer Than Bruce Wayne - This isn’t a gameplay downside as much as a development decision downside, but some of you should be aware that Gotham City Impostors includes the option to purchase (with real-world money), pretty much any unlockable in the game, either directly, or through the purchasing of XP. I can’t help but feel that if Monolith Productions wanted to make a freemium game, then they should have done so.
Compared to other multiplayer shooters such as Battlefield or Call of Duty, Gotham City Impostors doesn’t stand much of a chance. By attempting to force itself into Batman mythology, however, it doesn’t even give itself much of a chance. GCI feels like a bog-standard shooter with a Batman façade forced on top, and whilst this doesn’t make it a bad game, it doesn’t really make it one worthy of the ‘Batman’ name, particularly when compared to the efforts of Rocksteady Studios. If you’ve always wanted to put a bullet between the Joker’s (or even Bruce Wayne’s) eyes, then Gotham City Impostors could be the game for you. However, if you’re looking for a good multiplayer shooter or a good Batman game, then I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*