Gotham City Impostors (XBLA) Review

It never ceases to amaze me how many times I watch game trailers, post news and even chat with others about a certain game, then when I finally sit down with the given game it is not what I expected at all.  Going into Gotham City Impostors I expected an over-the-top experience, and that is what I basically got, but that being said it was just not what I fully envisioned.  I was hoping for a single player story progression of some sort, but instead it is strictly an online multiplayer affair where you play with goofy characters dressed in homemade Batman and Joker costumes.  I have to admit, I went into this game somewhat let down, knowing the basic premise; but after several hours of online multiplayer mayhem I found myself actually enjoying this shooter.  That being said, compared to many other shooters in the market Gotham City Impostors falls a bit short in some areas.

Okay, so Gotham City Impostors was not what I entirely envisioned, but I also have to remind myself that it is a $15.00 dollar game.  When you take the price tag into consideration it really does deliver on many levels.  Gotham City Impostors is a first-person shooter multiplayer game set in the universe of DC Comics’ Batman, but none of the characters you play with are the actual villains or heroes from the comics or movies.  Instead, the characters are regular ‘Joes’, to a certain extent, dressed in Batman and Joker costumes.  These costumes are over the top too as they are very makeshift and vary from person to person.  Trust me, the first time you see a heavy set character dressed like Batman with a big yellow garbage can lid for front armour, then you will know what I mean.

Much like your average online shooter, the objective in Gotham City Impostors is to take down the opposing team.  In this case, one team is dressed up like Batman and the other team is dressed like the Joker.  You can play up to six players per side making for a total of 12 players online at once.  Before you jump into a game, you pick your weapon load-out.  You are equipped with a primary and secondary weapon and you are also equipped with an explosive device of some sort.  There is an EXP system included in Gotham City Impostors.  Game types include team deathmatch, a king of the hill type mode, and a capture the flag like mode.  Of course they all have different names in Gotham City Impostors, but once you jump into a game type you will readily have that “been there and done that” feeling.  Bottom line, there is really nothing new to the game types that anyone who has played a first person shooter or two before won’t easily recognize.

I guess that is one of my biggest complaints about Gotham City Impostors is that in the end there is not much here that we have already seen or done before.  Whether it is running around shooting everyone, an EXP system to rank up, or different match types, online shooters have been exhausted to death and it seems that Gotham City Impostors feels a bit like this given it fits into a somewhat generic experience.  It was not long before I simply became bored with the game and I am not so certain that any amount of EXP or customizable options can keep me playing it well into the Spring months; yet I do have to admit that the game does have some allure and there are some redeeming qualities, so not all is bad here.

For starters, Gotham City Impostors is a good-looking game.  The goofy looking characters dressed in those awful looking homemade costumes are actually quite charming.  They are likeable and much of that also has to do with the cheesy dialogue.  After every kill, a character will blurt out some ridiculous line.  I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but some of the lines actually had me chuckling at times.  In any event, it is a game that also features some very good level design.  A medieval castle, amusement park, and a shipyard are just a few examples of the types of maps you come across in the game.  The detail is impressive and I found it very enjoyable wandering around all the maps.   For a downloadable game, the graphics are pretty good.  Sure, it is not a technological marvel, but in the visuals suit theme of the game perfectly.

On the downside, I was a little taken back there were only five maps available at the time of this review.  Five just seems to be a tad skimpy and it was not long before playing the same maps over and over felt that I was somewhat tired of them after extended play.  Perhaps there will be some DLC down the road but five maps right out of the gate is far too few in my opinion.

Another more positive aspect of the game is the use of gadgets.  In Gotham City Impostors you can use such items as grappling hooks, glider wings, and rollerskates.  The use of grappling hooks is a key element to the game and a necessary one.  It was not long before everyone in the match was seemingly zipping from one roof-top to another.  All in all, it works well and it added a neat little element to the game.  Likewise the gliding system was neat, but certainly leaves you a tad exposed as you hover around a given firefight.  I was amazed at how long some gamers were able to hover around a certain area.

Control wise, Gotham City Impostors is easy to pick up.  Granted, it does not control as smoothly as say MW3 of BF3, but I was surprised with how closely the controls mimicked Call of Duty controls, which is a game that I enjoy.  Everything from aiming, sprinting, switching weapons and throwing explosives are identical to CoD controls.  This actually came as a welcome relief as there was no learning curve for me and many others will in the same boat.

The amount of customizable options in Gotham City Impostors is impressive.  You can dress your character in all sorts of goofy costumes that only adds to the appeal and charm of the game.  You’ll find lots of different looking Batman and Jokers given the pieces of costumes you can open up.  Some of these costumes and accessories also come with a price.  In fact, on launch day the Xbox LIVE Marketplace was inundated with Gotham City Impostors downloadable content including many of the in-game items.  So for those who do not wish to wait to earn your items and want to have a large choice of unlocked items from the get-go, you will be pleased to know you can purchase a truckload of items as soon as you start playing the game.

Overall, I ended up enjoying my time with Gotham City Impostors, but the experience did feel a tad ‘light’ which makes it a game that I imagine I will not be playing in a couple of months.  Five online maps are simply not enough for a game that is an online multiplayer experience only.  Nevertheless, I do have to admit that it does have a degree of charm, and when you consider the price there is some pretty good bang for the buck overall.  At the end of the day Gotham City Impostors is a goofy game geared for those who enjoy their first person shooters and who are merely looking for a break from the MW3 or BF3 online arena.

The Good


The Bad