Last updated on January 8, 2020
Miltary First Person Shooter (FPS) games and I have an agreement: I won’t play them and they can suck as much as they want. So when I learned that Monolith Productions developed a FPS game that plays like “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield,” I took the news with dull surprise. Then I learned that it was about Batman versus The Joker.
It’s funny how a slight change in context can potentially improve a game.
“Gotham City Imposters” is a multiplayer-only FPS game pitting two warring factions against each other; namely Batman and The Joker. As the name implies, the gangs consist of people impersonating either the Caped Crusader or the Clown Prince of Crime. Each battle takes place on a given background where teams kill each other while completing objectives. The current ones available on beta were territory control and capture the flag. While Batman has non-lethal combat training and unlimited technology, the vigilantes simply have guns. The backstory of The Joker’s gang wasn’t available during the beta so for all I know, they ARE working for him.
The teams have guns, explosives, and other gadgets used to shoot, explode, or otherwise maim opponents. With various inventory loadouts to correspond to various soldier classes, “Gotham City Imposters” plays like a modern warfare FPS. Simply restyling a landmine into an exploding Jack-in-a-Box doesn’t change its use. According to fps tracker, this game is still worth playing.
But after playing a bit and soaking in some of the atmosphere, I noticed that I was actually taken into this comic book gang warfare setting. The improvised costumes (lovely use of cardboard for Batman’s cowls), the over the top acting, the gadgets like glider wings that mimic superhero actions, and the craziness of the teamwork missions give “Gotham City Imposters” a great contrast from the typical FPS. It’s more fun to play as a vigilante or gang member wreaking havoc on a comic book city. The two missions take a kooky spin on the typical FPS match. The territory capture game has you capture certain objects that will eventually spew gas or bats over the opposing team. The capture the flag game has you procure a battery to power up your team’s loudspeakers that will demoralize the enemy gang with a cheesy motivational speech. Accomplishing either objective is worth watching the deaths of opponents or the death of your teammates for the greater good.
I was quite impressed with the character customization. Play the game enough times (ideally winning and scoring points through objectives) and you can unlock various guns, gadgets, abilities, and body sizes to design your vigilante/gang member as you see fit for battle. Body sizes determine speed, ability to carry heavy weapons, durability, and how large of a target you are. Bonus abilities will counter some attacks while leaving you vulnerable to others to help put some balance in the game. Additionaly, you can select the face, costume, taunt, and calling card to make the game feel more personal.
A few flaws are present. The beta only had those two game modes. Combine that with the mission control voice who updates the team’s status and it feels like a very stripped down version of “Team Fortress 2.” There seems to be no way to put players of similar levels in the same field. Matches can feel unbalanced when groups of high level players equiped with most of the higher end bonuses face off against beginners armed with something just above water pistols. Team match ups tend to be randomized and I have no way to form a team with friends. I also had trouble communicating with teammates so I couldn’t get anyone to cover my back or set up an ambush during the missions.
But given that I’m actually having fun with this game, I may actually go forth and buy it. Though I do hope for more features to address the issues above.