Gamescom 2011: Gotham City Impostors Hands-On Preview – Bats vs Jokerz = Anarchy
Written Wednesday, August 24, 2011 By Lee AbrahamsView author's profile
The thought of Batman (even a fake one) with a gun seems abhorrent to most diehard fans, and frankly you can count us amongst them. Just sitting down to have a hands-on with Gotham City Impostors seemed like the betrayal of some kind of unspoken trust. After all the game simply can’t work, it shouldn’t work...oh, turns out it does work and it’s actually pretty damn good. Guess the joke is on us then.
Impostors is an amusing take on what would happen if masked vigilantes really roamed the streets. In a world of reality TV and people with way too much time on their hands, then it would only be a matter of time before an army of copycats sprang up. In this game slightly overweight Batman wannabies and sprightly Batgirls take on the more criminally orientated, and make-up endowed, Jokerz. All in a bid to restore some order to the streets or vice-versa.
Everything is portrayed in a comical manner that is a far cry from the serious nature of the most recent Batman titles. Gaudy cartoon figures romp across the loading screens, and each team can be customised in a variety of ways mostly involving bright, vivid colours and over the top equipment. In fact customisation is the byword here. To speed things along we were presented with a bunch of pre-made characters so we could hop into a game as soon as possible, but come the final product there will be no set classes and players will be free to tinker to their hearts content.
With an array of weapons and gadgets to choose from it certainly offers up enough variety for even the most hardened FPS fanatic. As you complete matches you will also level up to unlock new gear, and even if you die you can be awarded collectable cards of varying levels of rarity. Obviously with plenty to see and do you can expect to be spending plenty of time tracking everything down, but that would mean nothing if the core gameplay wasn’t up to scratch and we can thankfully report that in this regard we were pleasantly surprised.
We hopped into a three-on-three Fumigation match, which required each team to try and capture gas canisters scattered around the map. In a twist on a regular conquest mode you rack up a score for controlling these points, and the first team to hit 100% either gases their foes or disarms the traps (depending on your philosophy towards gas and murderous clowns). This led to a back and forth battle, where teams had to balance capturing objectives with beating up the opposition. Mini trampolines are placed around the map so you can leap up to rooftops to gain an advantage, or you can use one of the back up powers such as the grapple or glide ability to get around.
Weapons are certainly satisfying to use and the controls seem spot on, with the back up powers getting us out of a jam on more than a few occasions but never seeming too overpowered so as to be game-breaking. In fact the fluid controls, nice graphics and interesting game modes on offer certainly took as by surprise and this would be a more than enjoyable game even without the crazy weaponry and in-depth customisation options on offer. Both the matches we played were well balanced and offered no hint of lag, so hopefully the full game will prove just as gripping.
If any question marks remain it will be over just how well a FPS will fare on XBLA, as other than Battlefield 1943 no other game has really taken off. When you consider the fact that the latest COD and Battlefield games will still be fairly fresh by the time this game launches then it will certainly have some stiff competition. However, the developers did mention the fact that the game had been designed to be expanded upon, so that new modes and maps can be added after launch to keep things interesting. Gotham City Impostors is certainly a game to keep an eye on then, and is certainly far superior to many retail releases that have crossed our path in recent years.
Gotham City Impostors will be swinging, leaping, ducking and shooting its way onto XBLA in early 2012.