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Gotham City Impostors

Batman

Gotham City Impostors is the poor man’s licensed game. It’s a Batman thing because that’s what sells. And it’s probably a first-person shooter for similar reasons. But, Batman never shows; nor does anyone especially recognizable. Instead, we’re cast into the slums of Gotham, wherein the socially inept gather and compete in ritualistic skirmishes. It’s a battle between the Jokers and the Bats. Each side is adorned in full-on faux comic book character regalia and equipped with nonsensical weaponry to match. It’s unclear why they’re fighting but it also doesn’t matter.

The good thing is that it’s gotten Monolith to make another gadget-oriented shooter. And while the byproduct doesn’t match their finest work, Gotham City Impostors presents itself as a lateral shift in that direction.

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So here’s the point of contention: Gotham City Impostors launched without adequate matchmaking. It took ages to start games and longer to find a full group who might finish. The good news is Monolith’s since brought in free DLC for a new map and drop-in matchmaking, nullifying some initial concerns. Surprisingly enough, the community remains, and we’ve had no problems whatsoever finding matches post-patch. It’s a reassuring thing, both for the community and Monolith’s commitment to it.

Largely a class based shooter, it speaks both to the industry-wide dilemma in terms of complacent design, but also the need to break free and innovate. Action’s broken across the typical team-based objectives, only with a texture fitting the motif. Unlike other releases, the thematic elements present new value that serves both as a detriment and a highlight. Team deathmatch is as described. There’s also ‘psychological warfare’, an assault mode with both teams’ trying to return the battery to objectives on either side of the map. It more often than not breaks into a draining sort of tug-of-war, and might’ve worked out better if there were a rotation between offense and defense. Finally, there’s the standout ‘gas blasters’ mode, a conquest variant dealing in flavorful team-specific control points. Across all the modes, there’s a grating play-by-play given by a Joker stand-in, projecting the same announcements over a loudspeaker – and though there’s not much to say – the shrill dictation breaks in anyway, stumbling over itself, struggling to keep up.

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There’s a wealth of customization options for characters and it’s pretty easy to make a dumb-looking Impostor, with perks and load-outs opening up as you level, as per the industry standard. Refreshingly, some choices allow for an emphasis on navigation, with grappling hooks and wing-suits emphasizing the vertical level structures while roller-skates allow for faster ground travel. There are also loose character classes, the standard guns, a slew of traps, and so on. Gotham City Impostors provides plenty of incentive to continue playing well after the novelty’s gone.

The Gotham locales take on a decidedly gritty palate of grays and browns, environments that aren’t far-off from those of self-serious wartime shooters. It’s all uninspired and apart from the inclusion of a single DLC map, it all takes place during the day. The structure’s stuck somewhere between the gritty shooter the market demands and the shooter Gotham deserves.

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Much like the generic faux heroes and villains that make up its cast, one can’t help but find Gotham City Impostors also comes across as being artificial in the end. It’s a game of simple and proven components, dressed up as something more eclectic. Monolith’s track record speaks well to their potential. They know first-person shooters; so the non-committal direction and lack of purpose comes as a bit of a surprise. This is a sub-par licensed shooter without any real sense for what it wants to accomplish. And that’s about as far as it ever gets.

4 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

Gentle persuasion

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