The Batman franchise at face value doesn’t lend itself well to team based shoot ‘em ups. But his very nature, Batman refuses to kill his foes, rather opting to catch them and force them to serve their time or seek rehabilitation (a tactic which doesn’t exactly work that well for Bats, see Joker.) but what Monolith does is explore the realm of copycat vigilantes, who emulate The Dark Knight but don’t exactly share his mantra of not killing his enemies. The same goes for The Jokers, a team of renegade carbon copies of the Clown Prince of Crime marauding around causing havoc in Gotham City.
With that said, I can imagine you’re thinking of a dark, gritty, Arkham Asylum feel to the game. In fact, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Instead, what you have is a game that models itself upon the feel of the characters you are controlling. Rather than gritty realism, it’s about amateur hour, with basic weapons like boomerangs replacing razor sharp Batarangs, basic grappling hooks rather than state of the art versions and as such, has a cartoony feel to it.
Not to take anything away from the game, but it’s like Team Fortress 2 with Call of Duty controls. It has a certain humour to it, which you wouldn’t usually get in a Batman game (aside from possibly getting a game based on campy Adam West era Batman or Joker’s witty asides from Arkham Asylum/City).
Primarily this is a multiplayer based game. The only ventures into single player are the challenge mode, which serves as a way to train your skills using various gadgets and the initiation tutorial. Other than that, it is pure online multiplayer, so if you buy this for local party based multiplayer, you’re shit out of luck.
Also, when you think of a multiplayer FPS, you immediately think of camping, just running and gunning which are all very commonplace in that genre in this day of Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, etc. but Imposters brings a few extra things to the table such as the ability to use a grappling hook to make a quick getaway, roller skates to zip across the map with ease and with the ramps, trampolines and air ducts, nowhere is truly safe for you to hide and camp. Nowhere.
These abilities do depend on what class you play as, so if you’re a sniper you’ll obviously need a way to get to higher ground with ease, so they equip you with the grappling hook and if you’re a medic you’ll be granted some rollerskates to jet across a level to do your medic-y thing. You aren’t constrained to the default set of classes for very long, because at around level 4 you get to choose what weapons you want to take into battle (and handily enough, you’ll earn a weapon unlock token too, so have at it!). As you progress, more and more layers are unlocked so you can be more creative with your loadouts.
That said, for what is essentially a one track game, it pulls it off really well. You don’t find yourself taking this too seriously, and from my experience it’s full of people just looking to have fun whilst playing (or trying their hand at multiplayer for the first time because the hordes of screaming, racist children and adults on Modern Warfare and such are a daunting prospect.) and that’s what Gotham City Imposters is. Fun.
However, the matchmaking system is a bully. Not just any random kind of bully, but a bully that forces a majority of the higher levelled players onto one team, leaving the new guys (Or the weaker folk) to fend for themselves against a machine that’s often vastly more ahead in the game than you. Myself and Will went into matchmaking as newbies. Will had just purchased the game and I have a backlog of unplayed games just waiting to be played. So we started off on even footing only to be thrust into a game against around five players who’s levels were in the range of three digits. Level 1s against a team of level 300+s. Not quite a fair fight.
This however wasn’t an isolated incident. Whilst exiting matchmaking to go make some changes upon levelling up and then joining a new lobby, the bias remains. It’s like the system is bullying us because we’re either late adopters or just haven’t had the time to sink hundreds of hours into playing non-stop and levelling up. It’s infuriating to say the least, especially where all of the perks, better weapons, etc. are all unlocked by levelling up. Sure, you do have the option to buy certain items like clothes (Hats, anyone?) and perks such as a consumable XP boost. I don’t want to have to pay to be competitive, that is just not on.
Plus, the game seems to be lacking the ability to have a free for all with your friends. Which basically means that it if the feature is there to have 11 of your friends in a multiplayer match to have fun, it’s so out of the way that it becomes a chore to find, which is quite disappointing for those who don’t want to play with random people across the globe.
Overall, for what is supposed to be a downloadable title, it sure packs a hell of a punch. If you’re in to multiplayer FPS games, you’ll find this a steal at just a mere 1200MSP. Sure, there is no true single player campaign, but there doesn’t need to be. Just like there didn’t need to be for Team Fortress. This is the perfect game to have a fun online experience with despite its flaw with the match making system.