Gotham City Imposters Hands-On Preview -- Fake Batmen Do Use GunsBy Eric Eckstein - Posted May 17, 2011
I had a blast playing as Batman AND Joker recently, and neither of that was due to Batman: Arkham City. Sure, Batman: AC may be the most eagerly anticipated sequel of the year, and yes it looks amazing (more on that soon) but there’s another Batman in town. And another Joker. And yet another Batman, Joker, etc., because the new game is Gotham City Impostors, and in it, everybody gets to be the hero or villain.
Monolith Productions, the team behind FEAR and the classic No One Lives Forever franchise, have been given a chance to design the project of their dreams and that’s a team-based multiplayer shooter in DC Comics’ Batman universe called Gotham City Impostors. Their pitch got buy-in from DC’s Jim Lee, who will pen the storyline, but initially, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure what to expect as the team unveiled a trailer around GCI depicting cartoony average joes (office drones, fast food clerks, etc.) donning the Batcowl to take to the streets in a style more akin to Castle Crashers than what followed.
Next, the Monolith team showed a piece of concept art showcasing various Joker gang members, similar in style to Batman: Arkham Asylum with one naked Joker flipping us off with a very noticeable genital blur. Now, this was a game more suited to my tastes, and thankfully, I was able to spend a good chunk of time playing through the game to give you a sense of what playing Gotham City Impostors is all about.
Picture your typical downloadable shooter like Blacklight Tango Down or Breach, yet before panicking, picture it full of customizable Batmen and Jokerites. Players can fully tailor how their particular hero or heroine looks, from cosmetic choices like gloves, capes, and cowls to weapon and gadget loadouts.Pick a Nimble body type, and you’ll move quick, but Tough bodies take more damage. Adopt a grapple gun, and you’ll be able to ascend to a high vantage point, but if you race around on roller skates, you’re a lot faster on the ground.
You’ll be able to choose from a variety of guns (shotguns, assault rifles, rocket launchers, sub-machine guns), support weapons like pipe bombs, boomerangs, and revitalizing energy drinks, and gadgets like the aforementioned grapple gun or glider rig, which lets you float further when jumping/falling. These weapons can also have mods attached to them, so you can tweak a rocket launcher to fire multiple rounds, for example. All of this is gained through various unlocks in the game; the more you progress, the more opens up.
My Gotham City Impostors hands-on session was a 4v4 match, though currently, the player cap is unknown. As GCI does not support bots, everybody was a live opponent, and I, along with my fellow Joker buddies, annihilated them all. GCI is incredibly easy to pick up and play for anyone familiar to FPS titles. Left trigger looks down the sights, right trigger fires. Right bumper uses your support weapon, in my case a one-hit kill hatchet that is similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops’ tomahawk, and left bumper triggers the special gadget, which for me was the grapple gun so I could waste Batfools by dropping down on them from up on high. On the level we played, entitled Amusement Mile, there were also trampolines scattered about to make things interesting. Even at this early stage, GCI played fast and furious, though the feedback when shooting enemies needs some improvement.
Roles aren’t defined as well as say Team Fortress 2 or Monday Night Combat, but you can swap loadouts on the fly, and the degree of customization for weapons is very robust for a downloadable game. GCI seems to be aimed at more of a straight-forward, deathmatch, capture and hold/CTF style game modes as opposed to objective-oriented missions, but it remains to be seen what the team develops between now and release. One of my favorite features was the calling card system that displays a custom logo, backdrop, and signature whenever you kill someone. Clearly a great way to rub salt in the wound of your dead enemies!
There’s a lot still to learn about this multiplayer shooter, but so far, our interest is piqued. Monolith’s cleverly found a way for everybody to “be” Batman and Joker, and also skirted around that “the real Batman wouldn’t use guns” problem. I’m definitely interested in seeing more of Gotham City Impostors in the future.
Gotham City Impostors is coming to XBLA, PSN, and PC.