PAX ’11: Gotham City Impostors is Going to Turn Heads
When Gotham City Imposters was first announced I was skeptical to say the least. It just seemed like such a strange move to make a first person shooter set in the Batman Universe, and to be honest that still feels a little strange today. On the first day of PAX as I was walking around I spotted the large banner for the game sitting right next to Lollipop Chainsaw. When I got closer and noticed how unusually short the line was I stepped up immediately, making it the first game I played this year.
The fact that I returned on Saturday and when I walked by Sunday word of mouth had spread that the six person line from Friday had become one wrapped around the other nearby booths speaks a lot. When I tell you that this is one of my most anticipated upcoming releases and a close contender for Game of Show at PAX this year, that should tell you even more.
Gotham City Imposters is first person shooter showcasing a war between The Bats and The Jokers who have taken to dressing up as their icons and spreading havoc (or preventing it) on their own, armed to teeth with absolutely insane weapons and gadgets. The first thing you’ll notice is the startling visual style which is present in every aspect of the game and to be quite blunt the art design is absolutely brilliant.
Thanks to the constant color schemes associated with each team and the fact that they’re so different from each other, it’s always easy to tell from a distance who is an ally and who is an enemy. Even though you can customize every aspect of your character from their body size down to what they’re wearing, you’ll always be able to tell who’s a Bat and who’s a Joker without much hesitation.
At the heart of the game is a solid if fairly standard first person shooter. The game type we played was called Fumigation, which had three control points spread across the map that you had to take control of by standing near them. Victory was achieved by getting 100% on the meter, which is easier said than done. My first game went back and forth for nearly the entire match, while the second ended in such a short time the staff on hand was surprised it was already over.
They reason this happened was teamwork: a lack of it in the first game, and an overwhelming amount of it in the second. When both teams didn’t have any dedicated defenders, everybody just kept running around grabbing points all day long. In the second we guarded the two we had while a small team went for the third, and made short work of the enemy group.
While the heart of the game is fairly standard, one key difference comes from part of the customization I mentioned earlier: the gadgets. You can equip a variety of offensive and defensive equipment to your character that drastically changed the course of the battle. I myself was a big fan of the grappling hook, which when combined with the trampolines scattered around that sent you flying the air would let you cover a large section of the map extremely quickly, or set up a nice sniping spot.
Other players had roller skates equipped, were throwing shuriken or tossing down bombs which all just added to all the chaos on the screen.
After getting a good kill streak going I was informed that a package was being delivered to me and shortly afterwards I saw a small present appear on my HUD not too far away. Opening this revealed a nice reward such as a radar scan, among others. I definitely picked up packages that my teammates had left sitting, and I believe anybody can grab them no matter which team you’re on so you’re going to want to get it fast when this appears.
Overall I felt there was a lot of teamwork required to do well, at least in the game mode we were playing. The shooting was very solid, and combined with the extensive customization levels I feel like this game is going to make a huge splash when it releases next year for XBLA, PSN and PC. At first glance it might not seem too special, but having this as the base meant that anybody was able to jump right in and get gunning.
However the gadgets as well as the various obstacles spread around the maps made it so that there was never a dull moment to be had. Any moment somebody might uncloak or drop down on you from the air with their glider. A large variety of weapons which will be fully customize-able in the full game as well as the very deep character customization means everyone will be able to play this however they want, and I think everybody is going to want to.